The New York Museum of Modern Art re-opened its doors to its visitors last week, October 20, after four months of renovations. The opening ceremony for the new museum was spectacular, aims to offer a different experience to its visitors with its new mission and structure.
A Brief History of the Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art first opened its doors in 1929 with the initiative of three innovative art collectors known as the Daring Ladies; Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The museum director of the period, Alfred H. Barr described the museum as a medium to support the audience in understanding the visual arts of the time. Reactions to the museum’s opening were very positive. In 1939, the museum moved to its current location in Manhattan, located on 53rd Street. The renovation which started in 2016, continued as long as the museum was open, and in June 2019 it was completely closed to visitors.
New Museum, New Experiences, New Discoveries
Renovation of the new museum is realized by an interdisciplinary architectural design company; Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s collaboration with Gensler for $ 450 million. The aim of the renovation was not only to construct a completely new structure or just to create a more exhibition space but to redesign the art experience throughout the museum. Thanks to the new gallery areas added in the building, the exhibition capacity of the museum has increased by thirty percent, before around 1500 works were exhibiting and now 2500 works are exhibiting with the new galleries. The curators revised all the art collection for the new museum and present to visitors very interesting alternative combinations. In the restructured galleries, the works that have never been exhibited before are presenting for the first time. One of the most important and the most talked-about topics of curators is the distribution of the works throughout the museum. Artworks made by different mediums such as photography, installation, painting, and sculpture are all exhibited together. Within this new attitude, it is possible to see the artworks that are not produced in the same period but now it is possible to see the works that are related in terms of ideas, techniques, topics, etc. The selection of the exhibited artworks also is chosen delicately to provide an equal distribution of the artists regarding their gender, race, and geography. With this new attitude, the new museum promises to suggest a different and an alternative outlook to modern and contemporary art.
Another museum’s new attitude (apart from Surrealist Art History) is to avoid naming the galleries as -isms. Rather than presenting the works and artists in a segregated manner in the context of art history, it is quite remarkable that they bring together different disciplines by offering alternative combinations of artworks without being bound to a single medium. While the permanent exhibitions of the collection are changed less frequently, the works of the collection will change every eight months in line with the new target of the museum.
New Interactive Areas
The entrance lobby of the museum is designed to communicate with the people walking on the 53rd street of New York. Large windows opening out to the street are inviting the audience to the museum where they can visit the ground floor free of charge. The museum’s entrance lobby features extensive resting areas and hosts two temporary exhibitions. A solo show by Michael Armitage, includes eight paintings and another exhibition entitled ‘Energy’ gathers designers and artists from different disciplines and questions the relationship between energy and energy-power.
Another new area of the museum is where visitors can easily stop by and ask questions, have a conversation with the artists and experience the art practice is called the Visitor Studio / People’s Studio. This interactive place, which forms a bridge between visitors, artists, artworks and art ideas, makes art more accessible. In this field, various trainings are given in parallel or different subjects with the current exhibitions. In this way, the audience can exchange ideas in an environment where they can be involved instead of just seeing and leaving the museum.
Tops of the Museum and the New Combinations
The first of the most admired exhibitions of the new museum is Matisse’s Swimming Pool. The exhibition consists of artists’ collages produced after the 1950s. The title of the exhibition is based on Matisse’s personal story of creating his imaginary pools. Figurative approaches are exhibiting with the typographic collages.
Another laudable permanent exhibition of the museum is called Transfigurations and demonstrates the museum’s globalizing attitude. In this particular exhibition by women artists who believe in the transformative power of art are brought together. Artists such as; Jo Baer, Ana Mendieta, Marlene Dumas, and Zofia Vinuna are using different mediums in their artworks and are from diverse geographies.
The exhibition called Around Les Demoiselles Avignon is one of the most frequently discussed combinations of the new museum. The three most talked artists of the exhibition are; Pablo Picasso, Louis Bourgeoise and Faith Ringgold. Picasso’s provocative painting of ‘Young Women of Avignon’ is exhibiting by Louis Bourgeoise’s Quarantania I, 1947-53, and next to Faith Ringgold’s American People Series # 20: Die, 1967. This exhibition is a great evidence of the museum’s new approach of suggesting an alternative method of exhibiting the artists who lived/lives in different periods and raised in different cultures. All can be fall under the terms of women, power and cultural diversity.
Temporary Exhibitions Worth Seeing
David Tudor’s sound installation ‘Rainforest’ that is being screened at the museum is among the most popular of the other seven temporary exhibitions. Everyday objects hanging from the ceiling combine with various sounds to create an almost unlimited and endless space. The installation has an interactive relationship with the audience and offers an ecologically balanced sound experience. David Tudor’s interactive exhibition can be visited until January 5, 2020.
Another interesting temporary exhibition of the museum consists of 11 installations called ‘Surrounds’ and it brings together the works of artists living in the last twenty years that can be visited until 4 January 2020.
New Museum of Modern Art offers a pleasant journey to its visitors apart from its new exhibition and interactive areas, the new restaurants and expanded museum store are worth to see.
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