For a little summer learning, we decided to venture to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The MOMA houses paintings that date back to Matisse to an exhibition of the work of Buckminster Fuller, who was an American engineer to futurist and everything in between.
We are novices in the art world. Actually, we’ve never dabbled in modern art at all. Modern artwork has its stereotypes — ridiculous and silly (these are our’s at least) — but the (MOMA) does feature an eclectic set of paintings, sculptures and exhibitions that can make any amateur can find a stable grounding in (well only if you do it right).
Before entering the museum, we approached the information desk and asked which paintings or floors were the best for modern art beginners. The real gems, they said, were on floors two and five (you should probably still look at the floors in between?).
Curators design the layouts based on a certain message they want to emphasize for audiences as they walk through the exhibitions. The MOMA had an organization, but it didn’t emphasize any sort of philosophical message: works were arranged based on the time period in which they were made. This simpler layout let the more novice of audiences — we don’t think the MOMA has much faith in its audience — understand the change in the concept of modern artwork throughout different ages.
As one of the writings on the wall said, when artists paint contemporary paintings, even if it is in the 1800′s, it’s contemporary to their time period. So, by looking at art throughout each individual period, we got a greater grasp on what artists deemed to be contemporary during their times.
To immerse ourselves in an artist’s world or that of an art enthusiast, we spent around 20 minutes looking at this painting. It’s striking blandness in comparison to the vibrancy of the other paintings compelled us to pick this painting as a “tester” per se.
Observing from far away and then close up, making the texture of the paint more apparent, we asked ourselves what would we be doing in this scene? What would we be eating? What would we be smelling, hearing or doing? These questions actually did lead to a better and more satisfying viewing of the picture. Taking the time to understand the pictures — in any way that made sense to us — generated a lot more respect for the work of artists.
But, we won’t tell you what we discovered because we know how much some readers hate spoilers (hint: read the comments section).
On that note (the note of spoilers — if you were lost), another interesting exhibition — the other painting wasn’t actually in an exhibition — was that of Buckminster Fuller. Despite living in the Silicon Valley, we had no concept of this man’s work (who aside from his architecture is quite interesting … ) — his progressive ideas on sustainability moved many thinkers in the Silicon Valley (who would have thought the Bay likes innovation?).
Again, we won’t say much because we know how much some readers hate spoilers, but here are a few (there’s so much more) pictures from the exhibition:
Even for those without a solid background in modern art, the MOMA allows any viewer to find a little appreciation for the work of artists — this is the first time the 99% gets credit with us. Even after visiting the museum, we are still hazy with what defines modern art and how to analyze it. But at the same time, modern art continuously changes, and so do our interpretations. So if you’re any bit curious, take a visit to the MOMA.
Images: Sparsha Saxena (all), The Daily Cal
Tags:buckminster fuller, modern art, MOMA, paintings, San Francisco
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