Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Seeing the Modern Masters in Person at MoMA

Robert Delauney

Earlier this year was the first time I'd ever visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and what I experienced there was life changing. No images in any book, or online can do justice to any single piece of what hangs in this museum. For me, seeing this historical art in person not only answered many of my questions (some I didn't even know that I had) they also became fuel for further research and inquiry.

Van Gogh

It enabled me to see how thick one artist applied his paint to the canvas


versus another.


That even a small portion of a much larger work could reveal so much technical detail and beauty. I found myself looking closely and photographing the smallest of details - imagining that multiple visits would reveal more and more within each piece.


I could easily see how an artist chose to finish the edges of a painting,

Piet Mondrain

and how pigments weren't always consistent and that mistakes, err, unconscious choices, were part of the creative process.

Matisse Drips

I think part of me expected these works to all be perfect and pristine to to see a paint drip on a Matisse made me feel like I din't have to try SO HARD all of the time to be perfect. (I drive myself crazy)

Piet Mondrain

That "finished" when used to describe a painting, doesn't really exist until the artist has died.

Persistence of Memory

I learned that some works were much smaller than their perceived size,


and others larger than could have been imagined. (While I'm not typically a fan of impressionism, I cried uncontrollably when I saw this painting of Waterlillies by Monet.)


That things I thought I liked, or understood were utterly incomprehensible to me in the flesh.


That something I'd held no previous respect for could actually leave quite an impression on me. (My response to this was "Well played Warhol, Well played.") 

Starry Night

That I could so easily gain access to the 2nd most valuable piece of art in the entire world. (The Mona Lisa being #1)

Piet Mondrian

My biggest take away for the day was the impact that this small painting had on me. In its ordered neo-plasticic rule-ladened rigidity, I found joy. (This is Piet Mondrian's Composition II in Red and Blue created in 1929.) 

Whether you are an artist or not, I urge you to spend at least a little time on the 5th floor of MoMA. If you can prove you are a working artist, you can become a member for only $50 instead of $75.

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