14 May 2018

Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300 - Now)

Met Breuer

Reviewed by Jan Castro

"Like Life" is a subversive exhibition about Western civilizations since 1300, and the Metropolitan Museum's lead here is notable. Although Greek and Roman carvings were originally painted colorfully, few exhibitions (if any) have pointed out how the systematic favoring of white sculpture since the Renaissance connects to racial and gender biases and to notions of beauty.

The 117 well-chosen works examine how scale, materials, processes, color, themes, and degrees of likeness affected viewers' receptions, both when they were created and today. In one room, dark-skinned sculptures, including a wind-up flute player (c. 1870), mimic historically servile roles.

Another room of horizontal figures includes a coffin with John F. Kennedy barefoot in a suit, next to the voluptuous mistress of Louis XV, whose heaving breast titillates. Across from her, Paul McCarthy's self-portrait in a lawn chair, nude from the waist down, adds a layer of grossness.

Exhibition Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300 - Now) link
Start date 21 Mar 2018
End date 22 Jul 2018
Presenter Met Breuer link
Venue 945 Madison Avenue, New York City, NY, USA (at 75th Street) map
Image Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier, La Capresse des Colonies, 1861, Algerian onyx, marble, bronze and gilt bronze, and enamel, white marble socle, overall on socle (confirmed) 37 3/4 x 23 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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