Tuesday, August 18, 2009

NYC MoMA: Tall Building, Many Things.

NYC 01: MoMA

Being greeted by Tacita Dean’s ghostly sailing vessel diptych was a great start to a long afternoon at the NY MoMA. Since I like to start from the top, the look down onto both her work and the Song Dong installation, “Waste Not,” made me feel a little anxious. Song Dong's piece made me want to leave and purge my apartment of even more items from my already shrinking collection. Ironic, considering any trash leaving my apartment may end up in someone else’s house as part of a collection later shown in an installation ... even so, I can’t bring myself to hold onto that much material to show as a piece on the floor of a museum. A good counter installation might be to put a purse and single backpack in the middle of a gallery and title it, “Self-contained.” Would that be a luxury of the west? I don’t think so, not completely.

Moving on.

I saw eager museum-go-ers being measured by a neatly-dressed man for Roman Ondak’s Performance 4. One visitor would go up to the wall of a room whose walls are covered with a reverse milky-way. The man would hold his hand over his or her head, he stopped in an expressionless pose with the grinning participant, then continued to record the visitor’s height with a mark, name, and date on the wall. I’d love to see a really large door-frame for this project.

That performance was preceded by high-ceilinged halls of small treats. The collection of contemporary drawings from the Judith Rothschild Foundation, "Compass in Hand," was filled with classic examples of artists like Lewitt and Marden.

The design exhibits, "Rough Cut: Design Takes a Sharp Edge" and "What was good design? MoMA's message 1944-56" also held reminders of enduring shapes created with very specific jobs in mind. The bike rack and the enclosed ball-bearing system particularly caught my pedalophilic eye.

Other names of note:

Shahzia Sikander - Beautiful watercolor & gouache drawings packed with symbols. Her combination of precisely rendered details with open areas of free-flowing, washy color caught my attention.

Andre Derain - Go team Fauv.

Steven Levine - Ribbon-bike rack designer!

Frantisek Kupka - Though not taught about him, seeing a few of his works on display will have me looking into his collection for his varied yet always carefully colored approaches to abstraction and figures.

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