MOMA: Fools in the Spring

Belinda, Selina, and Alisha in Fashion Publishing.

This morning, Fashion Publishing, after talking at length about writing for and pitching to trade magazines, decided we were fated to seek out writing inspiration at MOMA. To begin with, MOMA was open on a rare Tuesday (!). Secondly, it’s going to be 80 degrees and sunny today. Thirdly, as a public service reminder, your New School ID gets you into MOMA for free, and you can skip the lines and head straight to the corporate desk for full entry (films and all). Finally, we were a small group today which made the logistics of packing our bags and heading off into this beautiful city of ours very doable. Once we arrived, we separated for a bit to view art at our leisure without hounding one another. We then gathered in the water garden to live blog and connect about what we’d experienced.

Belinda: “You can’t avoid the word fashion when Grace Jones tumbles out of your mouth, and there she was in old music videos wearing a neon colored Madonna bra and strips of fabric that were wrapped randomly around her.”

Alisha: “But you also can’t take the people watching out of the experience… I noticed a three different people wearing those foot-shaped shoes. One girl wearing them was being asked if they were comfortable, and if she was a runner.”

Selina: “I saw something that appeared to be a rope hammock called ‘The Bridge’. At closer look, it became clear that it was made of industrial metal, but it appeared like rope. It got me thinking about innovative ways to transform material, and about how looks are deceiving.”

Juliette mulled over her experience for a bit and came back to me with this assessment: “On the first day of what finally feels like spring in NYC, I paid a visit to the permanent collection on the 5th floor of the Museum of Modern Art.  Among the walls of Dali, Matisse, Van Gogh, and Picasso, I began to feel sucked back into the cold and dark winter.  I find modern art scenes to be somewhat anxiety-inducing in their fragmented shapes and energy.  The scenes often feel like they are spinning out of control, and the viewer is trapped inside the chaos.  These paintings can be lonely, filled with sights of a disturbing world and bad dreams. In one of the back rooms, however, hangs Monet’s Water Lilies. Expansively reaching across three panels and the entire wall, the calming energy of the painted pond on Monet’s large property in the French countryside enveloped me.  The colors and shapes are soothing and this painting serves less as a scene, and more as a feeling of tranquility while standing before it and taking it in.  Today, on this first unofficial day of spring, Water Lilies matched the energy perfectly!”

So, the common thread of our individual roamings: We were all ready for anything on this Spring Day– even ready to be fooled. I was personally fooled by Picasso’s cardboard construction of a guitar. It was so simple and clear, and like much of his other work he made it look like a cinch to construct.

At times, and perhaps especially on a beautiful day, it seems so very easy to harness creativity to make things. Whether it’s a bridge made from coiled metal; cardboard guitars; a Grace Jones costume. We take this ease of others’ creativity for granted– even when it comes to those popular foot-shaped shoes and how they function.