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Metropolitan Museum of Art to launch The Met Breuer in March 2016 expanding art program
Marcel Breuer portrait at Whitney © Ezra Stoller / Esto.

NEW YORK, NY.- In March 2016, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will launch its first season of programming at The Met Breuer, inviting visitors to engage with art of the 20th and 21st centuries through the global breadth and historical reach of the Museum's unparalleled collection and scholarly resources. At the same time, the Met will reveal a restored architectural icon, invigorated by renovations that will support a fluid, integrated experience of art and architecture.

"The Met is proud to become the steward of this iconic building and to preserve Marcel Breuer's bold vision," said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Our approach to inhabiting and interpreting the building honors Breuer's intent for the space, highlighting its unique character as an environment for the presentation of modern and contemporary art. The wonderfully scaled galleries and interior spaces of The Met Breuer provide a range of opportunities to present our modern and contemporary program, in addition to our galleries in the Fifth Avenue building."

"It is a privilege to program Breuer's masterfully conceived spaces and consider new ways for audiences to experience the interplay between art and architecture within this incomparable setting," said Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Met's Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. "With the opening of The Met Breuer, we are honoring the history of this beloved modernist building and embracing its significance to the cultural landscape of our city as we infuse it with a different curatorial spirit."

The Met's approach to animating the building honors Breuer's vision to integrate art throughout the museum. The installation of the inaugural program will span from the lobby gallery to the fourth floor, in an exhibition plan that echoes the unique architecture of the space and creates zones for reflection throughout. The lobby will be activated by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer's performance installation facilitating an immediate engagement with art as visitors enter the building.

The building will offer free entry throughout the lobby level, including the lobby gallery, and to the lower level, which will feature a dining facility, and entry to the sunken garden. Admissions will be streamlined and the lobby level store will be returned to the curated catalogue selection—or "book bar"—that Breuer originally intended for the space and that the Whitney also used to display art books.

In addition, the Met has begun restoring the building with the guidance of architects Beyer Blinder Belle—including its signature concrete walls, stone floors, bronze fixtures, and lighting. The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Met have collaborated on upgrading the building's infrastructure systems in preparation for its reopening in 2016. Special consideration is being given to preserving the aesthetic of weathered areas to respect the patina of history within the space. More information about the history of the Breuer building is available on the Met's website.

The Met will develop and present programming at The Met Breuer for a period of eight years, following a collaborative agreement between the Met and the Whitney, which occupied the building from 1966 to 2014 and retains ownership of it. The Whitney opened the doors to its new home at 99 Gansevoort Street, in downtown Manhattan, in May.

Modern and Contemporary Art at the Met and The Met Breuer
The Met Breuer's program will spotlight modern and contemporary art in dialogue with historic works that embrace the full range and reach of the Museum's collection. The building will host both monographic and thematic exhibitions, as well as new commissions, and performances. The inaugural season of The Met Breuer features a major cross-departmental curatorial initiative to present a historic examination of unfinished works of art; the largest exhibition to date dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi; and a month-long performance installation, by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer. Upcoming exhibitions include a presentation of Diane Arbus's rarely seen early photographic works (July 11-November 27, 2016), and the first museum retrospective dedicated to Kerry James Marshall (October 25, 2016-January 22, 2017).

Current modern and contemporary art programs at the Met's Fifth Avenue location include an installation by French conceptual artist Pierre Huyghe on the Met's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden (through November 1, weather permitting), Wolfgang Tillmans: Book for Architects (through November 1), and a multimedia installation by Philippe Parreno (through 2015). Modern and contemporary art activities will continue in the Museum's Fifth Avenue location, as the conceptual plan is developed for the eventual redesign and rebuilding of the Southwest Wing by David Chipperfield Architects.

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