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Met Museum rolls out video series starring its curators, sort of

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is rolling out an art Hot 100 of sorts – website videos starring 100 of the New York City museum’s curators, each of whom discusses a single work from the museum's collection “that changed the way they view the world.”

“Starring” may not be quite the word as regards the curators, judging from the first six 2-1/2 to 3-minute videos posted on a web page dubbed “82nd & Fifth,” after the museum’s location. Instead of taking star turns a la Sister Wendy or Robert Hughes, the curators are heard but not seen. It’s the works themselves that the camera loves.

The Met announced the series on Thursday and the first crop of videos is already up. Featured are a hollow wooden female form from equatorial Africa, made in the 19th or early 20th century and used to store ancestors’ remains; a 1937 guitar custom-made in Munich for Andres Segovia (it’s seen and heard, but not played  – the video includes a recording Segovia made with it); a living room with furnishings that Frank Lloyd Wright designed between 1912 and 1915 for a home in Wayzata, Minn.; “Madonna and Child with Angels,” a Renaissance relief sculpture by Antonio Rossellino; Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s gigantic 1729 painting, “The Triumph of Marius” and a print of a 1653 Rembrandt etching, “Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves: the Three Crosses.”

The Met says it will post two additional videos each Wednesday morning through Dec. 25.

The magic number is also 100 for the PBS series “Art in the Twenty-First Century.” Its producer, the nonprofit organization Art21, announced Thursday a yearlong initiative of screenings and online content called “100 Artists.”  It celebrates the 100 artists featured in the series, which was launched in 2001.

The producers will make all 24 episodes available for free screenings nationally and globally at assorted venues such as schools, colleges, museums and community art centers, projecting 1,000 showings in all. There’s also a web portal  on the artists that will feature new material, and PBS is selling a DVD box set of all six seasons of the show.

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