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12 Days: Highlights of 2016

4 January 2016

Over the 12 days of Christmas, Apollo contributors and guests select their highlights of 2016

View the 12 Days series here

Manhattan: 2015 was the year New Yorkers rediscovered their Whitney Museum when Renzo Piano’s congenial and spacious building opened downtown; they also realised the US has an impressive national museum of American art. What New Yorkers will see this spring is that the Whitney’s move made way for 2016 to be the year of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On 18 March, the Met’s encyclopaedic collection overflows into the Whitney’s old and conveniently nearby home, the Breuer Building. By showing its modern and contemporary art there the Met will breathe much-needed new life into the austere landmark designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1960s. The Met can take advantage of The Breuer’s large and flexible spaces designed for modern and contemporary art, and enrich its displays with relevant historic pieces from its collection.

(1437), Jan van Eyck.

Saint Barbara Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

Two inaugural exhibitions set the tone. ‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’ (18 March–4 September) assembles 190 pieces from across the Met’s collection, as well as loans, to address the thought-provoking question of whether a work of art can be called finished, resolved, or whether it is always unfinished, open-ended with potential to develop – and is this intentional or not on the artist’s part? Look out for works by Titian and Rembrandt as well as Pollock and Rauschenberg. The second exhibition, until 5 June, is the largest gathering yet of works by the Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937–1990).

Spring, though brief, is a magical moment in Manhattan. The perfect complement to a Breuer visit would be a short stroll south through the blossoming dogwoods of Central Park to the Frick Collection where ‘Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture’ opens on 2 March. Or, go north to the renovated Cooper Hewitt museum and garden, to see ‘Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial’ (12 February–21 August) and ‘Thom Browne Selects’ (4 March–2 October).

Louise Nicholson is a freelance arts writer and Apollo contributor.

View the rest of the 12 Days series here

Event Details

‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’ is at the Met Breuer, New York, from 18 March–4 September, and ‘Nasreen Mohamedi’ is open from 18 March–5 June.

‘Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture’ is at the Frick Collection, New York, from 2 March–5 June.

‘Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial’ is at the Cooper Hewitt from 12 February–21 August, and ‘Thom Browne Selects’ is open from 4 March–2 October.