Superstar of the modern-art scene, MoMA's galleries scintillate with heavyweights: Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rothko, Pollock and Bourgeois. Since its founding in 1929, the museum has amassed around 200,000 artworks, documenting the emerging creative ideas and movements of the late-19th century through to those that dominate today. For art buffs, it's Valhalla. For the uninitiated, it's a thrilling crash course in all that is beautiful and addictive about art.
MoMA's permanent collection spans multiple levels, with a range of disciplines all displayed together in chronological segments (1880s–1940s, 1940s–1970s and 1970s–present). Works rotate through every six months so it's hard to say exactly what you'll find on display, but Van Gogh's phenomenally popular The Starry Night is usually a sure bet. Other highlights of the collection include Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, not to mention iconic American works like Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans and Gold Marilyn Monroe, Lichtenstein's equally poptastic Drowning Girl and Hopper's poignant New York Movie. A massive redesign in 2019 added another 40,000 sq ft of gallery space, as well as new performance and multimedia spaces and free galleries at street level. The new 4th-floor Kravis Studio will be a dedicated showcase for performance and other experimental art.
When gallery fatigue sets in, recharge in MoMA's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, dotted with works by dexterous greats like Matisse, Giacometti and Picasso. Or try to catch a film at one of the gallery's theaters; same-day tickets are free with admission (see www.moma.org/film). Families can take advantage of special tours and art talks geared for kids or drop by the Family Art Lab to create artworks of their own.
Audio guides are free, available on a device from the museum in several languages or via the app or a phone browser.