Apollo Magazine

Working up a sweat in the Met

Art appreciation meets cardiovascular exercise at the Met

The Museum Workout is conceived and choreographed by Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Photo: © Paula Lobo/Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Ever wish your local museum was a bit more lively? If you happen to live within spitting distance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you’re in luck. Early-rising visitors to the venerable institution can now have the pleasure of experiencing a ‘45-minute physical journey’ through its galleries, staged by the Monica Bill Barnes & Company contemporary dance troupe.

To ascertain what this ‘physical journey’ actually involves, the Rake turns to Vogue, where Laura Regensdorf describes experiencing the fun first hand: ‘Typical art-viewing etiquette this is not […] The genre-blurring approach is clear as soon as our group takes off in a double-time jog from the Great Hall, threading past Byzantine mosaics to the medieval galleries. The disco anthem “Stayin’ Alive” pulses from a speaker […] and for a moment the song becomes a sly reminder of why we bother to do cardio exercise.’

‘Ah, ha, ha, ha’ indeed. But precedents for exercising in museums do exist. The Philadelphia Art Museum, for example, hosts a wealth of events, including ‘Pet- and Kid-Friendly Classes’ and ‘Yoga With a Side of Culture’. Meanwhile, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium has also offered yoga classes in front of paintings specifically created for the activity by artist Gao Xinjiang.

All Rakewell can say is that Jean-Luc Godard really does have a lot to answer for.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via@Rakewelltweets.

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