The Unbearable Banishment: Red hot MoMA: A photo essay

Monday, February 21, 2011

Red hot MoMA: A photo essay

Were you expecting something salacious? Well you can forget it. This time.

Nothing will drive you stir crazy quicker than a three-day weekend in the middle of a cold, dark February. If you don't get the hell out of the house you'll be driven mad and you might start picking off your family.

I dragged everyone into the Museum of Modern Art for the afternoon. The Daughters are still too young to have any real appreciation for what they're seeing—to them, there's no difference between what they see at MoMA and a poster they'd see in a restaurant—but I'm trying to plant little seeds of corruption. Plus, I get in free with my corporate ID. A real value, since admission is up to $20 bucks per adult!

There's a big, BIG Abstract Expressionist exhibit running through April 25th. I'm not a huge Abstract Expressionist fan, but it's as important a gathering of these works as you'll ever see under one roof in your lifetime, so it's worth a visit.

The first thing I did was hit 'em with an uppercut—Marcel Duchamp's readymade sculpture Bicycle Wheel. I tried to explain how anything can be art and that it's all very subjective and in the eye of the beholder, etc., etc. Then I started to bore myself, had mercy on them, and kept my mouth shut.


There's a long room with a Monet water lilies triptych along one wall. The museum cleverly set a bench in front of it so people could sit and zone out. It really does calm your nerves and makes you yearn for a mug of warm milk and honey.


"Mommy, is that woman drowning?"
"Yes."
"Why?"
"Because Brad broke her heart."
"...?...!...?...What?!"


I was standing off to the side and overheard 9-Year Old Daughter explain to 4-Year Old Daughter that the artist put the canvas on the floor and dribbled paint all over it. Muuhahaha! My work is almost complete.


There's a room full of Mark Rothko's work. I like him a lot. He has one painting that he did over and over and over again, but it's a good painting! (Kind of like the Rolling Stones, who have been reworking that one song for decades.) I heard a story once that some of Rothko's works are done on untreated canvases and are simply fading away and cannot be saved. Can anyone confirm that?


The museum is an exhausting experience. Even *I* get wiped out after a while! But I choose to think of this as their commentary on these goddamn Ad Reinhardt monochrome paintings. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.


The most beautiful work of art is, of course, the city itself. I think the MoMA architects knew that and created these windows that look like picture frames.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Leah said...

I agree--the windows framing the cityscapes are fantastic--and the cutouts in the sculpture garden walls too, where you can see edges of architecture--genius.

I was just at the Whitney the other day--hadn't been there in decades literally--it seems teensy weensy compared to the MoMA, no?

February 21, 2011 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

what a perfect end to my day, sugar! thank you, mrs. wife and the daughters for sharing your joy! xoxoxo

February 21, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Window art... most impressive! Black rectangle is... art? You've got to be kidding. That's just stupid. Love the Monet stuff. One day I'll get there to see all those galleries you keep teasing us with!!

February 21, 2011 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Kono said...

fanfuckingtastic. the art and your family. good stuff Mr. Banishment. I took the boyos to the Science Center on sunday and learned that whenever you need a lift just go sit and watch a bunch of kids unleashed on science projects, i caught myself smiling for no reason.

February 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger xl said...

Art is what you can get away with.
Andy Warhol

February 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
OpenID daisyfae said...

the photo of your three ladies in front of the Rothko is the best art in your series!

February 21, 2011 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

Hello, salacious! Who's Brad?

February 22, 2011 at 1:35 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

Glorious *sigh*

February 22, 2011 at 2:24 AM  
Blogger Scarlet Blue said...

I love going to MoMA with you.
Sx

February 22, 2011 at 3:54 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Lucky little girls. One day they'll realise it. You are right about the Monet. I have it in the bedroom.
BTW I'm loving Filth.

February 22, 2011 at 5:04 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Leah: I love the Whitney. I think it's smallness is a virtue. Sometimes, the larger houses can be overwhelming. Did you see the Hopper exhibit?

Sav: Glad to be of service to you. Hope all is well in and out of your household.

Ponita: There were LOTS of paintings that I thought didn't work. That's Abstract Expressionism for you. You either get it or you don't and for the most part, I don't.

kono: Well done, sir. And don't forget to take them to the Warhol museum when they're of age. Loads of fun stuff there, I'll bet.

February 22, 2011 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

xl: He should know.

Daisy: Daughter The First is a song and dance girl. Giver her an open space and she'll break out in a lively two-step.

Nimpipi: Brad is her boyfriend. Please click on the painting and read her caption.

Nurse: Right this way, dear. It's all waiting for you.

Scarlet: Get yourself out here and I'll give you a tour in person.

Pat: I am *so happy* you picked up a copy of Filth! I don't know if it's for everyone but it was perfect for an old Anglophile like myself. I was sad to see it end.

February 22, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
OpenID kyknoord said...

Look! It's the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Next time see if it's full of stars.

February 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Agh. Wish I could have seen the Monet close up. The detail must be stunning.

February 23, 2011 at 1:45 AM  
Anonymous nuttycow said...

Oooo, MoMA is on my list of things to do while in New York (and, it almost looks like I might be coming over now - plans subject to change on the whim of my boss)

February 23, 2011 at 3:24 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

kykn: The monolith had more meaning that this series of sad, unimaginative paintings.

Sid: It actually looks like a completely different painting up close. The mechanics of his brush work is revealed.

Nutty: Well, if it happens I'll be happy to give you the grand tour. Just let me know. No charge!

February 23, 2011 at 6:28 AM  
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