Friday, January 22, 2010

MOMA revisited

Well, a day away from the computer, and it takes me over an hour to do the various tasks associated with email. I did a little more than that-- a homework from the online class, but mostly email.

I got so behind because I spent yesterday in New York, including a visit to the Museum of Modern Art. I hadn’t been there since it reopened, which I now learn was in fall 2004-- a little over five years! I've been going a lot to the Metropolitan, where I have a membership, and also doing more museum visits when I'm away from home, like the Sterling Clark in Williamstown, and of course San Francisco Museums, the winter the MOMA reopened, we went to Italy. The truth is, I don't go to museums nearly as much as I think of the art there.

Anyhow, at the MOMA, I especially like the way everything circles around the central space. Right now, there's a huge whale skeleton, real but with paint on it, hanging on the second floor and you see it from below and later from above. This is by Gabriel Orozco, along with a lot of other things. I liked his work (but I still can’t get clear his family line– was the great contemporary of Siquieros and Rivera and all of them his grandfather? My lazy-- emphasis on the lazy-- google search isn't answering my question. Anyhow, he does a lot of different things, worth looking at more.

I was less enamored of the very crowded Tim Burton exhibit– I like his movie work pretty well, but didn’t find the sketches particularly exciting, or maybe just didn’t like the crowds.

Also just wandered around enjoying the space and visiting old friends– Matisse’s big red room and Chagall’s floating goatheads and lovers and oh all the incredible stuff there in MOMA. Blows you away, really. When I first went, they still have Guernica in your face.

Monet’s water lilies are in a not-huge gallery on the second or third floor next to a café-- almost perfunctory, as if the new curators are saying, Okay, tourists, you came to see the water lilies, here they are now get over it.

Even less pride of place to Christina’s World, also on a lower floor in a hall–easy to find, but dimly lit and just there. A message-- disdain for the tourists? A statement about how rapidly modern art isn't modern anymore?

The water lilies seemed smaller than they used to be. Partly the old room was hushed, and I remember it as spacious and lavender or blue, with a small peek out to the street, and they so enormous just two of the big paneled paintings. Partly I was so much younger and so much one of the breathless ones: Oh! The actual Water lilies! Themselves! Here they are!

Otherwise yesterday was bright cold New York, Ingrid down at a café on Second Avenue and tenth, then to Carol’s for writers’ group, and we had a really animated discussion (centered on Joan’s story) about couples and sex after seventy.

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