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The Met’s New Kapoor Reflects the Shark (and You)

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Anish Kapoor, “As Yet Untitled,” 2007
While I was at the Metropolitan Museum last week, viewing the new ancient art additions to its galleries, on loan from Italy, I also had to seek out the museum’s new purchases of just-made art.
One of the fun things about the shark’s new roommate is that it allows you to steal a photograph of the otherwise unphotographable predator. That’s Hirst‘s Shark 2.0, a Steve Cohen loan, visible in the upper-right quadrant of the Met’s new purchase, above.
Kapoor‘s work, an evolution of his Sky Mirror into a reflection-fracturing surface of hexagonal tiles, provides the added allure of reflecting CultureGrrl‘s many facets:
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I’m a little worried, though, about the replacement version of the shark. The top surface of the water is now covered with white blobs that the guard told me were fat emanating from the beast. Are we disintegrating again?
Tommy Cordero may be the most visitor-friendly museum guard I’ve ever encountered. He told people in the nicest way that they couldn’t shoot the shark with their cameras, and he introduced me to the concave Kapoor’s eerie echo effect, heard if you cry out while standing near its center. This may earn you some strange looks from fellow Met visitors, but who cares what they think? Tommy also made a public service announcement to all in earshot that if they liked the shark, they could see other works by the artist displayed at Lever House.
And if you liked the shark, you could walk over to the Met’s handy modern/contemporary gift shop and acquire the pop-up shark book:
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What, no stuffed shark toys?
If you liked the artist, you could buy the book on “The Making of the Diamond Skull,” published by White Cube Gallery, London in connection with its recent “Beyond Belief” Hirst show. Actually, you probably can’t buy it. The copies, save for a damaged one, were sold out.
Here’s that last copy, with its centerfold diamond head somewhat torn:
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Should the Met be hawking a commercial gallery’s catalogue, which has now morphed into a quasi-prospectus for an investment syndicate?
The Met’s other recent exception to its 50-year-rule for purchases of “contemporary” work is not in the museum’s contemporary/modern wing, but in its African galleries:
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El Anatsui, “Between Earth and Heaven,” 2006
Like the Kapoor, it’s a glitzy, gorgeous object. But why does the label say that it’s made of aluminum and copper wire and that it “translate[s] and transpose[s] the aesthetic of finely woven silk into the medium of base metal”? Why not just call the material what it is—bottle caps (below)? Wouldn’t viewers, particularly kids, appreciate this fun fact?
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“Between Heaven and Earth,” detail

an ArtsJournal blog