After you go visit the really terrific Alighiero Boetti show at MoMA, which I love, and after you see his ("his") tapestries and thingies on the second floor, don't forget to sneak through the surprisingly expansive second-floor galleries, which are showing a kind of semi-show, a kind of rotating collection-display they're calling "1980 to Now." Apparently at some point they'll like, reinstall it and update it or whatever. This is sort of better than being like "here are some recent things that people gave us!" But it's also kind of a curatorial nightmare, because you're making a declaration about, well, 1980 to now.
A lot of it does hang together as a show. Over on the "recent" end there's a hilarious Rachel Harrison assemblage/thingie, and a really great Mark Bradford "painting," and then as you go back a little, there's the "haha, remember those two years when people only bought paintings by Japanese people, God, that was weird" room, and they are all clumped together in an uncomfortable way, and then there's the "Andrea Zittel room from back before she disappeared into the desert."
And then there's kind of the "Downtown Gay Room," which….
Okay, so, they have this giant, really terrific Keith Haring, that stretches around three walls. And then they have a wonderful Martin Wong Lower East Side painting, I think of Stanton Street, and he is the best painter in the world. And they have a lovely Arch Connelly pearl "mirror" painting. All three of these men died of AIDS. Wong, 1999; Connelly, 1993; Haring, 1990. (There's also a hilarious piece about gentrification in the room by two artists whose names I have forgotten, but it's from a long time ago and expertly germane today.)
And then, right in the middle of all this, there's… a DAMN JEFF KOONS, of the bloody FLOATING BASKETBALLS. Jesus. Jeff Koons. Do you want to know about why the basketballs are floating in the half-full aquarium? Let him tell you: "If the ball would be deflated, it would be a symbol of death. But it's inflated, so it's a symbol of life." OH OKAY, FOOL.
This is completely enraging. To put the most shallow, the most inconsequential, the most ironic, the most $$$, in with the thoughtful, joyous, earnest work of two poorly-known and very dead artists and one very well-known but poorly-understood dead artist… it's just awful. It reduces everything to a marketplace. (And I don't mean a marketplace of "ideas.") After that, then you just see the show as like, "Here's a Philip Taaffe painting about nothing" and "Remember Cady Noland" (LOL JK!) and "this is a greatest hits of what was expensive for 15 minutes since 1980." It's bummer city!
Anyway there are a lot of wonderful things in there to see, you should totally go, just… be careful.
Also, in other MoMA news, they have GOT to get that Joan Mitchell out of the entryway, right where they take your tickets, by the big glass wall. It's a very beautiful and wonderful painting, but hung like halfway up this huge wall, it looks like GARBAGE. This is why they hang modernist paintings six inches off the ground; otherwise they look like hell. This painting needs to be taken down immediately.