It doesn’t have the physical presence of the Metropolitan Museum. Or the architectural pizazz of the Guggenheim. What MOMA does have is the most comprehensive collection of modern art on the planet.
You have to have guts to open a museum nine days after a Wall Street crash, but that’s what the founders of MOMA did. Of course, it helps if your name is Rockefeller – in this case, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of John D., Jr.
The museum began its life in six rooms on the twelfth floor of a Manhattan office building. Today, MOMA occupies 630,000 sq. ft. in an expansive building on 53rd St., between 5th and 6th Avenues. The space is needed, because the museum’s collection now includes more than 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects. It also owns more than 22,000 films, four million film stills, and 300,000 books in its archives.
Every modern artist of any note is included in the museum’s collection. Some of its most famous works include The Starry Night by Van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso, The Persistence of Memory by Dalí, Broadway Boogie Woogie by Mondrian, Campbell’s Soup Cans by Warhol, Te aa no areois (The Seed of the Areoi) by Gauguin, Water Lilies by Monet, The Dance by Matisse, Flag by Jasper Johns (Great American Things, February 5, 2010), and Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth (Great American Things, December 2, 2009).
Almost 2.5 million visitors enjoy this great museum every year. Even if you’re not especially a fan of modern art, you’ll find plenty to interest you, and a visit will be a day of your life well spent…