Good news! New York City’s museums are opening up this week, for the first time since March! Welcome back, Met! Welcome back, MoMA! You too, Guggenheim! Whitney! Frick! Isn’t it grand? I think we all tried some of the virtual tours these museums offered during lockdown, but (shocker!) it just wasn’t the same. Of the museums listed, I’ve only been to the Met. But I’ve done extensive research (lie) and I’m going to feature the most famous piece of art at each of these in celebration of their grand re-openings.
First up, the Mack Daddy of NYC museums: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Remembering all the incredible art here makes me immediately regret committing to “the most famous piece” as promised in the last paragraph. Impossible. So, I’m picking my favorite of the most famous pieces. Here’s a little painting that may look familiar- it’s only Degas’ MASTERPIECE, Dance Class.
|Degas’ paintings are en pointe.|
I love the subject (sometimes I have to talk myself down from the “Was Degas a pervert?” cliff, but once I do I just love his art so much.) The colors in this one are particularly beautiful, I think. The girls’ postures are incredible too. I love that he didn’t just paint them dancing, or at their very best, most poised selves. Instead, they’re tired, bored, maybe cursing out the girl who got the lead in Swan Lake, or contemplating the last episode of “Dance Moms.” I love it all.
Next, we have MoMA, where “modern” is a pretty relative term, if you ask me. The obvious choice here, is The Starry Night by our boy VVG. But I’m going to buttonhook you and go with The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau.
|This was painted in 1897, btw. See what I mean about “modern?”|
When I remember Rousseau was mostly self-taught, I want to put my fist through a wall. That is an unfair amount of talent. I love the colors in this one too, the detail, but also the simplicity. Also, what a bizarre subject choice. I’d love to have café au lait with Henri and ask, “Now the gypsy with the lion. Were you drawing from life experience, or….?”
The Guggenheim has the most fun name of the NYC art museums (rivaled only by Frick, in my opinion) and some super fun art to boot. The most viewed piece there is Kandinsky’s Composition 8, which was also the first Kandinsky Solomon Guggenheim acquired. When we were locked down, we had an art recreation competition and my daughter drew a similar Kandinsky (confession: they all kind of look the same to me.) and it won first place and a high five from me! I also must must must encourage you to Google “Puppy” at the Guggenheim because it’s another super fun piece.
Gertrude Whitney opened her museum after the Met refused her donation of 700 pieces of art. What the heck, Met? Bad form. The Whitney is now home to beautiful art, and gets to boast that Jackie O. came to the opening. Did she go to the Met’s opening? No, she did not. Because she wasn’t born.
I hemmed and hawed over a piece of art to pick from the Whitney, but in the end, the sunset behind this Cape Cod won. Game, set, match, if you will. Edward Hopper vacationed in Cape Cod and sunsets are always prettier on vacation. I think he nailed this one.
|My grass is that same color right now. We need rain.|
Frick is not just an ersatz for a bad swear word, it also boasts some of the best art in the world, including two of the sixteen known Vermeers! A fun fact about Vermeer is that he was well-respected with cartographers (aka “Map Scientists”) for his fantastic depictions of globes and maps, as seen on the wall in this painting.
|Why did cuffs like his ever go out of style?|
I love Officer and a Laughing Girl because… well, it features a laughing girl. Happy subjects were few and far between back in the day. Obviously, she and the officer ran away together shortly after this painting was complete. (I hope.) Don’t you think they have a sexy Wendy and Captain Hook thing going on? No? Are you frickin’ kidding me? (Couldn’t resist.)
If you live in NYC, you should visit an art museum this week because you can. Also, because “museum” sounds like “you see ‘em.” And that is something to be celebrated.