10 Reasons Why I Love The Met In NYC and You Will Too

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


If you’ve never been to New York before, The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) might seem like it’s just another museum in the longgggg list of museums and art galleries that are on must-see lists for the city. But it is not just like the others, ohhhhhhh no my friend, it is not. 

Here are 10 reasons why you need to add visiting The Met to your New York travel list.

1. Visit The Met for three days on ONE ticket! 
Admission is free or "pay as you wish" for New York State residents. For all other visitors: $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $12 for students. Admission for all children under 12 and Members and Patrons is free. Note that any full-priced admission ticket is valid for three consecutive days at The Met Fifth AvenueThe Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.

2. The Location
This sprawling, massive white building is perched on the edge of Central Park on Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side. That means that views from its many windows are of the beautiful green space, and there are lots of paths for you to stroll if you need to take a break from a full day of wandering through galleries. 

3. The Quality of The Collection
The quality and diversity of the pieces at The Met are as good as, or arguably better than, those at The Louvre and The British Museum. Founded in 1870, it actually is home to one of the largest permanent collections in the world — more than 2 million objects, many of which are different than anything I have seen anywhere else.  

4. The Layout
The galleries cover an astonishing 17 acres! What I found incredible about the layout though, was how I never felt cramped or overwhelmed by the collection. Though the vast number of objects is staggering, they are displayed in a way that allows you to take everything in. As you wander through the different rooms, you will also find that each one is designed to reflect the antiquities that are inside it. Whether it is a Greek sculpture garden with soaring ceilings, a cozy Egyptian tomb, or a portrait gallery that feels like it's in the hall of a grand palace, you will feel completely transported. 

5. You Can Take Photos
Just like the art galleries and museums in Europe, photos are allowed as long as you don't use a flash. As an added bonus, a lot of the rooms have natural light, so taking photos without a flash doesn't pose as much of a problem as it does in the museums in Europe. 

6. The Egyptian Art
This wing was one of my favourites to walk through. There was an unrivalled collection of jewellery and adornments — necklaces, toe covers, hair decoration — and I loved the way it was displayed. The Temple of Dendur in this wing is an exhibit that is often used for special events, and you will recognize it from its appearance in multiple films. 

7. The Sculptures
I don't know about you, but I could sit and look at Greek and Roman sculptures for days. The way that bodies were carved out of marble to look so supple and soft that you imagine that it would feel like human skin if you touched them (don't touch them) is mesmerizing. And the multiple sculpture galleries at The Met do not disappoint. Make sure you spend some time in the European Sculpture Court and the gallery in the Greek and Roman Art wing.  

8. The Arts of Africa, Oceania & The Americas Collection
Spectacularly displayed, this is an unbelievable collection of work by Indigenous groups from all over the world. Artifacts vary from Mayan gold and carved Native American masks to ceramics from New Mexico and ceremonial ceilings from the tribes of New Guinea.   

9. The Restaurants
Not only is the food spectacular at the museum's many restaurants, but it is accompanied by stunning views overlooking Central Park. Don't miss the Great Hall Balcony Bar that is essentially a pop-up bar open only on Friday and Saturday nights from 4:30 pm – 8 pm. There are wine flights, cocktails, appetizers, and live music all set in the opulence of the Great Hall. 

10. There is More Than One Met! 
Yes, you read that right. The Met on Fifth is just one part (the largest part), of the collection. The Met Breuer houses a collection of art from the 20th and 21st centuries, and The Met Cloisters is dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe.  

HOT TIPS TO MAKE YOUR VISIT EVEN BETTER! 
–If you want to see the entire collection without feeling rushed or overwhelmed, you will need more than one day.
–Don't miss the gift shop! Especially if you are a lover of art books — there is a fantastic collection to peruse.

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When An Edmonton Art Gallery Turns Into A Lake: One of The Most Incredible Art Exhibits I've Ever Seen!

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


When the Peter Robertson Gallery described Canadian artist Steve Driscoll's show, And a Dark Wind Blows, to me as "a water installation that would reflect his paintings" and an unusual art exhibit, I wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe a few oversized tubs of water placed under the works? 

What I didn't expect was what I saw when I went to the preview — the entire gallery had been turned into a lake. 

