The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, in central Manhattan sometimes has been criticized for being too Eurocentric. I think that we can forgive them for collecting some of the most magnificent works of art from the last part of the nineteenth century and early 20th and combining those with contemporary art.

 In a far corner on the top floor of this grand modern museum is a room with 3 large panels on one wall and one on the other. As when Monet’s Water Lilies were shown at the National Gallery in Australia, I am reminded of the comments by Gough Whitlam, the mid 1970’s Australian Prime Minister (who was responsible for the purchase of Pollack’s Blue Poles): ’We really are too close’. And, apart from some personal confusion with the contemporary late 20th century selections in MoMA, particularly sculpture, this is my only concern in a visit that was followed by becoming an International Member.

Two of the many images engraved on my memory from that (Eurocentric) section of the museum include Starry Night, the late Van Gogh work that embraces his mind’s view of the world as his time drew near, and Rousseau’s ‘Lion and Gipsy’ that I have viewed in a print form in our villa library for the past five years, co-naming it Joseph and the Lion. Impressionists abound, among them Seurac and Matisse, and then admire Magritte before, venturing down one level, we come to the earlier American ‘modern’ painters.

To find Pollack’s No1, 31 virtually juxtaposed with Edward Hopper requires some adjustment in the form of art appreciation. Passing a variety of Hopper works, I am informed that trapezoids were the governing design feature (for more understanding read ‘Hopper’ by Mark Strand). Nevertheless, to me the Hopper works provide an intense understanding of the use of colour in contrasting light and shade. And then Pollack. Having gradually grown to appreciate the chaotic beauty of Blue Poles, where, it seems that colour was the only visualization of the artist, as, to the uneducated art viewer, form was a matter of untrammeled entropy, I could better appreciate the offerings that MoMA gives us of this creative spirit. But I would feign intellectualise on Pollack’s ‘works’.

For this too short review of a great museum, I cannot deny mention of the searching painting by Wyeth of ‘Christina’s World’, about which reams have been written, but no words do the painting the justice it deserves; it is a miraculous work that binds to the heart.

Fortunately the MoMA café meets the best standards of the museum. It serves to ’battalions’ of art and pasta hungry patrons, and has adopted more from Hopper than from Pollack in organisation and presentation of their fare, but possibly leans towards Pollack in the wonderful blend of tastes, once the foods are splashed on the palette, and washed down the ‘canvas’ with a fine wine.

Start at the top, enjoy and be amazed by the art, succour the fare, and lounge around the library and the museum shop. Have a great day.

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