NEW YORK.- A variety of special programs – including lectures, gallery tours, family activities, and the inauguration of a new Audio Guide program – focusing on art and science will take place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through June 1 as part of New York City’s first annual World Science Festival.
World Science Festival programs at the Metropolitan Museum are made possible by the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation.
The Metropolitan Museum is one of 15 venues throughout the city taking part in the 2008 World Science Festival. Nobel Laureates, researchers, technologists, educators, and policy makers will join artists, filmmakers, and performers to create more than 40 events that will explore the many ways in which scientific inquiry shapes modern life. Details about the overall festival and its events can be found at www.worldsciencefestival.com.
The Metropolitan Museum will offer activities on each day of the four-day festival, including the following:
In a sold-out special program – Oliver Sacks: The Mind’s Eye – neurologist Oliver Sacks and award-winning journalist Robert Krulwich will have a wide-ranging conversation on the stage of the Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium about the complex and often surprising relationship between vision and perception. Over several decades, Dr. Sacks has explored the interplay between what the eye sees and how the mind perceives. Friday, May 30, 6:00 p.m.
World Science Festival: The Science of Art will be the theme of the Sunday at the Met afternoon of programming on June 1, 2008. A panel of world-renowned scientists – including Nobel Laureate chemist Richard R. Ernst; Silvia A. Centeno and Mark Abbe, researchers at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Narayan Khandekar, a conservation scientist at Harvard University Art Museums; and experimental physicist Charles M. Falco – will give talks concerning the application of scientific research to works of art. Marco Leona, the Metropolitan Museum’s David H. Koch Scientist-in-Charge of the Department of Scientific Research, will introduce the program. Sunday, June 1, 1:30-5:00 p.m.
Museum researchers will host a series of science-related gallery tours from May 27 through June 6, 2008. Investigate the surfaces of classical art with Mark Abbe on Tuesday, May 27, at 10:00 a.m. or on Friday, June 6, at 6:00 p.m. Explore what is in modern paint with Julie Arslanoglu on Wednesday, May 28, at 4:00 p.m. Learn why traditional paintings look the way they do with Julie Arslanoglu on Friday, May 30, at 10:00 a.m. Tours meet at the south end of the Great Hall.
Museum programs and gallery tours are free with Museum admission. For a complete schedule of Museum events, visit the Museum’s online calendar at www.metmuseum.org/calendar.
Coinciding with the first annual World Science Festival, a new and ongoing Audio Guide program will be inaugurated at the Metropolitan Museum: Investigations: Art, Conservation, and Science. Visitors can explore 32 wide-ranging works of art in the galleries while listening to insights and analyses by the Museum’s curators, scientists, and conservators. Recorded features include interviews with Marco Leona and other Museum scientists, and a conversation between Maryan Ainsworth, Curator of European Paintings, and Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator-in-Charge of Paintings Conservation.
Audio tours are available on palm-sized, easy-to-operate MP3 players. The random-access programming allows visitors to design their own tours in terms of length and sequence. Players can be rented for up to an entire day for $7 ($6 for members, $5 for children under the age of 12) in the Great Hall of the Museum.
The Audio Guides are produced in collaboration with Antenna Audio, the leading provider of audio programming for museums and historic sites around the world.
A new episode about the convergence of art and science in the study of a Greek funerary stele (at the Metropolitan Museum will go online on June 2 as part of the ongoing Met Podcast series (www.metmuseum.org/podcast). The collaborative analysis of the painted limestone stele, depicting a seated man with two standing figures – which is on view in the Leon Levy and Shelby White Court of the New Greek and Roman Galleries – is discussed by scientist Marco Leona; Joan Mertens, Curator in the Greek and Roman Art Department; and Mark Abbe, a doctoral candidate in archaeology at New York University.
Conservation and Science at the Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been at the forefront of the scientific investigation of art for the last 30 years. In 1980, the Met was the first museum to acquire an electron microscope, used to study microscopic samples of metal, glass, and paint. Likewise in 2000, the Met was the first institution in the United States to obtain a Raman microscope, which identifies components of paints using laser technology. Metropolitan Museum Director Philippe de Montebello established the Department of Scientific Research in 2004 with the goal of expanding the breadth of research conducted at the Museum. With 10 scientists – led by Dr. Marco Leona, David H. Koch Scientist-in-Charge – the department is one of the largest of any museum in the world. Research scientists collaborate closely with museum curators and conservators in an effort to understand the techniques and materials used by artists and to verify the authenticity and conditions of recent acquisitions. Non-invasive analytical methods including laser spectroscopy, ultraviolet-fluorescence, x-ray fluorescence, and fiber-optics spectroscopy are used by the scientists in their investigations of works of art. Since its inception, the Department of Scientific Research has been awarded research grants by the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Justice, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.