MetPublications

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    Beginning in the 1920s, Upper Manhattan became the center of an explosion of art, writing, and ideas that has since become legendary. But what we now know as the Harlem Renaissance, the first movement of international modern art led by African Americans, extended far beyond New York City. This volume reexamines the Harlem Renaissance as part of a global flowering of Black creativity, with roots in the New Negro theories and aesthetics of Alain Locke, its founding philosopher, as well as the writings of W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. Featuring artists such as Aaron Douglas, Charles Henry Alston, Augusta Savage, and William H. Johnson, who synthesized the expressive figuration of the European avant-garde with the aesthetics of African sculpture and folk art to render all aspects of African American city life, this publication also includes works by lesser-known contributors, including Laura Wheeler Waring and Samuel Joseph Brown, Jr., who took a more classical approach to depicting Black subjects with dignity, interiority, and gravitas. The works of New Negro artists active abroad are also examined in juxtaposition with those of their European and international African diasporan peers, from Germaine Casse and Ronald Moody to Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, and Pablo Picasso. This reframing of a celebrated cultural phenomenon shows how the flow of ideas through Black artistic communities on both sides of the Atlantic contributed to international conversations around art, race, and identity while helping to define our notion of modernism.
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    Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art

    Candela, Iria and Joanne Pillsbury
    2023
    Expanding the understanding of textile and fiber arts, this edition of the Bulletin features two distinct bodies of work that are intimately connected despite being separated by hundreds of years. Placing ancient Andean textiles from South America by unknown artists in conversation with works by global modern practitioners—such as Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, and Olga de Amaral—Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art shows how both traditions harnessed the structure of the loom to create dynamic geometric designs. The 50 extraordinary pieces in this volume span over 2000 years and illustrate weaving’s complex and varied ways of conveying meaning, from stunning iconography to bold structural choices. In highlighting the aesthetic and cultural choices of both ancient and modern artists, this publication elevates textile arts beyond mere ornament to assert their role in the history of art past and present.
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    The Roof Garden Commission: Lauren Halsey

    Thomas, Abraham, and Douglas Kearney
    2023
    Lauren Halsey is known for her sculptures, mixed media works, and site-specific installations that remix (or, as Halsey says, “funkify”) history by combining signs, symbols, and architecture from the past, present, and future. In her new installation for The Met’s Roof Garden Commission series, she brings together ancient Egyptian–inspired iconography and sculpture with signage and texts drawn from the artist’s local community in South Central Los Angeles. Accompanied by new photography and unpublished sketches from Halsey’s studio, this compact volume contains an insightful essay by curator Abraham Thomas that examines Halsey’s artistic process and considers this installation in the context of her past work. In a revealing interview with poet Douglas Kearney, the artist discusses her diverse influences—which include ancient Egyptian relief carving, funk music, Afrofuturism, and the architecture of L.A.—and elaborates on the importance of community building and engagement in the spaces she creates.
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    Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid

    Alteveer, Ian, with a contribution by Adam Eaker
    2023
    Cecily Brown (b. 1969) transfixes viewers with sumptuous color, bravura brushwork, and complex narratives that relate to some of European painting’s grandest and most time-honored themes, including still life motifs and meditations on mortality through vanitas This intimate survey of the acclaimed British painter reexamines the work of an artist whose influential output references both modern heavyweights, such as Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, and Joan Mitchell, and Old Masters like Goya, Hogarth, Manet, and Rubens. The book features 21 paintings and 26 works on paper—drawings, watercolors, sketchbooks, and monotypes—that span the three decades of Brown’s career to date, including recently completed and never-before-published works. A conversation with the artist provides insight into her process and sources, while an insightful essay situates Brown in the lineage of the great artists of the last five hundred years.
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    The Metropolitan Museum Journal is issued annually and publishes original research on works of art in the Museum’s collection. Highlights of volume 57 include essays on a crimson velvet “cloth of gold” associated with the Tudor dynasty; an exquisite pair of malachite torchères commissioned by the Russian Demidov family; and a drawing on muslin by Matȟó Nážiŋ detailing the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.
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    Every two years the fall issue of The Met's quarterly Bulletin celebrates notable recent acquisitions and gifts to the collection. Highlights of Recent Acquisitions 2020–2022 include the Mantuan Roundel by Gian Marco Cavalli, a recently rediscovered tour de force from the early Renaissance; the archive of photographer James Van Der Zee, one of the most celebrated chroniclers of Black life in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance; a pair of sculptures by the renowned contemporary American artist Robert Gober; Thomas Sully’s magisterial portrait of Queen Victoria; and Poussin’s Agony in the Garden, one of only two accepted works by the artist in oil on copper. This publication also honors the many generous contributions from donors that make possible the continued growth of The Met collection.
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    George Grosz in Berlin: The Relentless Eye

    Rewald, Sabine, with an essay by Ian Buruma
    2022
    This overdue investigation of George Grosz’s (1893–1959) most compelling paintings, drawings, prints, and collages offers a reassessment of the celebrated German Expressionist during his years in Berlin—from his earliest artistic endeavors to the trenchant satirical images and searing depictions of moral decay between the World Wars for which he is known today. Menacing street scenes, rowdy cabarets, corrupt politicians, wounded soldiers, greedy war profiteers, and other symbols of Berlin’s interwar decline all met with the artist’s relentless gaze, which exposed the core social issues that eventually led to Germany’s extreme nationalist politics. Featuring masterpieces as well as rarely published works, this book provides further insight into the artist’s creative pinnacle, reached during this critical and ominous period in German history.
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    Louise Bourgeois: Paintings

    Davies, Clare, and Briony Fer
    2022
    Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) is celebrated today for her sculptures. Less known are the paintings she produced between her arrival in New York in 1938 and her turn to three-dimensional media in 1949. Crucial to her artistic practice, these early works—the focus of this groundbreaking publication—show how Bourgeois evolved her deeply personal artistic lexicon, and how the themes and motifs she explored in her paintings coalesced into symbols of her sculptural practice. Informed by new archival research and the artist's extensive diaries, Louise Bourgeois: Paintings explores Bourgeois's relationship to the New York art world of the 1940s and her development of a unique pictorial language, adding a key element to our understanding of this crucial artist’s career.
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    Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room

    Alteveer, Ian, Hannah Beachler, and Sarah Lawrence, Introduction, with an essay by Michelle D. Commander and a graphic novella by John Jennings
    2022
    Seneca Village—a vibrant nineteenth-century community of predominantly Black landowners and tenants—flourished just west of The Met's current location until the city used eminent domain to seize the land in 1857, displacing its residents to make room for the construction of Central Park. The Met's latest Bulletin, Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room, imagines a different history in the form of a new type of installation that departs from traditionally Eurocentric period displays to present a fictional but resonant domestic space. Texts by Ian Alteveer, Hannah Beachler, Michelle Commander, and Sarah Lawrence honor the real, lived history of the Seneca Village residents, while also exploring works by Black creators from the eighteenth century to the present day through the empowering lens of Afrofuturism. Including images of new works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Roberto Lugo, and Cyrus Kabiru, as well as an original graphic novella by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator John Jennings, this publication foregrounds generations of Black creativity and looks forward to a resilient future.
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