About The Museum of Modern Art
The bright, clean architecture of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – all glass, open spaces and high ceilings – is a gleaming masterwork of contemporary design, and the perfect setting for viewing the greatest collection of modern art in the world as well as MoMA’s revolving series of retrospectives of past masters and shows from the leading artists of today. An $858 million expansion and renovation of the Midtown headquarters of the museum by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi was completed in 2004, doubling its size and adding an elegant granite, aluminum and glass façade and loftlike galleries.
Up the concrete staircase, on the second floor, is the true heart of the new MoMA – the four-story-high Marron Atrium, which the New York Times called the “most prominent sign of the museum’s giddy embrace of the new and the next, of large-scale installation and video art, as well as performance art, generally of art as entertainment and spectacle.” Upstairs, there are architectural and photo exhibits and video installation rooms, which periodically showcase major retrospectives of master modern artists or comprehensive thematic exhibitions like Abstract Expressionism in New York.
The fourth and fifth floors house the permanent collections, featuring such famous works as Jasper Johns’ Flag, van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, as well as a broad selection of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings and Rothko’s mood-altering canvases of pure color. Smaller galleries contain retrospectives, photo exhibits, drawings and historically linked thematic exhibitions. A café allows visitors to pause and refuel before heading back into the galleries for further artistic nourishment. Outside is the Sculpture Garden, which is also home to various rotating exhibitions. Downstairs are the movie theaters, where classics and cutting-edge contemporary films are shown, frequently in tandem with lectures and discussions. Tours and educational programs are always on offer, geared to families and K–12, as well as curious adults. Performance events enhance MoMA’s calendar – everything from modern dance in the Sculpture Garden to public readings of Combatant Status Review Tribunals.
Good for kids?
MoMA offers many programs and tours for children. Most galleries are child-friendly, providing the child is accompanied by a responsible adult. Occasionally, there are exhibits adults might choose to divert their children from. Recently, a performance-art exhibit featured live nude models, for instance. Other exhibits might show violent or otherwise disturbing images. Parents are encouraged to plan ahead for visits with children.
Did you know?
The Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1929. The museum moved through three locations before landing in its permanent Midtown home in 1939. In 1984, it expanded, doubling its size. From 2002 to 2004, it doubled in size once again with a major renovation project.
MoMA has been hosting PopRally, a program of events that feature collaborations with artists and musical acts, performances, film screenings, receptions and special viewings of exhibitions since 2006. Past PopRally events have included a rare screening of Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco, an evening with Brooklyn-based musical duo Blondes and an after-hours gallery talk and viewing of a de Kooning retrospective.
MoMA is also affiliated with P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, which showcases the very latest in experimental art by the hottest artists of today.
The MoMA Store is a curated treasure trove of products from top designers and a must-visit for cool souvenirs and gifts.
The Museum of Modern Art Location Information:
11 West 53rd St. (between 5th and 6th Aves.)
New York, NY 10019
B, D, F, M to 47th–50th St./Rockefeller Center; E, M to 5th Ave./53rd St.
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