The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is one of the world’s great modern and contemporary art collections.
MoMA Film is one of the world’s great film collections. It screens movies daily and hosts important film festivals including Doc Fortnight and New Directors/New Films.
MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens is MoMA’s experimental art space.
The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute makes MoMA one of the world’s leading Latin American art institutions.
In 2019, “New MoMA” refocused its exhibitions on the permanent collection and made them more inclusive of time, place and gender. Art didn’t only happen in Prewar Europe. MoMA gets it. ¡Bravo!
April 28 – May 8, 2021
February 5-19, 2020
MoMA, Museum of Modern Art
MoMA Film’s documentary festival screens new African, Brazilian, Filipino, French, Ghanan, Italian and Lesothon films.
LINCOLN CENTER & MIDTOWN; daily, Mar 27 – April 7, 2019; Film festival ~ New Argentine, Brazilian, Colombian, French & Mexican filmmakers curated by NYC’s most respected film presenters
Just Above Midtown: 1974 to the Present, an exhibition about Linda Goode Bryant’s “JAM” gallery of African American and artists of color, is October 9 – February 18, 2023. moma.org 🇺🇸
Doc Fortnight 2022, MoMA’s documentary film festival, is online to members and in-person at the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, Wed, Feb 23 – Mar 10. 🇧🇷🇫🇷🇲🇽🇵🇭🇪🇸
In The Contenders 2021, MoMA Film screens this year’s Oscar contenders through Jan 22. moma.org 🇪🇹🇵🇷🇪🇸
MoMA Film tributes Italian movie legend Federico Fellini, Dec 1, 2021 – Jan 12, 2022. $12. moma.org 🇮🇹
MoMA Film tributes Spanish movie star Penélope Cruz, Nov 19-30. $12. moma.org 🇪🇸
Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life is at MoMA in Midtown through Mon, Sep 6, 2021. 🇫🇷
Cézanne Drawing is at MoMA in Midtown through Sat, Sep 25, 2021. 🇫🇷
Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography 1946-1964 is at MoMA in Midtown through Sun, Sep 26. 🇧🇷
Truly Iconic Modern Art
You can see icon works of modern art in the permanent collection at MoMA. This work is always exhibited, but “New MoMA” which reopened in 2019 is refocused on showing the riches of its permanent collection.
Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907) is one of these works. It is from the very beginnings of modern art and cubism. Its first exhibition created quite a stir.
It’s a picture of street prostitutes on Calle de Aviñón in Barcelona, Spain. The original title was “Le Bordel d’Avignon” (The Avignon Bordello). People objected to its raw sensuality. They said it was immoral, but the people who said that probably visited that street quite often. They were projecting their own shame. Prostitution is common everywhere where the status of women is low. If society prevents you from getting an education or opportunities, you work with what you have, your body. That is true everywhere in the world. It’s still true, and is becoming even more true as the world destabilizes from climate change, war and now COVID-19. There is no shame in it.
In this painting, Picasso moves his cultural reference to Africa. He flattens the image. The first woman on the left might be a reference to Egyptian art which also paints flat faces in profile. She is also dark-skinned which suggests Africa. Spain is only nine miles from Africa so there’s always been a relationship.
The women in the middle are presented more in the Spanish style. On the right, the women’s faces become African masks. The way one woman’s head is turned completely around on her body suggests that everything is changing. Life is literally turning around.
In a way, “Les Demoiselles” speaks to the current moment (Summer of 2020). From the ancient roots of civilization in the Euphrates River Valley and African Egypt, European civilization developed. After peaking in a mess of colonial world domination, Africans and people of color are rising again. The world keeps turning. Now it’s our turn.
This is just one of the many important pieces from art history that you can see on a visit to MoMA. The galleries have been restructured to flow you through time. A walk through is a literal lesson in art history. Seeing art in life produces a visceral reaction. It’s nothing like looking at pictures in book or online.
If you can, take one of the tours. Some of the guides teach art history at New York City colleges. They can make your visit meaningful.