AN AFTERNOON AT MOMA

When I was typing up this blog post, I almost wrote that it was my favorite spot in New York. Top of the Rock was amazing, but the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) edged it out by 0.00001 points. It was exactly my kind of museum and not only was I surrounded by great, legendary works, it wasn’t overwhelmingly huge and I felt that I was learning too. Going to MoMA fine-tuned my appreciation for art, or just confirmed what I’ve known all along – that I prefer modern art. Hehe! Give me impressionists, post-impressionists, surrealists, fauvists, pop artists any day! Below are some – not all! – of my favorite pieces. My photos don’t do these any justice as the colors and lines are way sharper and more shiok in person. I feel that I did well by my 2011 self by actually visiting more galleries and museums. 😉 Anyway, enough talk, let’s go on a mini-tour of my favorite place in New York – MoMA.

Disclaimer: I am not an art expert. But I like looking at it. 🙂
Warning: This is gonna be photo heavy.

My favorite color palette of all time featured in Proun 19D by El Lissitzky
Though the strokes used in The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau is somewhat similar to classical works, the colors evoke a very dreamlike state which I find captivating.


Gare Montparnasse by Giorgio de Chirico
is a piece I remember from high school art class. So surreal (get it? hehe!) to see it right in front of me!
Rather different from his other more famous works, there is no prominent human figure in L’Homme Aux Cartes by Pablo Picasso. It demonstrates cubism but in more subdued colors. I actually tried going around and taking notes of Picasso’s works and timeline, I remember having a hypothesis but I can’t really remember it now, haha! I think it would be interesting to take up art history. Kinda regret not paying more attention in school.

persistence of memory salvador dali
Remember the time my heart literally fluttered upon seeing a Dali sculpture? Imagine that times a hundred upon seeing The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. I remember there was even one tv show/movie, that I’ve been trying really hard to recall what, had a scene where the character went for a job interview and he/she impressed the interviewer by noticing the Dali reprint in the room and citing punctuality and the importance of time.
More than the subject in Great Metaphysical Interior by Giorgio de Chirico – which has great attention to detail by the way – I love the colors and lines of his earlier works. Did you know that as early as 1919 he decided that modern art was inferior to the classics and went to paint baroque style for good, instead? A shame, I think, coz his metaphysical works were just always so captivatingly high impact.

Fortunately for me, not everyone thought the same as de Chirico and modern art continued to thrive. The Moroccans by Henri Matisse is a great example of neglect for realistic subjects and precise clean lines. I actually never gave much thought to Matisse prior to my New York trip but after seeing his works (in The Met, especially), I was a convert. I loooove him!

I mean, I get why some purists claim that modern art is a joke. It’s just that I find modern art so refreshing and unlike the older styles, I could go from room to room and not get bored that I’m seeing the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind seeing the works of the masters. They aren’t called “Masters” for nothing, but you kinda already know what to expect. The same can’t be said about The Piano Lesson by Henri Matisse. It’s like, what is this guy gonna come up with next!?

Don’t you just love the vibe and energy of Bridge Over the Riou by André Derain? He and Matisse were bros, traveling and painting together so their styles are quite similar (coz duh, they co-founded the fauvist movement). They even had a joint exhibit! How cool it must’ve been to attend and see their works and you know, see them too.
On exhibit was “One-Way Ticket” where all 60 original panels of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series were together in one room for the first time in 20 years

As the name suggests, it documents the migration from the South to the industrialized North. Not only was it visually nice, it had a story – actual, real history – too. 

Aside from its socio-historical merits, I love the choice of colors and how the style employed is accessible and not at all intimidating.

Remember when Mondrian-print was fashion’s biggest trend some seasons back? Check out one of the actual inspirations: Composition with Red, Blue, Black, Yellow, and Gray by Piet Mondrian.

Girl Before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso is a painting I have to take in as a whole to appreciate. Loooove the use of colors and how he plays with the strength of the lines. If I think too much about it and focus on the girl, I end up really confused coz my left brain wants to make sense of the figure. Hehe!

Fulang-Chang and I by Frida Kahlo, yep, the Frida Kahlo who’s a household name yet I know not much about. I should read up more on her! Fulang-Chang is her pet monkey, by the way.

