Every museum has a story to tell but no story is better than New York’s Museum of Modern Art. At MOMA you are free to discover the lives and careers of world renowned artists like Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Kahlo, Monet, Cezanne, Pollock, and Monk among many. When visiting the Museum of Modern Art for the first time you may be surprised, even shocked at what you see in the many galleries. The most rewarding way to experience all that MOMA has to offer is by spending several hours, even days wandering the museum exploring the many works of art. You can’t help but be amazed!
The Museum of Modern Art began with a group of three friends who had an idea to open an art gallery. They were Abby Rockefeller and her two friends Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Emily Bliss. At first, the gallery was small, upstairs on the second floor of Abby Rockefellers home. Shortly thereafter Alfred Barr was hired as the Artistic Director and the museum really began to take shape. Located in the heart of Manhattan on West 53rd Street between 5th and 6th avenues, The New York Museum of Modern Art is easily accessible for all.
Since opening in 1929 MOMA has seen over a million visitors seeking to explore all art forms old and new. The first gallery show at MOMA saw more that 45,000 visitors and it has since been the same. The Museum of Modern Art has something to offer people of every age, political background, and heritage. MOMA indeed is the museum for artists of the world. Walking through the museum you can’t help but be aware of the world around you. All of the works are contending for your attention and it may seem you will never get to see it all. In fact, it takes hours to see the entire museum. It’s not really something that can be accomplished in a single day.
At MOMA you can explore all visual mediums including film and media, photography, architecture, wood and furniture, abstract forms, sculpture, drawings, painting, etching, and prints. MOMA has many different ideas of what art is but everything in the collection has somehow shaped the course of modern art. Pieces like Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Paul Cezanne’s The Bather, and The Red Studio by Matisse are just a few of the more important historical paintings you can see on display at MOMA. When you first see a painting you remember studying in school, it takes your breath away. It gives you an unbelievable feeling to actually be standing right in front of it, being able to see each brush stroke as if it were painted yesterday.
On display are all sorts of strange and wonderful things. The adventurous spirit of MOMA has allowed chairs, propeller blades, house wares, an Apple iPod, a wheelchair by Kawasaki, and even a wetsuit to be on display. You can even see the 1949 Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle on display at MOMA. Traditional mediums are not the only thing the Museum of Modern Art considers to be art. You have to think with an open mind when visiting the museum and realize that everything, no matter how small or unusual was designed by someone and is in a way a form of art.
If you are into photography, film, or media you will absolutely love all that MOMA has to offer. Browse books and books of photos, view hundreds of postcards, and experience a bit of pop art when wandering the photography galleries. Part of MOMA’s collection includes over 22,000 films and more than 50,000 prints and illustrated books. At the MOMA theater you can discover a hundred years of film including silent and stills. The theater does play movies but you have to get a ticket in person at the showing. For more information on film showings you can call MOMA at (212) 708-9400.
If you like printing and presswork you will be impressed by the size of the collection. The print room and study center are open by appointment only but if you get a chance to go, you must! In the print room you will find thousands of prints by artists like Picasso, Warhol, Kee Kee Smith, Edward Monk, Matisse. Discover the many mediums of presswork in lithography, woodcuts, screen-printing, silk-screening, and etching. You can also buy prints at MOMA; an affordable way to own a replica of the real thing.
On nice days you can also visit the Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Memorial Garden and there are plenty of places to eat and drink within the museums walls. Choose from Café 2 serving Italian cuisine, Terrace 5 a full service café, or The Modern with light cuisine in a cozy dining room with a bar.
Visiting MOMA is an entire physical and emotional experience, one that will not be quickly forgotten. MOMA has one of the largest, finest, and most impressive collections of art in the world with more than 150,000 individual pieces and more than 4 million film stills. At the Museum of Modern Art you will be dared to explore and engage your brain and you can begin to understand the impact that art has on life and the world. Art is like life painted on canvas and it can be thrilling time and time again. You have to allow yourself to be engaged by the many works of art that MOMA has to offer and only then will you really understand what art is all about.
You can buy tickets to the Museum of Modern Art in advance by calling (212) 220-0505 or by visiting the museum website at http://www.moma.org. Film tickets cannot be purchased in advance but in person at the showing. If you are lucky enough to be a member, museum admission and many of the services are free to you. MOMA can also accommodate large and small groups from schools and the community. Programming includes educational and historical, lectures, guided and private tours, and family tours as well. If you bring a bag expect to wait a bit longer in line than usual. All bags have to be searched for security reasons and it is just easier to not bring one at all.
If you prefer, you can also try MOMA Audio for free. MOMA Audio is a remote like device that you carry around the museum with guided tours. There are 4 programs available daily that allow you to look and hear at the same time. You won’t have to worry about having a guide moving you onto the next work before you’re ready. Each program is also broadcast on iTunes.
All of the museum galleries handicapped accessible and also include Braille books, books in large print, and programming for deaf adults, seniors, and the developmentally challenged. At MOMA there is something for everyone and no two experiences are the same.
If you want to take a piece of art or a piece of MOMA home with you there are several shops to choose from right inside the museum. The MOMA Design and Book Store offers a wide variety of art reproductions and design items as well as 2000 art books. MOMA Books, located on the second floor overlooking the main lobby offers visitors over 1,500 new design and art books. If you are looking to do some serious gifting or redecorating the MOMA Design Store is the place. This store is actually located across the street and includes many items for sale. You can purchase gifts, house wares, design items, replicas, jewelry, and other accessories. There is also another MOMA Design Store located in Soho that includes works and reproductions by many traditional designers.
If you plan on driving to the museum you must know that there is no parking and MOMA does not have its own garage. It is much easier to park nearby in the 1345 Garage on West 54th Street (under the Ziegfeld Theatre) or take the subway and walk. MOMA shows us that art is alive and well today, right in New York City.
So spend an hour, an afternoon, or even a whole week visiting the museum. The museum is open daily from 10:30am-5:30pm (closed Tuesdays) and is open until 8pm on Fridays. You are allowed to take photos but flash is not allowed. For the artists out there, sketching in pencil is fine (no ink), cell phones and smoking are not permitted, and the Abby Rockefeller sculpture garden is closed during bad weather. General admission is $20, seniors are $16, students with ID are only $12, and 16 and under are admitted free. Every Friday from 4pm-8pm admission is free sponsored by Target Stores but you must get your ticket at the door.