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All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me

por Patrick Bringley

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3101484,863 (4.05)12
Art. Biography & Autobiography. Business. Nonfiction. HTML:A fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard.
Millions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They're the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the two million square foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Patrick Bringley never thought he'd be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. So he quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew.

To his surprise and the reader's delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley's home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. Bringley enters the museum as a ghost, silent and almost invisible, but soon finds his voice and his tribe: the artworks and their creators and the lively subculture of museum guards??a gorgeous mosaic of artists, musicians, blue-collar stalwarts, immigrants, cutups, and dreamers. As his bonds with his colleagues and the art grow, he comes to understand how fortunate he is to be walled off in this little world, and how much it resembles the best aspects of the larger world to which he gradually, gratefully returns.

In the tradition of classic workplace memoirs like Lab Girl and Working Stiff, All The Beauty in the World is a surprising, inspiring portrait of a great museum, its hidden treasures, and the people who make it tick, by one of its most intimate observe
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Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This was a fantastic little tour of the Metropolitan and , at the same time, something of a coming of age story and a primer on dealing with grief. You’ll definitely want to keep a device handy so you can see all the works referenced in the book. The author provides a helpful list at the end of the book ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
This memoir provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Through the author's eyes, we go behind the public spaces to view the work of the huge cadre of museum guards. Details about the training and support of the guards (including a sock allowance!) provide insights about museum operations that patrons would never guess. Bringley's back story about grieving the death of his brother make this book all the more memorable. ( )
1 vote sleahey | Feb 6, 2024 |
I didn't read very far into this.... Bringley writes beautifully about art and the impact it has on him, but I just don't like memoirs.
  Gwendydd | Jan 11, 2024 |
“...definition of art: something more beautiful than it has any right to be.”

“Much of the greatest art, I find, seeks to remind us of the obvious.”


Patrick Bringley has written the most kind-hearted and touching memoir I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. If you are after crazy museum escapades and tall tales, this is not it (there are some ;)). If you are after art history, this is not it. This is a book of grief and heartache; of love, grace and slow healing.

When your parents give you the love of art, it is a blessing. Patrick’s first visit to the Met as a child is beautiful. “What was beautiful in the painting was not like words, it was like paint – silent, direct, and concrete, resisting transformation even into thought. As such, my response to the picture was trapped inside me, a bird fluttering in my chest.” (The painting in question is Pieter Bruegel’s The Harvesters.)

The mundane details of the museum guard job are described in ways that are not mundane at all. After you’ve had this job for a while, you can tell who is a New Yorker and who isn’t, who has been to a great art museum before, and who is here for the first time. The author has respect and patience and care for them all. There is a lot of pride in a job well done.“I’m surprised at the meaning I begin to find in even small interactions with guards and visitors.”

Oh, by the way, would you prefer a twelve-hour day on a wood floor or en eight-hour day on a marble floor? (Hint: pick the former.) There are days when you hope that your post will be beside Titian (I would cherish the same hope, if I were a museum guard ;))

I love, love, love the way the author writes about art. It’s so personal, so universal, so humane. I’m happy to have walked through the museum with him. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece. Chinese paintings and music. Art from the African continent. The Renaissance. The impressionists. Etc...

“In a typical gallery, ten or twenty gold-framed windows are blowing holes through the four walls.” Yes, great paintings tend to do that...

I wish that this book were longer. Patrick Bringley, your memoir was a beautiful and unexpected gift. Thank you.
( )
2 vote Alexandra_book_life | Dec 15, 2023 |
When his older brother dies of cancer at a young age, Patrick Bringley couldn't imagine working a desk job while dealing with his grief. Instead he works as a guard at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of over 600 in the organization's largest department. In this memoir, Bringley offers reflections on the art displayed on the museum from the perspective of someone who looked at them for ten years. He also offers stories of the visitors to the museum, often empathetic when it would be easy to be snooty. His relationships with the other guards - of widely divergent ages and geographical backgrounds - and their daily routines are also acutely observed. It's a very thoughtful and humane work that reflects on the dignity of work from the position of someone often overlooked by the public. It's a book that, as Bringley puts it, helps you not to learn about art, but from art!

Favorite Passages:
"I had lost someone. I did not wish to move on from that. In a sense I didn't wish to move at all."

 
I like baffled people. I think they are right to stagger around the Met discombobulated, and more educated people are wrong when they take what they see in stride.
( )
1 vote Othemts | Nov 7, 2023 |
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Art. Biography & Autobiography. Business. Nonfiction. HTML:A fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard.
Millions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They're the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the two million square foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Patrick Bringley never thought he'd be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. So he quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew.

To his surprise and the reader's delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley's home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. Bringley enters the museum as a ghost, silent and almost invisible, but soon finds his voice and his tribe: the artworks and their creators and the lively subculture of museum guards??a gorgeous mosaic of artists, musicians, blue-collar stalwarts, immigrants, cutups, and dreamers. As his bonds with his colleagues and the art grow, he comes to understand how fortunate he is to be walled off in this little world, and how much it resembles the best aspects of the larger world to which he gradually, gratefully returns.

In the tradition of classic workplace memoirs like Lab Girl and Working Stiff, All The Beauty in the World is a surprising, inspiring portrait of a great museum, its hidden treasures, and the people who make it tick, by one of its most intimate observe

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