This show takes up most of the 6th floor of the museum. The works need space. Many pieces are really big. I prefer her early work like the very big Ellipsoid and Hyperbolos and her pieces made of cement. Her later art/installations are made of discarded objects that she would find. I found some amusing and others disturbing. Reviewers and art critics have lauded this retrospective. I guess I did not understand or appreciate it to the same extent.
Ileana Sonnenbend: Ambassador for the New
In reading about Ileana Sonnenbend I thought about the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Can an artist find success without being represented by a gallery? Or, can gallery succeed without artists to promote? Sonnenbend had a great eye. Supposedly, when she found an artist she liked, she gave him free rein. She promoted contemporary art on both sides of the Atlantic, in Paris and in New York. Her SoHo gallery opened in 1971 and became a hub for the emerging contemporary art scene. She made the artists she represented famous and, in turn, she became famous because of them. Whether you have seen any of this art before or not, it’s still worth going to see this small show. It’s fun. My favorite piece: Giovanni Anselmo’s sculpture made from carved granite and lettuce. Yes, someone is in charge of replacing the lettuce when it rots.
Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves
This is a 55 minute, 9-screen video installation on the second floor of the museum. The movie juxtaposes scenes of modern China with those acted out from ancient Chinese fables. At times the music and images are meditative and beautiful – other times they are more distressing. It’s a lot of sensory input for your eyes and ears, but worth watching for a while. People watch by lying on the floor and or sitting against oversize ottomans.
After spending the afternoon exploring the galleries in the museum, when your feet and back are beginning to ache, this is the perfect place to rest before heading back out onto the street.
*Admission to MOMA is $25/adult. Personally, I think the above shows are not worth spending that much money. Members get in free with $5/guest tickets. So if you’re in a group of more than 3 you might consider joining as an individual member and bringing your friends as guests. Or, go to the museum on Friday evenings between 4-8p when the admission is free.