Specifically, the floor of the gallery, and a few inches up the wall, had been lined with a heavy plastic that was then filled with water and dyed black. On top of this water, a wooden walkway, a dock, and huge rocks were placed to give viewers a way to enter, and walk through, the space. The walkway and dock were built so that they move slightly as you walk over them, causing ripples. The art, reflecting in the ripples, seems to move along the surface of the water. 

Visitors to the gallery must walk along a wooden walkway that leads to a dock

The works were all inspired by the night sky, and the show cumulated in a stunning three panelled painting of the aurora borealis, or northern lights (image below). Though the paintings are hung on the wall like they would be in any show, the viewer can not actually get close to the pieces in the same way that you could in a more typical space. Instead, you must stay on the walkway that guides you from work to work at a distance.

These Are Truly the Last Days by Steve Driscoll 




Spotlight On Swedish Artist Kent Lindfors

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


I was transfixed by the complex, layered, collage-like work by contemporary Swedish artist Kent Lindfors when I came upon it in a light-filled gallery at the Gothenburg Museum of Art in Sweden. The collection on display was a retrospective of the artist's work from the 1970s until 2016. Kent Lindfors was born and works in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.

According to the gallery, "his paintings resemble parts of an ongoing life-project, a never-ending journey in which the outflow of the river Göta Älv in the western sea blends together with Santiago de Compostela, and the sheds in Gothenburg harbour cross over into Catholic mysticism."

From afar, each works looks like it contains a singular image — from something as mundane as a rail car to a more complex religious motif — but the image is actually made up of words, smaller images, and layer upon layer of paint and collage. He spends years on each piece, reworking it, adding to it. His works are never really complete, but always a work-in-progress. 

The result is stunning. I could have stood in front of each piece for hours and still have not absorbed every detail, every nuance. 

Image Above: La Fuente, 2001-2013; The Well, 2000-2016; La Fuente II 2000-2016
Image Below: A massive wall collage showing a breakdown of the artist's process

The paintings were accompanied by snippets of the artist's writing. The excerpt above was my favourite. It's amazing how just a few lines of poetry can set a mode or evoke a vibrant image in your mind.

While no photograph can show the all of the intense detail that is in these works, you can see some elements in the image above titled The Wagon V, 1978-1979. 

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Picasso's Woman In A Mantilla

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


La Salchichona 1917 — Picasso             Museu Picasso, Barcelona, Spain

This stunning work by Picasso is housed in the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

I was completely enchanted by this work when I came upon it while walking through the museum one afternoon. It is oversized, and unlike anything that I had ever seen before — by Picasso or any other artist for that matter. 

When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
— Pablo Picasso

The gaze of the women depicted is striking and seems to look right through you, but my favourite part of the piece is the obvious difference between the painted and unpainted sections.

Whether it was meant to be left this way or is unfinished, I don't know, but it is a breathtaking work that gives incredible insight into the artist's process.




Art Gallery Visitor Tip: Watch People Get Lost In The Art

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Sometimes watching fellow visitors to a museum or gallery observe and react to the art is as much of an experience as observing the art yourself. 

There are those that walk slowly from work to work, one hand behind their back, one on their chin, never pausing for longer than a few seconds. 

Others insist on standing right in the middle of the work for minutes at a time, blocking the view for everyone else. 

Couples often chat and point, commenting on the "vivid use of color" or "visible brushstrokes."

Then there are the people that make security guards nervous because they insist on leaning in so close that it looks like they are actually touching the work from a distance (these observers are often wearing thick academic looking glasses or artfully tied silk scarves). 

We can’t forget the art students that tilt their heads to the side as they shuffle back and forth, trying to see the work from all angles as they fill page after page of their big black sketch books.

The rarest observers and my favorite to watch are the ones that are truly moved by what they are looking at.

The ones that gasp and inadvertently cover their mouth with their hand when they realize that they are face to face with a beloved painting, sculpture, or drawing that they had only ever seen in photos. Their faces literally glow and you can see a range of emotions pass through them while tears gather in the corners of their eyes, and they barely breathe.

After a few minutes, a goofy smile will cross their face and then suddenly self-conscious, they will glance around the room making sure no one saw their reaction, before moving on to the next piece.

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