Saturday, March 26, 2011

MoMA: 53rd Street btwn 5th and 6th Avenues

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a "staple" of New York City culture.  If you are a fan of contemporary or modern art, this is your mecca.  The MoMA has a fantastic collection of modern art in a manageable space, a good cafeteria, and an upscale restaurant (The Modern; (212) 333-1220).  Admission fees are pretty steep (adults: $20; seniors: $16; and students: $12) so if you don't mind crowds--which is almost always the case anyway--you may want to visit on Target Free Friday Nights every Friday 4-8 pm.

Currently, there are some notable exhibits that may be of interest.  The "Abstract Expressionist New York" is on view through April 25, 2011; "Counter Space," an exhibit about modern kitchen design is up through May 2, 2011 (see right); and "Picasso Guitars 1912-1914" (see left) is available through June 6, 2011.

Perhaps because recently I have failed miserably at keeping my own air plants alive, I thought the displays of Paula Hayes' terrariums in the main MoMA lobby of "Slug" and "Egg" (see right) was both beautiful and fascinating.  I hope visitors take the time to reflect on this little bit of peace, which is a "meditation on the fertility" of the Leopard Slug, in the hustle and bustle of the lobby.

Other "gifts" of the MoMA are the educational events that they host.  There are often kid-friendly films (free), brown bag lunches on various artistic topics ($5), and even lecture and studio courses (a couple hundred dollars for a series).  Check out the variety of learning opportunities at 

Finally, I feel the need to discuss the MoMA bookstore and gift shop.  This is not your ordinary shopping experience.  The items for sale fit the MoMA ideals of good design and are well curated.  It is not to say that all of these items are unique to the MoMA Store, but rather, that they have gathered fabulous inventory for sale.  I have successfully purchased gifts for the most difficult to please here.  Items are novel, interesting, and reasonably priced.  They range from books, housewares, clothing, furniture, toys, jewelry, and, of course, the requisite post cards, posters, and t-shirts.  This is a great resource for gift giving.

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