New Gauguin Show at MOMA–Not What You Expect

At least, it wasn’t what I expected. In this case, it was an old acquaintance in unfamiliar garb, that is, Gauguin as sculptor, wood carver and print maker.

I am still angry at MOMA for making a bad artistic decision to knock down three gorgeous Beaux Arts townhouses to expand lo these 40 years ago, but not being one to cut my nose off to spite my face, I still go there.

The inside space is lofty, cold, and bright; it could never be described as a friendly building.


Outside in the sculpture garden, I could still see my old friend, Picasso’s goat


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but it was a bit chilly to stroll.

Upstairs in the Gauguin exhibit, our friends (whose guests we were) and we found not only a number of his glowing, deeply colorful paintings that we had never seen,

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but also mysterious carvings,



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woodcut prints,

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water colors,

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wood friezes,

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and stoneware sculptures.

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Gauguin invented and mastered a huge range of art media, many of which are represented in this eye-opening show and almost all of which were new to us. He painted and sculpted his young Tahitian lover over and over again; however we might view his unconventional family life, the art is glorious. Besides, I make it a point not to think about artists’ personal lives; if I did, I might have to give up Wagner.

The Museum of Modern Art is not cheap; $25 for adults and $18 for seniors, although there is no separate charge for special exhibits. Admission is free, however, for all visitors on Free Friday Nights, held every Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m, which is a nice thing to do on a Friday night. You could buy a membership, and see all those exhibits and movies for free, but I still haven’t forgiven them for those Beaux Arts buildings….

Btw, Cafe 2 on the second floor has a nice selection of paninis, salumi and salads at moderate prices, but get there before 12 noon or face the crowds.

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