Taniguchi’s MoMA New York. My first thought when entering MoMA: This place is fucking enormous. My second thought: this place is fucking hilarious. Walking through the museum, my initial feelings were only verified. MoMA is almost a parody of a contemporary art museum. A beautiful parody, but a parody nonetheless. In the early galleries, sprawling, almost sublime spaces frame singular pieces of art, seemingly chosen for their innate qualities of protoypical abstractness. (ie: “weird painting,” “weird sculpture,” etc.)
It reminded me of something that might be seen on a mildly successful television sitcom. You know the story; the male protagonist goes to some fancy gallery opening – often uncomfortable, white spaces full of bizarre sculpture – to impress his romantic interest, and of course it goes without saying that said guy is completly out of his element. Hijinks ensue when he misidentifies a piece of furniture – bench or coat rack, let’s say – as a piece of art, and attempts to critique it, only to have his foolishness exposed by an art snob competing for the affections of the female protagonist. Plot possibility #2: The opposite. Guy mistakes a sculpture for a coatrack, hangs his hat on it or something, and knocks it over, thereby infuriating the artist and again, making a fool of himself.
That seems to be what Joe Schmoe thinks of modern art, and that’s Taniguchi’s MoMA. An absurd, overscaled, labyrinthian stockhouse of sparsely displayed art objects organized in a manner beyond my understanding. (at least during that first visit.) Don’t get me wrong. I loved it. I loved it precisely for its absurdity, overscaling, and labrythian organization. And to be fair (although that’s not much fun) the smaller galleries were intimate, comfortable, and well lit. and of course, the work throughout was fantastic and I appreciate the wall space that larger paintings were given. Nothing was too stifled or crowded.
Of course I can’t forget to mention the exhibit on Spanish Architecture. At that point in my visit, the museum was closing and I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, but my non-professional opionion: pretty sweet.