The name Ida Lupino became a part of my cultural consciousness when I was about ten years old. I grew up watching classic American television shows such as Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir—all shows which featured Lupino as a guest director at one time or another in the mid to late 1960s. Read more
I first heard about Yoko Ono’s so-called “instruction pieces” as a high school student, when a friend told me the (possibly apocryphal, certainly embellished) story of Ono’s first meeting with John Lennon. History according to the poorly fact-checked lunchtime ramblings of rock ‘n’ roll–obsessed seventeen-year-olds: During a visit to London’s Indica Gallery in 1966, Lennon encountered Ono’s Ceiling Painting. Climbing to the top of a tall, white ladder, he used a magnifying glass dangling from a thread to read a message printed in tiny letters on the ceiling: “YES.” Profoundly moved by the work’s unalloyed positivity, he demanded to meet the artist right away. Read more
On March 31, 1930, Marlene Dietrich appeared on the stage of Berlin’s Gloria Palast for the premiere of The Blue Angel before sailing that very night for America to work on Morocco. The director of both films, Josef von Sternberg (1894–1969), had long since departed, expecting never to see the actress again. Read more
David Brooks’s work takes the fragile dynamics of ecosystems as its subject, creating sculptures and installations that consider the relationship between built and natural environments. One powerful example—his massive site-specific installation Preserved Forest—is currently on view as part of the Greater New York 2010 exhibition at MoMA PS1. Read more
Giving a proper appreciation to MoMA’s collection—numbering some 150,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, media works, films, prints, photographs, and more—can be kind of like attempting a sip of water from Niagara Falls. There’s a lot to love, but there’s also just….a lot!
Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to break the Museum’s rich collection into easily manageable (and hopefully entertaining) chunks—and to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the MoMA treasury. Read more
The July 11 opening of Summergarden 2010 draws near. The program book has gone to press. All arrangements are in order. Rehearsals once again show how the remarkable young musicians of the New Juilliard Ensemble can conquer pretty much any musical problem. Read more
Linda Nochlin’s groundbreaking essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” was published in 1971, but more than fifteen years later, when I attended graduate school at the Graduate Center, CUNY, a second wave of important feminist contributions to the discipline appeared. Read more
Early this summer, I was asked by MoMA educator Laura Beiles to write a poem responding to the show Rising Currents for a Modern Poets reading that took place aboard the New York Water Taxi on June 29. When I first walked into the gallery space, I was struck by the measuring sticks painted on the walls, showing how much the water will rise in the next century.
These notes accompany screenings of Rouben Mamoulian’s Applause, July 7, 8, and 9 in Theater 3.
Rouben Mamoulian’s (1898–1987) career as a film director showed potential for five years, before limping into a disappointing second act and then virtually disappearing. He was a promising newcomer like George Cukor—another of the many imports from the Broadway stage who turned to film around the advent of sound technology—but unlike Cukor, whose career lasted more than a half-century, Mamoulian never quite figured out how to survive and thrive within the Hollywood system. The great success of his stage production of Porgy in New York made him and everyone else think he was notably inventive, but his cinematic gifts proved limited and transitory. Read more
When I received the abstracts for the Mining Modern Museum Education conference—held at MoMA this past Friday, June 25—and read Wendy Woon’s blog posts on the topic, I was particularly sorry I couldn’t attend. It’s thrilling to explore the rich history of museum education, and surprising that so little has been accessible to date. Read more