Fall at MoMA. Plan Accordingly.

It seemed a silly tagline for MoMA’s full-page advertisement in the NYTimes a few weeks back. But considering the exhibitions on the fall program of NYC’s premier venue for modern art, “Plan Accordingly” is the best advice anyone could give you.

MoMA’s two marquee shows, “Bauhaus: Workshops for Modernity, 1919-1933” and “Tim Burton” are each staggering in their own way. They’re also causing mobs in the museum as visitors flock to them. Plan accordingly – try to visit the museum on a weekday.

A drawing of Edward Scissorhands from "Tim Burton"

We all knew “Tim Burton” was going to be special, and despite a general need for editing, it still lives up to those expectations. It is the first exhibition of the director’s non-cinematic work at a major fine arts museum. It is also a retrospective of his major motion pictures – pretty much everything from “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” to “Sweeney Todd” is being screened in one of MoMA’s plush theaters. The journey into the third floor gallery is quite literally a walk into the belly of the monster. The exhibition, with its hundreds of drawings, dozens of sculptures and film props is a journey into the macabre and relentless imagination of Tim Burton. There are a lot of distorted gothic characters on the walls and many of them you’ll recognize (Edward Scissorhands is everywhere). The majority of the drawings come from Burton’s personal sketch books, and as such they are not so much works of fine art as they are a visualized stream of consciousness. It’s hard not to like the Burton show. Sure it could have about a hundred fewer sketches, but ultimately it’s a refreshing and entertaining display of the work of an undeniable (twisted) genius. (Note: there are timed-tickets for the Burton gallery, which can be booked in advance online).

While Burton is cool, the jewel of MoMA’s fall program is unarguably “Bauhaus.”  It is a scholarly yet approachable survey of the 20th century’s most influential school of design. Beautifully curated with something for everyone, Bauhaus sandblasts misconceived notions that German design is grey and industrial. Color abounds, particularly in the glistening textiles that adorn the walls. Bauhaus should be slowly savored, and luckily with everyone crammed into Burton, you’ll probably have most of the 6th floor gallery to yourself.

A chair from "Bauhaus"

Kathleen Reckling
CC ’07, GSAS ’09

This is the part of our blog series 30 Museums in 28 Weeks. Through CUarts’ Passport to New York program, Columbia students get in free to 30 museums in the city. We will attempt to visit every single one of these museums before the end of this academic year and share the experience here with you. 30 museums. 28 weeks. That’s a lot of culture. Check out our progress here.

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