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It turns out that the guards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art have a lot more to say than “The bathrooms are down the hall and to the left.”

Swipe cover

Many of them are artists in their own right. There’s a show up at the new 25CPW gallery that shows off paintings, drawing, photos, comics and more, all created by current or past guards. An accompanying journal, “Sw!pe Magazine: Guards’ Matter” features what’s in the show and more.

I was most taken by the diversity of the work. There were hyper-realistic portraits in pastel; comics with the vibrancy of R. Crumb; and photos showing beauty in the industrial landscape of the outer boroughs.

One of the organizers of the show is a former guard named Jason Eskenazi. In the early 90s, he traveled through Eastern Europe, taking stunning photos of people trying to get by as Communist governments collapsed around them.  When he returned to the US, he thought a job at the Met would be inspiring.  He told Studio 360 how standing amid great art all day helped — and sometimes hindered — his own work.

The exhibition closes Sunday, so get there this weekend if you can.

– Cary Barbor

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