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New York Trip: Day One

We visit MoMA and talk to Barbara London!

We headed out for breakfast from our hotel which seemed to be in the centre of the lighting district, we arrived at Cafe Mogador on the Upper East Side after a short walk for an excellent egg-based breakfast (pun averted); we reached the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd St. shortly after 11 and started exploring the cornicopia of incredible art that its 6 floors contain, working our way down through the 1880s to the 1980s (unfortunately, the most contemporary area was closed for new work being installed). 

For lunch we followed instructions to the Le Parker Meridian, an extremely upmarket hotel a few blocks away; hidden behind a curtain in the lobby was Burger Joint, a properly down-to-earth burger bar with cool music and graffiti from thousands of customers was had etched the walls, tables and lampshades; the only downside was the vegetarian option for one of the group - processed cheese in a small bun… 

Founded in 1929, MoMA is one of the premier modern and contemporary art galleries in the world. It has a collection of more than 150000 items including 3600 paintings and sculptures by nearly all major modern artists, 25000 photographs and 1200 video and media pieces, many of which will have been collected by the person we had arranged to meet that afternoon…

Because we weren't just there to look at art, the main reason for our visit was to meet Barbara London and interview her over a cup of coffee. Barbara is a curator of media art at MoMA and has worked there since the early 1970s. She has been a driving force in bringing media art into the mainstream modern and contemporary art scene. Responsible for organising over 120 exhibitions, she has worked with and promoted many now established names such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Laurie Anderson and Sam Taylor Wood. 

Our topics of conversation included her inspirations regarding her work, her interaction with young people and what draws her to different artists, as well as engagement with young artists and how to encourage experimentation with media.

The transcription of our interview with Barbara London will be posted soon...

Published: 15th November 2011