Artists and artisans have been intrigued and inspired by the topic of death and visions of life thereafter for millennia. Afterlives: Contemporary Art in the Byzantine Crypt brings together modern-day works that reckon with death and visualize the afterlife and Byzantine Egyptian funerary art and artifacts in part of the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries known as the Byzantine Crypt (Gallery 302). The intimate and enchanting gallery with exposed brick walls and arched portals was unveiled in the year 2000 after a renovation that reclaimed the space beneath the Museum’s Grand Staircase. In this transhistorical presentation, the Byzantine Crypt’s religious and secular jewelry, textiles, ivory objects, vessels, and architectural sculpture from Early Christian and Coptic monastic sites are complemented and enriched by contemporary sculptures, works on paper, and installations from the 1960s to present day that similarly serve as memorials, reliquaries, and tokens to ward off evil.
As part of the exhibition, Adrian Piper’s editioned work Everything #4 invites viewers to contemplate its otherworldly statement and their reflection in a variety of contexts. It will be installed in the heart of the Byzantine Crypt and five other spaces across The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters, listed below.
The Met Fifth Avenue:
Gallery 302 – Byzantine Crypt
Gallery 512 – European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Gallery 617 – European Paintings
Gallery 726 – The American Wing
Gallery 917 – Modern and Contemporary Art
The Met Cloisters:
Gallery 9 – Gothic Chapel
The exhibition is made possible by The Jaharis Family Foundation.