Galleria: American Modern @ The Museum of Modern Art

WyethA few years back – and by “a few” I mean several – I happened to be at The Museum of Modern Art when I came upon Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. At a glance I was almost sure that I had seen the work before, what with having grown up a mere stone’s throw from Wyeth’s home in Brandywine. And yet, the longer that I stood there thinking about it, the more determined I became that that just couldn’t be the case … that there was simply no way I could’ve forgotten about a piece of modern art so captivating.

I must have remained there for at least 25 minutes on that afternoon. There were so many immediate angles to consider – the simplicity, the depth, the innate sense of American values, the identifiable notion of feeling so near and yet so far away from home; the protagonist’s posture, so desperate, so intent, so overwhelmingly suggestive of the idea she might be in danger. It was like a potpourri of Steinbeck and Malick and Hopper and Guthrie, the illusion so complete that at no point did I find myself the least bit cognizant of what was happening around me. I had – in the most maudlin and derivative of senses – become immersed inside Wyeth’s painting. And that, my friends, is some pretty powerful juju, to be sure.

I pass this along by way of recommending American Modern – an exhibition of more than 100 realist paintings and photographs from MoMA’s permanent collection, including Edward Hopper’s House by the Railroad¬†(a painting which, coincidentally, provided the inspiration for the panhandle estate seen throughout Malick’s Days of Heaven, as well as the Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s Psycho), Georgia O’Keeffe’s¬†Evening Star, No. III, and – of course – Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World, just to name a few.

It’s an embarrassment of riches twice as memorable as The Rain Room, without the seven-and-a-half hour wait.

(American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe runs through January 26, 2014 @ the Museum of Modern Art, $25 general admission, 11 West 53rd Street)

Five More For The Offing:

  • I, You, We featuring various artists @ The Whitney Museum of Art ($18 general admission, through 9/1, Madison Avenue at 75th Street)
  • The Writing On The Wall featuring various artists @ The Bernard Museum of Judaica (Free, through 9/30, 1 East 65th Street)
  • Summer Collective Part II featuring various artists @ Bertrand Delacroix Gallery (Free, through 9/28, 535 West 25th Street)
  • RE-FORMED featuring various artists @ Wesbeth Gallery (Free, through 9/15, 55 Bethune Street)
  • 10 Years of Wooster Collective featuring various artists @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery (Free, through August 24th, 529 West 20th Street)