Monday, 27 May 2013

Met rehang - getting it right

Picture: The Art Newspaper
Good news from The Art Newspaper.  I love everything in this story - they seem to be addressing all of the things that frustrated me about the Met.  They're taking back space from temporary exhibition galleries, rationalising the sequence of rooms, reuniting parts of altarpieces stupidly separated between the main collection and the Lehman wing, and painting the walls a neutral grey.  The article doesn't specifically mention the Altman Collection, which (like the Lehman and Annenberg collections) was supposed to be shown together in its own galleries.  The Met got around that by placing them in the middle of the European paintings so that the Altman Italian and Dutch pictures were linked both to each other and to the main run of Italian and Dutch paintings.  But the Altman Rembrandt is shown above between Vermeers given by Wrightsman and Marquand - so maybe they're taking the sensible decision of integrating the Altman Collection.

Wisely, they aren't bringing lots of pictures out of storage - there's a popular myth that museum basements are full of wonderful hidden masterpieces, but it's generally better to show the good stuff well rather than cram the walls with damaged and second rate works.  I'm pleased that they've avoided lots of restoration just because they're redisplaying the collection.  And it looks like they've got some interesting loans.  Well done them!  Maybe we could hire them to sort out Tate Britain for us.

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