Thursday, March 31, 2011


Bob and I had a wonderful trip last week to visit our sister-in-law Mary who is serving a mission in New York City. She comes home this fall, so we knew our window of opportunity was narrow.  I had a week off for spring break, so the timing was right.  It was fun to see Mary in her element and to meet her wonderful companion, Sister Miller. We had a great time walking all over NYC with our own personal tour guide.

One of the places we visited was the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA.). Someone has said that trying to understand modern art is like trying to follow the plot in a bowl of alphabet soup. While I can't claim to understand what I saw at MoMA, I LOVED this museum, partly because there were so many pieces I recognized.  I can thank Andrew for having given me an excellent art education over the last five or six years.  See how many of the following paintings you can name the artist of. (The answers will be at the end):





(Hint: This artist is also known for his "sculptures" of a toilet seat and a urinal water fountain)













It's a pretty amazing selection, isn't it?  Most of the paintings here should look at least familiar to anyone with a passing interest in art, with perhaps the exception of #12 and #18, two contemporary artists I would never have heard of if Andrew hadn't exposed me to them.  

Have you written down the names of each of the artists?  Are you ready for the answers?  Here they are:
1. Henri Rousseau (French, 1844-1910)
2. Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
3. Paul Klee (Swiss/German, 1879-1940)
4. Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884-1920)
5. Marc Chagall (Russo-French Jewish, 1887-1985)
6. Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968)
7. Vincent VanGogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)
8. Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
9. Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)
10. Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872-1944)
11. Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954)
12. Jasper Johns (American, 1930--)
13. Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997)
14. Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
15. Rene Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967)
16. Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983)
17. Jackson Pollock  (American, 1912-1956)
18. Edward Ruscha (American, 1931--)

I used to think "modern art" and "contemporary art" were one and the same. Not so.  Modern art spans a definite time period, roughly the 1860s to the 1970s (at least according to that source of all knowledge, Wikipedia).  For the most part, I like modern art more than contemporary art, but as my understanding and education (thank you, Andrew) is expanding, I'm finding more to like in contemporary art as well.  All in all, I enjoyed this art museum, with its vibrant, exciting art, as much as any art museum I've been to.  

I'll end with two more pieces from MoMA: a painting I loved but whose artist I had never heard of, and a tongue-in-cheek poster that seems particularly relevant by an artist who teaches off and on in the  UCLA art department:

Dynamism of a Soccer Player by Umberto Boccioni (Italian, 1882-1916)

Barbara Kruger (American, 1945--)


  1. I only recognized a few artists, but that guy in picture #9 looks strangely familiar...

    I've learned that seeing a picture in person (as opposed to seeing it in a coffee table book) gives it MUCH more impact. I bet it was fun to see these in person!

  2. The guy in #6 looks like you may have caught him at the urinal through the window. Bald-headed guy. Weird. I don't remember the lion trying to eat the dude in #1. I think the lion must have attacked after I saw it. Maybe it was hungry after looking at the Halal Cart down the street.

  3. I got all but the last one. YAY! I learned and retained something from my art history classes.

    What a great trip! Did you like the building as well?

  4. Yes, it was part of the show! It is listed as one of the top 25 buildings in NYC. It has some awesome interior spaces where patrons can see large segments of other floors. On one of the upper floors there is a protruding window where you feel as if you are walking out over the sidewalk. It provides an amazing bird's-eye view of the neighborhood.

  5. Hooray -- I did quite well, except for the artists whose names I couldn't remember, but I was at least thinking of the right artist in all the cases, and if I'd had all day I'd have been able to think of the names eventually . . . I hope.

    And that Oscar Wilde quote is awesome. The difference between you and me is that I'd gleefully threaten to wear that getup just to see Bob (Russ) squirm! You're a nice wife.