The studio visit with Derek Fordjour was one of the most valuable for me. He talked about how it is difficult be an artist, but that if you decide to follow the path, you do so because you feel the urge to create. I though that Derek was very well-spoken and he provided a lot of insight into his process. He described his daily process and the work he and his assistants do. He seemed very genuine and willing to share what he has learned throughout his career, including the mistakes he made and how he overcame them. He discussed how important it is to have people support your work and help give you the courage to keep creating and do what you are called to do. He also discussed the financial aspect of art and how important it is to keep creating, even when there is money coming in, because you don’t know when it will stop or when success may slow. He stated how important it is to build connections and to talk to other artists, especially older artists who have had a lot of experience because there is so much that you could learn from them. Derek discussed how important social media is in terms of presenting work. It allows you to be engaged with people who may be far away, and allows for it to be easier to provided more engaging conversations. It was exciting to see him talk about how he plans on developing his new studio.

Afterwards, we visited the new MOMA, which I was very excited about. There was so much to see. I had watched the renovation videos on YouTube, but to experience it all in person was amazing. I really loved the Betty Saar exhibition. I was pleasantly surprised at the burgundy color of the walls, because it seemed refreshing from the typical “modern” white walls of galleries. This was also true of the mauve walls in the “Surrealism” room upstairs. This exhibition really seemed to tell a story that is relevant in bringing up important conversations that we are facing in today’s society. I am also interested in printmaking, so to see just how complex and successful Saar was in her process was inspiring.

It was also great how the MOMA brought artists that had not been as prominent to the forefront. A lot of women artists and minority artists were featured. These artists had been excluded in a large scale from the art world, or were seen as less important than a lot of male artists who were at the forefront of the art world. It is extremely necessary that everyone be granted the opportunity to share their perspectives and their art, and I think that the MOMA reinvented itself so a lot of diverse artists and art work was able to be shown.

The atmosphere of the MOMA seems to be more lively and exciting now than it was in the past. There is a sort of buzz from the visitors, seeing new works, or even works that had been shown in a new context. In one room, there are many works by Picasso. However, the whole context of the room is able to be shifted by Faith Ringgold’s American People Series #20: Die. What could be a conversation about Picasso’s style or subject matter brings the conversation into a contemporary conversation with the social and political issues and injustices in our society today.

There was a lot of photography and video art presented which was not as prominent in the MOMA prior. Furthermore, a lot of the time the work seemed to be separate from each other. However, with the renovation I felt like most of the work was shown in mostly equal proportion, in a manner that still made sense, but felt refreshing.

Visiting the MOMA was a great way to finalize the NY Semester visits. I saw so many of the artists we saw throughout our visits. One of my favorite works that the MOMA had on display was Mrinalini Mukherjee, the artist that we saw on the first day of class. To see her work in the context of the MOMA really solidified the entire semester for me and made me think about how exciting art is and the important messages and conversations it can bring about.

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