10 Coolest Things I saw at MoMA Today

by - Thursday, February 10, 2011

Today, I took a few sessions off and snuck out to the MoMA. There were a lot of great things and objects there, so here are a few of my favorites.

10. I just think this Picasso is really nice to look at. Hopefully, the rest of this list will be more legit (in my defense, this is number 10).
9. This painting- Ok, I am embarrassed to say that I am relatively sure this is a Delaunay picture of his wife amidst vertical planes but I do not know for sure. I should have written it down, but everything else on this wall was his. But it was so pretty and juicy with color. It sort of reminds me of Fin de Siecle Viennese artists as well, moving the body through abstraction.
8. Lee Krasner- They are apparently in the midst of including more female artists in the museum, and part of this initiative seems to be working back historically, to include artists like Krasner who were overshadowed in their own time (by their drunken cowboy artist husbands). This painting, all on its own, was really great. Though totally flat, it had actually movement and play with depth while you walked around it. I'm so glad I got to see it.
7. Sneaky Jenny Holzer Plaques- I love these, but I love them even more when they totally sneak up on you, transgressing objects and spaces which are traditionally considered authoritative and formal.
6. The inclusion of Hannah Wilke- I was excited to see this video, Gestures, in an exhibit of Women and Photography, potentially posing the question of the sitter as well as the photographer. Then, when moving through the rest of the building, I saw another video of Wilke and her Fascist Feminism poster. Later on, one of the curators of MoMA spoke at a panel and mentioned that a famous 70's artist's work (and potential archive) were being acquired by the museum; I wonder if it is her, as her image was being worked through the space.

5. Art Docents for Children- I absolutely loves watching these guys lead around a bunch of 2nd or 3rd graders teaching them about modern art and how to think about shapes and color and looking. I think this may be my true calling in life, because life has to be pretty good when you are watching people discover Starry Night or Picasso for the first time.
From www.moma.org
4. In one little side room of the Lady Photographer Show, MoMA had a performance and photography exhibit, including 6 amazing images of VALIE EXPORT. In one way, I was totally giddy to see this, though on the other it makes me worry that my dissertation topic will be too mainstream/institutionalized to be interesting. But, the smallness of the exhibit and the muddled nature of its rhetoric makes me feel like there is still so much to be said (and anyway, can there ever be enough said about the wonder of VE?).
3. MoMA showing the David Wojnarowicz "Fire in my Belly" (both the original piece and the unfinished addition which had caused such a stir) and this strangely prophetic painting foreseeing some of the violence that would be taken against his body and his artistic legacy. I just could not believe this thing even existed (If you want to read the text, but can't, comment and I will put it in).
2. History of Photography, Lady Style- though I have some issues with the politics behind sort of roping women off from other photographic practices (wouldn't it just be better to include them in the canon in the first place?), it was really great to see so many of my favorites in the same place as well as some great early photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron, who I really loved but didn't know. There is something about early photography and older models of femininity just works.
From www.nytimes.com
1. Andy Warhol Film Stills- It was amazing to see these on large screens, and the curators organized the space so the room is just filled with these giant Warholian heads, looking uncomfortable and being beautiful. A big step up from the Youtube videos, especially because you could see Kiss peaking through from the next room. I could even forgive that they didn’t put up my beloved Ingrid Superstar.

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