The Metropolitan Opera to Open "Gallery Met"

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The Metropolitan Opera to Open "Gallery Met"
Sophie von Hellermann, “Rosina” (2006), Pigment on canvas. 86.61 inches x 110.24 inches/220 cm x 280 cm. Courtesy: Greene Naftali Gallery, New York. Opera: Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

NEW YORK.- On September 22, the Metropolitan Opera will open “Gallery Met,” a new contemporary visual art venue to be established in the south side lobby of the opera house. The opening, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., will anticipate the start of the 2006-07 season, the first under incoming General Manager Peter Gelb. Some of the art world’s most innovative and provocative figures have been invited to contribute paintings, inspired by the heroines of the season’s six new productions, to the inaugural exhibit.

Free and open to the public, “Gallery Met” continues and reaffirms the Met’s long history of groundbreaking relationships with major visual artists, while fostering new opportunities for collaboration. The exhibition has been curated by Dodie Kazanjian, the Met’s new curator at large for contemporary art, and the new exhibition space has been designed by Lindy Roy of Roy Co.

Six artists have already produced works for the exhibition, inspired by the heroines of the season’s new productions: Cecily Brown (Suor Angelica in Il Trittico), John Currin (Helena in Die Ägyptische Helena), Barnaby Furnas (Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice), Makiko Kudo (Princess Yue-yang in The First Emperor), Richard Prince (Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly), and Sophie von Hellermann (Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia). In addition, other leading artists, including David Salle, Verne Dawson, George Condo, and Wangechi Mutu, have also agreed to take part, and the exhibit will continue to evolve until the opening. The works will be on display through the end of the opera season in May 2007.

“From Chagall’s extraordinary murals adorning the front of the theater to David Hockney’s stunning sets on stage, the visual arts have long been an integral part of this opera house,” General Manager Elect Peter Gelb said when plans for the new gallery were first announced in February. “With a Met gallery to display new works of contemporary art inspired by our opera repertory, we are continuing this alliance with the visual arts world. We also hope to invite the next Hockney or Chagall to design scenery for future seasons at the Met.”

“We tried to think about how visual artists could be involved with the Met in non-traditional ways,” said Ms. Kazanjian at the press conference. “‘Heroines,’ as a theme, seemed like a natural place to start. We tapped some of the most original talents working today – people who would bring highly idiosyncratic and challenging perspectives to the exhibition.”

About Dodie Kazanjian - Ms. Kazanjian, editor at large for Vogue, has been covering the international art scene since 1989. She has identified and written about many of the most promising young artists—among them Cecily Brown, Maurizio Cattelan, John Currin, and Wangechi Mutu—while also profiling and conducting in-depth interviews with such modern masters as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Cy Twombly. Most recently, she curated two exhibits for Vogue in prominent New York galleries.

About Lindy Roy - Architect Lindy Roy’s major projects include the headquarters for Vitra USA and André Balasz’s Hotel QT. She was the 2001 winner of the MoMA/P.S. 1 Young Architects Competition and was included in a group of internationally recognized architects commissioned by The New York Times Magazine to re-conceptualize the development of the World Trade Center site.

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