In June 2019, the Museum of Modern Art, one of New York City’s most popular destinations, did something amazing: It closed for the summer. Now, after finishing up a $450 million renovation that reworked the entire museum and added some 47,000 square feet of space, MoMA is back and, if you ask us, better than ever. We visited the museum a few times during its grand re-opening week to freshen up the MoMA Mania Scavenger Hunt…and we still haven’t seen everything! Here are four things to love about the new Museum of Modern Art.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
If you’re at all familiar with the “old” MoMA, you won’t feel too out of sorts on a trip to the new MoMA. You’ll still spend much of your time on the fifth and fourth floors, taking a largely chronological trip from the 1880s to today, popping in on Van Gogh, O’Keefe, Kahlo, and Warhol along the way. But from the moment you enter the lobby from 53rd or 54th Street, you’ll see changes. The wide, uncluttered lobby. The newly jazzed up multi-story atrium. A 1967 painting by Harlem artist Faith Ringgold enjoying pride of place in an otherwise primarily Picasso-packed gallery. A surrealist gallery jammed with bewildering Man Rays and Dalís and chopped up by a deliberately bewildering assortment of partitions.
The new MoMA has so much more to see—which is natural, given the addition of so much extra space. There’s free art in new galleries at the west end of the first floor, about a bajillion new galleries throughout the museum, and an “artist’s choice” gallery curated by a select guest artist. The first artist up is the American painter Amy Sillman, and her selection of 31 artworks in a single room requires a handheld guide all its own. And MoMa’s curators have announced a new commitment to keeping things fresh: The art on display will change much more frequently, as often as every couple months, and showcase pieces the public might not have seen in years.
Within minutes of our first trip to the new MoMA, it was clear the museum is upholding its promise to highlight more diverse artists—women, people of color, and more. Mary Cassatt takes up a wall in the first gallery most people will enter on the fifth floor. And then you’re among Picassos and Ringgold’s aforementioned masterwork, American People Series #20: Die. Among our favorites is The Dove, No. 2, a rare piece by Hilma af Klint, a pioneer of abstract art…who was inspired to paint by a disembodied voice she heard during a séance.
You’ll need a few visits to see everything the new MoMA has to offer, and the museum rewards you for seeking out its new nooks and crannies. In the fifth-floor space that used to be a cafe, pass the shining Brancusis to find a balcony with a view of the museum’s outdoor garden. Take a moment to linger in a windowed gallery of odd noise-making art. Puzzle over a seemingly unassuming room-within-a-room that’s otherwise full of German housewares. Peek into a side gallery to find the new home of Rousseau’s The Dream, no longer overshadowed by the hordes that gathered around its old neighbor, Van Gogh’s Starry Night. As one museum patron put it as he stepped into said gallery, “It doesn’t get better than this.”
Let Us Show You Around
Learn more about the MoMA Mania Scavenger Hunt, available to the public and for private groups, as well as corporate team building activities. You’ll follow a trail of clues to discover some of the museum’s coolest secrets and answer fun, tricky questions about this amazing collection of art.