Max Hollein took office as director of the Metropolitan Museum of art in the summer of 2018. His innovative and inspiring skills earned him the position in the world’s largest museum. He has proven record of building collections and organizing outstanding exhibition. His knowledge and passion of art has always been expansive and the confidence he portrays in his work will continue to help develop a shared vision and a strong collaboration with extra ordinary with curators and conservators.
It has been roughly nine months since he took over and he is up to the task in leaving his mark in the museum.
Max’s commitment to fulfilling his promise of new annual commissions for two public spaces and integrating Modern and contemporary art at the Met’s Fifth Avenue building is evident in the upcoming exhibition programme.
Among artists whose work will feature in the exhibition are: the Cree Canadian artist Kent Monkman whose practice is “a new idea of modern history painting.” Kent will make monumental paintings for the Great Hall (19 December-12 February 2020).
Wangechi Mutu, Kenyan born artist who is one of the most creative artists of her generation will also be showing her prowess. Chosen for the first ever project for the empty sculptural niches on the Fifth Avenue Façade, Wangechi who makes pieces with “fantastic otherworldly narratives,” is creating sculptures already being cast based on works in the Met’s collection (9 September- 12 January 2020).
While Mutu’s sculptures are the first site-specific pieces, Max mentioned that one of the niches had been “used” before by the beloved children’s television character Big Bird, who posed playfully in them for a 1983 Sesame Street special titled “Don’t Eat the pictures.”
The line-up also includes solo artists presented by Hollein and the Met’s deputy director for exhibitions, Quincy Houghton such as this month’s premiere of the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s seven screen video installation Death is Elsewhere (30May- 2 September), a retrospective of the late Indian sculptor Mrinalini Mukherjee (4 June-29 September) at the Met Breuer and a survey of the Swiss French Modern artist Felix Vallotton (29 October- 26 January 2020) which will pair his portrait of Getrude Stein along with Picasso’s, one of the centerpieces of the Met’s Modern collection.
The omnipresent Leonardo will be represented in a single-work display of Saint Jerome in the wilderness (around 1840), which might have belonged to 18th century Swisss painter Angelika Kauffmann, on loan from the Vatican Museums (15July- 6 October)
Aside from the contemporary art takeovers, the Met’s president and chief executive Daniel Weiss presented a balanced budget for the first time in three years. Weiss said, “The Met’s controversial change to scrap its-pay-what-you-wish admissions policy for non-New Yorkers helped us with our finances but didn’t affect access or “feeling of welcome” to the museum. There was no “negative effect” on attendance among any measured group.” The museum ended the 2016 fiscal year with a deficit of $8m down from a potential $40m. Its current annual operating budget is $350m.
Weiss also addressed multiple building and renovation projects including the $150m European paintings Skylights project which was launched last summer and is due for completion in 2022. He said the project is not really glorious but is important.
He also generally discussed the need for an overhaul of the Lila Acheson Wallace wing for modern and contemporary art- which looks a little bit like prison from Central Park, he did not give an updated timeline for the planned Chipperfield designed modern and contemporary addition which is expected to cost $500m and was put on hold in 2017.