It’s one of those places somehow I always seem to miss going to when I am working in New York. MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art. I am either too far away, or there is not enough time to do it justice. But a couple of weeks ago I finally had the perfect convergence – a bit of photography work just two blocks away that left me with an entire afternoon. So, work finished, I trotted two blocks to the Museum of Modern Art.
The first thing that made me happy? The crowds. At noon, there were still lines of people getting tickets. So many museums I go to are almost ghost towns. Not this one!
5 floors of art. I decided to go to the top and work my way down. These simple paintings by Joe Bradley caught my eye at the very first doorway I entered. They are large. The stick figure man, for instance, is larger than a real man. But something in their simplicity sang to me and I kept coming back to them again and again through the day.
There was plenty of famous art you’d recognize, like Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”, which had crowds around it all day. I was surprised though. Mostly when I see art, the colors of the real thing far outshine the photo images you see of them. That was not the case here. Not bad, just a surprise.
There was a room of Picasso. Most all day there were crowds around this large set of three nudes.
But I preferred the others in the exhibit, particularly this one. “Ma Jolie” (“my pretty girl”). It was nice to see a large gathering of these cubist paintings. It allowed me to start to get my head around what he was doing, and begin to see things in them I had never seen before.
I particularly enjoyed the Miro (just below) and the wall of Mondrian (second below). Both have long been favorites of mine, particularly Mondrian, whose clarity and color has always lept out at me.
So much art! So many famous painters and artists to see. but as the afternoon went on, I found myself watching people as much as the art. Everywhere there were people stopped, taking things in, speaking to each other. There was an intensity to the interactions between the people and the art, and the people and each other that I loved.
I so wanted to be privy to what people were thinking. What they were sharing with each other. What they were feeling. I know that when I stand in front of a work of art that entrances me, my mind goes all over the place. I try to capture the emotions of the art, the thoughts, the elements, how they did what they did. I am still, but my mind is a whirl.
And too, there were a lot of people who obviously had been dragged into the museum. I loved this – a room of art that no one is looking at, everyone focused on their phones instead.
I spent nearly five hours there. And at times, I found pieces that sang to me, often pieces that are less famous, and had no crowds around them. It was just me and the art in those moments. Like this untitled work of polymer paint on canvas by Sam Gillian that sang to me. I sat, maybe for 20 minutes, soaking it in. And during that time, no other person stopped to look.
I enjoyed these moments of me and the art. It always seems something of a miracle to me when I find something beautiful that sings to me, and I get time to simply sit and look and think on it without crowds around me. It’s a gift that I savor. There were a LOT of people in the museum, but time and time again, I had time alone with pieces that touched me, looking, really looking at the art, and trying to understand why it touched what it touched.
The afternoon passed quickly. Too quickly. I did not come out changed, but I came out touched by the art. And as I walked over to Central Park, off to where I would have dinner, I passed a shop window that made me smile. Yes, I thought, artists reach out to places they never quite expect. How wonderful. How wonderful.
Be well, Travel Wisely,