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Art Explained

Throughout 2013, The Met invited curators from across the Museum to each talk about one artwork that changed the way they see the world.

Walker Evans' candid photos of 1930s subway passengers are early conceptual art

"I think it is one of the first conceptual art projects that I’m aware of."

This 3,000-year-old Olmec face was made to last. What can we learn from it?

"Being able to recognize a face is one of those fundamental survival skills."

How to understand a Jackson Pollock painting

"This painting is incredibly honest; Pollock isn't trying to fool us in any way."

This altar piece embodies the culture of storytelling in the Middle Ages

"Medieval art is very much about a multi-media experience."

Why Charles James saw himself as a sculptor of fabric

"The construction defies any usual dress-making norms."

What makes this seemingly simple drinking vessel rebellious?

"It’s actually a celebration of the exalted status of being drunk."

The celestial globe that features mythology, science, and technology

"As a piece of purely decorative art, it holds its own with the best."

How Edgar Degas captured the gangly, awkward movements of a young dancer

"So much about dance vocabulary has to do with line."

The mystery behind the person who wore this gold ornament

"So rarely do we get a real snapshot of an individual."

Rusticware that reflects the period's fascination with exploring the natural world

"It reminds me of extraordinary vacations spent by the seashore."

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