“Art– the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects”– Merriam Webster Dictionary
On Thursday I went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City with my mom. It was the second time I’ve been to the museum, and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Art museums are a perfect place for reflection and conversation; I think my mom and I got to know each other even better just based on the pieces that attracted our attention and what we thought of the art around us.
Of course, the biggest attraction of the museum is Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, and it is even more magical in person than in a book or on a screen. I had seen it before, but my mom hadn’t, and let me tell you, the little breath that she took in when she saw it was such a beautiful moment. I could just tell how in awe she was of the famous painting before her, and rightfully so. Looking at the swirls of color, the texture of the strokes, and the movement of the sky makes you realize why the painting is so famous. It captures a lot more than just an image; it captures a feeling of serenity and freedom.
One of my mom’s favorite pieces was Gustav Klimt’s The Park. She loved the various colors in the trees and the overall sense of calm in the painting. It brings to mind all of the time I spent outside as a kid on playgrounds and in backyards.
I don’t usually care for abstract art, but one of my favorite paintings was Pablo Picasso’s The Three Musicians. I loved how much sound I heard when I saw it for the first time. I could almost hear the jazz, the sounds of the guitar and the clarinet. The vibrancy of the musicians and their odd shapes create an atmosphere of fun and whimsy.
Another one of my favorites was Vincent Van Gogh’s Portrait of Joseph Roulin. There’s something about the green, floral background that makes me think of a comfortable, old-fashioned living room. I love the swirls of color in Roulin’s beard (which are reminiscent of the swirling sky in Starry Night) and the different shades of his complexion.
What my mom and I both loved, though, was Monet’s Water Lilies. Claude Monet made over forty paintings of the water lilies in his pond, and there were several on display at MoMA. I particularly liked these three panels because of the whimsical colors and the ambiguous reflection; it’s difficult to tell where the water ends and the sky begins.
I think the beauty of MoMA is that there’s something there for everyone. While my mom and I favored the impressionist and post-impressionist painters, many people were there for the Yoko Ono and modern art exhibits. Sometimes, my mom and I would walk up to a painting of just a square of one color, look at each other, and shrug because we just didn’t get it. And that’s okay.
No one is able to understand all art. It says something different to everyone. And sometimes, it doesn’t seem to say anything at all. That’s the case with a lot of things, like musical taste, book genres, and movie preferences. No one is stupid for not understanding a piece of art; rather, art speaks in different ways to different people. And at MoMA you’ll find all kinds of different people–kids on school trips, couples, artists themselves, I’m sure– speaking all different languages. It’s definitely a melting pot of culture and experience.
Before we left the museum, my mom and I made sure to check out the fabulously bright Andy Warhol exhibit, with Campbell’s Soup cans and Marilyn Monroes to spare. All in all, it’s definitely a museum worth going to, whether you’re into art or just want an inspiring place to spend the day.
Have you been to MoMA or another art museum? What did you get out of it? What is your favorite type of art and why? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Sunday/Tony Awards Day!!