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First Lady as Muse: Michelle Obama to Visit the Met (and the ABT)

At the press preview for the Metropolitan Museum’s “The Model as Muse” show, an E! television reporter had asked the museum’s curator, Harold Koda, whether Michelle Obama would be attending the Costume Institute’s gala that night. He deftly sidestepped, saying that he hoped that the President’s wife would at some point visit the museum, to demonstrate her support for the arts.

Next week, she will—visiting not only the Met but also American Ballet Theatre.

This just in from the White House Media Affairs Office:

Monday, May 18th
Mrs. Obama will continue to demonstrate her interest in and support
for the arts by attending the ribbon cutting for the Metropolitan Museum of Art
American Wing, which will be pooled press, followed by a private meeting with
arts and entertainment leaders, which will be closed press.  These
activities are an extension of the First Lady’s efforts started in Washington
DC that have included trips to the Kennedy Center and Ford’s Theater, as well
as an evening celebrating the arts throughout the DC community hosted at the
Shakespeare Theater….

Monday night, the First Lady
will attend the American Ballet Opening Spring Gala at the Metropolitan Opera
House.  American Ballet Theatre’s 2009 Spring Gala, which celebrates
the opening of ABT’s annual eight week season at the Met, will feature ABT’s
acclaimed Principal Dancers in highlights from the 2009 Spring season.

As far as I know (but I’ll soon find out), Chicagoan Michelle will not be at the civic ceremony opening the Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing on Saturday. Meanwhile, thanks to a Met podcast, below, you can get in ahead of Michelle to preview the Met’s reconfigured Engelhard Court and balcony galleries. They will open to the public next Tuesday, along with the reordered and renovated  early American period rooms, now strung together in a continuous, chronological circuit and explicated with computer touchscreens, instead of traditional signage.

This also provides you with a rare Tom Campbell sighting:

We can only wonder whether Rocco Landesman, newly nominated by President Obama to become the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, will be at the Met’s ribbon cutting and the private conclave afterwards.
And you can only wonder, art-lings, what I think of that NEA news (not to mention the astonishing story about how a painting thought to be by the very young Michelangelo was snapped up by the Kimbell Museum’s enterprising new director, Eric Lee, after the Met decided it would not acquire the work (even though its curator, Keith Christiansen, supports the attribution). Christiansen, who had orchestrated the famously expensive Duccio purchase, told Carol Vogel of the NY Times that, for the Michelangelo, “the timing wasn’t right. We had other acquisitions on the dock.”

They’d better be good ones!

(Why does all this news break when I’m away on assignment and have very little time to post?)

an ArtsJournal blog