The new, revamped, and expanded Museum of Modern Art

I was bowled over by the boldness of the new conception and the quality of all the additional art out for view.  The new MOMA, by mixing genres and periods and styles, comes close to abolishing the canon.  Furthermore, they put out much more art by women and minorities and in the process they made it a much better and more compelling museum.  It also refutes the notion that contemporary America is somehow artistically or aesthetically stagnant, keeping in mind that art museums reflect more generally the societies that house, fund, and curate them.

The big winners from the new makeover include Mark Bradford, Kara Walker, Haegue Yang, Yoko Ono, Jacques Tati, Romare Bearden, Annie Albers, Jesús Rafael Soto, Helio Oitcica, Wilfredo Lam, Gego, David Tudor, Cecilia Vicuña, Hector Hyppolyte, Duchamp (his influence more than any work out on display), and Picasso, whose best room still dominates the proceedings and comes across as more universal than before.

As a group I would say the Latin American mid- to late 20th century abstract and conceptual artists gain the most in status and impact.

The big losers are the Abstract Expressionists such as Kline, Rothko, Styll, Motherwell, and the like, as much of this work now looks overblown and also tired compared to what surrounds it.  Some of the early twentieth century French art comes across as a bit lost, though not lacking in quality.

My biggest complaint is that Chinese contemporary art still is radically underrepresented.

The bottom line is that America’s best art museum ever just opened, and you probably still haven’t seen it.


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