BBC – Inside America’s Treasure House: The Met (2021)
English | Size: 2.18 GB
Filmed inside America’s biggest art museum as it prepares for its 150th anniversary, only to endure closure due to Covid, demands for greater diversity and financial disaster.
The series begins in spring 2019, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art is in its pomp – the coffers full, visitor numbers are up and staff preparing to mark, in one year’s time, the museum’s 150th anniversary. The museum has long been planning a series of stand-out exhibitions and events. The art press gather for a breakfast in the American Wing sculpture court, surrounded by treasures reflecting the tastes of the philanthropist founders of the Metropolitan. These were new-money industrialists and financiers, who believed that the lives of New York’s teeming millions would be improved by their proximity to beauty. That beauty, however, was vested almost exclusively in the European arts and the artefacts of classical civilisations. The museum is aware that the tastes of the Gilded Age aren’t for everyone, and a dance display by the House of Gorgeous shows they’re awake to the woke.
The Met’s 150th anniversary year has been derailed by Covid-19. Then in May 2020, the murder of George Floyd, only the latest in a litany of killings of African Americans by white police officers, forces America to confront, once again, inequalities in social justice.
Autumn, 2020. The Met is open, but in a safe and very limited way. Visitor income helps keep the museum running, so times are hard. Since it was founded, like so many US arts institutions, the Metropolitan has largely been funded by benefactors. We visit Clyde B Jones III, the executive matching modern donors to exhibitions and events as the economy tanks.