March 31, 2014  |  MoMA Teen Takeover
MoMA Teens Take Over Inside/Out: Overheard @ MoMA
The Starry Night

“This one here is the money maker”: Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4″ (73.7 x 92.1 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest

At an international art center like MoMA, thousands of people walk through the doors on a weekly basis. Residents of New York, residents of Taiwan, Italy, South Africa, Germany, and Brazil. Children, their grandparents, moms, dads, aunts, and whoever else have traveled to the Museum in order to be inside of this modern art hub. In this way, it has grown to become much more than a series of exhibition spaces; it has also become a dynamic SOCIAL space. Visitors bring not only their love and curiosity to the Museum, they breathe their lifestyles into the space. Conversations occurring in the galleries practically enter MoMA’s collection, so our group decided to give them the critical attention they deserve by manifesting them on INSIDE/OUT in all their quotidian, nonsensical glory.

Our goal in this exercise was to showcase a look into the many unknown stories taking place at this wonderful museum. We all know and appreciate the master artists of today and yesterday—wasn’t it Salvador Dalí that inspired you to paint? Duchamp that single-handedly changed the definition of sculpture? We think it’s great that there’s a space in this world that brings together all of the most important modern and contemporary artists (with an incredible conservation lab to boot), but in line with Allan Kaprow’s “Life AS Art” philosophy, we felt as though the conversations people had in the galleries could just as easily be masterpieces. Don’t artists visit museums too?

Some may consider this project to be a rude, adolescent violation of personal privacy. While we find that judgement to be pretty harsh, we might actually have to agree. While these juicy bits of conversation were not meant for public ears, they are completely anonymous and (considering the amount of MoMA visitors everyday) were probably forgotten by their respective speakers almost as soon as the words left their mouth. The fruit of our artistic eavesdropping ranged from a variety of conversations, all across the board. But we’ll let you decide on just how malicious, exciting, or necessary our mischief has been. Here, paired with the artworks that “inspired” them, is our list of things we “Overheard @ MoMA”:


“Some yuppie kids tried to climb this thing.”

Donald Judd (American, 1928–1994). Untitled (Stack). 1967, Lacquer on galvanized iron

Donald Judd (American, 1928–1994). Untitled (Stack). 1967. Lacquer on galvanized iron, 12 units, each 9 x 40 x 31″ (22.8 x 101.6 x 78.7 cm), installed vertically with 9″ (22.8 cm) intervals. Helen Acheson Bequest (by exchange) and gift of Joseph Helman


“Of course when I was growing up, we couldn’t take pictures…. I haven’t been to this museum in years.”

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) Three Musicians. Fontainebleau, summer 1921, Oil on canvas

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973). Three Musicians. Fontainebleau, summer 1921. Oil on canvas, 6′ 7″ x 7′ 3 3/4″ (200.7 x 222.9 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


“Okay take another [photograph].”
“This one here is the money maker.”

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890), The Starry Night, Saint Rémy, June 1889. Oil on canvas

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890), The Starry Night. 1889. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4″ (73.7 x 92.1 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest


“Trying to get one from all over…. Pop a viagra, let the heart pump.”
“I can’t look at this—too spread out.”

Isa Genzken (German, born 1948). Spielautomat (Slot Machine) 1999.

Isa Genzken (German, b. 1948). Spielautomat (Slot Machine). 1999. Slot machine, paper, chromogenic color prints, and tape, 63 x 25 5/8 x 19 2/3″ (160 x 65 x 50 cm). Gift of Brigitte and Arend Oetker


“It bothers me….”

Walker Evans (American, 1903–1975) Sidewalk and Shopfront, New Orleans, 1935. Gelatin silver print

Walker Evans (American, 1903–1975). Sidewalk and Shopfront, New Orleans. 1935. Gelatin silver print, 8 7/16 x 6 5/16″ (21.4 x 16 cm). Gift of Willard Van Dyke. © 2014 Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


“No that’s fine….”

Edward Ruscha (American, born 1937) OOF, 1962 (reworked 1963). Oil on canvas

Edward Ruscha (American, b. 1937). OOF. 1962 (reworked 1963). Oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 67″ (181.5 x 170.2 cm). Gift of Agnes Gund, the Louis and Bessie Adler Foundation, Inc., Robert and Meryl Meltzer, Jerry I. Speyer, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, Emily and Jerry Spiegel, an anonymous donor, and purchase. © 2014 Edward Ruscha


And a bunch of miscellaneous things we heard all over the place:

“Should I take one from that angle?” (Near the Sculpture Garden)

“This is the garden. What is that one?”

“We’ve seen this already?” “Oh…really?” (walks away)

“And it could be anywhere in that background.”

“I’m like What happened? I’m like hurry!”

“Yeah a group of kids…from school (chuckles) (Security Guard)

“Just say meet at 5:00 in the atrium. You’re gonna have to tell your sister.”

“Who are you guys? It’s not open!”*

*This last “overheard” was directed to some Cross-Museum Collective members who unsuccessfully attempted to use their student IDs to get a sneak peak of the Gaugin show during the Members Only Preview.


The authors, from left: Mallika Acharya, Ana Inciardi, and Jonny Santos

The authors, from left: Mallika Acharya, Ana Inciardi, and Jonny Santos

This week, every post on Inside/Out is created by participants in the MoMA + MoMA PS1 Cross-Museum Collective, a behind-the-scenes program for teenage alumni of our In the Making studio-art classes. Over the course of the 16-week project, the participating teens work with educators, curators, security staff, conservators, and other Museum staff to gain hands-on experience across a number of fields. In addition, they create collaborative artwork with a range of contemporary artists. More info can be found HERE and HERE. Info on our 2014 free summer art courses for teens is available now.