Dear Friends,
  Remember the McQueen show? The Met has outdone itself with its current show, China Through the Looking Glass.
  The show has been extended from August 16 to through Labor Day Sept 7. Don’t Miss It! Its 350,000 visits since May 7 mean it may rival the 661,000 that the Met’s McQueen show drew to make it the most visited Costume Institute show, the 8th largest in the Met’s history.
  But no lines. Why? It’s spread over three floors, including a space in front of the elevators in the Egyptian first floor and all the Asia galleries on the 2nd floor – the largest ever Met show.
  Sometimes a show is so spectacular that it’s worth a detour – – as the Michelin Guide puts it. So I’ve put this in my Boston blog. This show has all you might have wished a major fine arts museum would provide as the ultimate art experience.
  And we all wish museums were more affodable. So I’ll be posting soon my list of all the times that the museums of NYC are free – and most of them have one time each week when they are. The Met is easy: pay what you wish – – 25 cents or $25 – your choice. At all times.
  China in the West’s eye from the getgo has been identified with luxury. But the silks that Rome discovered were suspect from the start, carrying the “virus of effeminacy” – as the amazingly deep NY Times review puts it. A vast market for luxury goods resulted – and we all know what happened to Rome due to the ultimate failure of its macho values….
  When China resisted Western exploitation and domination its image morphed into barbaric rulers, heathen masses – and with England’s imports of opium from India – drug addicts. The US shut its door to Chinese immigrants with suspicion and contempt.
  This stereotyping of China – evident even today – may be tempered with the experience of China’s ancient arts in  this show wrapped in the seductive cloaks of fashion.
  Don’t miss the slide show that lays all this out.
  But once you’re in this sea of silk you’ll be constantly challenged by the juxtaposition of contemporary Chinese fashion spread throughout the Met’s endlsss galleries of ancient Asian art.
  Be prepared: this is an entirely visceral experience – for like the McQueen show the Met has pulled out all sensory/visual stops.
  Remember: the Asia galleries are among the more recent additions to the Met – now 100 years old. The story of how haphazard their growth was and how dependent it was on major collectors is truly an adventure tale on a par with the movies with China themes portrayed throughout the exhibition on floor to ceiling screens. Add to those sound tracks and lighting that would rival any fashion show feel your intellect be blown away in an endlessly entertaining and thrilling show.
  Perhaps now someone will remember to visit the Asia galleries after this show closes!~
  Now that Gio and I  have pioneered the liberation of the light stools once the province of the education department, don’t hesitate to ask for one – because you’ll want to spend hours in this show – – and much of that seated, simply drinking it all in.
  Whatever you do in the next six weeks, go repeatedly to this show. And go when the museum opens at 10am – before the thundering hordes, tour groups & student groups hit its floors. (And have lunch at the great Met cafeteria – but again go early: noonish – much of its food is very high quality and is priced decently and innovatively: $0.90-95 per ounce! other eateries should try this way to slim down the mountains of food usually served – and slim down the bill for them as well.
  And enter by the no-lines entrance on the ground floor to the left of the main entrance, ask for your stool (tell them of course you need it due to your “condition”) and go to the far north end of Egypt where the action all starts.
  And then spread the word. This is the show to see this NYC summer.