Free MoMA!
November 19, 2004 12:21 PM   Subscribe

MoMA Free Tomorrow for New York MeFi Readers! Well, everyone, actually. The Museum of Modern Art in New York reopens tomorrow and graciously offers a day of free entrance for all. Your chance to avoid the much-criticized $20 admission (views: con, pro-fessional, mayoral). Even good old free-admission Fridays bear the price tag of aggressive name-branding [paragraph 6] by an image-crazy donor (it's not charity anymore if it's advertising, folks, much less design-heady classiness-by-association). Some reports (scroll) from the press preview.
posted by Joe Hutch (20 comments total)
I will be there (I think, unless the weather is really nasty, or I hear in advance that the line is really really really really really long)!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:32 PM on November 19, 2004 [1 favorite]

If you work for any of the big corporations or attend one of the art schools in the city,
you might get in free all the time, check with your HR folks or whatever the educational equivalent is.
(that doesn't make the new $20 fee right of course, but if you don't have to pay it ... )
posted by milovoo at 12:32 PM on November 19, 2004

Thanks for the heads up, but I have found that "free" things in New York never are. You pay with wasted time and frayed nerves. Dearly.

That said, thanks for the post. I'm sure I'll go and pay soon.
posted by muckster at 12:37 PM on November 19, 2004

I'll wait for next Friday...tom'w the line will be blocks long, and it's supposed to rain all day. 20 bucks is way way too much.
posted by amberglow at 12:39 PM on November 19, 2004

Saturday: Rain Prediction and Line Prediction both High. Wait for barometric pressure in room to drop (re: nerves). If calendar and funds permit: Use the 20 post-hype, early on a weekday morning if possible.
posted by safetyfork at 12:49 PM on November 19, 2004's supposed to rain all weekend.

On the 20 bucks..I don't see how 20 bucks is all that bad, and here's why:

1) It's a museum of MODERN art and as such has to take bigger risks than, say, the Met, which is pretty much going to stick to the Rembrandt, Vermeer, DaVinci stuff that will bring in HUGE numbers. (By the way, if you're a tourist, remember that the Met's 12 dollar admission is a DONATION and thus VOLUNTARY.) The MOMAs mission is to represent what is relevant or what they think is relevant NOW and in the future along with what was ground breaking in the past. This means that not every exhibit is going to garner huge lines and people schlepping from the burbs to see. Risks costs money. We need someone to take a risk on the Mapplethorpe's of tomorrow or today. MOMA is never going to be the Museum of Natural History which can be subsidized by tons of elementary schools and junior high schools trucking their kids to see the dinos every day. You want something special, it has to be supported.

2) Like the man said, the Guggenheim is 18 bucks. I think the Whitney is up there too. How come no one is banging down the Guggenheim's doors screaming revolution? Let's get can stay in the MOMA all day for your 20 bucks. Your 10.50 at Loew's gets you 120 minutes if you are lucky and you are pretty much guaranteed to see something you've seen before. Skip two movies for two months and go to MOMA.

3) I also agree with the 'macchiato crowd' point. You know what a pair of Seven jeans or a Triple Five Soul jacket costs? Buy your jeans at the Gap instead and put the savings towards three visits to MOMA. It's all about priorities. Things that are important are worth the money. Jeans are not.

That said, my company pays nyah nyah nyah nyah.
posted by spicynuts at 12:59 PM on November 19, 2004

Muckster...try the alligator lounge in get a free pizza with EVERY drink. The drinks guarantee calm nerves. And the pizza is a real pizza made in a real pizza oven. You can watch them make it. How you like them apples?
posted by spicynuts at 1:01 PM on November 19, 2004

MOMA has never taken risks. I'd recommend PS1 or any number of galleries (or even the Guggenheim) if you want to see what's relevant now--they've never ever been good for anything at all outside the established canon--their little projects room was an afterthought.

If i was here as a tourist, i'd think nothing of paying whatever it costs, but they're just gouging all their customers.

I grew up going to the Met a lot with my mother because she could bring my brothers and I all in for free. We never went to MOMA--wonder why?
posted by amberglow at 1:05 PM on November 19, 2004

Hmm, I may just have to stay home and watch My So-Called Life on DVD.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:08 PM on November 19, 2004 [1 favorite]

Went last night to a pre-opening thing (there were thousands of people there, I am not special) the museum is spectacular and worth every penny especially if you can get in free. It is, however, worth waiting until the crowds die down so you can actually see the art.

