New York

Alice Neel, James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965, oil on canvas, 60 × 40". From “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.”

Alice Neel, James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965, oil on canvas, 60 × 40". From “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.”

“Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible”

Met Breuer
New York
March 18–September 4

Curated by Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, and Nicholas Cullinan

The unfinished exudes a special allure as attractive during the Renaissance as it is to contemporary art. The incomplete even developed its own aesthetic paradigm, the non finito, which favored the look of flux and forestalled finish. A work in progress itself, the Met Breuer is poised to open in the former Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue, which has been repurposed to house the Metropolitan’s new gallery of modern and contemporary art. What, then, could be more apt than for the Met Breuer’s inaugural exhibition to celebrate the magnetism of the unfinished since the Renaissance, linking contemporary artistic practices to the centuries-old preoccupation in a show with a historical sweep only an encyclopedic institution like the Met could muster. Indeed, Baum, Bayer, and Cullinan have assembled about 140 objects in various media drawn from every corner of the museum’s collection, complemented by a few choice loans and to be elucidated by a publication that includes both scholarly essays and interviews with contemporary artists.