Thursday, May 29, 2014

International Art Tourism



On a visit to New York's Museum of Modern Art over Memorial Day Weekend...



...I was reminded once again that that the world's population is trending exponentially upwards.



According to the U.S. Census Bureau's world population clock, Earth hosts approximately 7,169,167,252 people...



...and a hefty percentage of them visit famous art museums in capital cities.



Half the fun of the MoMA trip was watching people take photos of each other in front of one famous painting after another, including Warhol soup cans...



...Jasper Johns' seminal U.S. Flag from 1950...



...and a room of Jackson Pollack drips.



One of the museum's six huge floors was devoted to a career retrospective of the recently deceased German artist Sigmar Polke which critic Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker magazine called "the most dramatic museum show of the century to date. It may also be the most important, if its lessons for contemporary art, both aesthetic and ethical, are properly absorbed."



My museum companion was bored and repulsed by the exhibit, while my impression fell somewhere in between. There was also a career retrospective of the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark (1920-1988) who started as a very good abstract painter in the 1940s and 1950s with works that look a lot like Miro, before branching into interactive sensory art in the 1960s involving hoods and goggles, masks and ropes. She was also a pioneer in art therapy, creating small, malleable sculptures that are endlessly fun to play with.



On the top floor of the museum, there was a Gauguin exhibit of woodblocks interspersed with famous paintings of Tahitian women that left little doubt that Monsieur Gauguin was engaging in early international sex tourism.



Finally, we exited through the outdoor sculpture garden where a human gnome was amusingly seated in front of giant sculptural ones, either intentionally or as a happy accident.

6 comments:

Axel Feldheim said...

I don't think I could sound so up-beat while dealing with a Memorial Weekend crowd at the MOMA, but I am jealous nonetheless. (I am also extremely jealous of MOMA's Picassos, like the one in the 1st picture.)

janinsanfran said...

I found the Gauguin boring in March. But also liked the crowds at the gallery of the famous and highly recognizable. :-)

Hattie said...

I remember posing in front of those paintings in the 70's.
And I HATE MOMA!!! Ugh. My least favorite major museum.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Hattie: Why, exactly, do you hate MOMA? And do you hate the newly redesigned version, the old version, or both?

Hattie said...

Michael: I felt as if I were being herded through there. I thought the building was ugly. There were the masterpieces but also a lot of trashy stuff. And the courtyard was bleak.
For all I know it's improved since I was there a few years ago.
But I believe only the French know how to create museums to serve the masses: namely the Louvre and the Pompidou.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

I've also had bad experiences at the redesigned NY MOMA: the layout was confusing, the staff was unhelpful to the point of being rude, there was lots of wasted space that was clearly designed with corporate rentals in mind, the galleries were all jammed with really rude people and the guards were doing nothing to stop flash photography, cell phone usage, and other bad museum behavior; even the cafeteria angered me -- it was one of the most pretentiously unpretentious places I've been to.