Matisse_The_Dance, MoMA New York

In a city filled with wonderful museums, New York’s MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) stands out as a real gem – and my personal favorite.  From an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, the collection has grown to include over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects, along with over 22,000 films and over four million still photos, making it one of the most influential museums of modern art in the world.

The exhibitions maintain a nice balance of subject, style, mediums, and time periods.  It’s the kind of place you can spend a few hours or the entire day, depending on what your schedule will allow.  It’s  a great place to spend a cold wintry day, warming up with the art as well as a stop off in the cafe.  With a permanent collection as extensive as this, and impressive traveling exhibits, you’ll be certain to find something that will catch your eye, soothe your senses, challenge your sensibilities, and perhaps even fall in love.

If you’re visiting during the warm weather, step outside to the sculpture garden which features modern sculpture, reflecting pools, and plants.  During July and August the garden features live entertainment, but anytime at all it makes for a good break to feel the sun on your face and catch your breath.

In addition to the permanent collection, special exhibitions currently on display include:

  • Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914, through June 6, 2011
  • German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, through July 11, 2011
  • Seeing Red: Hungarian Revolutionary Posters, 1919, through August 2, 2011
  • Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, through August 14, 2011
  • I Am Still Alive: Politics and Everyday Life in Contemporary Drawing, through September 19, 2011

Or opt to wander the permanent collection where you can spot a Kandisky and a Manet, a de Kooning and a Chagall, or a Warhol and a Toulouse-Latrec.  Find your favorite artist, or discover a new one, with an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art.

I was back in New York last month, after a rather lengthy absence, and grabbing some museum time is one of my preferred ways to escape for an afternoon.

Location:  11 West 53rd Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues, New York City

Subway:  Take the E or V to 5th/53rd, or the B, D, or F to 47-50/Rock Center.

Hours:  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.  Friday till 8 pm.  The museum is closed on Tuesday.  Check with the museum for any special hours if you’re plan on visiting during the summer.  Special summer hours are in effect during July and August when the museum stays open till 8:30 pm on Thursday-Saturday, and is open on

Tickets:  Purchase online and skip the often long queue onsite.

Photo credit:  Henri Matisse, La Danse, 1909, oil on canvas.  Used with permission of the Museum of Modern Art, H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York