Already seen The Starry Night? Would you be happy not to hear the name Pablo Picasso for a while? Think you’re ready for something a bit more provocative than Monet’s Water Lilies? Then this is the itinerary for you! MoMA regularly changes what’s on display to tell a diverse story of modern and contemporary art. Check out these artists—some of whom you may not know—whose work challenges our perspectives, and someday may be as unmissable as Van Gogh! You’ll find them in MoMA’s collection galleries on Floors 5, 4, and 2.

And don’t forget to bring your headphones! 🎧 Many of the artworks on this itinerary are featured on our audio playlists.

Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand 🤰🏻

Paula Modersohn-Becker. Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand. 1907

Floor 5, Gallery 504
The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

When finding new unmissable artworks at MoMA, there’s no better place to start than Paula Modersohn-Becker. How often do you see pregnant women in art made by a woman? This painting is a breakthrough moment in the history of women taking on the subject of women—in this case a self-portrait. Start your journey here, and discover how radical—and how poignant—this painting is on our audio guide.

View in the collection

Tarsila do Amaral’s The Moon 🌚

Tarsila do Amaral. The Moon. 1928

Floor 5, Gallery 509
The David Geffen Wing

This moonscape might remind you of a certain starry night painted about 40 years prior by Vincent van Gogh. His work entered MoMA’s collection in 1941, while Tarsila do Amaral’s The Moon didn’t arrive until 2019, making this painting the ultimate example of a New Unmissable. Although Tarsila is one of the most famous artists in her native country of Brazil, until recently her contributions to modern art were underrecognized. Sharing her work alongside Constantin Brâncuși, Fernand Léger, and—yes—Pablo Picasso broadens all of our perspectives.

View in the collection

Eileen Gray’s Screen ⬛⬛

Eileen Gray. Screen. 1922

Floor 5, Gallery 513
The David Geffen Wing

Based on our collection, MoMA should really be called the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Design—but MoMCAD doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. Eileen Gray’s Screen is a compelling example of the many stories design can tell us about our world. Listen to the audio guide to hear about the creative energy of early 20th-century Paris, the painstaking work it took to produce this object, and Gray’s ability to set her own agenda as a designer and architect.

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Sari Dienes’s Soho Sidewalk 🕳️

Sari Dienes. Soho Sidewalk. c. 1953–55

Floor 4, Gallery 410
The David Geffen Wing

There’s plenty of art at MoMA inspired by New York City—Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, in Gallery 512, is one example—but Sari Dienes literally made art from the streets of Manhattan. For this work she probably had help from her arty friends like Jasper Johns or Robert Rauschenberg (maybe you’ve heard of them?) to roll a large sheet onto the sidewalk and make this rubbing. In New York, even the sidewalks are inspirational!

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Ken Jacobs’s Deep Cuts 🎥

Orchard Street. 1955. USA. Directed by Ken Jacobs. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Floor 4, Gallery 411
The David Geffen Wing

OK, who else is obsessed with old movies about New York City? Nestled off a popular gallery that includes Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans is a dark gallery with theater seats. Currently screening are three short films by Ken Jacobs, including one featuring Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1950s. Jacobs said that as a teenager, “The Museum of Modern Art plunged me…into the unexpectedness of art.” With the New Unmissables you can experience that unexpectedness too.

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Henry Darger’s Untitled (Sombreros and orange canyon) 👧

Henry Darger. a) Untitled (Sombreros and orange canyon) b) Untitled (Two boys canoeing). n.d.

Floor 4, Gallery 412
The David Geffen Wing

Not every artist on display at MoMA went to art school, and Henry Darger is one amazing example. He spent his days working as a hospital custodian in Chicago. When he returned home after his shifts, he worked on a 5,000-page autobiography, a 15,000-page novel, and hundreds of drawings, paintings, and collages. This work is just one of those drawings that’ll introduce you to an illustrated epic you have to see to believe.

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Faith Ringgold’s American People Series #20: Die 🇺🇸

Faith Ringgold. American People Series #20: Die. 1967

Floor 4, Gallery 415
The David Geffen Galleries

Apologies in advance, but we’re going to mention Mr. Picasso just one more time. Faith Ringgold explicitly references his painting Guernica in her commanding work from 1967, creating a new icon from an old one. At the time she made this work, riots were erupting in the streets around the country and Ringgold felt compelled to capture the moment. She asked herself, “How could I, as an African American woman artist, document what was happening all around me?” This work was her answer.

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Ana Mendieta’s Nile Born 🏝️

Ana Mendieta. Nile Born. 1984

Floor 4, Gallery 420
The David Geffen Galleries

Looking at how artists represent the body can send you down a rabbit hole of creativity. Ana Mendieta is known for works in which she directly imprints her body onto a natural landscape, but to find this work you don’t have to leave the Museum. Made of sand mixed with a binder, Nile Born is based on the scale and contours of Mendieta’s own body. She described making art as her way to “reestablish the bonds that unite me to the universe.”

View in the collection

Quiet spaces 🤫

MoMA during the holidays can be a pretty busy place. The artworks on this itinerary are selected for being in some of the quieter galleries throughout the Museum. But if you still need a space to escape the noise while still viewing fantastic works of art, here are some spots to check out:

  • Gallery 210: Richard Serra’s Equal is both meditative and monumental.
  • Gallery 213: In a darkened room, experience a larger-than-life hologram by Sandra Mujinga called Flo.
  • Gallery 413: This gallery is all about Minimalism, so the works of art are pretty spare. We recommend settling in front of Agnes Martin’s Mountain I and contemplating her imperfect attempt to capture perfection.
  • The Museum’s lower-level Titus galleries are usually pretty quiet, and right now they have a captivating display. The exhibition Before Technicolor features some of the earliest color films ever made.

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Eating and shopping 🍝 🛍️

  • Hungry? We’re not only a destination for art, we’re also a destination for food! Whether you’re looking for fine dining, simple pasta for the kids, or coffee and a snack, we’ve got options for you. Check out our restaurant guide.
  • If you’re looking for memorable gifts for friends or family (or, let’s be honest, for yourself), you’ve come to the right place. Visit MoMA Design Stores (across from our main entrance on 53rd Street and downtown in Soho) and our Museum shops for all your shopping needs.