One of New York City’s most popular venues gets ready to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic as The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced plans to reopen to visitors on Saturday, August 29, with Members preview days on August 27 and 28. The Museum, a longstanding staple for fans of art, sculpture, etchings and more, has been closed since March 13, 2020. Previously the museum had not been closed for more than three days in over a century. The Met’s new schedule will see it open five days a week – Thursday and Friday from noon to 7pm and Saturday, Sunday and Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Met Cloisters will open in September. The Met will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday until further notice. Celebrating the opening will be a new exhibit by Yoko Ono, entitled “Dream Together”. Yoko Ono commented, “When we dream together, we create a new reality. The world is suffering terribly, but we are together, even if it can be hard to see at times, and our only way through this crisis will be together. Each one of us has the power to change the world. Remember love. DREAM TOGETHER.”
The city has been in virtual lockdown for five months but as schools, restaurants, mass transit and museums prepare to open, on the top of everyone’s mind is safety. The virus of 2020 has often been compared to the Spanish flu of 1918, which started in early March of that year with relatively mild cases but stormed back with a vengeance in the fall with October seeing over 190,000 American deaths. This fear of a ‘second wave’ has government officials understandably nervous. But the Met feels it is prepared to handle the concerns of a skittish public. The Museum has developed comprehensive safety procedures for its staff and visitors, following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), New York State, and New York City. Measures include limiting the number of visitors to 25 percent of the Museum’s maximum capacity and enhancing cleaning procedures, in addition to requiring visitors and staff to wear face coverings at all times. Everyone who enters the building will be asked to practice physical distancing by maintaining at least six feet from others, and handwashing and hand sanitizing will be encouraged throughout the Museum. Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met, commented, “The safety of our staff and visitors remains our greatest concern. Perhaps now more than ever the Museum can serve as a reminder of the power of the human spirit and the capacity of art to bring comfort, inspire resilience, and help us better understand each other and the world around us.”
When the Museum reopens, three new exhibitions will be unveiled: Making The Met, 1870–2020, the signature exhibition of the institution’s 150th-anniversary year that will lead visitors on an immersive, thought-provoking journey through The Met’s history; The Roof Garden Commission: Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour, a site-specific installation for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, which will be set against dramatic views of Central Park and Manhattan; and Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, which will present the American Modernist’s striking and little-known multi-paneled series Struggle . . . From the History of the American People (1954–56). “Opening The Met’s doors is an important signal for New York and for all of us. We have never been forced to close for longer than three days—much less five months—and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to a wide range of compelling exhibitions and our permanent collection, which spans over 5,000 years of human creativity,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “This will be a time for New Yorkers to reconnect with their favorite artworks and spaces in their Museum. So many people have reached out during the time of closure to express how much they miss being at The Met, and we are eager to welcome all back to the galleries.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States and with over six million visitors in 2019 it was the fourth most attended museum in the world. The Met was founded in 1870 with the idea of bringing art and culture to the American people. The Met’s permanent collection is curated by seventeen separate departments, each with a specialized staff of curators, as well as six dedicated conservation departments and a Department of Scientific Research. The permanent collection includes works of art from ancient Egypt and classical antiquity, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters and an extensive collection of American and modern art. Among the breathtaking collections the Met has to offer as those of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor. There is a section for Asian art, Egyptian art, Greek and Roman art, and Islam art.
All photos by T. Sportiello
More information about the Metropolitan Museum of Art