Today I think I performed the equivalent of a Herculean task: I got Ally to
accompany me to MoMA.
Our good friend from Duke, Amanda Tong, was in town this weekend and requested
that MoMA be a featured stop on our whirlwind 2-day NYC tour. I was happy to
oblige, and much to our surprise, come Sunday morning we found Ally dressed and
ready to go with us. Seriously folks, I kid you not.
As we mounted the stairs into the atrium we found that it was roped off for the
installation of a new exhibit. Reading the sign, we discovered that we were
looking at the Martin Puryear exhibit that Sean and Marianna had assigned us to
write about for our museum paper if time allowed (since its opening
unfortunately fell only a day before the paper?s due date). I don’t want to
give away too much for those of you who haven?t been to MoMA recently, so I
will just say that the Puryear pieces we saw are certainly making unique use of
the expanse of vertical space in the atrium in
even more gravity-defying ways
than the last exhibit.
I was really influenced by a painting which I totally snubbed until Amanda
convinced me to look closer. I didn’t write down the artist?s name or the
title of the piece, but it basically looks like a giant black square until you
press your nose a few inches from the surface. First, I noticed that the
painting wasn’t actually one-dimensional: it had very subtle lines and
textures that offered some relief to the surface. Secondly, upon reading the
little explanatory card I also saw that the painting
was blocked into a 3×3
grid of colors that were actually reds, greens, and blues and weren’t at all
pure black. The experience taught me that writing off art that doesn’t seem
like "traditional art" really only hurts yourself by not keeping your mind
open to the ideas of minds that think along different planes than your own.
All in all, I had a really good time at MoMA today, and I’m glad that Ally
gave it another chance as well. I think even she was surprised at how
complex and artistic a black square can be.