The Museum of Modern Art in New York City provides a fantastic opportunity for people to view the work of masters. The MoMA opens its door every Friday night between 5:30 and 9:00 when people have a chance to wander through their galleries for free. Rooster and I stumbled across this splendid chance to look at famous pieces of art during our search for adventures in New York City. The museum recommends the public arrive at 6:00 to avoid standing in a long line. We showed up at 6:30, and the line was two blocks long. Our visit was the day after Thanksgiving. We were among the throng of tourists in town to join in the festivities. Renovations closed the MoMA for the past four months. Even native New Yorkers were looking forward to witnessing the New MoMA at no cost. Adult admission to the MoMA is twenty-five dollars. They offer a senior discount. Rooster and I could have got in for eighteen dollars at the old people rate. It pays to be an old person when it comes to getting a discount. Even with the deal, free is always better. (As we all know Rooster is cheap, cheap, cheap.)
We hopped on the crowded subway in Williamsburg and rode to Manhattan. Chris and Richard knew the perfect stop where we could get off the train near the museum. The sun had set, and there was a slight chill in the air when we spotted a sign advertising the New MoMA. The four of us crossed the street and stood in a line forming under the banner. The mass of people wrapped to the corner, and we still weren’t close to the entrance. The crowd of people wound around the side of the building like a long snake. I must compliment the museum staff. They managed to keep the crowd moving at a brisk pace. We found ourselves at the entrance of the MoMA with a pass in hand in less time than I expected. The wait outside the women’s room was another story. It’s the typical narrative the female population encounters when they must use the facilities in a crowded public space. Men suffer too. The guys had to wait outside the restroom leaning on the wall like stalkers.
Escalators are the fastest mode of transportation to carry visitors between floors. I had a bad experience with an escalator when I was a kid. This is not my favorite way to travel between levels in a many-layered building. The elevators were too crowded, and we only found one stairway in the entire museum. I’m sure they were around, but we didn’t want to take the time to look for them. We had a lot of art to see and only so much time to explore. I did okay with traveling up the escalator but coming down, I experienced vertigo. We started our adventure on the 5th floor. This is one of Chris’ favorite periods in modern art. He says this period in history is the time when it all started.
The 5th floor is dedicated to art from 1880 until 1940. My eye was drawn to a black and white painting done by Pablo Picasso. I like to look at his paintings, but I admit I don’t get the meaning behind his work. The black and white picture he drew didn’t seem finished at the top portion of the painting. I prefer the works of Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dalí. Both artists have paintings on this floor. One of my favorite pictures of all time is Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” I found it hanging on this floor. I wish I could have gotten a better look at it. I wanted to squeeze in closer, but there were so many people crowded around the painting. I could only view it from a distance.
On the 4th floor, I got a look at Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup can. The galleries displaying art from the 1940-1980s were found on this level of the MoMA. One by Jackson Pollack’s paintings was on this floor. We also walked through a gallery where Claude Monet’s paintings were displayed. We moved to the lower stories, where we encountered expressions of art in photography and electronic media. The third floor was mostly black and white photographs. Some of these pictures are famous. I found this section of the museum one of the most interesting. The second floor was devoted to contemporary art from the 1980s. Two of my favorite photos were included on the third floor.
The most fascinating thing I took away from the MoMA was the contrast and similarities between the art we experienced in the museum and the art we saw on the streets in Bushwick. The paintings at the MoMA seemed like postage stamps compare to the murals painted on the sides of buildings in Bushwick. Both environments were filled with creative energy. There were similarities. One of the exhibitions looked like it might have been inspired by the Bushwick Market. The most significant difference was that while the Bushwick art was a product of its surroundings, the art at the MoMA could be moved without affecting its meaning. The mural painted on the side of the structures in Brooklyn is as much a part of the building as the bricks and mortar that hold them together. The Monet’s and Picasso’s at the MoMA could easily be moved to another gallery in a different museum without affecting the integrity and meaning of the art.
We stopped by the gift shop before we left the MoMA. There were a lot of trinkets to buy, but we decided to save our money. We all decided to catch the subway back to Queens, eat leftovers, and watch a Christmas movie. Chris was It’s a Wonderful Life virgin. Rooster and I couldn’t believe he’d never seen the film. We decided it was time he saw the Christmas classic. It was fun watching my favorite Christmas movie of all time, sitting on my sons’ couch in Queens. The only distraction was the rumble of the subway as it passed by outside his window.