Wondering through the concrete jungle,
the many sculptures infront of the towering buildinss sparked my imagination and i decided to dedicate a day to viewing the artworks of MoMa (the Museum of Modern Art). It has been singularly important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world.
The idea for The Museum of Modern Art was developed in 1928 primarily by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr.) and two of her friends, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. At the time, it was America’s premier museum devoted exclusively to modern art, and the first of its kind in Manhattan to exhibit European modernism. It has been widely acknowledged for drawing many European Modernists to live in the city and greatly propelling and encouraging American Modernists aswell. MoMA’s midtown location underwent extensive renovations from 2002-4, redesigned by the Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The renovation project nearly doubled the space for MoMA’s exhibitions and programs and features 630,000 square feet (59,000 m2) of new and redesigned space. MoMA’s reopening brought controversy as its admission cost increased from US$12 to US$20 but i was able to enter free of charge, sliding past lines thanks to my friends Membership card 🙂 i walked upstairs
and headed first to join a tour of their Pop Art Collection with the knowledgable guide, Kelly Sidley. Looking at works by the likes of Warhol, Lichtenstein and others, we learnt about the historical context and significance of modern and contemporary artworks through a process of looking and exchanging ideas with a lecturer. The best part of this tour was the extent to which Kelly engaged with us, continuously asking for our thoughts and responses and it was amazing to see the diversity of responses and personal insights within our small group.
I slowly explored the rest of the 4th and 5th floors which are dedicated to their paintings and sculptures.
Every art gallery i go to, i take extensive notes of my favorite works and also the methods employed so i myself can try them later when i return home and unleash upon my easel!
Then it was time! Time for Matisse
Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917
In the time between Henri Matisse’s (1869–1954) return from Morocco in 1913 and his departure for Nice in 1917, the artist produced some of the most demanding, experimental, and enigmatic works of his career—paintings that are abstracted and rigorously purged of descriptive detail, geometric and sharply composed, and dominated by shades of black and gray. Works from this period have typically been treated as unrelated to one another, as an aberration within the artist’s development, or as a response to Cubism or World War I. Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 moves beyond the surface of these paintings to examine their physical production and the essential context of Matisse’s studio practice. Through this shift of focus, the exhibition reveals deep connections among these works and demonstrates their critical role in the artist’s development at this time. Matisse himself acknowledged near the end of his life the significance of this period when he identified two works— The Moroccans (1915–16)
and Bathers by a River (1909–10, 1913, 1916–17)—as among his most “pivotal.”
The importance of this moment resides not only in the formal qualities of the paintings but also in the physical nature of the pictures, each bearing the history of its manufacture. The exhibition includes approximately 120 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, primarily from the years of 1913–17, in the first sustained examination devoted to the work of this important period. In “Dance 1” (picture below) The figure at left appears to move purposefully, while the other dancers seem to float weightlessly. The momentum of their movement breaks the circle as the arm of the foreground dancer reaches out. Dance, Matisse once said, evoked “life and rhythm.”
Whilst later paintings increasingly focused on light, geometry and depth (or lack thereof) Eg Goldfish and Palette 1914-15 and The Piano Lesson 1916
Finally i was exhausted and hungry so i bee-lined towards the 5th Floor cafe which serves delicious, gourmet dishes and overlooks the sculpture garden.