Monday, April 19, 2010

Museum Review: MOMA

I am not well known for being a fan of contemporary and modern art. However, I would never turn down the opportunity to visit a world-famous museum, MOMA in this case, which we did on our recent trip to New York City. Doing some extra research beforehand because we were planning on visiting with a baby, I also found out that the museum was hosting what promised to be an interesting exhibit on Tim Burton's career.

It was a Saturday and a beautiful day in the city, so it wasn't surprising that the museum was extremely crowded. At the Tim Burton exhibit, I had plenty of time to contemplate the Greatness of Burton, because of the sheer volume of bodies that had to be navigated to see the artwork. The exhibit was completely packed with people, despite the (presumably) strict timed ticketing system that the museum had in place. In addition, the art (mostly caricatures and small pieces, with scatterings of modeled 3D objects by other artists based on his movie concepts, and movie memorabilia) was packed on the walls, so it was crowded in that sense as well. And forget standing still to watch one of the video installations in the cramped and overheated spaces allowed.

The rest of my party visited the 5th floor (paintings and sculptures 1880s-1940s).

 Appreciating the artistic stylings of Mr. van Gogh

The theoretical quiet nursing room promised by the visitor's guide did not materialize, and museum staff were not so helpful. Trying to find a quiet place to nurse a six-month old among the Matisses was not a success. Trying to get the docents to find out if there was stroller/ramp access was not a success. And, of course, there were the eleventy-hundred people.

Marina Abramović performs a piece from
"The Artist is Present," twelve gajillion people watch

Which, if you are in to watching random people stare at the artist, can be viewed Live! Online! during exhibit hours. Oh, Modern Art. Sometimes you can be pretty cool, in a crazy way. Don't tell anyone I said that. Apparently, some patrons were recently ejected for inappropriate touching of performers in another one of her pieces, leading me to wonder what the heck I was doing with the not-live art on the 4th and 5th floors.

I did end up spending about a half hour on my own in the collection, cruising past the Cezannes, the Warhols, the Magrittes, the Duchamps . . . If I had it to do over again I would wish for more time and more helpful staff. And to go on a Tuesday morning when the museum opens. All pipe dreams, for sure.

Grade: C+

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