Target stores sponsor free entry to the newly renovated Museum of
Modern Art
each Friday evening, last Friday we took advantage of the
offer. Given the usual cost is $20, this is a steal. The queue looked
immense but we were through the doors in less than 15 minutes; in less
than 30 minutes we were done with Heidi’s first bathroom call. What I
saw of the building exterior is unremarkable but once inside there is an
awe inspiringly high lobby. The place is very clean and white as one would
imagine and is packed to the ceiling with priceless treasures.

We assumed that, like air, the higher we got the thinner the crowds
would be, but the 5th floor was as packed as the first and I began to
wish I’d gone straight home from work. Heidi likes to spend a lot of
time contemplating paintings whereas I am more content to give each
one 10 seconds and check it off my mental ‘what I’ve seen in my life
list’ then carry on. Starry Night – check! Demoiselles d’Avignon –
check! Blank canvas with a provocative gash in the middle – check!
Suffice to say I’d finished the floor whilst Heidi was still on her
first room. The crowds were also partly to blame for my haste and
my coat (with its 2″ down layer) was baking my insides.

I decided to leave Heidi and go up to the 6th floor to see the special
exhibit. This was a stroke of genius as it was empty and cool. There
was a landscape architecture exhibition with an entire wall devoted to
Manchester City Center. This filled me with pride and put me in a much
better mood. I found the plans for Manchester were much more
impressive than the end result, I thought Piccadilly Gardens were cold
and sterile when I visited at Christmas and I think the same of
Exchange Square, they both seem to accentuate the drizzly grayness of
the place; but what do I know? – it seems concrete is de-rigueur once more.
After marveling at the plans for Bradford City Center, which is set to
become a futuristic wonderland in the next 20 years, I made a dash for
floor 4. Heidi’s legs can only take so much these days so I knew my
time was limited.

When I was 19, I’d try and soak up the serenity of a Rothko or embroil
myself in the tangled anarchy of a Pollock; nowadays I zip straight
past feeling sure the paint would have been put to better use
decorating lamp posts. As I shuffled through the crowds I was
briefly captivated by a chubby doctor of Otto Dix’s creation. Then I
stumbled upon Thomas Demand, another temporary exhibit. This area was
quiet so I slowed my pace and spent some time contemplating the
photographs and his method. He culls photos from the media, builds
realistic models of the scene in question from paper and card, huge
things with incredible intricacy, then photographs and destroys them.
Though the photographs were magnificent I couldn’t get over the
destruction of the models. How could he spend so much time building
something and then destroy it? I suppose I once did the same with

I bumped into Heidi as she descended to floor 4 and she told me I had
15 minutes before her legs and back gave out. I made a mad dash to
floor 3 and walked into one of the design galleries and got lodged in
the crowd. By the time I’d glanced a few sleek objects and prized myself
out I was so hot I needed to escape. I forced myself to walk through a couple
more galleries and then made my way downstairs to meet Heidi. As a teaser
it was a very successful visit and if I ever get another day off work I’ll take
myself back with a crisp $20 for a longer less stressful look.

One thought on “MOMA

  1. When Sofie and I went to MOMA we had the same crowd trouble. We went on a Saturday in a blizzard and half of New York had the same bright idea as us. So, even in terrible weather and having to pay $20 it can still be just as crowded. The reason is that the upper galleries contain the most popular stuff.

    Sofie and I were so put off that we didn’t even attempt to go in. We stuck to the lower galleries and, like you, had a really good time.

    I never saw the Manchester/Bradford plans. But I can tell you that Bradofrd is a complete and utter dump. I spent one week utterly depressing week doing work experience on the Telegraph and Argus newspaper in Bradford. For one of my assignments, the news editor sent me out to get ten quotes from Bradford residents for a story about Bill Bryson (who I think is from the area) who had said Bradford was the worst place he had visited in the world.

    I had to find and photograph ten people who disagreed. I think it took about three hours, with just about everyone I stopped agreeing with Bill and saying they were moving to Leeds and/or did most of their shopping there. I remember there were even boarded up shops on the high street.

    Any development in Bradford, even if it was just to knock everything down and start again, would be an improvement.

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