On the other hand, someone I’ve learned about before seeing his work was Gustav Klimt. We talked about his work The Kiss in Literary Class back in university. Looove his use of gold and colors to create whimsical pieces. Above is Hope, II by Gustav Klimt

This is Adele Bloch-Bauer II by Gustav Klimt and it’s rather controversial. This painting had been looted by the Nazis upon their occupation of Austria. Adele Bloch-Bauer I, not in MoMA, sold for much higher than this one as it was done in his signature gilded gold.

That said, I knew only of his Golden Phase so I was pleasantly surprised by The Park by Gustav Klimt. It featured some mosaic elements in the figures, but majority of the canvas was done using pointillism. I honestly wouldn’t mind if you gave me this and not the more high-valued pieces.

And speaking of pointillism, here’s Evening, Honfleur by Georges-Pierre Seurat aka pointillism master. Hehe! Love how he extended the work on to the frame. His works are always so relaxing and pleasing to the eye.

See what I mean? Here’s Port-en-Bessin, Entrance to the Harbor by Georges-Pierre Seurat. Isn’t it just so peaceful and pretty?! Yet you have to remember that these are covered in dots. I can only imagine how painstaking this was to do!

There was one artist though that I was so surprised I would like: Claude Monet. His works are reprinted everywhere, from framed displays to address books that I didn’t pay much attention to him growing up. I thought it was “pang-matanda” but seeing his works in person, ughhh! Let me eat back my words.

A closer look at Agapanthus by Claude Monet aka: the one I sat in front of and stared at for a bit.


Panels upon panels of Water Lillies by Claude Monet. It’s damn relaxing to just stare at it and you know, reflect about life’s meaning and whatnot.

Isa pa tong The Olive Trees by Vincent van Gogh! Love how sharp yet soft his work is and of course, the vibrancy. If Monet was to calm me down, then Van Gogh is for psyching me up.

Even if the subject is something related to sleep like Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, there’s just so much energy in his paintings. As I type, I am seriously feeling pumped and excited and just energized by his work. Good thing he was influenced by the impressionists!!!

And now something to bring me back down from that Van Gogh high: Twin by Robert Ryman. Yep, it’s not blank – blanc lang, hahaha corny – he painted with white.

I’m not really good with abstract art, like I said above, my left brain works too much sometimes but I find The Kitchen by Pablo Picasso visually appealing with its minimalist technique.

Now for some extreme abstract art: Number 1A by Jackson Pollock. I honestly don’t understand it but I do get the rebellion against the norm. Or maybe this means love? Hihi! I also get why people would like to hang this in their homes, imagine this in an industrial, or even scan-dustrial room. Nice! But if I had loads of money, a Pollock wouldn’t be my first spend. 
“Simple” as this piece is, I really like Untitled by Laura Owens. I love the contrast of colors and that I feel like I’m playing hidden Mickey. A real conversation starter.

A fun and eye-catching piece is Colors for a Large Wall by Ellsworth Kelly. It literally looks like a Sudoku puzzle with colors, hehe! I know my description doesn’t really cut it, but like I said, Reg = no art expert.

Did you know there’s newspaper strips under Flag by Jasper Johns?! Great texture too!
OOF by Edward Ruscha
Girl with Ball by Roy Lichtenstein, name sounds familiar but you can’t pinpoint how you know him from? Scroll down below!
Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein, yep, that guy famous for his comic book style pieces that a lot of people have been imitating for Halloween the past few years. 😉

Everything Else Has Failed! Don’t You Think It’s Time For Love? by Sharon Hayes
Six of Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol. Ingrid and I actually went to the Andy Warhol exhibit here in Singapore back in 2012 but seeing his most notable works in person at MoMA felt ridiculously good. 🙂

I am partial to anything gold and to hints of turquoise, throw in Marilyn, Golden Marilyn by Andy Warhol was an easy favorite.

Posting Untitled (City Text) by Andy Warhol here as a reminder of how awesome New York is, ughhhh!!!
Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol is such a beauty!!! Seeing the original is just waaaaah!


Sorry guys, I just had to take a selfie. x

Hope you guys enjoyed and weren’t overloaded too much. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and remember:-

Living: You should limit the number of times… by Jenny Holzer
Hehehe! 😉

What about you? What are your favorites? Have you been to MoMA before? Did you like it? Any museums worth checking out? Sound off below!

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is located at 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

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