Tuesday, 5 July 2011

NY Must See: MOMA

Picasso's Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon
The Museum of Modern Art houses one of the world's best collections of modern art, from paintings to sculptures, photography and architecture. Thankfully its founding is the brainchild of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr) and two of her friends, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. At first Rockefeller's husband would not help out with donations as he had a negative opinion about modern art; this resulted in the museum occupying a number of temporary spaces. However with time he eventually relented and gave the land that it stands on today as well as other donations.
Claude Monet's famous piece, Waterlilies

In 2002 the MOMA underwent extensive renovations designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The museum was basically shut down for two years except for part of its collection that was shown in Long Island City in Queens. The new MOMA reopened in November 2004, nearly doubling the exhibition and program space. And on its walls is an amazing collection of famous work that you'd find in an art history textbook.

Arman's I still Use Brushes, featuring paint brushes in acrylic
There's an extensive collection of Pablo Picasso's pieces, from bronze sculptures to his famous Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon, where five women pose nude in his cubist style that also includes African influences. Or how about Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night, with magical swirls around the stars above a quiet town. There's also the dynamic The Dance 1 by Henri Matisse featuring five women holding hands in a circle, or Number 31, featuring Jackson Pollock's infamous splash ink art full of energy and confusion that has a sense of poetic rhythm.

Probably most iconic is Claude Monet's Waterlilies, a triptych of rectangular paintings done at Giverny. The pastel colour combinations are so romantic and playful, one can only see his brilliance by taking several steps back and soaking the atmosphere in.

A view of the second floor of the MOMA
These works are all on the third and fourth floors -- if you only have a short period of time, visit these two levels and then you're pretty much set. But before you leave, be sure to check out the sculpture garden. It's a nice public area with running water and bronze sculptures in and around the pools of water. Some people sit outside to enjoy their lunch away from their desks, while visitors pose with the sculptures or have a drink to cool down from the summer heat.

The MOMA is a wonderful institution to have -- with its amazing collection of art made accessible to all under one roof.

Outside in the scupture garden at MOMA
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY
212 708 9400


  1. don't miss the statue of balzac by rodin.

  2. It is truely amazing to see some of the famous originals in the "flesh".