Exploring NYC: The MoMA

by Lorien E. Menhennett

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One of my favorite exhibits was a collection of modern art from the 1960s. I grew up listening to the music from this decade, and so could appreciate at least some of the cultural references.

When I finished my final exam last Friday, I returned to my room and felt lost. What in the world would I do with 10 days of unstructured time? The answer: have fun! Do things in this grand city that I’ve wanted to do, but simply haven’t had the time (or taken the time) to do. I’ve teamed up with one of my classmates who is also in town this week, and is also casting about for things to do. First on our agenda was to hit The Museum of Modern Art, better known here as The MoMA.

I truly enjoy art, though I don’t pretend to understand all of it. To be honest, much of modern art especially is a mystery to me, though I am fascinated by it. When I read the placards next to the pieces, I can see where the artist is coming from, but often until then … not so much. I think, though, that while part of art may be understanding the thematic and stylistic elements, a significant part is simply experiencing it, the pure visceral nature of the visuals. And that—that I can do.

Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night" is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable paintings there is. How exciting to see it in real life!

Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” 1889.

Here are some photos I took at The MoMA yesterday. Every piece I’ve captured here intrigued me in some way, though the highlight was probably seeing Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” This is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable paintings in existence. How exciting to see it in real life! Most of the other pieces I saw, perhaps with the exception of works by Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollack, were not so familiar to me. But as I said, fascinating nonetheless.

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As a writer, how could I NOT love this, Dieter Roth's "Literature Sausage (Literaturwurst)." According to the exhibit explanation: "Between 1961 and 1970, Roth created about fifty 'literature sausages.' To make each sausage Roth followed a traditional recipe, but with one crucial twist: where the recipe called for ground pork, veal, or beef, be substituted a ground-up book or magazine. Roth mixed the ground-up pages with fat, gelatin, water, and spices before stuffing them into sausage casings." Apparently, he used both materials that he loved and hated, everything from tabloids to Karl Marx. "Roth turned literature into a metaphorical object for intellectual consumption and physical subsistence."

As a writer, how could I NOT love this, Dieter Roth’s “Literature Sausage (Literaturwurst).” According to the exhibit explanation: “Between 1961 and 1970, Roth created about fifty ‘literature sausages.’ To make each sausage Roth followed a traditional recipe, but with one crucial twist: where the recipe called for ground pork, veal, or beef, be substituted a ground-up book or magazine. Roth mixed the ground-up pages with fat, gelatin, water, and spices before stuffing them into sausage casings.” Apparently, he used both materials that he loved and hated, everything from tabloids to Karl Marx. “Roth turned literature into a metaphorical object for intellectual consumption and physical subsistence.” Hm. Well, consider the literature consumed, I suppose.

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