Book Review: All The Beauty in the World
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art through one man's eyes
Each year, millions of people visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, taking in the priceless pieces housed within. At age 11, Patrick Bringley was one of those countless visitors, falling in love with the museum on a trip with his mother.
As an adult, Bringley found himself working in the editorial events office at The New Yorker magazine, still fond of the Met but never dreaming he would one day be one of the few entrusted with the protection of its many masterpieces. When his older brother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, though, Bringley finds himself quitting his editorial job, seeking an escape from a life that has been turned upside down. Answering an ad in The New York Times, he finds himself back in the place he fell in love with all those years ago.
What was meant to only be a temporary respite from his former life becomes a decade-long stint as a security guard within the Met, protecting some of the most precious treasures from across the globe and across centuries.
What follows is a beautifully descriptive and fascinating look at not only the Met itself, but also the art of being — staying present in the moment, taking the time to appreciate what is around you, and just existing within a space.
Though it was Bringley's grief that initially led him to the position, it is easy to see how the beauty and wonder of the Met kept him enamored for so many years. He expertly brings intimate and thoughtful observations to the page — it is difficult not to fall in love with the museum as a reader.
Aptly named, Bringley's All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me is an incredible portrait of one of the world's most famous museums and how art can be a reprieve from both the mundanity and chaos of life.
Simon & Schuster // 240 pages // Memoir, Art