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The Met Breuer (/ˈbrɔɪ.ər/ BROY-ər)[1] is a museum of modern and contemporary art at 945 Madison Avenue and East 75th Street in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. It is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also called the Met.

Met Breuer
MET Breuer (48377070386).jpg
MET Breuer Building (2019)
EstablishedMarch 18, 2016 (2016-03-18)
Location945 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021
TypeArt museum
Public transit accessBSicon SUBWAY.svg Subway: "6" train"6" express train​ at 77th Street
Bus interchange Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M79 SBS

The Met Breuer opened in March 2016 in the building formerly occupied by the Whitney Museum of American Art, designed by Marcel Breuer and completed in 1966.[2] Its works come from the Met's collection and are both monographic and thematic exhibitions.[3]


Renovated lobby

In 2008, the idea behind the Met Breuer project was initiated by philanthropist Leonard Lauder. An agreement between the Met and the Whitney was signed, after three years of negotiation, in 2011.[4]

The location opened in March 2016 following a year and a half of preparations as part of a $600 million Metropolitan Museum of Art renovation plan. Architects Beyer Blinder Belle updated the Met Breuer building,[5] which had been designed by Marcel Breuer.[6] The Met will allocate an annual operating budget of $17 million to run the museum as part of an integrated expansion of the main museum's outreach, with a focus on modern art.[7] The Met has an eight-year lease on the building from the Whitney Museum, with the option to renew another five and a half years, until approximately 2029.[8][9]

The Met Breuer is overseen by Sheena Wagstaff, previously at the Tate Modern, who has been the head of the Modern and Contemporary Art Department of the Met since 2012.[10][11] Director and CEO of the Met, Thomas P. Campbell, has spearheaded the effort with a stated focus on the digital (moving from analog to digital)[12] and focusing on accessibility and outreach. He considers the Met to be the largest encyclopedic museum in the world, with the Met Breuer an important part of that, especially as it works towards meaningfully engaging with a global audience, as well as the visitors who come to the museum in person.[3] Both Campbell and Wagstaff see the Met Breuer as a sculptural creation and artwork in its own right.[13]

The opening featured a survey of Nasreen Mohamedi and "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible",[14] an exhibit of incomplete works that ranged over 500 years, from Italian Renaissance to contemporary paintings.[15][16] The exhibit notably featured Pablo Picasso's never-before-exhibited 1931 painting Woman in a Red Armchair as well as work by Kerry James Marshall, who will have an upcoming exhibition at the Met Breuer.[17]

In September 2018, it was announced that the Met intended to vacate the Met Breuer three years early, in 2020. In this case, the Frick Collection would likely temporarily occupy the space while its main building undergoes renovations.[18][19][20]


But the Met is huge and old, with a history of treating contemporary art as an afterthought. Getting it to change is like turning around an ocean liner; captain and crew are perhaps understandably proceeding cautiously.

New York Times art critic Roberta Smith on the Met Breuer's opening, March 2016[15]

In advance of the Met Breuer's opening, The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith wrote that the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other major art institutions feared to miss out as the rest of the art world displayed more contemporary art exhibitions. Smith said that the Met excelled at "bringing older art to life" and that the Met Breuer's cautious opening exhibit showed unclear goals for the new building.[15] Wallpaper cited the renovations involved in the opening as being more representative of Breuer's design for the building, with a lower level sunken garden and a more welcoming emphasis on the sculptural design.[21] The Architect's Newspaper sees the Met's approach as one that treats the building itself as an artwork versus a building, with a focus on the patina of the materials as part of a holistic entity.[22]

Critics of the new endeavor challenge its mission to be less safe and salubratory, with a focus on engagement and innovation.[23] The Met Breuer will address the lack of collection activity of modern and contemporary art in the early to mid-1900s.[4][24]




  1. ^ Nicholson, Louise (March 17, 2016). "The Met Breuer's biggest strength is its ability to make you think". Apollo. Retrieved April 24, 2016. its pronunciation, which should be 'broyer', as in a broiler chicken
  2. ^ "About Marcel Breuer & The Breuer Building". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Rose, Charlie (April 8, 2016). "Thomas Campbell (includes interactive transcript)". The Charlie Rose Show. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Tomkins, Calvin (January 25, 2016). "The Met and the Now". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  5. ^ Goldberger, Paul (March 4, 2016). "The Met Breuer Restores a Postwar Gem to Greatness". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Kennedy, Randy (March 1, 2016). "A Look at the Met Breuer Before the Doors Open". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (March 4, 2016). "Breuer Building Expands the Imagination, and the Budget, of the Met". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher (April 13, 2016). "The restored Met Breuer (formerly the Whitney) has a new energy as well as a lived-in look". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  9. ^ Golden, Thelma; Campbell, Tom; Weinberg, Adam; Brown, Alice Pratt (April 14, 2016). "Directors in Dialogue" (Video). Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Sheena Wagstaff to Head Metropolitan Museum's New Modern and Contemporary Art Department". Metropolitan Museum of Art. January 10, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Solomon, Deborah (November 25, 2015). "Becoming Modern: The Met's Mission at the Breuer Building". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Rosenberg, Karen (March 1, 2016). "The Take: The Museum "Non-Finito": How the New Met Breuer Reflects the Digital Disruption of Art History". Artspace. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  13. ^ Lange, Alexandra (March 3, 2016). "Met Breuer: Better or worse than the former Whitney Museum?". Curbed NY. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Davis, Ben (March 2, 2016). "The Met Breuer Botches Its 'Unfinished' Show". artnet News. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Smith, Roberta (March 2, 2016). "At the Met Breuer, Thinking Inside the Box". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Swanson, Carl (March 2, 2016). "Inside the New Met Breuer's Housewarming Show". Vulture. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  17. ^ Cotter, Holland (March 2, 2016). "A Question Still Hanging at the Met Breuer: Why?". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (September 21, 2018). "The Frick Likely to Take Over the Met Breuer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  19. ^ (PDF) Retrieved January 1, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "The Met Is Looking to Leave the Breuer Building After Just Two Years". Architectural Digest. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  21. ^ Murg, Stephanie (January 14, 2016). "Architecture. Design Awards 2016: Best Reboot – The Met Breuer". Wallpaper. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  22. ^ Shaw, Matt (March 18, 2016). "Why the Met Breuer Matters". The Architect's Newspaper. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  23. ^ Farago, Jason (March 2, 2016). "The Met Breuer review – museum's new outpost has an uncertain start". The Guardian. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  24. ^ Lipsky-Karasz, Elisa (February 1, 2016). "The Met Goes Modern: The Met Breuer Opens With 'Unfinished' Artworks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  25. ^ "Nasreen Mohamedi: April 2016 to June 2016". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  26. ^ "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible: April 2016 to September 2016". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  27. ^ "Humor and Fantasy—The Berggruen Paul Klee Collection". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved September 22, 2016.

Further readingEdit

  • "Lost and Found". Wallpaper. Spring 2016. pp. 74–77.

External linksEdit