Visiting My Friends At the Museum Of Modern Art, New York
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”Pablo Picasso
I didn’t know until I was in Junior High School that everyone did not grow up looking at Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Water Lillies. For whatever reason my family spent a lot of time at the Museum Of Modern Art. I don’t know if it was because we loved it or because my mother was legally blind and could see the bright splashes of color. It was our museum.
MOMA was a lot smaller and has been through several renovations but some of the paintings that I loved are still there. I never go to NY without a trip to MOMA to say hello to my paintings.
My first memory is of Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy which was located at the beginning of the gallery. I was looking at a fantasy world more magical then anything I could have imagined.
Picasso’s Dancers, Three Musicians and Matisse’s Dance always put a smile on my face, even if I was not in a good mood.
Jackson Pollack and Yves Klein’s Blue made me question the sanity of the adults in charge of the museum when I was very young. “I could do that,” I would say and my mother would laugh.
I would stand in front of Picasso’s Guernica and focus on a different part each time. It was from Guernica that I learned about war. The painting was returned to Spain in 1980 which was the year I left New York. I’ve stood in front of it at the Reina Sofia and was surprised at how much smaller it was now that I am an adult. As a kid, it felt like the largest, loudest painting, I had ever seen.
The new MOMA is much bigger and very beautiful. Walking through the building is disorienting to me. and finding my friends is a lot harder.
But, the white walls filled with art are as calming to me now as they were in my childhood.
I look at the crowd of people and security guard in front of Starry Night and remember how many times I stood in front of it alone. “This is a very famous painting and we are so lucky that we get to see it so often,” my mother would say.
I smile at the Picassos, Cezannes and Matisses. I find familiar Mark Rothkos, Mondrians, and my favorite childhood sculpture Brancusi’s Fish.
We miss the Water Lillies. and go back-just because.
It is still a wonderful modern art museum and I leave thinking how much the city had changed. I swear that Magritte’s Eye winked at me on the way out.