The Met Breuer is the result of the biggest changes in the museum landscape of New York City in the last decade. In 2014 The Whitney Museum left its longtime Madison Avenue home to a gorgeous new building in the West Village. The Metropolitan Museum of Art took over the iconic space, just a nine-minute walk from its Fifth Avenue home. The museum rechristened the building after its architect, Marcel Lajos Breuer, and dedicated the space to filling a longstanding gap in the Met's encyclopedic collection: Modern and Contemporary Art. The Met Breuer now hosts rotating exhibitions featuring twentieth- and twenty-first-century art often supplemented with contrasting pieces from the Met's vast collection of international artifacts. A full-price ticket grants visitors admission to both museums as well as the Cloisters, during a three-day window.

Buildings should not be moody, but reflect a general, durable quality. Architecture should be anchored in usefulness; its attitude should be more direct, more directly responsible, more directly social.
- Marcel Breuer

What You Will See

There is no shortage of contemporary art in the city. With the New Museum, the MoMA, and other specialists hosting dozens of exhibits, can the Breuer compete for precious museum time? The primary strength of the Breuer's rotating offerings is its access to the Met's vast collection. Few exhibits are not supplemented with objects, art, and artifacts related to the works featured in the exhibit. Was an artist inspired by African woodwork or Latin American gold? Does a particular piece call back to early Korean pottery or Cypriot monoliths? The exhibit trots out samples from the Met's exhaustive archives. The Breuer also benefits from the Met's curatorial style and academic rigor, bring the same level of research and commentary to contemporary works that it gives to ancient Egypt. Come for the art and find it well-paired with artifacts and spiced with background and analysis.

Why You Should Go

The presence of so many nearby museums focusing on Modern and Contemporary Art long allowed the Met to focus its curatorial efforts elsewhere. But when the Met decided to reinvest, it went huge. While the young museum is still working to differentiate its style from the Met, it is already on the circuit for contemporary art in the city. And while it may never surpass the MoMA, it brings a unique point of view to Modern Art with a vast permanent collection and endless network to draw from. The three-museum-for-one-price is a compelling value, but it can make for a long couple of museum visits. Instead, wait for exhibits you expect to love and spend as much time as you need in any one of the Met's branches.

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