Tuesday, February 28, 2012

unfinished metropolitan museum of art

How many people look up at the met as would archeologists, at clues to the buildings own history?
We may go inside and play anthropologist and dance about the egyptian wing with a toothbrush and a magnifying glass, and yet never notice obvious omissions at the buildings facade.

Featured above is Richard Morris Hunt's original rendering of the Metropolitan museum of art. 
Note that above the four Corinthian pillars there are statues designed by artist Karl Bitter, each representing Music, Painting, Architecture, and Sculpture. 
originally to be carved out of marble, a massive financial crisis swept through the nation and the state of New York issued serious cut-backs. Limsetone would have to suffice. By 1902, massive slabs of limestone were in place to be carved, but that year the money officially ran out. By 1911, renowed architectural group Mckim, Mead, and White took up the task of expanding the north and south wings of the Met, and yet plainly ignored the unfinished limestone pyramids.(maybe white would have done soemthing about it if he hadnt been murdered 3 years earlier) The Met sat until the 1970's when yet, during another economic slump, the museum underwent more expansions and still again, the unfinished limestone heaps were left alone. Did anyone notice?

Note also the points at which the met ends in this early image.
also, pay close attention to the staircase as well as street level in these pics.

Here is the met today after 110 years of expansions...