For the fine art aficionado visiting New York City, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) located at 11 West 53rd Street should be added to your ‘must visit’ list of attractions. Currently, visiting the MoMA is even easier as Friday nights are free from 4 pm to 8 pm as sponsored by UNIQLO. What you’ll see within the walls of MoMA will surely entice you as this venue houses the works of some of the top artists of the 20th Century including the likes of Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Roy Lichtenstein and many more.
There are plenty of exhibitions happening now and into the spring of 2017 if you’re in the New York City area for the holidays. The first floor of the MoMA features a new installation entitled “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter”, running until January 22, 2017, that takes an eye-opening look at the current refugee crisis and the efforts being made by nations across the globe to find aid for millions of displaced people. Indeed, the photos here are unsettling and the captured statistics alarming, but an exhibit like this is certainly relevant to the here and now and worth seeing.
The raw and provocative photography of Nan Goldin is also on current display at the MoMA until February 12, 2017 in her Ballad of Sexual Dependency exhibit. Goldin’s work was recently on display in Toronto earlier this year at the Outsiders exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario so seeing her work here again was a great reminder of her unique eye as a photographer. Goldin’s work is a very personal account of her sexual coming of age from the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Her intimate portraits detail the love and loss during her most vulnerable times and her experiences with drugs, alcohol, night clubs, domestic violence, and the unrelenting effect of the AIDS epidemic.
There is raw beauty and strength in Goldin’s work that is something I profoundly admire and often recommend seeing her work to others. Her exhibit here is paired with a unique handpicked soundtrack that includes artists like the Velvet Underground to soprano Maria Callas adding further dimension to her stunning photos. On certain upcoming nights, live performances will accompany a gallery viewing. Be sure to check back to the MoMA website for more information.
For those interested in the more macabre side of life, the peculiar and unique exhibit Tony Oursler: Imponderable may be of interest to you. On until April 16 2017, this exhibit examines the point where technological advancements and occult phenomena intersect throughout the last two centuries and focuses on the work of such names as Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mina “Margery” Crandon. This exhibit looks at strange phenomena such as spirit photography, mediums, stage magic, pseudoscience, and telekinesis. As these are elements that both my review partner and I are both interested in, we found it difficult to walk away from this particular exhibit.
The main exhibit at the MoMA is the focus on artist Francis Picabia entitled Our Heads are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, on through March 19, 2017. This exhibit includes a number of galleries focusing on Picabia’s body of work that spans decades. French born Francis Picabia (1879-1953) is one of the greatest modern artists of the past century. His work varied greatly throughout his years beginning with abstract paintings and then evolving into poetry, publishing, performance and film; his style ranging greatly from impressionism to radical abstraction. Though Picabia is known for being a leader of the Dada movement, his work never stayed within that realm and fluxed between Dadaist provocations to pseudo-classicism, from photo-based realism to art informal.
This MoMA collection is the first one to encompass a full lifetime of Picabia’s work from his early years onward and it’s greatly fascinating to see the evolution of his work. When I first walked in, I wasn’t familiar with Picabia’s work and now having seen it, I can easily say I’m a fan. I thoroughly enjoy his abstract works seen earlier in the exhibit with his focus on striking colors used to create a story just as much as I enjoy his photo-realism which is simply remarkable.
If interior design is more to your liking then How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior is right up your alley. Running until April 23, 2017 this exhibit looks at the evolution of interior design from the 1920s to the 1950s examining how colors, forms and textures shape the way the average American lived. This exhibit combines over 200 pieces from the MoMa’s Architecture and Design Collective and focuses on the synthesis of design elements rather than on individual pieces. In this exhibit you’ll see examples of the compact gas kitchens of the ‘20s, futuristically styled living rooms of the 50s and a home bar set at which I could easily picture Don Draper from Mad Men prepare a bourbon on the rocks.
The MoMA’s main collection features the works of Dalí, Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, and Lichtenstein, some of my favorite artists of all time. I had caught a glimpse of the main collection during my first New York City visit years ago and had hoped to spend more time exploring the main collection this time around; unfortunately, time prevented us from doing so. If you do have more time to spend at the MoMa, despite the many fascinating exhibits currently on display, take the time to explore their main collection to see Henri Matisse’s Dance, Dalí’s Persistence of Memory – it’s a lot smaller in person than you may believe – along with Van Gogh’s Starry Night in person. Warhol’s classic collection of Campbell Soup cans appropriately leads to the cafeteria on the 4th floor with some of Lichtenstein’s classic comic pop art, including the iconic Drowning Girl, outside the elevators. My next visit to New York City will surely begin at the MoMA and will start at their permanent collection before moving onward.
The Museum of Modern Art houses some of the most quintessential artwork of our current time which makes it certainly worth seeing and highly recommended. It’s an institution that is constantly chock full of innovative and interactive exhibits meant to inspire and intrigue the mind and open the eyes. Make it an afternoon or an evening out and you surely won’t be disappointed.
Review and Photos by Samantha Wu