One of the things I miss most about living in Manhattan is being able to go to the Museum of Modern Art whenever I felt like it. Getting the single membership was one of the most frugal things we did when we lived in the city; between Michael’s free access to the Met through his Columbia post-doc and this membership, we could partake in a magnitude of art without having to spend a ton of money on admission fees every time we had the inclination. Keeping the membership following the move was my way to maintain a tie to the city, to give us a concrete reason to return again and again.
So we go with some regularity these days, though not at the same clip we previously did. I’ve been able to catch most, if not all of the special exhibitions that have caught my eye: from Century of the Child to Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen to Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art, to Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914. Recently opened is Inventing Abstraction, an impressive survey of artists from Kandinsky to Mondrian to Duchamp who all through their various connections to each other took the early lessons of Cubism and turned it into what we would call abstract art. There’s a lovely playlist that accompanies the exhibit that you can listen to in a special room off the main exhibit, but you can also access it here if you’re unable to make it to New York before April.
But even with all of these interesting exhibitions, I always feel inclined to go and pay a visit to my favorites. Not long after we booked out tickets to Barcelona I made sure to take Michael to the design gallery on the third floor in order to say hello to the Gaudí that’s there. At the time, they also had a beautiful prayer bench, but on Saturday I had to content myself with one of the exterior grills and some of the tiles from La Casa Milà along with Stars and Doves. I’m not one to complain, however, but I would like to declare once again that I yearn for Barcelona more than I do New York, only because I’m separated only by a 47-minute train ride in the case of the latter.
The above is Richard Serra’s Delineator, one of the rare museum-owned artworks that encourage you to walk all over them. We were able to see the huge retrospective devoted to his work a few years ago (long before I was a member) and it was incredibly overwhelming; he really has a way with materials to make these enormous sculptures that swallow you whole in order to fully experience it, which I really like. It’s unsettling and it encourages a hyper-awareness of the work that may be otherwise missed. I also enjoy that they gave so much floor space to him in the permanent collection, at least for a little while; if you’re only going to see one major Serra work, it should be one that encourages some interaction.
It’s funny, in a way–this year I resolved to visit the city at least once a month, and to visit the MoMA at least twice during the year. Between the excellent exhibitions–both current and upcoming–and the changes afoot in the permanent collections, I think the latter resolution will not be a difficult one to fulfill.