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Press release

The Met Breuer to Open to the Public on
March 18, 2016 With Three-Day
Weekend Celebration

SPECIAL NOTE—This press release is part of a series of periodic announcements containing new and updated information about The Met Breuer.

Inaugural Season at Marcel Breuer-Designed Building Will Feature
Mix of Performance and Visual Art Programs, Including:

  • Major thematic survey, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, of unfinished works of art from the Renaissance to the present day
  • Monographic exhibition of Indian modernist artist Nasreen Mohamedi
  • Rarely seen, early photographs by Diane Arbus (opening July 2016)
  • Mid-career retrospective of the contemporary painter Kerry James Marshall (opening October 2016), with a complementary “artist’s choice” installation of works from the Met collection
  • Newly commissioned architectural photographs of four Marcel Breuer buildings (opening November 2016)
  • Continuous in-gallery performances by resident artist Vijay Iyer, a newly commissioned sonic experience by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams, and an all-day staging in the Met’s three locations of the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s unfinished composition Klang
(New York, December 1, 2015)—On March 18, 2016, The Metropolitan Museum of Art invites the public to celebrate the opening of The Met Breuer with three days of special programs inaugurating its new space dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Through a range of exhibitions, commissions, performances, and artist residencies, The Met Breuer will enable visitors to engage with the art of the 20th and 21st centuries through the global breadth and historical reach of the Met’s unparalleled collection and resources. To launch its first season, the Museum will offer extended hours at The Met Breuer from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19. The Met Breuer will also host a special family day on Sunday, March 20 (10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.) with special programs and events for visitors of all ages.

“The reopening of Marcel Breuer’s iconic building on Madison Avenue represents an important chapter in the cultural life of New York City,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Whether frequent or first-time visitors to our Fifth Avenue building or The Cloisters, we look forward to welcoming everyone to The Met Breuer, which will provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience modern and contemporary art through the lens of the historical and global Met collection.”

Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, added: “With the launch of The Met Breuer in March, we are honoring the history of this beloved building and embracing its significance to the cultural landscape of our city as we infuse it with the Met’s curatorial spirit for the public to enjoy. For our inaugural season, we have developed a far-reaching program that explores themes that stretch across history, geography, and art forms. Great works of art can transcend both time and place, as our program will powerfully demonstrate.”

The Met Breuer’s program will spotlight modern and contemporary art in dialogue with historic works that embrace the full range and reach of the Museum’s collection. The building will host both monographic and thematic exhibitions, as well as new commissions and performances. The two inaugural exhibitions at The Met Breuer will be: a major, cross-departmental curatorial initiative, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, including works by some of the greatest artists of all time, ranging from Titian to Louise Bourgeois, who experimented with a non finito style; and the largest exhibition to date dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi. Additionally, a music installation by resident artist Vijay Iyer will activate The Met Breuer’s lobby gallery.

Photography will also be a cornerstone of The Met Breuer’s program, including a presentation of early photographs by Diane Arbus, opening in July, that is primarily drawn from the Museum’s Diane Arbus Archive; and, in the fall a series of commissioned architectural photographs that document four seminal public buildings designed by Marcel Breuer. In October, culminating The Met Breuer’s inaugural season, will be the first major survey in the U.S. of Kerry James Marshall, whose work asserts the place of the black figure within the narrative of Western painting.

These programs will all take place within an iconic building that has been renovated and restored with architect Marcel Breuer’s original design vision in mind and will support an integrated experience of art and architecture. Restoration work is being executed under the guidance of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners LLC to maintain the unique character of the building’s signature attributes such as the concrete walls, stone floors, and bronze fixtures, with special consideration being given to preserving the aesthetic of weathered areas to respect the patina of history within the space. The Met has collaborated with the Whitney Museum of American Art to upgrade the building’s infrastructure systems in preparation for its reopening in 2016. In addition, the Met has commissioned landscape architect Günther Vogt to activate the sunken garden with a design that includes Quaking Aspen trees planted along the perimeter.

The Met gratefully acknowledges the following lead contributors to The Met Breuer:

Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky and Howard S. and Nancy Marks; The Carson Family Charitable Trust, Tony and Amie James, and Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang; Cheryl and Blair Effron, Mark Fisch and Rachel Davidson, Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill, Eliot C. and Wilson Nolen, Samantha Boardman Rosen and Aby J. Rosen, Bonnie J. Sacerdote, and Alejandro Santo Domingo; Anne Cox Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey W. Greenberg, Mary and Michael Jaharis, Leonard A. Lauder, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, Barrie and Deedee Wigmore, and two anonymous donors.

More information about The Met Breuer’s program is available online here. A detailed history of the Breuer building is also available on the Met’s website.

