The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) holds one of the world's premiere collections of modern art. Completely renovated and expanded in 2004 by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, the museum provides the perfect backdrop for our seminar on modern art. Led by an art historian or art critic, this three-hour walk will cover both the standing collection (a chronological survey of the most important artists of the modern era) and the temporary exhibitions, and be organized to give both novice and seasoned museum-goer a thorough introduction to the modern movement and major art periods.
Conceived in the late 1920s by New York aristocrats Miss Lillie P. Bliss, Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the MoMA was the first museum in America devoted exclusively to modern art. It was also the first of its kind in Manhattan to exhibit European modernism, with major retrospectives of the work of Van Gogh and Picasso that continue to fuel the public imagination. To this day, the museum carries on its' tradition of encouraging a deeper understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary art through a challenging series of exhibitions and regular public events, lectures and film screenings.
Since it's reopening, the MoMA has undertaken an ambitious exhibition schedule, showcasing it's comprehensive collection in "Modern Means: Continuity and Change in Art, 1880 to Now. This show surveyed the course of modern art, from early European roots to our current global state of artistic production. It has also undertaken large scale multimedia projects, such as filmmaker Doug Aitkens" Sleepwalkers, an immensely scaled film projected on the outside of the building. In its' role as a cultural arbiter, the MoMA has opened itself to both intense praise and criticism as it continually attempts to redefine what constitutes important contemporary art.
Our walking seminar will vary based on current exhibition schedules and will largely be decided by our docent's strong knowledge of the museum's collection and history. We will spend much of our time in the six-story David and Peggy Rockefeller Building, which houses the main collection and temporary exhibition galleries. We will visit the lower galleries, which contain some of the worlds' great modern masterpieces, as well as the expansive, skylit galleries for temporary exhibitions located on the top floor. Weather permitting, we will also visit the beloved Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, a tranquil outdoor space featuring masterworks of modern sculpture, seasonal plantings, and reflecting pools. The exact course of our walk varies day to day but promises to give a comprehensive survey of the continuously unfolding modern movement in a range of visual media and expression.