Terry Teachout has a pretty good one-liner on the difference between the old and the new MoMA approaches to 20th century art:
Visitors to the old MoMA had only one way to experience the unfolding of modernism: in a sequence carefully controlled by the entrances and exits to the successive galleries. The new floor plan, by contrast, is much more open. MoMA still tells a highly idiosyncratic "story" about modern art, but you can read the chapters in whatever order you choose.
Yes. It seems to me there is much more space for the Russians (Rochenko's "constructivism" and Malevich's "suprematism") as well as the German expressionists in the new scheme. There is a very memorable array of paintings by Egon Schiele, Ernst Kirchner, and Oscar Kokoschka, all next to one another. Klee and Beckmann are in different rooms. Somehow the Klee paintings in the MoMA aren't that exciting to me, though Beckmann's triptychs are pretty powerful.
Other random thoughts and links:
--When the new MoMA opened, what many people said was, what about _______ ? Many old favorites in the MoMA's collection, such as Larry Rivers' "Washington Crossing the Delaware," have been put in storage. Perhaps it's a reflection of critical fashion? Perhaps it's just for a change?
--I was impressed at how vibrant the restored Demoiselles d'Avignon looks. The pre-restored version was kind of dingy; it was hard to see what all the fuss over this breakthrough painting by Picasso was about.
--Also nice is this Kiki Smith piece (each metal jug has gothic lettering, with the name of a bodily fluid or ailment: mucus, diarrhea, semen, etc). I didn't know Kiki Smith before. (Here is my photo of one of the jugs on Flickr.)
--Some other artists who were new to me were Julie Mehretu, Charles LeDray ("Oasis"; the link points to a photo I posted on Flickr), and David Alfaro Siqueiros ("Collective Suicide").
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We had a kind of messy, multicultural lunch at the annual Ninth Avenue Food Festival. In addition to (Polish) Pierogies and Indonesian veggie fritters, we enjoyed some Venezuelan Arepas. In New York, the Arepas you get come stuffed, predictably, with Mozzarella -- the "Mozzarepa."
Very simple -- and yet completely excessive.