One of the other experiences bluebelle and I shared was our first time at MOMA, in New York. I've wanted to go to MOMA for a while now and it was a must-see for me on this trip. We went (along with our dear friend Heather) on a day (that was a public holiday here in the US).
First of all, it was so heartening to see how many people make a day of it by going to a museum. The state of the arts, if our experience at the MOMA is any indication, is healthy- even in tough times such as these. It was really wonderful to see so many people taking hours out to appreciate art, telling their little children about famous paintings and to watch people of all ages, types and nationalities wandering around the museum.
I couldn't help but think back to some of the beautiful pieces of art that lie dustily neglected in museums in India because of archaic rules, bad management and an unfriendly user-experience (I'm not picking just on India but that is the context I know best). The MOMA does things right- one of the marvels for me was something as simple as the coat check system which managed to place and retrieve thousands of bags and coats in an an extremely timely, efficient and friendly manner. These small things make a big difference.
There was plenty of art I really liked- including Picasso who I always try to appreciate but never really GET. My favorites were Matisse's 'red studio', Jasper John's 'Map' and some beautiful new finds (for me) like Balla's 'Street light' But my favorite was Klimt's 'The Park'.
Very different from the quintessential Klimt in my mind, but yet very Klimt. The picture does not do it justice - but I imagine the beauty of the varied specks of green is difficult to render on film anyway.
Bluebelle and I wandered for several hours until we came across the following pieces of art that we immediately categorized into 'WTF art'. A bunch of wool and lint on the floor with mirrors in between? A string in the shape of trapeziod? A pink plastic ledge propped up against a wall? I don't get it, dude. I know that there is probably some deep explanation for it but our first reaction was "really?". So there, I've outed myself and bluebelle as philistines.
The bs explanations for each of these pieces just added to our incredulity. Here is the description of the pink ledge called (for some reason) "The Absolutely Naked Fragrance" (John McCracken). This is what the pink plastic plank ( a far better, alliterative to boot title in my opinion) represents:
"The polished resin surface recalls the aesthetic of 1960's southern California surfboard and Kustom Kar cultures, the title was drawn from advertising slogans in fashion magazines. "
(ok so we have somewhat of a reason for that title)
"The plank's interaction with both the floor and the wall is meant to call attention to the space being occupied by both viewer and object. I see the plank as existing between both worlds, McCracken says, the floor representing the physical world of standing objects, trees, cars, buildings, human bodies and everything, and the wall representing the world of the imagination, illusionistic painting space, human mental space and all that.'
Do you see all that in this below?
Anyway, the WTF art (as bluebelle and I will forever call it), the stunning design section and the magnificent works of art in the giant, cool spaces of the MOMA building all came together to make a great experience and definitely a highlight of the New York trip.
I didn't get to copy down the explanation for the next WTF piece but following from an idea from my sister (who attempted -with her art-history chops- to come up with some sort of understanding of this), I challenge/ invite you to write a suitably arty explanation of what I will call 'Stretchy purple string':
What would the little plaque next to this say, if you were the curator at MOMA? Do weigh in below.