A blog about Belgian culture in London. A blog about the arts in London, Brussels and Milan, from a Belgian point of view.

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I know. I have been extremely bad at blogging in the past month and a half. I have semi-decent excuses though: I finished one job, welcomed my parents for the first time ever in my new home city, flew to an official capital of cool and started a new job. That said, Google is after fresh content, and a blog is about content anyway, so I am taking advantage of the Christmas break to write about MoMA.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Why MoMA? My trip to New York – that’s what I meant with ‘official capital of cool’ – was a business one. This meant I only had one day to explore the city so I had to decide carefully on which museum to visit. I chose the Museum of Modern Art, as the Metropolitan seemed too big to tackle in one day.

I had been receiving their e-newsletter for a few years, so it was a bit moving to finally see the works they had been telling me about for so long. (Admittedly, when I first signed up it was mostly to study their direct mail strategy -industrial espionage!-, but still…)

You can feel MoMA is a world museum. Perhaps it had to do with me being in New York, therefore feeling really abroad (I feel “at home” pretty much anywhere in Europe), but rarely have I felt such an international aura in a museum.

The work from the collection that moved me most was Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. It’s probably not exactly a revolutionary painting, but it is full of emotion: it exudes anxiety and loneliness. Its colours are beautiful.

Christina's World, Andrew Wyeth, 1948, MoMA

Christina’s World, Andrew Wyeth, 1948, MoMA

Besides the blockbusters (van Gogh, Rousseau, Monet, etc.), Edward Munch’s The Scream, recently sold for record price at auction, was the centre of attention. Hence it was surrounded by people frantically taking pictures, which annoyed me a bit. Click-click-clicking on your camera probably won’t let you appreciate a work fully, and won’t let you immerse yourself in it. And, let us be honest, there is great chance your photo is going to look rather poor, ultimately doing a disservice to the work of art in question. Buy a bloody postcard, or download the image on the interwebz – but let me enjoy the work of art in peace!

The Scream, Edvard Munch

The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1895

The Museum of Modern Art also has a few paintings by Belgian artists to which I of course paid special attention. These include James Ensor and Marcel Broodthaers, who had a whole section devoted to him. One thing I regret missing is Christian Marclay’s The Clock, which was opening a few days after my visit. I had seen it at the Venice Biennale two years ago, where it won the Grand Prix, and I was curious to see it again in another context.

As my visit to MoMA took place a few days before Christmas, I made sure to visit the Design Store, where I got these (perfectly useless but quite pretty I think) spice shakers for my sister.

Ps: Whilst in New York, I also went to the Metropolitan Opera to see a satisfyingly ‘straight-forward’ production of Don Giovanni. The Lincoln Center is cool.