In November 2011, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York re-opened a massive Department of Islamic Art, comprising 1,200 works from Turkey, Iran, Arab Lands, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. On January 18, the galleries celebrated their one millionth visitor.
The Met's massive collection depicts 1,300 years of Islamic art as a complex period of growth, diversity and change. Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, said during the department's opening that visitors will experience "galleries filled with magnificent works of art that evoke the plurality of the Islamic tradition and the vast cross-fertilization of ideas and artistic forms that has shaped our shared cultural heritage." Fourteen months later, we think it's safe to say the Met has been able to present Islamic art and culture to a wide audience without dumbing it down or privileging one artform over another, which is a feat.
So what did the millionth visitor receive upon arrival? A complete catalogue of the collections, presented by curators Sheila Canby and Navina Najat Haidar.
Congratulations to the Met! Check out a slideshow of featured works from the wing below: