Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mama goes to the MOMA

While I was at Pratt, it must have been in the late 50’s, I took my mother and my eldest sister to the Museum of Modern Art. I was presuming a bit, but I thought they might enjoy it, even though I was not sure about Mama’s reaction to some of the art.

Going into the city was not something my mother did often; she would go in to go to the department stores for fabrics, this would at least be a day out. I assumed my sister would enjoy the museum; she was a dietician and worked at the VA hospital and was incredibly well read.

We got there and it was fairly crowded, we got in and started to go around to see the permanent collection and then make our way to the exhibitions. My sister was not that happy about the museum, I guess she was more traditional and conventional than I thought she would be. I was surprised because I thought she would really enjoy it.

Mom took her time and wandered around the exhibitions not saying very much, but what she said seemed to make sense. She was a creative person; making her own clothes and my sisters, when I was small she even made my clothes. She seemed to identify with some of the work, especially the abstract expressionist work.

She really got excited when she came upon the Picasso’s; she looked at them for a while. She turned to me and said, in Greek, “ta xero afta”, she told me she knew this work. I was surprised to say the least, how did she know this work. She told me when she lived in Paris after the catastrophe; she would see this work at a gallery on her way to the workshop she ran as a seamstress.

These things come out at the weirdest times. By the way, she told me she went to see Lindberg land when he flew the Atlantic in 1927. More stuff I never knew.

The MOMA was no big deal to Mama.

She would have loved the Smithsonian; it has the “Spirit of St. Louis.”


  1. The Smithsonian may have the Spirit of St. Louis, but you have the spirit of your mother. That's a beautiful little story as only a son can tell.

    Your mother was an absolutely beautiful woman and I'm glad I knew her if only for a short time.

  2. I love this story Greg. Your mom was always a gifted creative woman and she new a good thing when she saw it. Paris was an amazing experience for her; the fact that she even took the time to stop and look at Picasso's paintings on her way to work, meant that she was aware of what was happening creatively. How could you live there at such a moment in time and not feel the buzz of the modern movement...It had to touch upon everything, whether you agreed with it or not.

  3. I don't know if I've got the hang of posting comments like you hipsters, but if this appears on the blog it should say: this is a wonderful collection of word paintings. James