Will it Serve as an Enhancement?
By Julia Tuck
Just in time for the leaves to start changing into subtle shades of red, orange, and yellow, the Museum of Modern Art decided to undergo a layout change. It is uncertain if audiences will favor the changes, which include an extension with 40,000 square feet of gallery space. The primary change encompasses the Picasso and Monet art being placed next to more recent and diverse artists which could theoretically dampen the effects of the Picasso and Monet art in this specific contrast. The change could arguably enhance the museum or serve as a detriment, according to many who strategized the new plan. This change was decided upon at the end of three years of various renovations, which left people wondering what else could possibly change.
The placement of certain works of art has been quite controversial since the decision to switch the layout of certain pieces of art. For instance, there has been question if pairing the Picassan works with those of a prominent African-American painter in the 1960s would be acceptable. After all, influential work such as “Demoiselles” propagates a sense of sexual violence towards African-Americans and draws upon the idea that there is lack of understanding on the topic. I think that perhaps this was not a well thought-out decision since certain Picassan work such as this might strike a negative and emotional chord in viewers and might elicit a sense of uneasiness.
Some placement of art, however, such as that of particular photography and architecture, could serve to diversify the placements and add to the aesthetic appearance. Another addition which could serve to enhance viewers’ experiences are the movies that are now projected throughout the galleries as a visual supplement to better explain the artwork. I believe that this addition could help the atmosphere and aid visitors seeking to learn about the artwork who do not have the time to read through each explanation.
I can still recall the first time I visited the MoMA and the sense of awe I felt walking by famous works of art which were my childhood favorites. Works like Monet’s “Water Lilies,” and Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” I never quite thought about placement of art back then, but rather basked in the visual excellence of the work and let myself get drawn in by its mysterious nature. I have always enjoyed rushing through the galleries, always intrigued by what art was lingering behind each corner. This sense of enjoyment propelled me to become more invested in art, not only my personal work, but that of museums and their specific layouts.
I now consider the organization of certain art more closely and I have a certain appreciation for logical organization in a way I never had before, perhaps because I am currently more involved with the arts. I believe that the MoMA’s decision to render a new organization of certain paintings while also expanding the gallery space as positive for viewers so long as it is considerate of what work is surrounding it. I am beyond excited to step foot in the new and updated museum and see how these changes reflect themselves.