New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unconditional Love

I made an assertion in yesterday's posting (about the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) concerning harsh critics. Look at some of the following excerpts from Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for the New York Times. This is from an article which appeared in 1990 at the end of a 23 year construction program with the Museum working with architect and master designer Kevin Roche.

"Now, 23 years later, Mr. Roche's work, one of the longest-running and most ambitious construction programs of any museum, is finally done. ... It's not news that most of these efforts have ranged from disappointing to downright awful. Somehow, Mr. Roche and the museum have never quite brought out the best in each other; their relationship has been like one of those marriages that don't end but don't soar, either."

His critique included the new American Wing and courtyard and the Temple of Dendur. You can read the entire article here. You see what we are dealing with here in New York City?
I am not a trained architect or critic, but these seem like very harsh words for spaces which everyone I know seems to love. Including many educated in the arts.
Today's photo is one of one of my favorite spaces in the whole museum: The Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court (read about it here at the Met Museum site). This also did not escape Mr. Goldberger's article, however he seemed to love this space:

"But now, at the end of it all, comes at last an occasion to celebrate. The brand-new sculpture court is an oddly likable place, as close to a magnificent folly as the Metropolitan has ever produced."

Of course, complements from an architecture critic must be filled with caveats, reservations, conditions and qualifications, so we also find:

"The sculpture court is rather too tall and narrow, and these wrong proportions make its success all the more fascinating: few things in architecture are more pleasing than watching an architect get away with breaking the rules."

How about just an unequivocally good review? A joyous celebration with unrestrained applause? Ok - I don't have a critic's reputation to maintain, so, I am not afraid to say that I love that space and all the others in the museum. It's a joy to walk through the Met and see all the works of art, sculpture and antiques in the variety of environments created for them. And I say this with unconditional love :)


lucklys said...

yeah, definitely one of my favorite parts of this museum. thanks for the extra information on it, really interesting!

Writing Practice said...

Great piece. I remember standing outside the new wing watching Simon & Garfunkel. Yes that is how far away we were. We didn't care.

ChickenUnderwear said...

I hope a negative review of the architecture of the museums did not stop anybody from going there. I am gonna go back and see if my unsophisticated eye can find any faults.

Katie Killary said...

The Temple of Dendur is my favorite place in the Met as well! I always try to find my way there, and when I get lost and can't I always ask! And then I sit down and take a breather... ha ha

Michael Nagle said...

I think one reason for the negative reviews may have been mentioned in your article: the fact that everyone seems to love the space. Critics are always suspicious of anything that ordinary people uncritically love. But that patrician disdain is, of course, the principle reason that critics are becoming more and more of an irrelevance.

Thérèse said...

Very interesting. A lot to debate about. THanks for the link too.
It is like for the Tutankhamun's valuables. Parts of them moved away and parts remained. I don't think there is any Right solution. And I do love museums...

• Eliane • said...

I love Petrie Court, especially because you can see a bit of the building history itself - this was the original entrance of the building when it moved from W4th St to its current location. Imagine you just came off your horse carriage (right there in CP).