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A Fall Afternoon Exploration of Museum of Modern Art
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A Fall Afternoon Exploration of Museum of Modern Art

- In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers

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A Fall Afternoon Exploration of Museum of Modern Art

A Fall Exploration
At Museum of Modern Art


Museum of Modern Art
www.moma.org
11 West 53rd Street
NY, NY 10019

Paul Jackson, MoMA Press


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 26, 2012


On a recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), I began, as always, with lunch and an aperitif at The Modern, MOMA’s elegant new restaurant. I dined on Upside Down Tuna Tarte, with fennel, Japanese cucumber and aioli, followed by Fresh Grilled Shrimp with green cabbage and gruyère salad. My server was congenial and attentive. My first exploration was the Alighieri Boetti exhibit, called “Game Plan”.

The Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan exhibit is a collaboration of MOMA, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the Tate Modern in London. Mr. Boetti’s bio can be seen here. He liked to refer to himself as Alighiero è Boetti, meaning he had two personas, like twins, “Gemelli” in Italian. His 1968 photo-montage, seen below, portrays himself holding his own hand with a slightly different hairstyle. Boetti’s work was first created in his hometown, 1960’s Turin.

His later tapestry maps, sewn by Afghan rural women, included 150 colorful world maps, spanning geopolitical shifts from 1971 to 1994, illustrating continents and oceans. Mr. Boetti traveled within Afghanistan, where he ran the One Hotel, in Kabul, an artistic commune, from in the 1970’s, until the Soviets invaded the country. The later maps were created in Peshawar Pakistan. The “Mappas” (maps) embroideries sometimes included, on the borders, Sufi poetry, sewn in by the artists, plus the alphabet. Whatever embroidery thread was at hand was used in the serendipitous map colorations. Boetti’s Afghan artisans also fabricated “Arazzi” (Word Squares), and “Tuttos” (Everything). The geography was not tuned to exactness, but rather to aestheticism. Boetti was a member of the “Arte Povera” (poor art) contemporary movement, in which a group of Italian artists opposed corporate thinking with unique and startling materials and style. They often used found objects in their works
I also spent time in the second floor Contemporary Galleries, 1980 – Now exhibit, ever so thought-provoking and filled with surprises. During the afternoon exploration of the permanent collections, after a café on Terrace 5, I happened upon van Gogh’s 1889 “The Starry Night”. It was painted in St. Remy the year before van Gogh’s death. The very thick circular brushstrokes evoke the artist’s intense emotional reaction, at one with the pre-dawn sky, the endless church spire, and the massive up-stretched cypress. Later on, I came upon Picasso’s 1907 “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. It’s about 8’ square, with iconically fragmented images of women in lush pink flesh, gazing and posing with casual flair. Avignon was the name of a street in Barcelona famous for its brothel.

I highly recommend a late morning or afternoon (or even entire day) visit to MOMA, to see again, what you always remembered and wish to reconnect with. In fact, my final stop before the museum closed was the triptych of Monet’s Water-Lilies, absolute heaven. I have visited Giverny twice, and the actual water-lily gardens are beyond imagination, always shifting in light and temperature, shadows moving across the pond in the moment. The three expansive paintings (each is about 7’x 14’) offer Monet’s connection with nature, painted through his ever-worsening blindness, in the years before his 1926 death. Monet designed and cared for his gardens and pond throughout his years in Giverny. He even rowed his wooden boat among his blooming lilies. You can check MOMA’s current and upcoming exhibition schedule here.



Alighiero Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994).
"Gemelli (Twins)". 1968.
Photomontage 5 7/8 x 3 15/16" (15 x 10 cm).
Collection Annemarie Sauzeau, Paris. © 2012
Estate of Alighiero Boetti / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ SIAE, Rome.



Alighiero Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994).
"Mappa (Map)". 1989-1994
Embroidery on fabric 100 x 231 ½" (254 x 588 cm).
Collection Giordano Boetti, Rome. © 2012
Estate of Alighiero Boetti / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ SIAE, Rome.



Alighiero Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994).
"Tutto (Everything)". 1994.
Embroidery on canvas
96 7/16 x 258 11/16 x 1 3/16" (245 x 657 x 3 cm).
MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt Am Main. © 2012
Estate of Alighiero Boetti / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ SIAE, Rome.



Alighiero Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994).
"Senza titolo (nero su bianco, bianco su nero)". 1989.
Untitled (black on white, white on black).
Embroidery 42 ½ x 42 ½" (108 x 108 cm).
Courtesy Galleria Alessandra Bonomo. © 2012
Estate of Alighiero Boetti / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ SIAE, Rome.



Vincent van Gogh. "The Starry Night".
Saint Rémy, June 1889. Oil on canvas,
29 x 36 1/4" (73.7 x 92.1 cm).
Embroidery 42 ½ x 42 ½" (108 x 108 cm).
The Museum of Modern Art, NY
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest



Pablo Picasso. "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon". 1907.
Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm).
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2011
Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net