Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art (95)

The Museum of Modern Art, better known as MOMA, opened on 8 November, 1929, shortly after the great stock market crash in New York. It was founded by collectors and philanthropists Mary Quinn Sullivan, Lillie P.Bliss and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller with the clear aim of becoming the largest museum in the world and to help visitors understand and enjoy the most contemporary of modern art.

In fact, it was the world's first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. And thanks to its long history, today it is one of the most important collections that can be visited, along with the Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London and a few others.

The building that houses the MOMA was built in 1939 by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone to be expanded in 1951 by Philip Johnson, who also created the sculpture garden. Then in 1980 it was refurbished by Cesar Pelli and finally, in 2004, Yoshio Taniguchi made a tremendous expansion doubled its size and completely changed its appearance.

Under the direction of Alfred Barr, the first exhibition held in 1929 the museum presented works by Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat and Van Gogh with great success among New Yorkers. Since then the MOMA has expanded its collection and now exhibits paintings as well as sculptures, photographs, posters, films and other interesting formats.

Its works include those of famous artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Chagall, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Rodin, Miró, De Kooning, Dali, Pollock and Warhol, among others. From here, take your time and enjoy the unique experience of admiring them. If you do so with sensitivity, it makes you feel like something is moving inside you. It's art.

Of all its magnificent works, don't miss "Demoiselles d'Avignon" by Pablo Picasso, 1907. It is an exceptional work of great intensity that marked the beginning of Cubism and modern art. From left to right, you can see how each of the girls is becoming more angular, rougher... more Cubist.

Another essential canvas is "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889. Notice the contrast between the geometry of the village and the cypress embellishing the turbulent sky. Its large, vigorous brush strokes convey a unique sensation to the viewer.

From the surrealist Salvador Dalí, look at "The Persistence of Memory", 1931, better known as "soft watches". It is said that the artist was inspired by a Camembert cheese to soften the watches that appear in the painting, evoking the flexibility of memory and the passage of time.

Of the Dadaists, a must stop is the "Bicycle Wheel" by Marcel Duchamp, 1913. It was he who proposed raising a common object to the level of art. These are his famous ready-made, or manufactured objects. And the truth is that art is often a mental attitude that the viewer beholds. Just providing context to an object changes its status, right?

Another interesting work prior to the 50's is that of Henry Matisse, 1911 "The Red Studio". This great artist captured the essence of study and combined silhouettes of objects such as a chair, dresser or table in his paintings, fully painted, and always on a red background. The simplicity of colour and, his look, the pictorial game offers is just great.

In the second half of the 20th century, pay special attention to "Number 31" 1950 Jackson Pollock. It is one of his all overs. The strength and pace conveyed in his work can be aggressive at times, and although his way of creating seems spontaneous, Pollock never loses control of his dripping and knows how to change colours, strokes and consistency to create unique works.

Of the famous and showy Andy Warhol, don't miss "Marilyn Monroe", 1962. It is moving to find the icon that was Marilyn surrounded by typical Byzantine gold, with an almost magical aura. Warhol often used celebrities for his works, such as Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and Mao Tse Tung.

Among the expressionism of Pollock and Warhol pop art, there is a fantastic work called "Flag" by Jasper Johns, 1955. He was one of the pioneers in choosing everyday objects and fusing them with his work. More specifically, the artist used the American flag in several of his works, playing with stars and stripes incessantly.

As you can see, the MOMA is endless. Sometimes several visits are needed to see it all.

If you love modern and contemporary art, you should not miss the Guggenheim and the Whitney museums, both located on the Museum Mile.

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