The Met Breuer Inaugural Season

2016 Exhibition Program

Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible

March 18–September 4, 2016
Press Preview: March 1, 2016

This exhibition examines a subject critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished. Beginning with the Renaissance masters, this scholarly and innovative exhibition examines the term “unfinished” in the broadest possible way, including works left incomplete by their makers, which often give insight into the process of their creation, but also those that partake of a non finito – intentionally unfinished – aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended. Some of history’s greatest artists explored such an aesthetic, among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne. The unfinished has been taken in entirely new directions by modern and contemporary artists, among them Janine Antoni, Lygia Clark, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg, who alternately blurred the distinction between making and un-making, extended the boundaries of art into both space and time, and recruited viewers to complete the objects they had begun.

Comprising 190 works dating from the Renaissance to the present, about one-third of which are drawn from the Museum’s own collection enhanced by major national and international loans, this exhibition demonstrates the Met’s unique capacity to mine its rich collections and scholarly resources to present modern and contemporary art within a deep historical context. Its catalogue will expand the subject to include the subject of the “unfinished” in literature and film, and the role of the conservator in elucidating a deeper understanding of artistic thought on the subject of the unfinished.

The exhibition is co-curated at the Met by: Andrea Bayer, Jayne Wrightsman Curator in the Department of European Paintings, Kelly Baum, Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Nicholas Cullinan, former Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, under the direction of Sheena Wagstaff. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication that incorporates both scholarly texts and interviews with contemporary artists. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

The exhibition is made possible by Leonard A. Lauder and The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation. 

Additional support is provided by The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation, the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund, Howard I. Hoffen & Sandra Hoffen, Kenneth and Rosalind Landis, Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell, and Northern Trust. 

It is supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. 

The catalogue is made possible by the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc. and the Roswell L. Gilpatric Publications Fund.

Nasreen Mohamedi
March 18–June 5, 2016
Press Preview: March 1, 2016

A singular artist to emerge in post-Independence India, Nasreen Mohamedi (1937–90) created a body of work vital to the evolution of international modernism and abstraction. The Met Breuer exhibition marks the largest presentation of Mohamedi’s work to date and explores the conceptual complexity and visual subtlety that made her practice unique in its time.

Mohamedi drew upon a range of inspirations in her work, from Paul Klee and Agnes Martin, to Mughal architecture and Indian classical music, the architecture of Louis Kahn, and Italian neorealist cinema. She experimented with organic lines, delicate grids, and hard-edged forms in her oeuvre, and this aesthetic informed and infused the photographs she took throughout her life. With more than 130 paintings, drawings, and photographs, the exhibition surveys the different stages of Mohamedi’s career and the development of her aesthetic approach, which made her one of the most significant artists of her generation.

The exhibition is curated by Roobina Karode, Director of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, with Sheena Wagstaff at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Manuel J. Borja-Villel, Director of the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. It will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue with essays by international scholars, published by the Museo Reina Sofía.

The exhibition is made possible by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Foundation. 
The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía with the collaboration of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

Resident Artist Vijay Iyer
March 18–31, 2016

The Met’s 2015-16 Resident Artist, Vijay Iyer, will occupy The Met Breuer’s Lobby Gallery in March, inhabiting the gallery creatively and bringing his encyclopedic breadth of artistic practice to a residency, redefined. Iyer will highlight his full body of work with performances, continuously, throughout Museum hours. He will perform solo, with other musicians, dancers, and poets, and will also curate performances by fellow musicians and performers. Additionally Iyer will create sound installations specifically for the space, resulting in full-day performance experiences. Throughout the spring season, Iyer will collaborate with performance artists including Wadada Leo Smith, Miranda Cuckson, Okkyung Lee, Michelle Boulé, Tyshawn Sorey, Rajna and Anjna Swaminathan.

Vijay Iyer has also been commissioned by the Met to create a new piece specifically to resonate with and accompany the Nasreen Mohamedi exhibition. This work will be presented in The Met Breuer’s second-floor gallery. Program details will be announced at a later date.

The Vijay Iyer Artist Residency is made possible by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, with additional support from the Chester Dale Fund. The Mohamedi commission is made possible through the Saroj Jhaveri Foundation, sponsored by the R.&S. Nanavati Charitable Trust No.2.

diane arbus: in the beginning 
July 12–November 27, 2016
Press Preview: July 11, 2016 

Spotlighting the rarely seen early work of Diane Arbus (1923–71), this exhibition explores the genesis of one of the most influential and controversial artists of the 20th century. The show focuses on Arbus’s first seven years working with the camera on the streets of New York City (1956–62), a dramatic era in American history and the period when the artist developed her idiosyncratic style and subject matter soon recognized, praised, criticized, and copied the world over.

The majority of the photographs will be drawn from the Met’s vast Diane Arbus Archive acquired in 2007 by gift and promised gift from the artist’s estate. More than half of the photographs have never been exhibited, or published, offering general visitors and scholars alike an unparalleled opportunity to see the formative work of this evocative and haunting artist.

diane arbus: in the beginning is curated by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Met’s Department of Photographs. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry
October 25, 2016–January 29, 2017
Press Preview: October 24, 2016

Marking the artist’s largest museum exhibition to date, this retrospective of paintings by Kerry James Marshall (b. 1955, Birmingham, Alabama) spans the artist’s remarkable 35-year career, revealing the complex and compelling creative output of one of today’s most important living artists.

