For the Museum’s 150th anniversary, twelve internationally celebrated artists created a suite of vibrant and powerful limited-edition prints.
In 2018, The Metropolitan Museum of Art embarked on the ambitious project of producing a print portfolio that would both celebrate the Museum’s 150th anniversary as well as reflect its role as a global cultural institution. To create this seminal collection, we invited a select group of twelve international artists with deep ties to the Museum to each make a limited-edition print. Earlier, Robert Rauschenberg created a monumental print Centennial Certificate MMA (1969), in honor of the Museum’s 100th anniversary. The Met 150 expands on this tradition, marking our next significant milestone, with the twelve artists given the freedom to fulfill their creative aspirations, something to which the diversity of print techniques and styles testify.
Much has changed since The Met 150 was originally conceived and, as a result, the portfolio has taken on additional meaning. The production of The Met 150 spanned over two years, and the release was carefully orchestrated to coincide with the Museum’s anniversary celebration. It was an ambitious project, but nothing could have prepared the institution for the unforeseen tragedy of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed all plans. While the world shut down, the artists persisted despite numerous difficulties. The portfolio thus became much more than a work of art celebrating The Met’s anniversary—it became, instead, an indelible reflection of our time and a testament to the power of art and the artists’ extraordinary commitment to create under adversity.
The prints in The Met 150 encourage a new way of seeing and responding to the world in its complexity. Rather than a particular aesthetic, movement, or technique, they speak to a moment when artists reassess the possibilities for printmaking, redefining practices and challenging conventions. Several artists refer to printmaking’s rich history through their use of traditional methods; others combine various techniques, practices, and materials or employ new technologies to rethink what a print can be. The twelve prints in The Met 150 vividly capture a variety of responses to the present moment in all its intricacy and contradictions. This engagement with an ever-changing world is central to The Met’s mission and its aspirations for the future.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Max Hollein, Jennifer Farrell and Sharon Coplan Hurowitz
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