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Joan Miro: The Catalan Magician Remakes the World

Sandra Bertrand

Miro’s immersion into the prevailing Parisian scene was perfectly timed.  Andre Breton’s First Surrealist Manifesto was written in the fall of 1924, and “The Birth of the World” produced in 1925.  Predating by decades the “action painting” of Jackson Pollock, the background is a grey morass of pouring, brushing, flinging gestures to signal the explosive nature of creation, acting as the stage on which his floating shapes take their place.  Acquired by MOMA as a gift from the artist in 1972, it justifies its place of honor in this show.

Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction at MOMA

Sandra Bertrand

It's an old story, one that should have been relegated to the dustbins of history long ago, but the environment in which artists like Berthe Morisot, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo and Lee Krasner to name but a few grew up was rigidly defined.  Women were hardly solitary stars but marked by the liaisons, constellations if you will—familial, marital and otherwise—that allowed for their creative endeavors to flourish.  

Photographer Nan Goldin and a Long-Lost Era of New York Subculture

Sandra Bertrand

It’s easy to see Goldin as the heir apparent to Diane Arbus.  Both precocious, both raised by Jewish parents preoccupied with their own successes or obsessions, as young women they were, more often than not, left to their own devices.  Free to seek outlets to a world beyond the narrow scope of their upbringing, they chose a descent into a netherworld.  Whether through an insatiable curiosity in Arbus’ case or an obsessive dependency in Goldin’s, it was a dangerous journey.  

Picasso’s Sculpture Show at MOMA – The Artist’s Giant Playpen

Sandra Bertrand

Occupying the entire fourth floor galleries, the exhibit allows the spectator to experience many enthralling works in the round, returning to re-examine, question, and wonder at the prolific, unstoppable genius of the man.   A handy takeaway pamphlet with sketches and accompanying descriptions eliminates the need for wall notes.  This reinvention of gallery space to accommodate approximately 140 sculptures is the handiwork of curators Ann Temkin and Anne Umland, with the assistance of Virginie Perdrisot, Curator of Sculptures and Ceramics at the Musee National Picasso in Paris. 

MOMA Features Anti-Authoritarian Art From Eastern Europe, Latin America

Sandra Bertrand

If art for art’s sake is your main reason for visiting the Museum of Modern Art’s latest cross-current crazy quilt, Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960-1980, then this exhibit may not be for you.   But if art as persuasion, as process, as anti-authoritarian political protest whets your curiosity, then go.  It’s an in-your-face look backwards—when the Prague spring revolts were in full bloom and uprisings from Cuba to Argentina were creating seismic changes in public sensibility. 

The Paris of Toulouse Lautrec

Sandra Bertrand

The Paris of Toulouse Lautrec: Prints and Posters, the first Museum of Modern Art exhibition in 30 years dedicated solely to Lautrec, features over 100 examples of work created during the apex of his career.  It is a giddy but never glum celebration of the most colorful and notorious characters that inhabited his world and his genius at depicting them.  It’s primarily the dancers and aristocratic doyens, the prostitutes, publishers and pleasure-seekers of the night that captured his heart, and subsequently, his brush.  

Celebrating Women in Design at MoMA

Sandra Bertrand

“Designing Modern Women 1890-1990,” The Museum of Modern Art’s current exhibit from their third floor design department, begs the question of what came first—the chicken or the egg.  Is modern woman an independent spirit, totally responsible for her own evolution?  Or is she a willing, sometimes unwitting product of the collective consciousness?  Defining not only who she is but what drives her is a question that has inspired and intrigued designers the world over, and MOMA has gathered some of the most talented interpreters over the last century who took on the challenge.  

Rene Magritte—Magician of Dreams and Perception

Sandra Bertrand

It’s a disarming pictorial display, and one which was part of Magritte’s first major exhibit at the Galerie le Centaure in Brussels in 1927.  Executed with a finesse and economy of means that set the artist apart from surrealist compatriots of the fantastic and bizarre—like Max Ernst and Salvadore Dali—it became a precursor for many of his most disturbing images to come.  Masterful depiction aside, the exhibit was not a success and depressed by the outcome, Magritte moved to Paris for the next three years.  

Exploring the History of Punk Rock Through Fashion

Gabriella Tutino

Mannequins sporting colored wigs and wearing torn shirts, tartan pants, hardware-embellished dresses and trash bags line the walls; accompanying them are sound bites and video clips of Blondie, the Ramones, Sid Vicious and Patti Smith. This is the set-up for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest Costume Institution exhibit, “PUNK: From Chaos to Couture.”The exhibition takes a look at, and focuses on, the do-it-yourself aspect of punk fashion and how it influenced high fashion. 

Exhibiting Sheer Terror: 'The Scream' at the Museum of Modern Art

Loren DiBlasi

One of four Scream paintings from Munch’s The Frieze of Life cycle, this version from 1895 is the now famous pastel-on-board that sold for a whopping $120 million (give or take a few cents) in 2012. The headline-making sale represented not just the most expensive art work ever to be sold at auction, but also the persistently positive reputation of The Scream itself. Despite its bleak, maddening subject matter-- Munch’s attempt at reaching the darkest depths of his own soul-- The Scream now  joins the ranks of paintings such as Starry Night and The Mona Lisa as some of the most appreciated, adored works in all of art history. 

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