Liv and Rob

MoMA Painting and Sculpture 1


Here’s a question for you…

You Are to be locked overnight in a museum in New York… which, why, and how’d you get there?

My answer is MoMA, 5th floor: Painting and Sculpture 1.

The permanent collection on the 5th floor of MoMA is the core of a world of modern art that is, throughout the rest of the building, and in fact throughout the universe and the rest of the art world, constantly shifting. No matter what happens out there, the contents of the fifth floor remain unchanged.

The foundation of the modern art world could be said to be held in the grasp of the Impressionist masters, and the artists who strove to make explicit the incomprehensibility of the post-Victorian world.

Street, Dresden (detail) - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1908

Street, Dresden (detail) - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1908

Street, Dresden - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1908

Art that survived two world wars, but also that developed through a century of immense social change, holding a mirror to the sociological turmoil and exquisite development that brought us women’s suffrage and right to vote, atoms split, radioactive elements discovered, movements for social change and Civil Rights, mass immigration, the rise and fall of new political ideals of community and social welfare, the rise and fall of movements in music, a worldwide sexual revolution, gender discrimination laws in the workplace, the PC, the smartphone, at least three major financial crisis, and now self-driving cars, the advent of Siri, issues of marriage equality and gender identity, to name a few.

Mme Kupka among Verticals - František Kupka, 1910-11

I and the Village (detail) - Marc Chagall, 1911

The Red Studio - Henri Matisse, 1911

Mlle Pogany - Constantin Brâncuși, 1913

Composition (detail) - Henri Matisse, 1915

Our modern art museums strive to curate this reflection. For me, the heart and soul of all modern art can be seen at least represented somewhat in the work of Klimt, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet of course, Brâncuși and Picasso - only somewhat, obvi MoMA is lacking in significant Australian (just an example, no vested interest or anything!) Impressionist, post colonial, Indigenous and modern canvases. Although not totally comprehensive, the heart beats there on the 5th floor.

This is a beautiful wing of a wonderfully curated museum collection. I love to visit and immerse myself in these old friends and old masters, and I would pretty happily be stuck there overnight amongst the Dora Maar-esque faces and the splotchy Seurats and the wet as life lilies, the chunky tactile avant-garde of Stepanova, and the intense and laughterless grey of wartime Matisse.

*Woman on a High Stool - Henri Matisse, 1914

Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 1 (detail) - Vasily Kandinsky, 1914

Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 3 - Vasily Kandinsky, 1914

Standing Nude - Henri Matisse, 1906

The Piano Lesson (detail) - Henri Matisse, 1916

Figure - Varvara Stepanova, 1921

There is also a cafe, so I would never be without coffee, and a view of the courtyard. So if it was an apocalypse, for example (there’s the “how”), I’d have a good vantage from which to spot the infected feverishly skitting and mawing across the city towards me.

Head of a Woman - Pablo Picasso, 1932

Finally, I would spend the night sitting on the bench in the Water Lilies room - as I was when I took the shots below. I’d stare into the depths of Monet’s garden where the calm and cool of the water would lap over me, and become lost in the depths of a thousand shades - in perhaps a thousand brush strokes - of blue and green and purple.






Water Lilies - Claude Monet, 1914-1926




Water Lilies - Claude Monet, 1914-1926

That’s my which, why, and how. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Love Liv xx

Olivia Jones

Liv and Rob are two possums living in the US. We like music, and soccer, and some other things. Enjoy our blog. <3 us