Catch Up with Museum Exhibits over the Holidays

By Zeaman, John | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

Catch Up with Museum Exhibits over the Holidays


Zeaman, John, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Missed any museum shows that you want to catch up on during holiday week? The New York museums offer something for every family member. Many of the temporary exhibits will shut down early in the new year, so it's an opportunity to catch up. Here are five exhibits, not previously reviewed by The Record, on view through the holidays (all are closed Christmas Day).

* MATISSE: IN SEARCH OF TRUE PAINTING and BASHFORD DEAN AND THE CREATION OF THE ARMS AND ARMOR DEPARTMENT

Where: Both at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd Street. 212-535-7710 or metmuseum.org.

When: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Recommended admission: $25, seniors $17, students $12.

The Met's big show, "Matisse: In Search of True Painting," might be called a dissection of a modernist's process, except the modernist himself did the dissecting. In search of new forms that could break the confining shell of academic naturalism, Henri Matisse compulsively documented the path he took to an abstracted image.

You could call it the beginning of self-consciousness in art. It's fascinating to see how Matisse got where he ended up. Likewise, you can decide whether the final stage was worth the journey. In "The Dream," for example, 15 photographs take you through a nine- month process beginning in January of 1940. It begins with an attractive model resting her head on a table, passes through what look like egg and embryo phases, before emerging in the final picture. She's there, but barely, embedded in a decorative design and reduced to the barest of outlines. See what you think. Through March 17.

Universally a hit with kids, the Met's Arms and Armor Department turned 100 this year. In celebration, it has spruced up its display of knights and horses in shining armor, a room that grandly evokes medieval pageantry. It has also mounted an exhibit about its founding curator, Bashford Dean, whose admirable scholarship never curbed his zeal for putting on the armor and posing for pictures. He once made a movie at Central Park's Belvedere Castle in which he demonstrated hand-to-hand fighting between armored combatants. Photographs show a fierce-looking Dean suited up in Italian infantry armor of about 1575 and a traditional samurai ensemble from the 19th century. Through Sept. 29.

* VINCENT VAN GOGH'S 'PORTRAIT OF A PEASANT'

Where: The Frick Collection, 1 E. 70th St. (between Madison and Fifth avenues), Manhattan. 212-288-0700 or frick.org.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: $18, seniors (62 and over) $15, students $10 (children under 10 not admitted). Pay what you wish Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Frick Collection, once the mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, is many people's favorite museum, both for its gorgeous rooms and the masterpieces on its walls.

The current temporary show is as small as an art exhibit can get - just one painting - but it's by Vincent van Gogh, whose high- wattage emotionalism is enough to fill the gallery. His "Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)," on loan from the Norton Simon Museum in California, belongs to his celebrated Arles period. His subject, the oxherd and gardener Patience Escalier, was the sort of salt-of- the-earth type that van Gogh went looking for in sun-baked Provence. …

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