Gone To The Museum Of Modern Art


"As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed."
--
Vincent Van Gogh

When we started planning this trip in March, I knew there was a short list of things I could not miss when I was in New York. As I mentioned yesterday, my favorite artist is
Vincent Van Gogh, and what many would consider his most famous is housed in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The Starry Night was one of the top items on my list.

The MoMA is a six story building in Midtown Manhattan that is often called the most influential modern art museum in the world. It is recommended to start at the top of the museum and work your way down, so that was our approach.

On the top floor was a large special exhibition of
Willem de Kooning artwork. It showed the development of de Kooning's abstract expressionistic style. I felt his work to be hit or miss. Unfortunately, there were no photos in this exhibit.


Going down one floor, we walked into the Painting and Sculpture I, which is the best part of the museum. In the first area we walked in,
Georges Seurat's The Channel at Gravelines, Evening was on the wall.


From a distance, this painting was pretty awesome, but up close, I really loved looking at the small dots that made the final composition.


There was a wall in the center of this room. I could see a small crowd gathered in front of it, and I knew immediately what was on the other side. It was Vincent Van Gogh's
The Starry Night.


As I mentioned
when I talked about Van Gogh's work in the Met, I love the textural qualities and wonderful expressive brushstrokes that he uses in his paintings. In what many consider his magnum opus, he depicts the view outside his sanitarium room window at night. The image that he depicts conjures up the thoughts of destiny that we all wonder about. Over a quiet village, there is a violent swirling scene with the stars. It is a painting that while static still seems to be moving.


As a three panel painting,
Claude Monet's Water Lilies was very impressive.


I had no idea
Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory was in this museum. I also didn't realize how small of a painting it was.


In the Painting and Sculpture II section on the fourth floor, there was some pretty great stuff as well. For some reason,
Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans was not on display today, but a couple of his other pieces were. Both Double Elvis and Gold Marilyn were shown on this floor.


I also got up close and personal with
Jasper Johns' Flag. I could see the newspaper and cloth he used to make the flag. It was pretty cool.


Jackson Pollock is well known for his drip paintings, and One: Number 31, 1950 is one of the largest ones he ever did.


The third floor had many great examples of design from this century. One of my favorites was the often imitated and well-loved logo
I Love NY. The original concept sketch by Milton Glaser was from 1976.


One of the great special exhibits they have going right now on the second floor is about
Diego Rivera. He painted eight mini murals for an exhibition, and they had five of them on display. (Also, no photography.)


The Museum of Modern Art is an incredible museum. There's no way I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. It's collection is wonderful, it's audio tour is free through an iPhone app, and the gift shop is probably the coolest museum store I've ever seen.

I would've paid the purchase price to see
The Starry Night alone. In fact, I had to go back to the painting a few times to look at it again. Despite the build up and anticipation I had, it did not disappoint. Seeing this for the first time is like seeing stars, destiny, and death in a brand new way. Van Gogh thought death was the destination of life. In the afterlife, he felt we could go to the stars as easily as we can go to a place on a map. I think his work is out-of-this-world, and as Don McLean sang in his song about the Dutch artist, "I could've told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."
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