MOMA (Museum of Modern Art in New York)

Museum of Modern Art in New York MOMA
Museum of Modern Art in New York

Why does MOMA exist? Hard to tell, because it offers nothing more than the clichéd version of what “modern” art was thought to be a generation ago, and not much has changed; not much in terms of the kind of art they display, in any event. This is the same tired stale vaguely left wing academic treatment of “art”. Theses on “contextualization” and violence and feminism, and the role of all “isms” in art and society, and blah, blah. It’s bad – not just because its meaningless, empty, and shallow, but because it’s so tired and dull.

Yet this point of view is, apparently, a secret. On a typical summer Saturday the place is packed, mostly with the same mix of international (read Japanese and European) travelers who always feel an obligation to go the most famous cultural institutions. So not only is there nothing important to see here, but you’ll typically be jostling with a lot of people to see that nothing. Also, paying $20, which would be fine, except for the above.

Of course, we exaggerate. With so many people cheek by jowl in a tight space there is always some decent people watching, because God knows you don’t really need to focus much attention on the art. And the garden on the first floor is beautiful, a great place to just sit and reflect.

And with this much art in any one place, there’s always something worth looking at, you just have to be very selective. Try the 5th floor. The permanent collection includes Van Gogh’s Starry Night; it’s worth seeing the real version just because you’ve seen it reproduced so many times. Smaller than you might expect. But nice. We’re also very fond of a large Rousseau in the same room. The futuristic sculpture by Gambatesa is interesting. Even though they both carry on through on the same endlessly negative themes of most modern art, the work Collective Suicide (1936) by David Alfaro Siqueiros was visually interesting, as was Hide and Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew. It’s interesting that in the history of man visual artists have never had more freedom to explore their own visions, and in a more supportive environment – people actually pay a lot of money for this stuff. Yet the artists view is much like the world view expressed by Woody Allen – everything ranges from horrible to miserable.

But really, the most interesting thing to look at is the view from the 5th floor café overlooking the garden. Try to get a seat on the edge of the terrace, directly overlooking the garden. This is really a beautiful view. Which is a reminder that in New York, as in many other places, the most inspiring art is the architecture and built environment. And occasionally of course the women. So while architects and nature produce plenty of ugly things, at least they diverge from modern artists with the occasional work of wonder and beauty.


  • Save this Post to Scrapbook

Leave a Reply

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