Wednesday, April 27, 2016


The MET BREUER, [BROY-er], an expansion of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, has opened, after $15 million in renovations, in the former home of The Whitney Museum of American Art.

Official announcements tell us that the Met Breuer offers the public a chance to experience modern art in a way they can't get anywhere else. It's featuring an exhibition of works by Indian modernist artist, Nasreen Mohamedi -- more than 130 paintings, drawings, photographs, and diaries, that "demonstrate why she is considered one of the most significant artists of her generation."  Here are three of her paintings.

In July 2016, a retrospective on the major works of Diane Arbus, an American photographer, will be featured. She's noted for photographs of dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers, and others who are perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal. Here's her "identical twins" and portrait of "Godfather of Soul," James Brown. 

A retrospective of contemporary painter Kerry James Marshall opens October 2016. Strongly influenced by Black Power, civil rights and his experiences in Watts during his early years as an artist, his art confronts racial stereotypes and the present day perspectives on race in our society.

Starting in November 2016, there will be in-gallery performances by resident artist, award winning, American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, electronic musician, and writer, Vijay Iyer.

Also, in November, you'll hear performances of the newly commissioned "sonic experience," by John Luther Adams.

At the same time, you'll be able to see Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Klang," the premiere of his unfinished 11-hour long composition for 21 electronic and acoustic  pieces, 42 performers in styles ranging from romanticism to austere minimalism. The video is just a swatch of the piece that conveys its style and complexity.

I find these samplings of what's new and deemed important by the Met Breuer -- NOT thrilling -- perturbing. I'm going to have to do a lot of staring and listening before I have a sense of what's happening in the art world. I think for some visitors to the museum, like me, what's on display will be mostly incomprehensible, and will certainly create a churning within us, to feel out and understand what these artists are expressing. And maybe we will like it.

Like? Yes. Maybe we'll learn to love some of this contemporary art, if we begin to like it.