Tag Archives: moma

BEHIND THE SCENES: EXCRUCIATINGLY AWESOME VIDEO SERIES “AT THE MUSEUM” SHOWS INNER WORKINGS OF MOMA

The MoMA (that’s the Museum of Modern Art in the New York-fucking-City) has recently launched a web video series on YouTube called “At the Museum,” and we, savvy reader, are L-O-V-I-N-G it. (See video below!)

It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the innermost workings of one of the world’s greatest art museums as it prepares to mount a major exhibition. It’s documentary-like, but only to a point. The tone is more cinema-verite in a reality-TV-show way, but produced in ultra-understated, high-minimalist style. There’s no narration. No explanation. No formal sit-down interviews. When staff do talk to the camera, it’s while they’re working, doing the mundane daily tasks of their jobs, like the way witnesses in an episode of “Law and Order” always answer detectives’ questions at their place of work while continuing to do whatever it was they were doing (unloading a truck, wiping down a bar, butchering meat, etc.). 

“At the Museum” may have documentary and reality TV bones in its basic visual-narrative architecture, but its manner is the polar opposite of the chaos, Real-Housewivery or Kardashian-Jennerisms we’ve become accustomed to from contemporary reality TV. And it’s far away from anything by Ken Burns or Werner Herzog. No pans, no scans, no slow zooms, no German accents, no depressive anecdotes.

Each episode of “At the Museum” is about ten-minutes long and focuses on some aspect of the museum from the mundane to the important, e.g., shipping and receiving of the artwork. There’s high drama, too, but it’s not obvious and it’s largely confined to the nuances of the art world and its culture and codes. There’s much being said and interpreted in the raised eyebrow or long pause in speech by one of the many MoMA staff, some of whom seem like walking-talking art-world cliches straight outta Central Casting.

But these are real people. The type of people who live, breathe, eat, drink, fuck and poop art, and the type who love their jobs, for whom displaying a small Max Ernst sculpture a quarter centimeter higher on a platform makes all the difference. And we love it! Watch this series.

 

Epic Mural by Sol LeWitt at SFMoMA … San Francisco

The artwork of the late American conceptual and minimalist artist Sol LeWitt dominates the new mezzanine-level ticket lobby of the expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA). This massive, painted installation is titled “Loopy Doopy” and is another example of LeWitt’s use of bold color and lines in his body of work. The artwork is fresh and exuberant  and its curva-linear lines compliment the clean geometric lines of the architecture.

On the Scene … Revisiting A Matisse Classic at MoMA, New York

We stole a few minutes on a recent visit to MoMA to duck into the permanent collection galleries to view one of those famous Henri Matisse “Dance” paintings. Experiencing the artwork up close is a treat. “Dance” is a graceful beauty of an image. When it was first shown to the public, over a hundred years ago, it was groundbreaking and bold. The painting is foundational in the development of modern and contemporary aesthetics that have followed. Seeing Matisse’s work is a pleasant, calming palette cleanser after the experience of seeing an overwhelming torrent of new contemporary art and design in recent weeks.

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Contemporary Art … “Talk 2000” by German Artist Christoph Schlingensief

“Talk 2000” is a reproduction of the set of a popular German television talk-show art project hosted by late artist and filmmaker Christoph Schlingensief. It’s currently on view at MoMA P.S.1 in Queens, New York.

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“Welcome to ______” by Mike Kelley at MoMA P.S.1

The late American artist Mike Kelley created a huge body of influential artwork — more than enough to fill all the galleries of MoMA’s P.S.1 museum in Queens, New York City, which has just finished playing host to a massive retrospective exhibition of his work. We’d been hearing great things about the show and stopped by on the last day this past weekend. Much of the artwork we had seen at a similar though smaller Kelley exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam last year. But there were a lot of outstanding pieces at P.S.1 that we had never seen before, including this signage piece of small-town Americana in the museum foyer. The signage is a take on the “Welcome” signs you see as you enter the city limits of small cities and towns across the United States, with circular, Foursquare badge-like logos of various local community organizations, except here Kelly and produced a sign with part of the town’s name painted over.

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