November 5, 2009  |  Viewpoints, Visitor Viewpoint
Visitor Viewpoint: Bibi Saks and the Modern Aesthetic
Bibi medium

MoMA member Bibi Saks inspires her friends to clear off their counter-tops.

Is this your first trip to MoMA?
I used to live in Forest Hills when I was young. I went to school at Pratt to study painting, so I used to come here all the time. I’ve been a member ever since I was a student. I live in Massachusetts now, but this is where I come the moment I get into NYC.

How often do you come down here?
We have a timeshare in NYC, so we come down pretty often. MoMA is my second skin. You can’t check in at the hotel until 4:00 p.m., so we always come here first. It’s like Thanksgiving, the holidays—it’s a homecoming. It’s a relative. Yet every time I come here it’s exciting because there’s always something new.

Has the Museum changed much since your first visit here?
There’s more to see and more to know—it was much smaller back then. The architecture too has really become part of the experience. It’s like a yin yang. There’s so much to look at. Yes, there’s the collection, but then you stop to look at the Museum itself. I was just sitting here staring at the windows and admiring the details—it’s just exquisite.

Do you have a favorite work in the Museum?
The first thing I always do is go to the industrial design department because I’m so proud of my cousin who was Charles Eames’s design director. Any time I see Eames, she’s never far behind.

You mentioned you’re a member and feel it’s important to support the Museum, but how does the Museum support you?
My niece, who is like my daughter, says that I introduced her to all of her firsts: her first trip to MoMA, to the circus, to the theater. But she mentions MoMA first. It was our thing. I showed her the design elements—form always follows function—and since then, anytime she sends a gift it’s from MoMA. She’s learned to make choices that are relative to design.

My husband, if he had his way, would live in a colonial house. I mean, ours is sort of colonial, but inside it’s all modern. Clean lines. My friends come over for dinner and comment that there’s nothing on the kitchen counter. The next day they call and say they got home and began throwing things away and asking, “Where do you keep the toaster?” It’s hidden because, to me, clean lines represent modernity.

By Julia Kaganskiy, Twelve-Month Intern in Digital Learning, Education, and Barbara Palley, Landau Fellow, Education.