And speaking of every penny, a number of protesters were there handing out fliers suggesting that you pay your $20 admission fee in rolls of pennies (which they claim would weigh 12.5 pounds) to show MoMA how "heavy" the burden of the fee is on contemporary art. Hee hee!
posted by The Bellman at 1:17 PM on November 19, 2004

It's a museum of MODERN art and as such has to take bigger risks

That's absurd. They take the immense risk of doing a Picasso/Matisse show (I saw it, it was well worth getting a year's membership, which is the only way I could get in on the last day) and get bazillions of dollars. This isn't about the "risk" of showing the most popular artists in the world (do you seriously think Rembrandt is a bigger draw than Picasso?), it's about defraying the cost of a hugely expensive expansion and, well, just because they can. They figure people will pony up the $20, and they're obviously right. But it still sucks.

Or, what amberglow said.
posted by languagehat at 1:17 PM on November 19, 2004

While I don't find myself in blood-curdling screams about the Guggenheim's price, I do find myself not going to it. Which is really what MOMA should worry about. And I live here. What about all the tourists who don't have all the time in the world to see every museum, and decide to scope out the less expensive (and possibly better) choices? Hell, you could just gallery hop for free in Chelsea and have a good time.

As for the Whitney, when I went, during this year's biennial, it cost some money, but was well worth it. Not everything was necessarily Awesome McAwesome, but care had been taken in the curation and the level of quality was rather high. On the other hand, the two times I've been to MOMA (well, MOMA and MOMA:QNS) I've been less than blown away. Not grossly disappointed or anything, but just generally feeling not as sated afterwards as I'd like.

I don't mean this as a dis to modern art, just MOMA. There's something hinky about...something. Something missing. Hopefully, this new MOMA will be different: at $20 a pop they'd better have ironed out their hinks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:19 PM on November 19, 2004

Yesterday's NYT Arts section had a very good article on the reopening of the MoMA, btw.

Also, MoMA was already at least $16.00 before they closed last $20.00 is not a shock at all, especially considering the expansion AND moving the entire collection to Queens for over a year. They pay couriers, shippers, liaisons, insurance, storage, reproduction fees, rights fees, etc... It takes an army and a dozen organizations sometimes to coordinate even one single loan.

And you'd be surprised at how many art museums in NYC tout free admission on Friday's the lines that make it undesirable.
posted by naxosaxur at 1:24 PM on November 19, 2004

Amberglow: Still PS1, even though MoMA now owns it? And what about the much-vaunted Fund For the 21st Century, MoMA's new million dollar initiative to buy works made in the last five years?

To say that MoMA has never taken risks simply is not correct. In the 1960s the museum took very substantial risks and had an impressive track record. As a few critics have noted, Dorothy Miller's "Sixteen Americans" show in 1959 included Frank Stella (just out of school at the time) Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns. Not a bad group of artists. Recently, it is true, economics have dictated a less risky path (though the PS1 acquisition was widely viewed as a way to counter that) but if you go look at the new MoMA I think you'll find that there has been a very substantial recommitment to contemporary art. I expect that means there will be more duds, but it's going to be good for the museum in the long run.

Having said all of that, there's always Chelsea and Williamsburg. The gallaries, after all, are free and they are where the real action is.
posted by The Bellman at 1:31 PM on November 19, 2004

one of the finer achievements of the Blair government has been the introduction of free admission to the major national galleries and museums. Of course we pay for it by taxation, but it has made them much more popular, and accessible to a much wider group of people.
posted by johnny novak at 1:55 PM on November 19, 2004

(Quasi-self-link warning):
Groovy new-MoMA pics here.

Well, I think they're groovy, anyway.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:03 PM on November 19, 2004

Don't forget that Washington DC has plenty of free museums, if you're into that kind of thing.

When did the Guggenheim get to $18? It says $15 on their website and that's what I paid last time I went. That's a 20% increase if they did raise it.

Now MoMA QNS, that was a little bit of a rip-off. They loaned out most of the well-known art since it was a "unique opportunity" but I don't think they lowered the price. They had a huge space but only used a corner of it for the permanent collection. I also got caught by a period before they closed the Manhattan one where they charged full price but had a lot of galleries closed. At the end of the day, I have no problem paying a good price for a good museum.
posted by smackfu at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2004

Please. You'll drop $20 on a cab (among countless other things) in NY how many times a week? MoMA's worth every cent.
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:49 AM on November 20, 2004

Wasn't the apartment building they built supposed to help subsidize costs anyway?
posted by amberglow at 10:41 AM on November 20, 2004

I dunno amberglow... I guess I look at it like they have works I really want to see sometimes. For me it's like a band I love is playing live, and I could easily download the show for free later, but it's never as great as being there. I can't expect that artist to play for free just for me! And I can't expect the guardians of Piccasso, etc to do likewise regardless of what kind of money they already have. In the end I guess it's just kind of a supply and demand thing. How bad do you want it? :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 11:03 AM on November 20, 2004

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