Where art happens – MoMA New York
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is a highly vibrant temple of contemporary art
The classical museum is a place which is often far more than merely static. Duster fragrance, museum guards in uniform, and silence blend into a mothball atmosphere. There’s plenty of room for awe and historical interest, but it doesn’t usually have such a particularly vivid effect. The attribute “past” is, depressingly, becoming synonymous with “dead”.
But there is no way that will happen in the New Yorker Museum of Modern Art (MoMA for short). In the 53rd street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Midtown, Manhattan, regular conversions and extension work are enough to ensure that things won’t be too quiet at MoMA. Most recently, the Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi got to expand the museum, between 2002 and 2004. The next 3,700 square metres are expected to be completed between 2018 and 2019. In addition to new showrooms, an extension of the ground floor is planned. The museum’s director, Glenn D. Lowry, has also told the New York Times that the sculpture garden will, in future, be “a free, publicly accessible area which is attractive and which offers a cultural programme”. The fact that the American Folk Art Museum, highly acclaimed for its architecture, completed only in 2001, had to be demolished to allow for the new MoMA conversion, will, despite all the protests, cement rather than ruin the glittering reputation of the New York Art Temple.
The Museum, founded in 1929 by Abby Rockefeller, the daughter-in-law of the super-rich oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, together with two other fellow activists, has been at its present location since 1939. At the time, the architects Edward Durell Stone and Philip Goodwin developed the minimalist construction, which is commonly known as the world’s first modern museum building. With the construction of the original building in Midtown, Manhattan, one of the things that happened was that Abby’s husband, John D. Rockefeller II, after ten years agreed to finance the modern art museum himself.
Today, the MoMA is one of the leading institutions for modern art, if not THE leading one. Van Gogh, Cézanne, Klimt, Kokoschka, Picasso, Lichtenberg, Warhol, Kandinsky, Schiele, Degas, Arp, Moore, Export, Mommartz, Rist, the list is practically endless – in short: everything with a rank and name in modern and contemporary art is represented in MoMA. In addition to paintings, drawings and sculptures, architecture and design exhibits also have their place in the collection which comprises a total of approx. 1,500,000 works; a VW Beetle, for example. In addition to this there are approx. 22,000 films and four million still images from movies and video art. For some time, MoMA has also hoarded computer games, from Pac-Man to Minecraft.
MoMA may not be a large museum, or a rigid and persisting one – it’s the exact opposite: even those who try to get an overview of it on the website www.moma.org soon realise that this is not a traditional construction site for the obsequious educated classes, but a hyperactive anthill which offers all modern and contemporary forms of expression and stage. Just two examples: the “PopRally” series, with exhibitions, performances and appearances of modern day artists, or the various educational museum offers for all age groups and target groups. MoMA alone could be worth more than a typical one or two-week to New York.