by Thomas Redding
The Museum of Modern Art is located in Midtown, Manhattan in New York City. It features many permanent exhibitions, as well as temporary ones across six floors of space. It is one of the most highly acclaimed modern art museums in the world, and features some of the most famous pieces of modern art.
Residing on the fifth floor of the museum is Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” My attendance this past week was the first, so I was very much looking forward to seeing this painting.
Painted from his bedroom window, “Starry Night” shows what many think might be an interpretation of his depression. It can be seen in the aggressive swirls of the sky, in which, he might be trying to convey that all this darkness keeps coming back around to him. The stars, however, could represent a few things in his life that provide some hope. Van Gogh most likely painted this from memory, because he wouldn’t have had enough light to paint this in the early hours of the day. It is one of his most famous works, and was added to the museum’s permanent collection in 1941.
My next endeavor took me into a room that was dedicated to music posters from the 1970s. It featured an entire wall of what looked to be 11 by 17 inch posters. This was a very interesting era of art.
Everything was very psychedelic and bubbly, which made sense paired alongside the uprising of LSD. Just outside this room was a display of many unique chairs from the same era. Some large, some small and some didn’t even look like they would hold someone up, because the physics didn’t make sense. I assume this was the intention of the artist, as they were an entire series getting stranger in shape and material along the path of chairs.
This led me into another music section that featured The Beatles, as well as Jimmy Hendrix and The Grateful Dead. All three were very well known for their album artworks and stylistic images of that era. They paved the way for artwork and music working as one.
The museum also includes sculptures and other forms of three-dimensional art. One piece that really stood out to me was by the artist Piero Manzoni, titled “Artist’s Shit.” The artist created 90 tin cans measuring about two by three inches and filled them with his own fecal matter. Interesting, for sure. The artist had been exploring the relationship between art production and human production, and wanted to create something that was incredibly intimate with the creator. I really enjoyed this piece, as I found it quite humorous.
One thing that I found really interesting about my experience at the MoMA was the contrast between artists. Some used very abstract ways to describe their inner emotions, and some used very literal, realistic forms to describe an object or scene before them. Since there is no “correct way” to make art, the possibilities to fill that space in-between are endless, and the art that inspires me today are some of these amazing artists in this museum.
I highly recommend making a day trip to this museum, but be sure to bring student identifications, as it’s a bit cheaper for students. This was the best museum experience I’ve ever had.
The art in The Museum of Modern Art connects with individuals because of the modern artwork, and even without understanding the meaning behind the paintings, they can still be appreciated. To check out some of the upcoming exhibitions, go to www.MoMA.org and take a look at what’s to come.