‘Badass Bitches Tour’ At The MET!

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^^Joanne on the Badass Bitches Tour!^^

Those savvy, saucy gals at Museum Hack are at it again …with loving irreverence and comedic timing. Talk about capturing lightning in a bottle!  Several months back UYC readers may recall that I delighted in an eye popping summer evening tour with Jen and Michelle from Museum Hack at the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art.  These gals sure know how to rock this museum, I swear they INVENTED thinking outside the box and take museum tours to another level… try outside our solar system … but in a good way!

Well now they have put together what is tellingly termed the “Bad Ass Bitches” tour at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art …. I‘m gonna let this “theme” thoroughly SINK IN ☺

Yes, the “Bad Ass Bitches” tour….from here on in, to be termed “BABs.”  And I just could not get that infamous quote from a great New Yorker and Grandmother of all “BABs” – the sassy Dorothy Parker- out of my head.  “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” A smart ass as well as a bad ass – my kinda gal. But I proved Dorothy wrong as I did nothing BUT think during this insightful romp.

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Yet this quip started me on this decidedly feminist tour. Lest you think this womanly walk thru the MET is totally slanted towards female artists, BINGO – it is. But so are the MET’s holdings. Inequality hits a low here.  Just sayin’.  So few works on display by female artists at the MET – amazingly unrepresented – especially in light of the fact that the female figure, form and presence as subject matter dominate countless works of art.  From medieval Madonna’s to African sculptured big booty woman to Renoir’s tender piano playing “jeune filles” – it is clear that the art world adores woman. As long as she stays where she belongs.   Time to exit THAT worn out box. Enter MuseumHack’s intense, interactive style.  In the words of that spiritual Godmother of all devoted BABs – Emily Dickinson – “I dwell in possibility” – and well we should. Enter my new mantra.

My energetic tour guides, Anna and Jen jumped right into the cold water.  Immediately each member of my entirely female tour group was asked to name and explain a woman you admire (HILLARY! HILLARY!) Then off we went, after sunglasses were promptly distributed so you would be at the ready to “throw some shade” when needed.  Lest you think these girls are all sparkle and no substance, rest assured that they have done their homework, their love of artistic expression in any and every medium is obvious.  I was exposed to works at the MET by female artists that I never knew existed yet I have been a supporter of the MET my entire adult life.  

And so as we walked UP a staircase – lo and behold- crawling on all fours DOWN the wall was Kiki Smith’s life size nude female bronze titled “Lilith.” Immediately a discussion sparked as to the thoughts and ideas surrounding this remarkable modern sculpture. (Why is she in such a strange position, is she being chased? Giving birth?)  My group then logically morphed to the mind bending canvases of another contemporary artist, the glorious works of Florine Stettheimer (such color and form).  Then onto the decidedly sexually oriented, fertile female objects dotting the “Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas” wing. “Cocoa Mama” – a stylized small decorative African object – ignited all manner of dialogue.  Our group’s version of “The Vagina Monologues.”   Trust me, you don’t want to know!

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Soon we salivated over a magnificent oversized work by Artemisa Gentilleschi, a baroque painter whose large beautiful oils exude dramatic narrative- both secular and sacred- to the opposite side of the coin where we admired the landmark sculptures of the infamous Rodin. But were his stylized works influenced – or created – by his underestimated mistress, the artist Camille Claudel?  Don’t miss the MET’s Claudel holdings.  Behind every great man, there is a back story, but the true tale of Camille Claudel has yet to come to light, more questions than answers.  And ever so many more feminine mysteries await on this gender based adventure thru the MET.

And this is exactly the premise of MuseumHack – ask questions, seek answers, don’t accept the status quo so readily.  Maybe the truth lies elsewhere; perhaps in between the somewhere. Discover the “where.”  And this is an insightful way to get “there.”

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You get the picture, these smart guerrilla girls of Museum Hack have created their own feminist world of art with this expressionistic tour. I’ve only slightly scratched the surface, so full of surprises were my gifted guides. They pull no punches- so sit up, take notice and by all means, don’t hold back. The bolder the better. Welcome fellow “BABs,” there is room for ALL!  These sizzling leaders offer a provoking, entertaining point of view.

Allow, at the very least, some 2 hours.  Look them up on the web – MuseumHack.com  or 212 -604-1284 – their tours are indeed affordable but should be booked in advance as they seem to prefer small personal groups. Share your thoughts below on this unique approach to the art world, would love your feedback!

By: Joanne Theodorou