When the Lines are Too Long

Our intent was to go to the recently reopened Museum of Modern Art on Monday, but the long lines scared me off. As a former museum curator and educator, I am quite picky about the circumstances under which I view art. Large crowds do not usually equal a great experience for me.

We headed across 53rd Street to the Museum of Arts & Design (formerly the American Craft Museum). Don’t let the regretful name change scare you off. It still has some really great stuff. I was quite taken with the Ruth Duckworth exhibit. I had seen her work here and there, but I always love seeing the entire breadth of such a seminal artist’s career. Duckworth has been a leader in the field of ceramic sculpture and it’s exciting to see it all in one place at one time.

The next day we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the exhibit of Rubens drawings. The exhibit was handsome, but, again, marred by so many people crowding around the delicate works. What I love most about drawings, though, was in plain view. I love to see the artist’s hand at work and there were numerous examples of Rubens working and reworking his figures. Still, we were glad to leave and come across the relative calm of a small gallery filled with drawings and one animated short film by William Kentridge (contemporary from South Africa). This was a real find for me. I loved his short film, which consisted of his black-and-white drawings, which he photographed, erased, reworked, and rephotographed in order to get the sequence. Visually fascinating!

Along the way, we saw the Met’s wonderful Pollocks, Kellys (a personal favorite), and Brancusis (another favorite of mine).

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