Visiting The Museum of Modern Art
In downtown Manhattan, New York, you’ll find a place that you can’t miss in your next trip to the Big Apple. Even though there are many tourist attractions in the city, DINKtravelers invites you to visit one of the most famous museums in the world: the Museum of Modern Art, better known as the MoMA.
Women That Changed Museums: History of the MoMA
Art collectors Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quin Sullivan and Abby Rockefeller –John D. Rockefeller Jr’s wife–, were huge fans of modern art painters, and particularly of the art vanguards. However, during the twenties, these pioneers realized that modern art didn’t actually have a space where those works could be exhibited, so most people didn’t have access to them. In 1928, the American vanguard artist Arthur Bowen Davies passed away and specialists and critics organized exhibits in memory of his life and work.
It was amidst this environment that modern art started becoming popular. Then, Abby Rockefeller invited Lillie Bliss and Mary Sullivan for lunch and during that meeting they discussed the possibility of creating and institution that could exhibit the kind of art they were so passionate about. Decidedly, the ladies gathered all the artwork they owned and they rented a small venue to exhibit, in the United States, the latest works by European artists.
The exhibits organized by these girlfriends, who were later known as “The Daring Ladies”, were only temporary because they still didn’t own a specific venue for these activities. Still, their most common location was the Heckscher building, on 5th Avenue and 57th Street.
Thanks to the cultural access the Museum of Modern Art granted, it became famous and its collection became richer. Later, in 1932, the MoMA bought its current venue on 5th Avenue and 53rd Street and it opened doors in 1939. Part of the premises included the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden designed by architect Phillip Johnson and finished in 1953.
After several years the Museum of Modern Art became more successful although some controversy also surrounded it. Finally, they decided to redesign the building and, in 2000, the building was demolished only to be rebuilt by the Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, the mind behind the majestic present-day museum that houses an auditorium, exhibit halls, a souvenir store, offices and a sculpture garden. While it was rebuilt, the MoMA was moved to Long Island, New York, until it reopened in Manhattan in 2004.
The MoMA Now
Thanks to the project created by “The Daring Ladies” it was possible to bring to life one of the first modern art museums in history, which is now one of the most important museums worldwide.
Find the Museum of Modern Art as you walk along 5th Avenue and reach 53rd Street, near the Rockefeller Center and the Radio City Music Hall. If you take the subway, get off the train at 5th Av-53st on the E blue line or the M orange line.
In its halls you’ll find works from the mid 19th century until present-day. Also, you’ll find more than paintings because they also exhibit sculptures, videos, photographs and even murals that will invite you to see art differently. Along the halls you’ll encounter works by Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol and many other important painters.
Tips for Visiting the MoMA
Before you begin your visit, get the audio guide. In exchange, they’ll only ask you to leave an ID at the information desk, although it needn’t be your passport.
If you like technology, download the MoMA app. It will give you access to audio guides, art fact sheets, information about special events and ways to share your experience in real time.
Cover every corner of the museum. It’s quite big but it’s worth it; surprises await.
After your visit, rest for a while at the sculpture garden, take some pictures, sit next to the ponds and have a nutritious lunch at the museum’s cafeteria.
If you fall in love with a specific work of art and you want to take it home, don’t worry, the souvenir store sells hundreds of items such as posters, magnets, t-sherts, watches and orther articles with the most popular works engraved on them or in print. Also, you’ll find art books and exclusive art design collectibles.
New York is, without doubt, one of the most important destinations for culture and art lovers, so plan your next trip to this city today.