Marshall is a history painter whose work reflects and challenges the time and culture he inhabits. Driven by an examination of the historical dearth and relatively recent appearance of the black figure in the history of Western painting, he is immersed in the past and present of painting—particularly the century-long conflict between figuration and abstraction. He is also committed to a vision of American history that represents the narratives—triumphs and failures both—of individual African Americans as well as the concept of blackness as a whole. In the grand scale of the Old Masters, Marshall creates works that engage with themes of visibility and invisibility, portraiture and self-portraiture, religious iconography, the politics of Pan-Africanism and black militancy, and the ethics of painting.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a selection of approximately 35 objects chosen by Kerry James Marshall from the Met collection.

The exhibition is co-curated by Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Met; Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Dieter Roelstraete, former Manilow Senior Curator, and Abigail Winograd, Research Associate, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It will be accompanied by a comprehensive and fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the curators, published by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and distributed by Skira Rizzoli.

The exhibition is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Inhabiting Marcel Breuer’s Architecture: Four Public Buildings Photographed by Luisa Lambri and Bas Princen
Opening November 29, 2016

The Met is commissioning a selection of contemporary photographers to document a central concern that defined Marcel Breuer’s architectural practice: the process of “post-occupancy,” a term architects use to describe the evolution of a building and its enduring architectural relevance. The exhibition examines four key public buildings by Breuer, capturing the qualities and nuances the spaces have absorbed through the years. Depicting the passing of time and how the buildings are being activated in 2016, the exhibition will highlight the role of modern architecture in today’s built environment and celebrate Breuer’s contributions to the field. Select public buildings by Breuer that will be included in the exhibition are the Headquarters of UNESCO (Paris, 1958); Saint Francis de Sales (Minneapolis, 1959); The Met Breuer (New York City, 1966); and his hotel and ski resort in Flaine, Geneva (1968).

Inhabiting Marcel Breuer’s Architecture: Four Public Buildings Photographed by Luisa Lambri and Bas Princen is curated by Beatrice Galilee, the Met’s Daniel Brodsky Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Spring 2016 Performance

Soundwalk 9:09 by John Luther Adams
Launch date: March 18, 2016
Commissioned in celebration of the launch of The Met Breuer, the aptly titled Soundwalk 9:09 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams is nine minutes and nine seconds in duration, the time it takes to walk between the Met’s building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, and The Met Breuer at Madison Avenue and 75th Street. It will include sounds recorded by the composer as well as around 100 more selected by him from submissions online, offering listeners a unique sonic experience. The final composition will be offered online and as a downloadable podcast at and at Q2 Music’s website (!/series/q2).

This program is made possible by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

KLANG by Karlheinz Stockhausen
U.S. Premiere
March 26, 2016
Karlheinz Stockhausen’s fiercely original KLANG (meaning “sound” in German) is an acoustic and electronic work so massive that it requires all day and all three of the Met’s iconic buildings to stage. This 21-part, unfinished composition was originally envisioned by Stockhausen as consisting of 24 individual compositions (one for each hour of the day), but the work was left unfinished at the time of his death. This performance will mark the U.S. premiere of KLANG in its entirety, and will be performed at the Metropolitan Museum’s Fifth Avenue building, The Met Breuer, and The Cloisters. More details will follow.

This program is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Carl Spielvogel, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Samuel White Patterson Lecture Fund.

It is presented in collaboration with Analog Arts.

About The Met Breuer
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern and contemporary art program is expanding to include a new series of exhibitions, performances, artist commissions, residencies, and educational initiatives in the building designed by Marcel Breuer on Madison Avenue and 75th Street. Opening to the public on March 18, 2016, The Met Breuer provides additional space to explore the art of the 20th and 21st centuries through the global breadth and historical reach of the Met’s unparalleled collection.

Hours for The Met Breuer Inaugural Weekend, March 18–20
Friday, March 18, 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 20, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Regular Hours for The Met Breuer (as of March 21)
Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Thursday and Friday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Closed Monday

The Met Breuer is featured on the Museum’s website at as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #MetBreuer.

About The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s leading art museums, with a collection spanning more than 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present. It offers dozens of exhibitions each year, and thousands of events and programs including films, talks, performance, guided tours, and family programs. A center for art appreciation, scholarship, research, and conservation, the Met also maintains a vibrant program of publishing scholarly and popular catalogues, and utilizes new technologies to enhance the visitor experience and extend the reach and accessibility of its offerings globally.

In addition to its location at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, the Met is launching its modern and contemporary art-themed programming at The Met Breuer in March 2016, and will continue to present exhibitions as well as works from the Met collection of medieval art and architecture at The Cloisters museum and gardens, its branch in upper Manhattan.

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Alexandra Kozlakowski, Communications, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 212-570-3951,

Juliet Sorce, Resnicow + Associates,, 212-671-5158

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Updated February 15, 2016

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