Last week I visited MoMA in New York for the first time, and it was with mixed feelings. The experience was annoyingly disturbed by masses of other visitors. This was clearly a place that could benefit enormously from some sort of reservation system so that tons of tourists wouldn’t have to fight their way around the museum. As it is everyone gets a lousy visit where no one enjoys the art they have come to see, and I at least cannot concentrate much.
But of course this museum is one of the greats because of an outstanding collection of modern and contemporary art. The best of Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Warhol, Pollock etc. ect. Outstanding.
In order to see the chaos from the bright side I turned my attention to exactly what I was experiencing: art and people – instead of frustratedly trying in vain to focus solely on the art.
I have always loved photos of museum visitors both photos I have taken myself and much more accomplished pieces like the ones german photographer Thomas Struth makes. I don’t know exactly what it is that captures me, but perhaps it is related to a feeling of interconnectedness. The museum as a sort of common space where people from all walks of life can meet to see each other and to contemplate art.
It is fascinating that something deemed difficult by many professionals in the museum business who have no trust in their audience actually can be the mayhem I experienced at the MoMA. People want to go to museums, they want to have art in their lives and they see it as an absolute must when they visit foreign parts of the world.
So amidst all my irritability I was also fascinated by the hordes. And I managed to find some poetry in that. Especially after the fact…
The images are all impressions from a hectic day at the MoMa with my sister (you may spot her on one or two of the images) on one of the last days of 2010.