The Museum of Modern Arts is itself a very historic museum that contains modernistic art – whether paintings, sculptures, drawings, letters, or photographs. MoMA was first created by John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller in 1928. As any museum, they started off small with only a few collections such as paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, and Seurat, but eventually grew to obtain many more collections. MoMA even contains international art. There were some photographs that reminded me of what we learned in our class.
Henry Ford popped into my head as soon as I saw Henry Callahan’s photograph of a blur of many parked cars, and it is not just because both names begin with Henry. This picture reminded of the assembly line that Henry Ford did to make cars more affordable. All of his low paid employees specialized in one task and this caused there to be a rapid increase in the supply of cars, which lead to low price for cars and a rapid increase in the demand for cars. The way Callahan blurred the cars makes it seem like he is stating there are way too many cars that look alike causing there to be a blur to distinguish the differences between the cars.
One photograph took me right to the heart of the Roaring Twenties. There was a woman and a man driving what looks like a bumper driver (maybe from Coney Island). The woman and the man are driving together while the woman is laughing her head off and the man is soaking in the moment. The couple look like they are having the best time of their life and nothing can stop them from enjoying what life is bringing to them. Of course however, they will not be laughing too long because the Great Depression is on its way and is about to bring them a whole new experience of pain and anguish as well as starvation.
What I loved most was the African American exhibition that I went to. There was a slideshow of paintings done by Jacob Lawrence on why the African Americans traveled to cities such as New York. They were in search of better opportunities. The slideshow started off by showing the segregation in the South, as well as the violence they went through. Women worked hard in the household ironing clothes while men worked hard in the farm. Innocent blacks were arrested for crimes they did not commit but were framed of. Another painting showed their escape and what they were faced with. They went in groups with each of them looking out for one another like an extended family. Theft and abuse were some of the challenges they faced during their travel. However, once they reached cities like New York, their lives changed. Lawrence drew a painting of three young children holding up numbers as if they finally caught the stars they were reaching for. This demonstrated that blacks received education in New York where there was less discrimination than the rural South. There were more opportunities opened for them in the urban area. Men received the opportunity to work in factories, but nonetheless work for themselves. They received a sense of freedom and belonging in cities such as New York.
The Museum of Modern Arts was an amusing way to learn history and connect it to what we learned in class. There were some paintings that I have seen that I learned about in different classes because MoMA has a wide variety of forms of art. I have seen the works of Picasso, Rathko, Pollack, and Sezanne to name a few that are not related to this class but work viewing while I was at the exhibition. However, the paintings and photographs that I viewed made me see our nation in “motion.”