The Metropolitan Museum of Art will host its first Virtual Lunar New Year Festival in celebration of the Year of the Ox on Saturday, February 13, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The daylong festival will feature programs for participants of all ages to engage with from home, anywhere in the world. Artist-led workshops, performances, and interactive activities will honor Lunar New Year traditions from across Asia.
Highlights include a dance and music performance by The New York Korean Performing Arts Center, art-making activities taught in English, Mandarin, and Korean, and The Met’s popular Insider Insights tours conducted in both English and Mandarin. All Lunar New Year Festival programming is free on The Met’s online channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Festival participants are invited to share their celebrations by tagging #MetLunar. All programs are prerecorded (unless noted otherwise) and will be available to stream indefinitely.
Virtual Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Ox has been made possible, in part, by Council Member Keith Powers. The festival is presented by the Museum’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Engagement and Education Department.
The virtual festival includes the dance IP-CHUM and musical performance, Arirang Medley, presented by The New York Korean Performing Arts Center, filmed in The Met’s Astor Court.
Throughout the day, several artist-led art-making workshops will be offered as part of the festival. Using materials found at home, participants can create nature-inspired confetti poppers with teaching artist Maria Yoon (offered in English and Korean), repurpose egg cartons to create dazzling dragon puppets with Chemin Hsiao (offered in English and Mandarin), and design zodiac charms with Padma Rajendran using recycled material. There will also be a special Saturday Sketching Live at 1 p.m. with @Met Teens.
Community Connections and Talks:
Participants at the Virtual Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Ox will be invited to connect with The Met community through an Insider Insights tour of the exhibition Celebrating the Year of the Ox with Jason Sun, The Met’s Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art (this program will be available in English and Mandarin on February 15). The Met’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Engagement and the Department of Asian Art will share their families’ Lunar New Year traditions in the conversation What Does Lunar New Year Mean to You? On The Met’s Instagram, participants are invited to play Chinatown Bingo by marking and sharing their bingo board as they gather Lunar New Year gifts, decorations, and food while supporting Chinatown businesses.
The Met’s collection of Asian art—more than 35,000 objects ranging in date from the third millennium B.C. to the 21st century—is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Each of the many civilizations of Asia is represented by outstanding works, providing an unrivaled experience of the artistic traditions of nearly half the world. Works from the collection will be featured in three special exhibitions and displayed across the department’s many galleries.
Celebrating the Year of the Ox
January 30, 2021–January 17, 2022
In celebration of the Year of the Ox, this exhibition presents depictions of oxen and water buffalo (considered the same category of animals in China) created by artists in the last 3,000 years. Particularly notable are a massive 18th-century jade sculpture of a water buffalo and a remarkable 8th-century set of ceramic Chinese zodiac figures, illustrating the important role that the animals play in the life of humans.
Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Up Close
December 21, 2020–June 27, 2021
This exhibition encourages the premodern practice of close looking by displaying original artworks alongside photographic enlargements of their details. The magnified details draw attention to subtleties of brushwork, texture, and line that may escape a viewer at first glance. Ultimately, the enlargements draw us back to the original, revealing the rewards that close looking can offer.
Masters and Masterpieces: Chinese Art from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection
January 30, 2021–June 5, 2022
A selection of works gifted to The Met by Florence and Herbert Irving serve as the exhibition’s centerpiece. The approximately 120 objects on display cover almost all major categories of Chinese art, with a focus on three-dimensional objects, including lacquer, ceramic, metal work, jade, bamboo, and stone carvings. Created by both famous and unknown masters, these extraordinary works represent the artistic sophistication and technical virtuosity of Chinese decorative arts from the 10th through the early 20th century.
[Please note: The following activities occur before the main festival on February 13.]
- Caldecott Medal-winning author-illustrator Ed Young will read his story Cat and Rat during Storytime with The Met on February 11.
- On February 9, Pengliang Lu, The Met’s Associate Curator in the Department of Asian Art, will host a virtual exhibition tour of the new exhibition Masters and Masterpieces: Chinese Art from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, offered in both Mandarin and English.
- Met Memory Café, a program for individuals living with dementia and their care partners, will feature special content related to the Lunar New Year on February 10. Reservations are required.
- The Met’s Civic Practice Partnership Artist-in-Residence Mei Lum, in collaboration with local organizations, will present activations celebrating the resilience of Manhattan’s Chinatown community. Mei Lum and the W.O.W. Project joined together with Abrons Arts Center, Welcome to Chinatown, and photographer Mischelle Moy (梅雪莹) to create From Chinatown, with Love, a 12-month Lunar New Year photo calendar highlighting Chinatown businesses. The calendar will be available at featured businesses beginning February 6.
A full schedule of festival programming, along with further details about where events can be streamed, is available on The Met’s website.
To celebrate the Year of the Ox, modern Chinese fast-casual concept Junzi Kitchen will be launching The Met x junzi Year of the Ox Chili Oil Gift Set in collaboration with the Museum. It will feature a junzi original flavor, in addition to two new flavors specially created for The Met, and is designed with artworks on view in the exhibition Celebrating the Year of the Ox and the Museum’s collection of Chinese decorative arts. The set will be available for purchase at The Met Store starting February 28 and is now available for pre-order at the junzi gift shop.
The Met’s Eatery will offer a special menu in honor of Lunar New Year from February 12 through 28. Bon Appétit’s menu, created by Culinary Director Bill Telepan, will feature appetizers, soups, and specials like char siu pork belly and shiitake congee with crispy garlic and shallots, as well as a rotating selection of grab-and-go items.
The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters are open five days a week, Thursday through Monday. The Met Fifth Avenue is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and The Met Cloisters 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Met has developed comprehensive safety procedures for its staff and visitors, following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State, and New York City.
The Museum offers robust virtual programs on its website and The Met’s social media channels, featuring new programs, events, performances, and conversations with curators, educators, and artists. A continually updated schedule of virtual events is available on the Museum’s website.