Foggy Sunday at MoMA

The plan on this foggy day in NYC was to go to MoMA to see the Gauguin and Jasper Johns exhibitions, both new, both nice, both somewhat intellectual. No photography allowed, which was fine with me. I respected both exhibitions but was not hit behind the knees, my criterion for OMG art.

Then I joined the throng of foggy-Sunday people in the galleries of MoMA’s permanent collection, the paintings you see on postcards, calendars, and posters with good reason.

Before we proceed, however, I want to draw your attention to a little Odilon Redon still life hanging quietly in the corner. image

See in this photo of “Wildflowers in a Long Necked Vase” (1912) how no one is looking? Redon may be the best kept open secret in the art world. There used to be a small room devoted to his paintings tucked into the lowest level of Musee d’Orsay in Paris where we few Redonophiles gathered in silence, excepting an occasional gasp or swoon.image

imageRedon is my drug of choice, discovered when I was 21, unemployed, and newly arrived with one suitcase to Washington, DC. For two days I stood in front of his paintings at the National Gallery of Art instead of looking for a job.

I can spot a Redon across a crowded room. He was a real deal mystic not a William Blake angel-oriented one. He contained the ecstasy of mystical vision inside the “real” world of fear and monsters. His prints, unlike his painting, are seriously scary. But that’s what I think it’s like for mystics on earth.

And, living in this world, we are best to keep our eyes open, and embrace it all. I had a great time being infused with art, and embracing the Sunday crowd.

imageSee redhead in front of Frida Kahlo.


See blue haired girl in front of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” just as the guide told her charges that Van Gogh’s stint in the south of France hadn’t gone so well, and he cut his ear off.

imageSee little Asian girl almost touching a George Seurat before a panicked guard rushed over.


See couple in front of “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth (discreetly next to the elevators) as the young man asked his young women,”Does it remind you of when you were a girl on the farm in Russia?”

imageSee man in a plaid shirt in front of a minimalist Miro.

imageSee hair-flippity girl next to flippity red Matisse.

imageSee Max Ernst’s “The Blind Swimmer (1934),” and think how explicit is that! Cited as having a subconscious association, it’s perhaps not so subconscious as it once was.

See that humans can transcend, given colors, forms, and lines with which to re-pattern ourselves and to answer questions for which we have no words, subconscious or conscious.