There are treasure troves of art and there are castles full of priceless antiquesâ€¦and then there’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We’re not telling you anything new, of course. Taking up more than one city block, holding court on 79th street, above Central Park, and featured in countless media, almost everyone in the Western world has caught wind of the Met. We were a little surprised, then, that the venerable institution held an after-hours party exclusively for the gays, complete with top shelf booze, Britney Spears remixes and loads of attractive young gents. And, as the pink icing, they managed to wrangle out City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, around whom a flurry of security and lackeys swooned. So, what gives?
First and foremost, the Museum’s definitely looking to revamp its image, and the gays are, for some reason, considered trend-setters.
The Met is, as we said above, an institution. It’s the first museum you ever visited in the city, it’s the only museum your grandmother knows, and it’s absolutely overflowing with tourists. Real New Yorkers don’t go to the Met.
It would seem that with the effusion of publicity for more niche art museums in the city, like the technology loving MOMA, the Ã¼ber-selective Whitney, the eccentric Guggenheim, the new New Museum, and Chelsea’s ever-changing gallery scene, the art-savvy gays have shunned our city’s most prolific and encompassing museum. Indeed, somehow the Met in all its grandiosity has come to be considered gauche, even dull.
Last night’s party came across like an expensive – and booze-soaked – attempt to capture trend-loving gays and let them loose into the word, where they’ll spread the art loving world. And it worked. On us, at least.
Honestly, we’re not going to tell you how to spend your money, that’s your business, but we will tell you this – after dodging a few membership liaisons and other such marketing mavens scattered around the event, we got an unadulterated tour of three exhibits, one permanent, two traveling, that could easily give some of the city’s other art, more popular museums a run for their money.
First up, the Greek and Roman art, a staple for any art dilettante. We won’t go too much into that, because it’s pretty predictable: breathtaking busts, incomprehensibly old vases, Hercules being hunky.
The real meat of the night came from two time-sensitive shows, Superhereos: Fashion and Fantasy, which runs through September 1st, and Jeff Koons on the Roof, a three piece show up through October 26th. The latter, we’ll admit, made us as giddy as school girls.
Seeing larger than life sized high chromium stainless steel Balloon Dog in Yellow with the backdrop of the entire New York City Skyline (and a full service bar) really almost pushed us over the edge.
Superheroes, meanwhile, should not to be ignored by anyone who claims an interest in art and/fashion. The icy cold sterling silver bodysuit from Thierry Mugler to Gareth Pugh’s black transformer-like ensemble left us feeling just as inspired as we recalled feeling at the museum’s infamous Temple of Dendur. The Moschino and Bernhard Williams pieces above show just how a sixty year old fictional character still influences our 21st century aesthetic.
Exiting the museum, we couldn’t help but think about what really had just happened. While we loved almost everything we saw (even the old stuff), we were a little ashamed that it took a marketing event to get us off of our butts to go see some world-class art.
When art museums start spending marketing dollars on the gays, what is that really saying about state of gay culture? Are we so guilty of succumbing to vapid, split-second Hollywood aesthetics that we no longer have the patience to enjoy art? Probably.
One thing’s for sure – we need to start living up to more art fag stereotypes.