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Lower East Side Again, the MOMA & the MET

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 20, 2009

On Sunday, we ventured back to the Lower East Side by subway, to see The Tenement Museum and did a fascinating 90 minute walking tour, learning how new immigrants lived 135 or so years ago: not pretty.  However, the tour-guide was clear, knowledgeable and had strong impact, and we learnt a lot.  The part around Orchard & Allen Streets there is quite funky, with stunning gritty heritage street-scapes, and a handfull of really cool cafés.  Walked over to the New Museum after that for “The Next Generational: The Generation Younger Than Jesus.”  The space is amazing, and the purpose of the gallery is to be applauded for this particular exhibition – some interesting pieces, but mostly, I didn’t see much that was ‘new’. Its like yes, I get it: adolescent and early adult-hood angst, anomie and so on… same old stuff.  Nothing new about it at all.  But, still, its kind of sweet to see that the junior art world is still alive with Toyah Wilcox, Siouxie Sioux, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and Warhol style creativity.   But it is simply not new!

On Monday we went to MOMA expecting it to be good.  We were excited and inspired by the first two floors (working down from the top), and feeling really energised by what we saw, but then it just kept going, and going, and it began to blow our minds to sawdust.  We have never, ever seen such a comprehensive collection of modern art in one gallery.  It was really too much, a complete over-load, but oh, what a gallery.  All the greats, and loads more to boot.  We would highly recommend the MOMA – it is unquestionqbly the best collection we have ever witnessed.

On Tuesday, our last day in NYC we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: NY’s pride and joy (justifiably) housing the largest and most comprehensive collection of all genres of art, in the English speaking world.  Sensibly, I elected just 3 wings to inspect: Modern, American and Medieval.  The Modern wing contained select Warhol, Pollack, Johns and so on.  This is an enormously gracefull building, with a stunning roof-top terrace with sensational views of Central Park, and a sprawling silver installation across the top.  Fabulous!

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