At today’s media preview, I had a chance to tour the new Museum of Modern Art, set to open to the public this Saturday. Reviewing the new building, and calling it “one of the most exquisite works of architecture to rise in this city in at least a generation,” Nicolai Ouroussoff commented in today’s New York Times:
“The Museum of Modern Art is back. And just in time. The city has grown up since the Modern shut its doors to build its new home two and a half years ago. The hole left by the twin towers. A war in Iraq. A polarized electorate. Our culture is in a crisis as critical as any since the cold war period when Modernism reached its final, exuberant bloom.
That may be the reason the new Modern seems so comforting. Designed by the Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi with Kohn Pedersen Fox, the expanded museum is a serene composition that weaves art, architecture and the city into a transcendent aesthetic experience. Its crisp surfaces and well-proportioned forms clean up the mess that the building had become over the course of three expansions. No doubt the design will breathe new life into the museum’s collections, too.”
Architect Yoshio Taniguchi, addressing the media from a podium positioned in front of James Rosenquist’s F-111, this morning said, “My goal for the project was to create a total environment for people and art rather than an expression of a particular state of architecture.” Glenn Lowry, the director of MoMA said that Taniguchi “has exploded the museum open to the city, making an integral part of the dense urban environment in which we exist.”
Among the most famous items in the MoMA collection is Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (left), situated next to the artist’s The Olive Trees (both from 1889)
One of the many photographer’s in the museum this morning shoots an untitled work by Robert Gober (1991), she is lying in front of an untitled Christopher Wool work (1990).
A guest (lower right) examines the equally notable MoMA piece, Claude Monet’s
triptych Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond (1920), which now fills a prominent wall on the second-floor atrium.
A trip of pop works from the early 1960’s: (from left to right) Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl (1963) and Andy Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe (1962) & Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times (1963).
In a video gallery, Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests (1964 – 67).
A untitled work by Donald Judd (1989).
One of the guests at today’s opening, standing at a lobby atrium window, examines the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.
In the museum’s expanded outdoor garden, a Parisian subway entrance by Hector Guimard (dated from 1898).
Above and below, the exterior of the new Museum of Modern Art, on 53rd St. On the sidewalk outside the entrance, a guy wearing a large $20 bill sandwich board to promote the FreeMoMA.org website, protested the new $20 MoMA entrance fee.