blending Art, Culture & Exercise

INspired by ART

Just when you thought the melting pot couldn’t get any narrower some smart person added working out to the mix of blending art with just about everything.workout1

Everything being fashion, music, culture (a given), food with or as an art, now getting FIT with Art which started only last month. might be the next new craze.  And like all big success stories it takes place in NYC at the largest art museum in the United States, “the Met”.

Here’s the lowdown taken from T, the NY Times Style Magazine:

Monica Bill Barnes & Company, the irreverent contemporary dance troupe, started “The Museum Workout”: a 45-minute physical journey that spans two miles of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before opening hours. The workout, commissioned by the MetLiveArts, contains a route curated and narrated by the illustrator Maira Kalman, the author of “The Principles of Uncertainty,” and encapsulates the company’s motto to “bring dance where it does not belong.” “We wanted to honor what exists and build from it,” Barnes, the company’s artistic director, says of the unlikely setting.

By pre-selecting objects to encounter along the way (the Met’s permanent collection houses over two million items) and dictating participants’ movements, Barnes hopes the format’s “physical framework allows each audience member to have a unique emotional experience.” The workout begins promptly at 8:45 AM; at this hour, the museum’s usually clogged steps are clear, shrouded in shadows and bright patches of morning light.

Within the museum, Barnes and the performer Anna Bass serve as our athletic docents. They dance side by side, snaking through the museum, trotting, marching, speed-walking with ease. When objects, like a terracotta monument carved with angels, obstruct their path, they diverge like hand-holding lovers, separated by an oncoming crowd.

Make no mistake: this is a workout. Your body will perspire, your heart rate will rise and you’ll shed any light layers. (That said, my one request would be to increase the cardio incrementally and start with more stretches that early in the morning.) And because our enjoyment of anything increases when it’s otherwise prohibited, the workout’s massive pleasure derives from its illicitness:“trespassing” the Met before re opening hours, writhing to Elton John within the galleries, gently sweating on various marble surfaces. It confers other singular bragging rights as well — like having done jumping jacks before the marble statue of a nude Perseus

WATCH the Museum Workout Video Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Though Kalman isn’t physically present, her presence is pervasive. Her narration proffers personal thoughts about art and unexpected aphorisms on mortality. Barnes admired her work as an acquaintance, and admitted that, like anyone she approaches for projects, “It’s just an excuse to become close to somebody that you think is going to add value and perspective to your own life.” Novelty aside, the building is exceptionally beautiful uncluttered with people. What the workout gives participants is an appreciation of the museum itself: the soaring ceilings, narrow hallways, spacious galleries; how the sunlight rakes and refracts through the windows, then scatters like beads from a broken necklace across the floor.

At the end, there’s coffee, clementines, crusty bread and butter. The assortment, neatly spread in the American Wing cafe, was chosen by Kalman, and her handwritten notes — scribbled with “KEEP MOVING” — lay arranged for participants to pocket. Though thrilling, the experience is ultimately ruinous. Wandering the halls after the museum has opened, your resting heart rate restored, How wonderful, you’ll think, as school children scuttle around, when none of you were here.

Source for Story: ALEXIS CHEUNG for T MAGAZINE – NY Times

What do you think?  Meet me at the Met.  Yes, No?

Humorous Sidenote (which has nothing to do with this post – I was phoning an auto repair shop): Today is Presidents Day in the U.S.  I phoned Saturday to find out about getting an oil change on Monday (today).  Asked if they were open on Monday.  Girl who answered replied “Yes, we’re open.”  To clarify I said “but it’s Presidents Day.”  She replied “yes,  but we’re Mexican!”  How about Sunday?  Are you open then?  No, she replied.  “We’re Mexican!”

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