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New York City’s menagerie of museums is truly astounding, and the MoMA NYC is near the top of the list. It seems like every single week there’s a new museum in New York to walk into – they proliferate the city like bodegas. Except, of course, the food at bodegas is wayyyyy better.
One that is absolutely unskippable, though, is the Museum of Modern Art – the MoMA. It’s iconic for a reason, hosting some of the best modern paintings and artists you’ve spent your entire life hearing about. Even if you’re not an art lover, there’s a 100% chance you’ll be bowled over by this place. The best part? After 4 p.m. on Fridays, the MoMA has free entry for all visitors. Start planning your visit to MoMA NYC now to get a look at what modern art pieces are on show at this very moment.
Must-see exhibits within the permanent collections at MoMA NYC
It’s hard to believe that anyone has a vast space in Manhattan, but the MoMA is so large, it’s difficult to make it through entirely in a single visit. So, which permanently displayed modern art pieces should you prioritize?
For return visitors, definitely track down some of the MoMA’s more recent acquisitions. For instance, Meriem Bennani’s show stopping piece, “Party on the CAPS,” is where you should make a beeline. Both multimedia and performance art, this installation draws in visitors like moths to the light. Walking through the lights, screens, stainless steel beams and plexiglass magnifying glass, you may forget you’re even on planet Earth during this surreal experience.
Another recent acquisition worth making time for is Sable Elyse Smith’s “Coloring Book” series. The MoMA NYC acquired three separate pieces from this series, all of which were created in 2020. An irreverent, adult contortion on classic, childlike mock coloring book pages, Smith’s series embodies a strange lens through which to view our everyday lives. Smith certainly colored outside of the lines with these modern art pieces.
And, of course, how could we forget the more famous pieces within the MoMA’s permanent collection? Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne, Pollock, Dalí, Warhol, Picasso, Wyeth, Magritte, Kahlo, Miró, Matisse, Monet, Hopper, O’Keeffe, Klimt, Basquiat, Lichtenstein – nearly every single famous modern artist’s name that you’ve heard in passing has at least one piece displayed in this museum.
The superstar of it all is Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” which is displayed on the museum’s fifth floor. Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory” (you know, the one with the melting clocks), Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair,” Picasso’s “Girl before a Mirror,” Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” Magritte’s “The Lovers,” Wyeth’s “Christina’s World,” Hopper’s “House by the Railroad,” Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950” and Monet’s “The Japanese Footbridge” are all pieces everyone should see in person.
You’d be truly remiss to step into the MoMA NYC without at least glancing at these works. Also, popular works by more recent modern artists include Jenny Holzer’s “Laments (I Want to Live…)” and Keith Haring’s “Untitled” and are among some of the most important artistic works in recent history.
Temporary pieces and exhibits you could miss out on
The MoMA NYC has a never-ending series of exhibits, projects and collections coming in and out of its revolving door of culture. No matter when you visit, you’re in for a treat when it comes to these temporary showings.
This summer, though, the museum is going all out. Perhaps in celebration that things are looking better and brighter for the city every day, the modern art pieces on display right now are unsurpassable. In fact, it’s difficult to even pinpoint which of these you should circle on your map of the galleries.
The first temporary exhibition that stands apart from the rest of the MoMA’s current art displays is “Fotoclubismo.” This exhibit focuses on the work of amateur Brazilian photographers who belonged to São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB) between 1946 and 1964. The FCCB was an amateur photography collectictive that traveled together on weekends to take photos.
The modernist photography explored here embodies the “abundant originality of postwar Brazilian culture.” From experimental pieces to more everyday photographs, the range of content to view is expansive. And this particular exhibition is actually the first to show these works outside of Brazil. Get a look now, because this exhibit will be ending this coming September.
Another exhibition that will end this coming autumn is Rashid Johnson’s “Stage.” As an interactive art piece, “Stage” is provocative in ways that most art wishes it could be. It aims to draw upon “the history of the microphone as a tool for protest and public oratory, while recalling the metonymic references to microphones in hip-hop lyrics from the 1980s to the present.”
Given the current state of American socio-economic affairs, this exhibition feels particularly significant. A yellow stage with microphones, featuring Johnson’s “signature markings,” this installation is “a place for the public to speak their mind.” We’ve all got a lot to say, and this is certainly the place to say it.
Lastly, Yto Barrada’s multidisciplinary art project, “A Raft,” is a must-see, resisting succinct summarization. An amalgamation of French social work pioneer and writer Fernand Deligny’s work, Barrada’s project is an attempt to engineer a relationship between language and art or art existing “outside of language.” On display until this coming Jan. 2022, see if this project alters your perspective. After all, isn’t that what great art is supposed to do?
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