PRINT April 1987


the New 20th-Century Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

THERE ARE TREASURES in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for 20th-century art, but the building that houses them is not among them. The addition that contains the spirited art of this century is itself opaque in its organization, muddy in its details, and leaden in spirit. Inside and outside, the wing has none of the sense of rebellion and liberation, none of the feeling of experiment and risk, and none of the incandescence that characterize so much of the art it holds. Cautious, conservative, and institutional, the wing is out of step and character with its charge—the wrong jug for the liquid.

Since its 1970 centennial the Met has been expanding within a master plan created by the architectural firm of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo and Associates. The Wallace wing is the seventh addition. Given the general success of, for example, the Egyptian wing and the

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