Oliver Beer: Vessel Orchestra @ The Met in New York

“Vessel Orchestra” is the first sound-based installation commissioned by The Met. The exhibition includes a musical instrument, a series of live performances, and an installation composed of thirty-two sculptures, utilitarian vessels, and decorative objects selected by Beer from the museum’s collection. Chosen for their natural pitches, which range from low C to high G on the chromatic musical scale, the vessels form an arresting and unexpectedly versatile instrument, comparable to an organ with multiple pipes. During museum hours, a pre-programmed audio interface will play a new composition written by Beer, activating the vessels to play in real time. On Friday evenings, the exhibition features a diverse group of guest artists who perform new compositions and improvisations on this radical musical instrument.

“Vessel Orchestra” is on view through August 11 at The Met Breuer 945 Madison Ave, New York, NY. photographs courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alicja Kwade: ParaPivot @ The Met in New York

Using a wide range of media, Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade creates elegant, experiential sculptures and installations that reflect on time, perception, and scientific inquiry. With equal parts poetry and critical insight, she calls into question the systems designed to make sense of an otherwise unfathomable universe. Kwade has created ParaPivot I and II for The Met’s Roof Garden Commission, an annual site-specific installation by a living artist. These towering sculptures consist of powder-coated steel frames that intersect at oblique angles with massive spheres that float in apparent weightlessness in between. Although static, ParaPivot I and II are charged with the possibility of movement: their steel appendages, which fan outward around multiple axes, seem to trace the orbital pathways of the globes evoking an astrolabe or even a miniature solar system. Confronted with the artist’s abstract cosmos, our experience of scale, both human and galactic, is unsettled. Overall, Kwade seeks to recover the mystery and absurdity of the human condition, heightening our powers of self-awareness.

ParaPivot is on view through October 27 at The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY. photographs courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Camp: Notes on Fashion @ The Met in New York

The Met Costume Institute’s spring 2019 exhibition, Camp: Notes on Fashion, explores the origins of camp’s exuberant aesthetic and how the sensibility evolved from the margins of society to become an important influence on mainstream culture. Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp’,” provides the framework for the exhibition by examining how fashion designers have used their métier to engage with camp in a myriad of compelling, humorous, and sometimes incongruous ways. The exhibition features approximately 250 objects, including womenswear and menswear, as well as sculptures, paintings, and drawings dating from the 17th century to the present.

Camp: Notes on Fashion is on view through September 8 at The Met Fifth Avenue 1000 Fifth Avenue New York, NY. photographs courtesy of The Met Costume Institute

Naked Before the Camera

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Hermaphrodite, Nadar, 1860

"Tapping veins of mythology, carnal desire, hero worship, and aesthetic pleasure, depictions of the nude have...triggered impassioned discussions of sin and sexuality, cultural identity, and canons of beauty. Controversies are often aroused even more intensely when the artist's chosen medium is photography, with its accuracy and specificity—when a real person stood naked before the camera—rather than traditional media where more generalized and idealized forms prevail." Naked before the Camera, on view now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, surveys the history of this subject and examines some of the motivations and meanings that underlie its expression.

Our Future is in the Air

Adolph de Meyer 'Dance Study' 1912 - Alfred Steiglitz Collection

Adolph de Meyer - who would become Vogue magazine's first official fashion photographer, 1913 - photographed the dancer Ninjinsky and other members of Sergei Diaghilev's troupe when l'Apres Midi d'Un Faune was presented in Paris in 1912. It has been suggested that the above photograph, the only nude by de Meyer, has some connection to the Russian ballet, but if so, remains mysterious.

It has been commonly remarked that the 20th century didn't really begin until 1910. The above photograph and a selection of other  incredible photographs from the 1910s are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the exhibit "Our Future Is In The Air": Photographs from the 1910s. On view till April 10, 2011.