According to PressReader, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it was making its collection available to the public online Papers ranging from the Bangkok Post (Thailand), to The Hindu (India) and to The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) featured articles. What the articles didn’t say is the Met is freeing up sorely needed exhibition space by
releasing artwork rendered redundant by the digitization to smaller organizations which can’t necessarily afford expensive digitization projects. Larchmont Public Library is one of the beneficiaries.
“What we’re doing,” said the Met’s Curator of Deacquisitions, Rumful Hoving, “is leveraging the square footage digitally liberated by the project by displaying heretofore unredundant items in venues consistent with their current redundant status. The item, that is. Not the venue. No, this venue is far from redundant.” He patted the Temple of Dendur‘s sandstone gate. “I have to say I miss this big fellow, but it is nice to visit it at Larchmont in this beautiful Overmans [sic] Gallery.” Hoving said he particularly liked the way the ancient sandstone gate framed the double doors at the end of the Oresman Gallery. “The way it leads to the rest of the Temple on the other side of the doors which in turn leads to the Village Center, staff offices and the restrooms embodies the three main requirements for modern life: Culture, Work and Relief,” he said.
Besides the Temple, Larchmont acquired these other “newly redundant” works: Portrait of Madame X, by John Singer Sargent; Circus Sideshow by Georges Seurat; View of Toledo by El Greco; The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David; and numerous suits of armor that are sure to lend an air of gravitas to the Laager Reading Room and the Technology Commons.
Library Director Laura Eckley expressed gratitude for the gifts from the Met. She also praised Library staff for their work in getting the new acquisitions ready for display. “You try cataloging a temple,” she said. “It’s not easy.”
She also, out of earshot from Mr. Hoving, tried to allay the fears of local artists who claim the new artwork will preclude exhibitions of their own work. “We’ve got the Larchmont Senior Artists exhibition coming in August and all this will have to go back into storage. I might put Madame X in my office though. Also, we had to take the Temple of Dendur as part of the package, but it’s blocking actually blocking access to the staff workroom. We’re going to move it Ryder’s Garden as soon as the weather gets nice. Don’t tell the Met,” she whispered.