By Mariah Tyler
October 21, 2019

Installation view of Exhibition M (2019) by Goshka Macuga, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2019 The Museum of Modern Art.
This monumental tapestry by Goshka Macuga is inspired by the artist's time in MoMA's archives. She organized a personal survey based on the Museum's collection and exhibition history, to bring to life a new reinterpretation and reevaluation of modern art. This long-term site specific work is on public view and symbolizes what the new MoMA is attempting to do with the reopening.

Heidi Bohnenkamp

On my first visit to New York City, I had a few hours before a friend got off of work and I knew exactly how I wanted to spend my time. The yellow taxi dropped me off at 53rd St. and 6th Ave. and I left my luggage at the coat check in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art. I was a student of art and culture, and this was home to the impactful works of my most beloved artists. Now, as an NYC resident, the MoMA is where I spend at least one day a year, mostly to visit the special exhibitions. I’ve learned to dodge crowds and zip past all the works I originally saw as a tourist.

Until now, I was starting to see the MoMA as an Ikea of art; make one trip a year to see what’s new and leave feeling inspired yet exhausted. The new MoMA, however, may be a place I frequent much more often.

MoMA's reopening exhibits art history icons like Girl before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso (left) while displaying lesser known, rarely seen works from its collection like Daphne by Renée Sintenis (right). The bronze sculpture by German female artist was acquired by the Museum in 1939 and has not been shown since the 1940s and can now be found in the Garden.
Mariah Tyler

The museum is reopening its doors on Monday, Oct. 21 after being closed since June of this year. It has spent $450 million on renovations and new construction that extends its gallery spaces by 30 percent. The expansion of 165,000 square feet will accommodate an ever-growing collection of art and feature work by more artists of color and women from around the world. It will also have additional room for the annual 3 million museum-goers to navigate the galleries.

Installation view of Downtown New York (Gallery 202), featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
Mariah Tyler

Founded in 1929, MoMA is celebrating the 90th anniversary of its commitment to helping the world understand and enjoy modern and contemporary art. The reopening has the art world abuzz with opinions on the freshly reconfigured galleries. The expansion has allowed curators from across the museum’s departments to reconsider the history it is presenting. Every square inch of wall space has been changed to include a larger mix of art mediums in the galleries while still maintaining a loose chronological order from the fifth floor down to the second. You’ll find paintings, sculpture, and photography in the same room that present different ideas on similar themes from the same time period to spark conversation and foster learning. 

Installation view of artworks by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Wilhelm Lehmbruck.
Mariah Tyler
Installation view of Surrealist Objects gallery featuring Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair by Frida Kahlo (1940) and The Birth of the World by Joan Miró (1925).
Mariah Tyler
Yayoi Kusama's Accumulation No. 1, a soft sculpture chair, sits in a room surrounded by art giants like Andy Warhol. The two were contemporaries together in New York, during times when male artists took her ideas without crediting her influence.
Mariah Tyler

The museum will change exhibits every six to nine months, giving patrons even more of a reason to visit again and again. You’ll always be able to see the Picasso classics and Van Gogh’s Starry Night, but you'll also be inspired to spend time with artists you've never heard of before.

Installation view of 19th Century Innovators (gallery 501), The Museum of Modern Art, New York. This room has major artworks by Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch and Henri Rousseau.
Mariah Tyler
Stamp, Scavenge, Crush Installation view of Canyon, Robert Rauschenberg (1959) and Lee Bontecou's Untitled (1961).
Mariah Tyler

Being in the new space felt like my first visit — taking in every layer of paint, eyes wide. Even my old favorite by Henri Matisse felt fresh next to a colorful piece by Alma Woodsey Thomas.

Installation view of The Red Studio by Henri Matisse and Fiery Sunset by Alma Woodsey Thomas.
Mariah Tyler

When the MoMA reopens its doors today, tourists will continue to flood in, looking for the more famous pieces that have long graced its walls. Hopefully now they'll leave with new insight, having discovered new favorite artists. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the Museum of Modern Art, surely one not to miss on your next visit to New York City. And for a budget-friendly visit, you can view the first-floor gallery space for free without a museum ticket.

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