The Metropolitan Museum of Art Showcases “Earned Optimism” with International Artist Commissions

Petrit Halilaj, Lee Bul, and Tong Yang-Tze to bring contemporary art to the forefront at the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently announced its selection of three international artists for commissioned projects that will highlight the power of contemporary art to inspire “earned optimism.” These projects, set to take place throughout the year, aim to showcase the transformative potential of art in addressing conflict, envisioning the future, and celebrating cultural heritage. With these commissions, the Met continues its commitment to pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and engaging with diverse perspectives from around the world.

Petrit Halilaj’s Meditation on Conflict

In April, the Met’s Roof Garden will be transformed by the Kosovo-born artist Petrit Halilaj. Known for his thought-provoking installations, Halilaj will use this platform to explore the theme of conflict. Through his unique artistic lens, he will create a meditation on the impact of conflict on individuals and communities, inviting viewers to reflect on the complexities of human experiences in times of strife.

Lee Bul’s Futuristic Facade

Come September, the facade of the Met will undergo a futuristic transformation by South Korean sculptor Lee Bul. Bul’s sculptures, known for their otherworldly and innovative qualities, will adorn the exterior of the museum, captivating passersby with their striking presence. By envisioning a future that challenges conventional norms, Bul’s work encourages viewers to question their own perceptions and embrace new possibilities.

Tong Yang-Tze’s Calligraphy Celebrating Chinese Heritage

In November, the Great Hall of the Met will be graced by the calligraphic works of Taiwanese artist Tong Yang-Tze. Drawing inspiration from classical Chinese texts, Tong will create two new pieces of calligraphy that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of China. Through her art, Tong seeks to bridge the gap between the past and the present, inviting viewers to appreciate the beauty and wisdom embedded within these ancient texts.

Art as Communication and Critique

David Breslin, curator in charge of the modern and contemporary art department at the Met, emphasizes the importance of art as a form of communication. He believes that art should not only critique societal issues but also offer a sense of optimism in how we relate to one another. These commissioned projects exemplify this belief, as they engage with conflict, future possibilities, and cultural heritage, fostering dialogue and understanding among audiences.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s selection of Petrit Halilaj, Lee Bul, and Tong Yang-Tze for its commissioned projects signifies the institution’s commitment to showcasing contemporary art that inspires “earned optimism.” Through their unique artistic visions, these artists will transform the Met’s spaces, inviting viewers to reflect on conflict, question the future, and celebrate cultural heritage. As the projects unfold throughout the year, they will undoubtedly spark conversations and provide visitors with new perspectives, reinforcing the Met’s role as a global hub for artistic exploration and dialogue.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *