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MoMA

AUTHOR: JASON PERSSE

Posts by Jason Persse
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December 19, 2014  |  Five for Friday
Five For Friday: Hot Pot of Coffee!

Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection.

A few years ago a series of studies suggested that, despite all evidence to the contrary, coffee might inhibit creativity. Upon learning of this, my initial reaction was something along the lines of, “Why don’t you take your science and cram it, Einstein.” Then I had my morning coffee. Suddenly free of the tyranny of adenosine and flush with sweet, sweet dopamine, my more reasonable nature kicked in and I was reminded of the 11th-century Islamic scholar and jurist Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, who said, "No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee’s frothy goodness." Clearly the authors of these studies were unfamiliar with his work.

Okay, so I googled "coffee quotations." That's beside the point. Some of history's greatest minds relied heavily on that rich, dark, hot brain-fuel for stimulation and inspiration. Beethoven and Balzac craved it. Kierkegaard and Sartre couldn't philosophize without it. (Well they probably could, but they didn't want to.) Bach wrote a 10-movement cantata about the stuff.

And artists? Picasso painted coffee grinders and coffee pots. His buddy Matisse couldn't stop putting coffee in his work. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner used it to keep their painting sessions going. You could probably say that the development of modernism was fueled in large part by coffee and cigarettes. It's no surprise, then, that MoMA's collection is rife with images of hot java—and design objects that make serving it easier and more enjoyable. Here are a few of my favorite examples, along with more coffee-related words of wisdom I found on the Internet.

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1. Ralph Steiner. Eight O'Clock Coffee. 1935
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." – T. S. Eliot
 

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2. Peter Schlumbohm. Chemex Coffee Maker. 1941
"Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all." – David Lynch
 

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3. Duane Michals. Coffee Cup, Knife and Book. 1980
"Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?" – Albert Camus
 

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4. Mary E. Frey. Women and Children During Coffee Break, from the series Domestic Rituals. 1979–83
"Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility." – Benjamin Franklin
 

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5. Kurt Schwitters. N Watercolor 1. (The Heart Goes from Sugar to Coffee) (N Aquarell 1. [Das Herz geht vom Zucker zum Kaffee]). 1919
"If it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever." – David Letterman

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December 12, 2014  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 12/12/14

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How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view throughout the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, January 16). Read more

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November 14, 2014  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 11/14/14

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How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view throughout the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, December 12). Read more

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November 13, 2014  |  Film
A Knight at the Opera: John Boorman’s Excalibur
Excalibur. 1981. Great Britain. Directed by John Boorman. © Orion Pictures. Courtesy Orion/Photofest

Excalibur. 1981. Great Britain. Directed by John Boorman. © Orion Pictures. Courtesy Orion/Photofest

On Saturday, November 15, as part of To Save and Project: The 12th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation, director John Boorman will introduce a screening of his Excalibur (1981) in an excellent 35mm print. A second screening takes place on Monday, November 17. Read more

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November 11, 2014  |  Collection & Exhibitions
MoMA Celebrates Veterans Day

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U.S. Coast Guard. It Was a Record Day for Allied Soldiers as 34,355 Arrived Here. July 11, 1945

The Museum of Modern Art salutes the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Thank you for your service, dedication, and courage.

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October 31, 2014  |  Behind the Scenes
Four Years of MoMA Halloween Pumpkins
Maniac Pumpkin Carvers' Halloween re-creation of Henri Matisse's Blue Nude sits in the MoMA film lobby

Maniac Pumpkin Carvers’ Halloween re-creation of Henri Matisse’s Blue Nude sits in the MoMA film lobby

For the fourth year running, MoMA visitors who pass through the Museum’s film entrance during the days leading up to Halloween are treated to an iconic modern-art masterpiece—in seasonally appropriate pumpkin form. This year, in celebration of the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition, the knife-wielding crazies at Maniac Pumpkin Carvers have “cut out” a beautiful interpretation of Matisse’s Blue Nude. Read more

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October 10, 2014  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 10/10/14

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How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view throughout the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, November 14). Read more

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September 12, 2014  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 9/12/14

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How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view throughout the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, October 10). Read more

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September 9, 2014  |  Film
Five Years of An Auteurist History of Film
Clockwise, from top left: The Lady Eve. 1941. USA. Written and directed by Preston Sturges; The Passion of Joan of Arc. 1928. France. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer; On the Waterfront. 1954. USA. Directed by Elia Kazan; The Great Dictator. 1940. USA. Directed, produced, and written by Charles Chaplin; Raging Bull. 1980. USA. Directed by Martin Scorsese; Yojimbo. 1961. Japan. Directed by Akira Kurosawa; Jaws. 1975. USA. Directed by Steven Spielberg; Witness for the Prosecution. 1957. USA. Directed by Billy Wilder; Rabbit of Seville. 1950. USA. Directed by Charles M. (Chuck) Jones

Clockwise, from top left: The Lady Eve. 1941. USA. Written and directed by Preston Sturges; The Passion of Joan of Arc. 1928. France. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer; On the Waterfront. 1954. USA. Directed by Elia Kazan; The Great Dictator. 1940. USA. Directed, produced, and written by Charles Chaplin; Raging Bull. 1980. USA. Directed by Martin Scorsese; Yojimbo. 1961. Japan. Directed by Akira Kurosawa; Jaws. 1975. USA. Directed by Steven Spielberg; Witness for the Prosecution. 1957. USA. Directed by Billy Wilder; Rabbit of Seville. 1950. USA. Directed by Charles M. (Chuck) Jones

Last week you may have noticed that Charles Silver’s long-running Tuesday column, An Auteurist History of Film (based around the MoMA daytime screening series of the same name), was absent. Unfortunately, the August 26 post about Woody Allen’s Manhattan marked the final installment in the series. Read more

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September 5, 2014  |  Collection & Exhibitions
Now in the Galleries: Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer II
Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862–1918). Adele Bloch-Bauer II. 1912. Oil on canvas. Private collection. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862–1918). Adele Bloch-Bauer II. 1912. Oil on canvas. Private collection. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

We are thrilled to announce that Gustav Klimt’s stunning Adele Bloch-Bauer II, one of two formal portraits that the artist made of his patron Adele Bloch-Bauer, is on view in MoMA’s fifth-floor Painting and Sculpture Galleries beginning today, as a special long-term loan from a private collection. Read more