MOMA & The Met

 

 

 

You won’t find many guide books or articles that don’t include a visit to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) as a highlight of a visit to New York. Between them these two museums are considered to hold some of the world’s greatest art collections and are frequently touted as a ‘can’t miss’ attraction, even for those who prefer to consume their culture with a spoon from a yoghurt pot.

 

I have to admit to being one of these uncivilised folks. Long ago I accepted that I was born bereft of the art appreciation gene, although I’ve learned recently that many others suffer from the same affliction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a nice painting (one that represents something I vaguely recognise). My struggle, and that of others, is that I find it hard to interpret what the creators of abstract work are trying communicate and too often it leaves me cold and disinterested.

 

 

Having been many times to New York and always found other things to do that kept me from these two star attractions, this time I was determined to find out for myself what all the fuss is about.

 

 

The Met

 

The exhibits of the Met span different eras from the Greeks and Egyptians through to modern times and cover an enormous geographical spread. But for me the greatest work of art in the Met is the building itself. The museum has been created in such a way that the design of each room reflects the art that is contained within. Roman statues sit in a bright and spacious atrium; religious art is found in a room that looks and feels like a Latin American church; the modern American collection meanwhile is housed within a large space that includes a façade of a traditional American bank.

 

 

The Met appears to be designed with the uncommitted visitor in mind (all too often an oversight in museums) and once the grand designs draw you into another section of the enormous building, you’re bound to linger on some of the displayed artefacts. A genuine surprise and I only wish I’d allowed more time to see more.

 

 

MoMA

 

While the Met may have done a great job in accommodating people from the full art loving spectrum, MoMA is not a place to waste your energy if you’re missing that magic gene. For those who can interpret and appreciate a blank white square or a large red rectangle with a few vertical lines, MoMA will hold hours of fun and intellectual stimulation. For me however walking through the many halls was akin to watching a slow-moving film in a foreign language without subtitles. Even the building, a clean minimalist open-plan construction, could not hold my attention for long.

 

 

 

No-one of course should feel pressured into visiting anything that doesn’t appeal, but if you’re thinking of visiting one of ‘the Big Two’ on your next New York visit I’d recommend you turn your attention to the Met – unless of course you like looking at the type of art that would have had Picasso scratching his head in bewilderment.

 

Andy visited the Met and MoMA using a New York CityPASS courtesy of NYC Go


 

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