The Cloisters marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Since its opening on May 14, 1938, it has become a treasured landmark, celebrated for both its extraordinary setting and its world-class collection of medieval art and architecture. Located in Fort Tryon Park, a verdant oasis on the northern tip of Manhattan, the building commands sweeping views of the Hudson River and the towering Palisades on the river's opposite bank. The quiet of the lush gardens and the magnificence of the historic architecture create an ideal setting for the outstanding collection within.
We have scheduled three special installations over the course of the year to celebrate this historic occasion: to kick off the anniversary year on May 15 we will open an exhibition celebrating the Unicorn Tapestries, donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in time for the Cloisters' inauguration in 1938. Search for the Unicorn: An Exhibition in Honor of the Cloisters' 75th Anniversary explores the unicorn as a subject widely treated in European art, literature, and science, from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. From September 10 through December 8 we will present Janet Cardiff: The Forty-Part Motet, a sound installation of a sixteenth-century motet by Thomas Tallis in the Fuentidueña Apse. It was created by Cardiff in 2001 and consists of forty high-fidelity speakers positioned on tripods in a large oval configuration. For more than fifty years the Fuentidueña Apse, which has superb acoustics, has proven to be a great venue for concerts of early music. And next spring we will open Stained Glass from Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, when six nearly life-size enthroned figures in stained glass will be on loan from Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury. They all date to 1178–80.
I hope you can join us for all these events and enjoy this great moment in the Met's history.