Modern art in new dimensions
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has been appearing in a new form since October 2019. In expanded galleries and rooms, the most influential art museum of our time is shown a new dimension in artistic creation.
The history of MoMA
The idea of bringing contemporary art to the Big Apple came up in 1928 – at the lunch of three New Yorkers, Abby Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. Less than a year later, the Museum of Modern Art opened on the twelfth floor of an office building at 730 Fifth Avenue as one of the first institutions in the United States to focus exclusively on the exhibition of modern art. The MoMA thus entered a previously unknown area: the first works to be included in the collection were eight (mostly German expressionist) prints. In 1934, the museum received the legacy of the late co-founder Lillie P. Bliss – several extraordinary works of post-impressionism that can still be seen in the galleries today.
The Museum of Modern Art is an integrative place that celebrates the openness and tolerance of art; a place that welcomes different cultural, artistic, social and political positions and encourages reflection; a place that deals with the art, creativity and topics of our time.
The greatest works of art of the 20th century
Over the years, the collection has been supplemented by important pieces from the 20th century: the works of great names such as Monet, Mondrian and Miró can be found alongside works by young and previously unknown artists. Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907) – a portrait of Parisian prostitutes, Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889) and Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair” are just a few of the masterpieces that the museum houses. In 1996, the collection also included Andy Warhol’s iconic pop art work “Campbell’s Soup Cans”: 32 acrylic cans, arranged in four rows of eight cans. With more than 140,000 works collected, the MoMA has developed into the world’s most influential museum for modern and contemporary art. Until 2013 “the Scream” (1895) by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch was one of the highlights of the collection for many art lovers. In 2012, however, an anonymous bidder bought the picture for almost $ 120 million – the highest price ever for a piece of art.
❞ With more than 140,000 art pieces, the MoMA has developed into the world’s most influential museum for modern art.❝
The MoMA on an expansion course
After almost 90 years of museum operation, the MoMA was temporarily closed in June 2019 for the planned renovation work. The spectacular expansion and renovation with which the museum reinvented itself spanned four months – not least in order to reach the younger generation. A total of $ 450 million had been invested in it until the reopening on October 21, 2019. After expanding left, right, and up, the museum grounds span an entire block of streets in Manhattan. The more than 60 new galleries are finished with granite, marble and walnut wood; everything looks lighter and airier. The entrance area also shines in a new, large-scale shine, with more daylight, floor-to-ceiling windows and great attention to detail.
❞ The expansion allows us to rediscover the museum experience. ❝
— Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Art and culture for everyone
The renovation increased the total area of the museum by a third – to a total of 66,000 square meters. While previously only a fraction of the works of art could be seen, the entire collection is now to be shown in choreographed rotation: for most of the year and a half, most of the walls have been hung every six months. This creates an incentive for the approximately three million visitors a year to repeat the visit to the museum at regular intervals – like in a news feed that is regularly re-sorted. In addition to the expanded art offering, new spaces for performance, dance, music and cinema screenings were created; the “Project Gallery” shows a changing program of art and culture. For the first time in the history of the MoMA, an entire floor can be visited completely free of charge. This is also intended to give visitors who cannot afford the entry of US $ 25 an insight into modern art.
The new MoMA is supposed to be more than just a physical extension. It is intended to represent a new way of understanding the art of our time and sharing it with the outside world. Despite its feminine roots, the MoMA has long been a male-dominated, patriarchal-western institution. After the renovation, more women and minorities are to be depicted, who come not only from the USA, but also from Africa, Asia and South America, and thus focus on the tolerance and openness of the modern understanding of art.
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