Met Exhibit: Sumptuous Art of the Arab Lands Galleries Now Open
Plush Persian Rugs and Arabic Art Join the Met’s Upper East Art Galleries
We visited the Met’s brand new Art of the Arab Lands galleries on the Upper East Side for the first time this week, and though aesthetically this is not our usual thing, we were impressed by the care and thinking that went into the redesign, and there is certainly no shortage of lush treasures on hand. In the rug department alone there are a dozen or so fabulous examples, hanging on the walls or, in the case of the Persian “Emperor’s Carpet” from the 16th-century, luxuriously laid out on the floor… all twenty-four by eleven-and-half feet of it! All of this square footage also allows for a remarkable number of pages–130, in fact–from the Metropolitan’s collection of ninth- to early-20th-century Islamic manuscripts and folios to be mounted and running along the walls of several galleries, often with handy seating right in front. Other highlights of the Met’s new Art of the Arab Lands include an extravagantly ornamental Quran holder, an incredible amount of ceramics and pottery–we were partial to the “blue collection”–as well as scores of household items and jewelry of all description.
But it’s the design of the galleries themselves, using many actual, often ancient, Islamic architectural details–intricately carved wooden and marble screens, archways and columns–that make the Met’s Art of the Arab Lands galleries feel like a cohesive whole. as well as instantly separating the “wing” from everything else in the vast museum. And there are whole galleries designated to the recreation of a single room, most notably the 1707 Damascus Room, lined with gilded, carved and painted wood paneling, and the Moroccan Court, inspired by outdoor spaces in North Africa’s Maghreb and Moorish Spain, and built on site by craftsmen from Fez. And the whole of Art of the Arab Lands exhibition is arranged both chronologically and geographically, helping to tell the history of the development and (often quite slow) spread of Islam throughout the region. An excellent job all around.
Art of the Arab Lands Galleries at the Met: Exhibit Details
The newly renovated, redesigned, and expanded Art of the Arab Lands galleries are now open and on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met is open during the winter months on Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The museum is located on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. As always, the price of admission to the Met is “suggested.” For more information about the Art of the Arab Lands galleries or the Metropolitan in general, check out the Met’s website.
Posted in NYC Events | Tagged arabic art • art and craft • art galleries • Art of the Arab Lands • islamic architecture • islamic art • islamic manuscripts • met exhibit • metropolitan museum of art • upper east • upper east side