Saturday, March 21, 2009


Located at 5th Avenue and 53rd The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA to close friends) is free on Friday's between 4:00 and 8:00. The gallery is one hundred percent free. This is not one of those things where they have suggested donations and it can be free, no my friends, this is where they are just standing by the door handing out tickets.

Now, while I say the museum is located at 5th Avenue and 53rd, if you arrive at 4:30, you might just want to do yourself a favour, and head straight for 6th Avenue and 54th steet. That's where you'll be joining the line to get your free ticket.

A literal blockbuster, the MoMA forces people all the way around the building in an attempt to create order to this free ticket madness. But don't worry – the line moves fast, never once stopping. It's no more of a line, than it is a stroll to the front. And then you're in.

This is where the real line begins. If you have a backpack, you will have to check it. A slightly neurotic man will tell you to line up in either line A, B, C, or D. And then he will yell at you for not being “tight to the right!” or not having your “shoulder against the wall!” Failure to do any of these things will cause him to lose count. I try to imagine his home life. I can not.

Now once you're through that – or you were smart enough to leave the backpack at home, you'll be able to stroll right in.

There are five floors of art here to explore. If you rush you can get through every room in two hours. If you take your time? Well – if you take your time, a single piece could take that long. But if you start talking about that piece, for those full two hours you can bet myself – or someone like me – will be listening to every word over your shoulder, silently giggling.

“You see, I understand that there are tables and chairs down there. They're all different, and all different types and different styles – but what does it mean?” / friend tries to explain what the sign had said / “Well, I know there's an explanation down there – but I just feel that I should be able to understand it without having to read something.”

Listening to people in art galleries is one of my biggest pleasures. Yes, I like to analyze too – but I'm fully aware, that you can't do it in public without coming off sounding a little bit ridiculous. I mean, if you want to understand a piece of art without having to read about it then you just look at it and you understand it. But if you really want to understand it as the artist intended then there is no way around reading what the artist has to say about it.

Follow the hipster can be a great game at an art gallery – so long as you understand the rules. Some other time in your life, be it at a bird watching conference, or a comic book conventions, or a fashion show you will be the “expert” and other people will follow you to hear all the ridiculous things you have to say. By playing follow the hipster, you give up all right to be upset with this person. Sometimes a pipe is a pipe. But not here, not at the MoMA.

There is a stunning photography exhibit here that chronicles the history of the form. Not only does it show photography through the ages, but it also gives detailed explanations for the printing process used throughout the years as well. Extreme closeup examples show the dot matrix of each image. You can view the similarities between magazine prints in the nineteen fifties and the modern ink jet printers. The differences between how photos are digitally developed today versus the silver negatives that were once used as as different as they are similar.

This single exhibit itself cries for more attention than a quick run-through can allow. Still, if you are pressed for time, passing through quickly is more important than skipping it all together.

One floor up, the paintings begin.

It is here in New York City's Museum of Modern Art that you will find many of the paintings you have studied throughout high school. Salvidor Dali's melting clock (which has a different, more profound name – something about future I believe), and Van Gogh's Starry Night are often on display here. I say often because from time to time they will be floating around Europe. I can only assume this occurs whenever you are there to see them. Yes, it's only when you want to see them that you can't. Sure they're there for everyone else but – and WHY would the museum send away both showpieces at the same time?! Never mind – I digress.

Even without those two, scheduled to return in time for the summer, there is a lot to see. Numerous works by Pablo Picasso line the walls. To the point that you are looking for a work by another artist – any other artist. And then you have Andy Warhol. His famed soup cans, and Marilyn Monroe call this museum their home.

Monet has a huge print that is beyond photographing, provided you don't want to stitch together numerous images.

The Museum of Modern Art has something to offer everyone – and it's your job to see it all. Best bring a pen, and get a map so you can check off each room as you pass through it.

Hey, it worked for me.


  1. I missed out on going there on my trip to NY, so I definitely have to go next time. Seems like you really loathe hipsters, which makes me laugh. You should probably avoid Boston.

    *Tip: Hipsters gather at our Institute of Contemporary Art, often looking ridiculous in giant lens-less eyeglasses and tight jeans sewn for a woman's body...

  2. I lived in NYC (lower east side) for 2 years and have travelled to Manhattan since I was a youngster in tight pants. Unfortunately, I haven't been to the MoMa (gasp!). I will make it a point next time. And since I'm a cheapass, you can expect to find me sashaying down the free ticket line straight through to Van Gogh's Starry Night. With my luck, it won't be there either!


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