In NYC’s Museum of Modern Art there’s always a little crowd around Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night,
which is misplaced and should rather be by Pablo Picasso’s Desmoiselles d’Avignon, if we’re considering relative importance to the history of art, but that’s neither here nor there. What is here and there is how terrible MoMA is at the most important markers of being a good museum. YES they have an unparalleled collection of modern art (though women artists are woefully underrepresented) and the various cafes and restaurants in the museum provide actually pretty good food at a range of prices (never cheap, but there are options), but they do almost everything else WRONG.
1. It costs $25 to get in. The list could end here because that is SIMPLY ABSURD. Pricing a museum admission, which should be a place of learning and exploration for EVERYBODY, at $25 is ethically wrong. At that cost lots of people–whether they are lower income individuals, poor grad students, young New Yorkers, travelers on a budget, whoever–are priced out of visiting. It makes me mad. Fridays from 4-8pm are free (grossly sponsored by a clothing store), but it’s so crowded you need to bring scuba gear because you won’t be able to breathe!
2. It’s ALWAYS packed to the gills to the extent that the staircases get so full you get the sickening feeling that if there was a fire, you would be trapped.
3. They recently completed a ridiculously expensive expansion ($853 million), which is partly why there’s that absurd admission price–an expansion that was clearly poorly thought-out considering the situations in the staircases–and they’re planning an another expansion as we speak. The new plans are hugely controversial because they’re going to knock down the adjacent American Folk Art Museum, a structure that is only 12 years old. Gross. They should have just done better the first time. Yes, it’s pretty with the airy galleries and glass and everything, but this is RIDICULOUS.
4. I’m getting too annoyed writing this list so I have to stop. $25 for admissions. $25!!!
Am I being short-sighted? Am I, a degenerate art historian, not seeing the value there? Tell me I’m wrong, because I don’t want to be so jaded, but really and truly, MoMA is the devil!!