ARTisSpectrum Vol. 31, May 2014 - page 53

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 31 |
2) Pick up a map in the lobby to point you onto the right track. Maps are placed all around the info desks in the lobby and
can be a great visual aide to prevent you getting lost. This may sound like basic common sense, but in the excitement and
hustle of the lobby, it’s easy to forget. It also may be worth waiting in line at the coat check to get rid of any bags you’re
trying to juggle as you figure out where you want to go.
3) Make use of the staff. Don’t be afraid to ask the dark suited staff stationed throughout the galleries for information or
directions. They are all highly trained and capable of providing help in how to get from one wing to another. On my last
visit, I talked to a guard in the modern section who had been working there for over 30 years and had some great stories
and suggestions on which exhibits to catch.
4) Focus in on a certain area. My personal favorite is the Impressionist section – I make it a point to at least drop in for a
quick perusal every time I go. But whether it’s Van Gogh or Bellini that inspires you, nail down a specific area of interest or
artifact to spend your time on. It may be your one and only time at the museum for 10 years and you won’t want to spend
it wandering aimlessly through halls that are of no interest to you or debating what to see first.
5) Not sure where your interest lies? Pair a temporary exhibit with a permanent exhibit so that your visit can be well-
rounded. If you’re visiting soon, try the modern art wing and Goya and the Altamira Family exhibit which runs April 8
-August 3, 2014.
6) Set a time limit before you go. Although the Met is a beautiful place, too much of a good thing can equal a negative
experience. Trying to master as much as possible in one day may seem like a good idea when enthusiasm is high but when
energy drops and museum legs take over, it becomes miserable. A time limit will give you a realistic idea of how much you
can see in the trip.
7) Make use of the website. The Met’s collection (not surprisingly) has one of the most extensive online art databases.
Doing just a bit of research on the parts of the Met you plan to see will save you a ton of time and energy.
8) Guided audio tours can be helpful if you’re looking for detailed background information on a particular piece. If you
want a bit more structure, these tours provide it. Guided tours are given throughout the day as well and are free with
admission. If you don’t wish to travel with a group and would rather move at your own pace, you may decide that lingering
in the back of a tour group for a bit and then staying behind to examine the artwork is an easy and comfortable alternative.
9) Look at the art first and then the wall labels. The information can be of great help, but the average museum visitor
spends five seconds viewing a work of art and twenty seconds reading the label. With this approach it is easy to gain the
knowledge but completely miss experiencing the object itself. Making observations about the piece before reading about
it will allow you to more fully engage with it.
10) Take advantage of the museum’s many amenities. Non-members have four different café options: Rooftop Garden
and Martini Bar; The American Wing Café; The Petrie Court Café; and the cafeteria. In the summer, the Rooftop Garden
Café and Martini Bar is open along with a temporary exhibit that runs on the roof all summer long. This summer’s rooftop
exhibit, running April 29 - November 2, 2014, is a site-specific installation by artist Dan Graham who works with steel
and glass to create dioramic sculptures. The museum also offers a range of activities including children’s classes in the
basement, as well as live concerts.
All of these tips, or at least a combination of them, should help your visit to the Met to be what it was designed to be: a
refreshing, educational and inspiring experience of some of the world’s best art. And just when your mind is beginning to
feel stretched and your legs heavy, you can walk out the door in pursuit of some good food, a resting spot, and all that
New York has to offer.
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