When is a window not a window?

Arti was in NYC for a week in September.

It was Friday afternoon free admission time when hundreds lined up several city blocks to get into MoMA, Museum of Modern Art. Once in there, it was like inside the Tower of Babel (not that Arti had been there), but just imagine the whole world had converged in this space, all kinds of languages were heard.

After visiting MoMA, some questions came to mind. Here are the Q & A’s. (Photos were allowed. The following were all taken using the iPhone 6)

When is a window not a window?

When it’s encased in plexiglass, with the name Marcel Duchamp placed beside it, declaring it to be an objet d’art. Dada-di, Dada-dum…

Not a window.jpg

Or, when is a spider an objet d’admiration, something larger than life?

When it evokes a Kafkaesque vision:

Giant Spider 1


And why is the arachnid a double-edged sword?

Well, the artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) saw it as a friend when it captured bothersome mosquitoes in her Connecticut country home. As well, Bourgeois also saw it as a symbol of her mother. Wait, not in looks or nature, but in the work that they do. Her mother was a tapestry restorer. Bourgeois saw sewing and spinning web to be a similar form of action.

How do you take a good photo when there are crowds everywhere? A bit similar as how to get to Carnegie Hall, patience, patience, patience. The following are the before and after effects at Monet’s Lily Ponds:


Monet's Water Lilies 1.jpg

What’s the major excitement of the whole experience? The ecstasy of seeing some famous artworks unexpectedly, ones that Arti had never thought she’d see in real life.

Christina’s World (1948) by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). And what is the blue patch in the middle? Arti’s watermark.

Christina's World.jpg

The only Edward Hopper (1882-1967) at MoMA, Gas (1940). As an avid bird watcher, Arti of course would have loved to see Nighthawks but Gas would do, for the serendipity.


And glad to see Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) healthy diet:

Healthy diet

Ta-da! This is probably one of the most compelling reasons for many to visit MoMA, van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889):

Starry Night

Which was the most memorable for Arti?

Jackson Pollack.jpg

One: Number 31, 1950 (1950) by Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)

Never thought it was so big, 8′ 10″ x 17′ 5 5/8″ (269.5 x 530.8 cm). No easy dripping.


A few related posts on Ripple Effects:

Arles: In the Steps of van Gogh 

Inspired by Vermeer

Edward Hopper, William Safire, the Visual and the Word

Alex Colville and the Movies

Art and Cliché

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

15 thoughts on “When is a window not a window?”

  1. When I last went to MoMA, Gas was out on loan – caught up with it in London a couple of years later at the Royal Academy! Love Hopper. BTW, it’s Wyeth, not Wyatt. Love your comment on the Duchamp.


  2. I’m curious as can be about your use of the third person. It felt so strange — I was tempted to say, “Wait! Where’s the real Arti, and what have you done with her?!”

    What a fabulous visit. I’m don’t share your enthusiasm for Pollock, but I was completely taken by the spider. I’m glad you were able to view at least one Hopper, too. I wonder what van Gogh would think about a quite acceptable version of his “The Starry Night” having been painted beneath a bridge in the Texas hill country? I think he might have liked it. Did you notice any difference in colors between the real painting and what we usually see online? I’m sure the brushstrokes are more visible.

    Lovely post — I’m so glad you shared some highlights with us.


  3. Oh, what a smile on my face to see one of my favorite Wyeth paintings again (there are several, including Christina’s World, on a series of postage stamps out now here.) And to see the Monet in person (glad you got both shots!) and the VanGogh. Wow. And the Cezanne. The book I just finished reading featured Cezanne and one of his fruit still lifes most prominently. Now I need to go back and look if it was the same one.

    Not that fond of the Pollock but it IS impressive in its mass. And the Hopper! I think we would have photographed many of the same ones!


    1. Jeanie,

      Wyeth on postage stamps? I’d love to see them! The Cezanne is called “Still Life with Fruit Dish” (1879-80) I’m quite fond of the Pollock. I feel it’s a wonderful example of the phrase “There’s method in the madness”. I’d love to go back to MoMA and this time it won’t be a free entrance night so I can enjoy and linger more in solitude. 🙂


  4. I feel like I’m at the museum with you. It is interesting, after seeing the spider sculpture, how elegant it appears to me. My daughter calls me “Spidey” because I am a quilter, seamstress and gardener and when she comes over she doesn’t want to leave. She is caught in a web of comfort. Another way of thinking about spiders…
    I remember the first time I viewed Christina’s World at MOMA — it captivated me for a long time!! And Hopper depicts the early twentieth century to a T. Thank you for sharing your big apple experience with us…


    1. Heather,

      What an endearing word “Spidey” is at your home. So glad you share this and confirm another real life example of the metaphor. Always appreciate your stopping by and leaving your thoughts. 🙂


    1. And I was at Lincoln Center for some events and walked by the Met. Talked to a mom bringing her two young sons who are performing in “Norma”. You’ll love NYC. 🙂


  5. I have not yet been to MOMA. I did, however, get to see the waterlilies at the L’Orangerie in Paris. There were only 4 people in the room including myself at the time so it was wonderful.

    Hopper, Wyeth – two of my favourites. I think Pollock needs to be seen live. Until I was in front of a large Rothko, I didn’t care for his work. I imagine it is the same for Pollock. And the larger the better. Two teenage boys were standing in front of this glowing Rothko at a small museum I visited a few years ago. They just barely touched the the big canvas near the edge, giggled and ran. An act of rebellion after a long day, I imagine. Perhaps some of the magic rubbed off??

    Thanks to alerting me to this post. I was just returning from my Canadian book launch at the time, so I missed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michelle,

      That Pollock is awesome. It looked marvellous, I was impressed by how ‘balanced’ it looked, despite the seemingly random dripping effects.

      Didn’t know you’ve come back for a book tour. How wonderful and congrats! Did you mainly stay in ON? Don’t suppose you’ll head there again any time soon? Cause I’ll be spending Christmas with family there in the big TO. Maybe one day I’ll head to your book signing event and we’ll meet face to face. 🙂


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