Met Museum opens new gallery dedicated to contemporary art

Posted Mar 31, 2016 by Sravanth Verma
The United State's largest museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, known simply as the Met, opened its latest gallery for contemporary art on March 16.
Madame Cézanne (Hortense Fiquet  1850–1922) in the Conservatory  Metropolitan Museum of Art  May ...
Madame Cézanne (Hortense Fiquet, 1850–1922) in the Conservatory, Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 19, 2005.
Met/Wikimedia Commons
Located on Madison Avenue, the Met Breuer is named after the Hungarian-born Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, who designed the building in 1966 for the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney Museum moved to a new site in New York in 2015, vacating the place for the Met to take over.
The gallery will showcase international modern and contemporary art from the last century, and is headed by Sheena Wagstaff, who was formerly the curator of the Tate museum. Wagstaff elaborated on the objectives of the new gallery at the opening. “One of our goals is to present thoughtful exhibitions that posit a broader meaning of modernism across vast geographies of art,” she said. In line with this new outlook driven by globalization, one of the opening exhibition will feature works by Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi.
Mohamedi passed away in 1990 and has remained a bit of a hidden gem in the modern art world. “When she was alive there was no market for her work,” said Deepak Talwar, owner of the Talwar Gallery in New York which represents Mohamedi’s estate. It was not until 13 years after her death that she received her first exhibition outside India. “In 2003, when I started exhibiting her work, examples would sell for just a few thousand dollars.”
However, interest began to pick up in 2013, when Kiran Nadar, wife of Indian tech billionaire Shiv Nadar, began to appreciate her works. Nadar owns 130 of Mohamedi's works, which number only a few hundred in total. Nadar financed a solo exhibition for Mohamedi's works in 2013 at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi. The exhibition then moved to the Reina Sofia museum at Madrid, from where it reached the Met Breuer.
Mohamedi's works now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. At a Christie's auction in Mumbai, one piece of work sold for $274,651. But prices can touch $500,000 among private art collectors, said Talwar.
Commenting on the solo exhibition at the Breuer, Nadar said, “It's a giant step for us. Indian art is perceived as very figurative, so to see abstraction in the purest sense coming out of India is going to be an eye opener for people here,” she added. “I think it’s going to start a new recognition of Indian art.”
Other exhibitions at the opening include “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” which showcases 190 works from the Renaissance to the modern day, that appear to have been deliberately left unfinished.40 percent of the exhibition's works come from collections at the Met, while others are on loan. “What our peers do is show modern and contemporary art in the context of the modern and contemporary. What the Met does, uniquely, is that we have the historical traditions that modern and contemporary artists are either embracing or reacting against,” said Met director Thomas Campbell. "It's a different experience,” he added.