How We Met

by articulatenyc

Divine consort figures from the Lila Acheson Wallace Galleries of Egyptian Art

In Kant’s Critique on the Power of Judgement he writes, “Everyone must admit that a judgment about beauty in which there is mixed the least interest is very partial and not a pure judgment of taste. One must not be in the least biased in favor of the existence of the thing, but must be entirely indifferent”. Essentially, he asserts that to truly experience and critique a work of art, one must be disinterested in its content. On my recent trip to the Met with ARTnews Editor Robin Cembalest and her Cre8tive Youth*ink galleristas, we took a slightly different approach to interpreting art. Rather than disinterest, we focused on interest–what we like, what we are drawn to (and want to draw), and what we want to learn more about.

In keeping with the theme of the museum’s new marketing campaign, What’s Your Met?, we embarked our tour with only one goal- to learn how to experience and enjoy the museum on our own terms, keeping in mind our personal interests and curiosities. With tens of thousands of objects on view throughout the grand, two-million-square-foot complex, the Met can seem like an overwhelming and even formidable place. But by taking a less formal approach to museum-going, it becomes possible to have a uniquely personal experience in a the sprawling public institution. On our tour, for instance, we tried to see as many exhibitions as possible, without overexerting ourselves. The result was a diverse survey of the museum’s permanent collections of Egyptian, American, African, and Oceanic art, with pit stops in the Arms and Armor galleries and at Andrea Fraser’s satirical 1989 film,  Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk.

While we were able to cover quite a bit of ground over a relatively short amount of time, our trip was far from a Bande à Part museum sprint. We were able to sketch, take notes on, and learn from each stop, discussing everything from accession numbers to Institutional Critique. This was by far one of the most enjoyable museum visits that I have had in a long time, due in large part to the the low-pressure, high-energy tenor of the trip, and of course the expertise and positive attitude of our awesome guide!