MOMA

On our third day in NYC, much of NYC celebrated St. Patricks Day by dressing in green and watching a parade that lasted 7 1/2 hours. Yes, 7 1/2 hours. We watched the parade, but only part of it, spent some time in Central Park with a dear friend of ours who lives in Connecticut, had a great lunch with him and two others, and went to the Museum of Modern Art.

The MOMA was interesting (and not always in a good way) and there wasn’t much there that I could relate to. For example, the photo above is of my husband looking at a painting by Barnett Newman (American 1905-1971) titled Vir Heroicus Sublimis, which is in Latin for some reason, and is translated “Man, heroic and sublime”. The title refers to an essay the artist wrote where he asks, “If we are living in a time without a legend that can be called sublime, how can we be creating sublime art?” The painting is in response to this question. “Huh?”.

I had to read the description 3 times and I still didn’t “get it”. I still don’t. I don’t see why an artist can’t just let a viewer enjoy or relate to a painting in their own way, instead of trying to force a meaning on the viewer through a lengthy explanation of the painting. But that’s me.

There wasn’t much representational art in the MOMA. We saw the usual Warhols and Picassos. I do love the Abstract Expressionists, especially the NY guys, but there was hardly anything from that group. I did take a couple more photos of paintings I liked, the one below is Emile Bernard (French 1868-1941) titled Iron Bridges at Asnieres and was painted in 1887. I love the graphic style of this painting and the colors.

An hour and a half was long enough for us at the MOMA and then we walked out the doors and rejoined the NYC St. Patrick Day revelers. What a mass of civilization!

We stopped by Rockefeller Center and just generally wandered around and absorbed our surroundings. By now it was 5:00 p.m. and we were in Midtown and couldn’t get a cab, so we took the subway back to our hotel, rested up and went out to dinner at a great Italian restaurant.

I write this at my computer back in Houston and things are pretty busy as tomorrow school starts back up for our son, and our daughter heads back to college. I haven’t yet had the “quiet time” needed for everything I saw on our trip to gel together in my mind. On the one hand I love the traditional European and American paintings but on the other I loved how much of the NYC I saw had a contemporary feel to it, by that I mean our hotel interiors, the clipped boxwoods outside the hotels and residences, and some of the restaurants. I’ll need a few days for all this to settle in my mind, but that is one of the great things about going on vacation, it shakes up my head a bit!

3 Comments

  1. March 21, 2010 / 6:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us! I love NYC and hope to make a trip soon.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOAN!!

  2. March 22, 2010 / 6:22 am

    Enjoyed your photos and comments on New York. My husband and I try to go to the city each summer when we go to New Jersey. Love the Met museum. Would love to explore it for days. I am with you when you mentioned modern art. If the painting’s message is confusing or not understandable until the artist explains it then I feel the artist hasn’t been able to translate his/her message through the medium he/she used but rather had to verbally explain their intent.

  3. March 23, 2010 / 11:25 pm

    Thanks for the tour, Joan — and the shot of the Newman. He’s certainly one of the under-appreciated greats. I don’t often get to see the scale of the works, which your picture does justice to.

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