Friday, May 27, 2011

MOMA Courses: 54th St and 5th Ave

Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building of the MOMA
OH MAH GAH.  I had the best time last night at my first studio course session at the MOMA.  I have been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, but with work, space concerns, and well, just "life" I had let my passion lie dormant for years (I haven't been in an art class since high school--and that is a LONG time ago).  In this time I'm take from work, I have finally had the luxury of mental energy, space and time to sign up for a studio drawing and collage class at the MOMA.  Classes meet at the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building on 54th Street, which has a great modern art collection itself (see the Judy Pfaff sculpture below left, called Blue Vase with Nasturtiums).

I was definitely rusty (I'll have to put in much more time sketching on my own--and I'm excited to do it!), but with a little instruction (about drawing materials and techniques) and no expectations about my abilities (our instructor, Katerina Lanfranco, was encouraging, informative, and not judgmental at all), I was relaxed and eager to jump in.  I was relieved that my drawing skills came back and I really enjoyed the overview of the German Expressionist exhibit at the museum (Our class was after-museum-hours so we had the MOMA virtually to ourselves--what a treat!). 

After some discussion, we each chose a piece to study and draw.  I chose Kathe Kollwitz's "The Widow I" block print (see photo of my sketch at right).  I was really drawn to the piece and in awe of how the artist was able to capture such expression, loneliness, and despair with the angles, some lines, and shadows.  We then went back to the classroom and discussed our work with the others in the class.  It was great to see everyone's work and hear their take on the exercise.  Finally we ended the evening with a 10 minute self-portrait sketching exercise in the severe, aggressive style of the German Expressionists.  Surprisingly I liked my sketch (perhaps I'll share it with you all next week--I left without taking a picture of it).

I felt invigorated, dreamily pondered a possible next career in art, and floated home.  I was so energized by the experience that I didn't fall asleep until 2 in the morning.  If you can control your schedule enough to commit to a class at the MOMA (whether it is a studio class like mine or a traditional study course) I would highly recommend it.  Most classes for this session are still open for registration; check it out at MOMA Courses.  These classes can feed your soul.

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