Last year my husband and I moved from Florida to the New York area. There is much to like about NYC — the energy, the architecture, the fashion, the seasons, the international atmosphere, the food. But most of all, I love the art this great city has to offer and have become a member of MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Whitney museums.
I was born in Rio de Janeiro, but by the time I finished high school, my
family had lived in Argentina, the US, and Switzerland in addition to
Brazil. We traveled to a lot of other countries as well, and visits to
museums, chateaux, and cathedrals were a staple of each itinerary.
Before entering university, I’d been to museums like the Metropolitan in
New York, the Louvre in Paris, and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg
(then Leningrad). When it came to the world’s great masterpieces, I’d
seen them all.
These days I steer clear of the masters, preferring exhibits by contemporary artists the city’s grand museums showcase. I look for the new, both surprising and moving to me. For instance, earlier this year, I went to The Whitney to see Roni Horn a.k.a. Roni Horn while most visitors flocked to the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, much of which I’d already seen in Santa Fe.
The weather was perfect this past weekend as summer’s heat lifted and fall’s crisp air filtered in. My husband and I took the train into the city then headed up 6th Ave. toward 53rd St, when suddenly we were confronted by swarms of people wearing yellow shirts and speaking Portuguese. We’d chanced upon Brazil Day! Having spent two weeks in Rio this past month, we decided to forgo the samba and crossed over to 5th Ave. to continue our journey to MoMA, confident we’d find something interesting there.
Starting at the top and making our way down, we visited Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 and Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, two very impressive collections. But… nothing the likes of which I had not seen before.
As we descended the final staircase to the lobby, I noticed a crowd hovering around a little tree in the outdoor sculpture garden. The crowd seemed charmed, and though I’d never stepped into the garden before, I decided to see what the commotion was about.
The piece was Yoko Ono’s whimsical and interactive Wish Tree, and guests were invited to make a wish, write the wish on a tag and tie the tag to the tree. After tagging the tree with my wish, we walked through the landscaped garden and it’s many reflecting pools with fountains, and I felt emotionally satisfied and charmed.
We sat by the water sipping Prosecco and enjoying the massive sculptures on display, like Oldenberg’s Geometric Mouse, Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk (it looked familiar to me and, after a little research, I learned there are three, one of which I’d seen at the Rothko Chapel in Houston), George Rickey’s Two Lines, Ellsworth Kelly’s Curve II, David Smith’s Cubi and Sentinel, Giacometti’s Tall Figure, and Jenny Holzer’s granite bench from the series Under the Rock. To my surprise, my favorite piece was Maillol’s disturbing and stunning The River.