17 March 2016 News

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The exhibition 'Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible' examines a subject that is critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished. Opening 18 March 2016, this exhibition inaugurates The Met Breuer, ushering in a new phase for The Met’s expanded engagement with modern and contemporary art, presented in Marcel Breuer’s iconic building on Madison Avenue.

With over 190 works dating from the Renaissance to the present - nearly forty percent of which are drawn from The Met’s collection, supplemented with major national and international loans - the exhibition demonstrates the type of show that can result when museums mine their vast collections and curatorial resources to present modern and contemporary art within a deep, historical context.

The exhibition examines the term “unfinished” across the visual arts in the broadest possible way; it includes works left incomplete by their makers, a result that often provides insight into the artists’ creative process, as well as works that engage a non finito - intentionally unfinished - aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended. Featured artists who explored such an aesthetic include some of history’s greatest practitioners, among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne, as well as modern and contemporary artists, including Janine Antoni, Lygia Clark, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg, who have taken the unfinished in entirely new directions, alternately blurring the distinction between making and un-making, extending the boundaries of art into both space and time, and recruiting viewers to complete the objects they had begun.

Arrow of Time, a new, light-based installation by Tatsuo Miyajima created especially for 'Unfinished', will be on view in the Tony and Amie James Gallery in the lobby of The Met Breuer from late April through to mid-October. Inspired by the British astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington, the work describes the irreversibility of time through a number of Miyajima's familiar number counters, strung from the ceiling. The LED numbers count down from 9 to 1 at different speeds, symbolising the length of human life, and death when it goes dark, reoccurring again and again in a continuous cycle to represent what in Buddhism is called 'Samsara' (Metempsychosis) or eternal life.