4. Hey MOMA, Ooo-oh MOMA
I always like to start off my posts with a poor pun using the opening bars of a Craig Machlaclan and Check 1-2 song. I think it puts all of us at ease. It doesn’t. It makes everyone, but mostly me, cringe at my utter desperation. Let’s all remember that it’s late when I’m posting this. I’ve had a few drinks. I’ve been listening to his album. We all do it.
One of my friends told me he was unhappy with the disdain for the arts I showed earlier this week in my critically acclaimed review (one other blogger liked it) of the off-Broadway play, Perfect Crime.
“People work hard to put those things on and I find what you’re writing in your blog offensive. A lot of time, dedication and effort is put into these productions,” he informed me. Like I didn’t know. At Brownies, Rachael Pearce and I spent weeks and weeks practising our rendition of ‘I Know Him So Well’ from Cats for the annual show. Hours upon hours of blood, sweat and tears perfecting our performance. And do you know what? It was still a load of fucking shit. Even my mum and nanna walked out halfway through the performance. And they sure didn’t pay as much for a ticket as I did to see Perfect Crime, even taking that 30% reduction into account.
What he said did make me wonder, though. Am I that ignorant – that much of a Philistine (not entirely sure I know what that means) that I have no appreciation of what’s great in terms of art in its many forms?
When I visited MOMA, I felt more annoyed than delighted with what I saw. Yes, I enjoyed seeing Warhol, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Picasso and the like, and I really loved some of the photos I saw there. However, as far as I am concerned, a varnished pink shelf leaning up against a wall is not art. A metal stand with eight hair extensions tied to it isn’t art. Some tights with sand in the crotch isn’t art. A rubber lion’s face in a saucepan isn’t art (but a little bit more like it, to be fair). Some of it is just utter bullshit. Utter, utter bullshit.
What then really adds insult to injury, are the descriptions that accompany some of these pieces. “Oh, this is a dystopian take on consumerism’s grip and its juxtaposition with existentialist ideology, which is represented here by wire wool, blue glitter, used tampons and a Cabbage Patch Doll’s eye, is it? You utter knob,” I whispered under my breath to one of the artists, who wasn’t there, because if he had been, I’d have said: “What an interesting and evocative piece.” Or something like that. Ideally, cleverer, but that’s probably the best I’ve got.
I know some of you will agree with my friend. But I know what I like. And, I know what it feels like to be taken the piss out of. And about a quarter of the exhibits at MOMA made me feel like someone was taking the piss out of me. And that’s not a nice feeling. My other half felt the same. I caught up with him as he ogled nude photographs on the 3rd floor. They weren’t on display, no, he was accessing a porn site on his iPad near the lifts using the free wifi. I jest. Of course the wifi wasn’t free. It was $10. Again, I jest. He was just looking at the nude photos on the walls, after all.
We had a chat about some of the tripe we’d seen during our time apart. It was clear that he also had that nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right about all this modern art stuff. It wasn’t just us being uncultured. I completely agreed.
“Have you seen the one where the bloke is spunking over the woman’s tits?” he then asked. I responded that I hadn’t, asked to be pointed in the appropriate direction and limped off – it was the day of the ankle support bandage purchase, ladies and gentlemen. Another $20 and a not so fast scarper away from a tip jar. I know I could have bought the same thing in Wilko’s for about £3. That’ll stay with me for a while, that one. Still, if I look back and think about the $25 cold sore cream he had to buy, the pain subsides a little.
I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t find out that the woman asleep in a glass box at MOMA was Tilda Swinton until I got back to England. I thought she was a waxwork to start with. And not even a waxwork of Tilda Swinton. Then, when I realised she was a real, live woman having a kip in a box, and after casting my critical eye over the installation and its meaning, I merely muttered: ‘Daft bitch’ and wandered off. That’s not to say that if I knew it was Tilda I wouldn’t have called her a daft bitch. I’d have just looked at her a bit longer before doing so. She was, after all, my second celebrity spot in New York after the bloke who may, or may not have been, one of the lead characters in The Sopranos. Oh, and my other half thought he saw the drummer from Ash at the airport on our way home.
I’m still glad I visited MOMA. I enjoyed 75% of it. I’m exaggerating a bit there – let’s say 50%.
It costs $25 per person entry. What? I’m not saying anything.
Sadly, it turned out to be the only museum we visited during our stay. We did get as far as the entrance to the Natural History Museum, before noticing it was $33 each entry fee. Understandably, we quickly made our excuses and left.