13 August 2010

Carry the world's greatest art collection around in your pocket with MoMA's iPhone app

New York's Museum of Modern Art launched a new iPhone app yesterday and being the art fanatic I am, I downloaded it immediately.

I was not disappointed and am left pining for my next trip to Manhattan.

The app opens with a calendar. It's updated with the day's events at the museum, you can see upcoming events, preview the current exhibitions, see the current film schedule and get information on museum programs.

There's a separate tab for tours. Under Tours, you can browse the museum by floor and listen to a variety of museum-specific audio, including the full audio tour.

Under the Art tab you'll find the museum's entire collection, all cataloged and cross referenced. It's in this extensive catalog that you'll find everything, and I mean everything, that MoMA holds; whether it's on display or not.

In thumbing through it, I found some of my favorites works in that museum with no difficulty. If you ever want to see me reduced to a puddle of giddy, weepy awe, stand me in this museums galleries in front of any of these paintings.

First up is van Gogh's The Starry Night. He completed it in 1889 and it's his recollection of his view from the window of a sanitarium. To stand a few feet away from this painting allows a viewer to see the full fury and passion of van Gogh's painting technique. I swear, the paint's slathered on in layers that appear to be inches thick. I cannot look at this painting and not see the man Vincent van Gogh in all his broken glory.

Mark Rothko's another perennial favorite of mine, he's probably my favorite painter of the 20th Century. His No. 10 knocks me over for reasons I can't quite describe. I understand what he's doing and I can feel his mind working through this painting. But just barely. He gives me just enough to keep me wondering but never lets me in fully. I find his paintings mesmerizing.

Paul C├ęzanne's The Bather from 1885 is another one that rocks my world. I say the subject of this painting is the first real anti-hero in western art. He's in a classical pose but this man is no classical beauty. It's his plain-ness and everyman quality that makes this painting so modern. In 1885 this painting was a shock to the art world. Nobody glorified the non-heroic. The industrial revolution was ramping up and humanity was going to conquer all. There was no room in the popular psyche for a wan man in a desolate landscape.

Sorry to go all art school on you, but this is a great app. Go download it here and carry around the world's greatest art collection.


  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I already had the Louvre app, and this is a very nice addition.
    Also, I agree completely about Rothko.
    Have a nice weekend!

  2. I love hearing from other Rothko fans, thanks Zoe!


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