BWW Reviews: MOMA's Fun, For a Friday Night and More

MOMAS Fun, For a Friday night and more:

What was so hot in "The Street" when Oldenburg's Old Storefront was in Town

By Barry Kostrinsky

BWW Reviews: MOMA's Fun, For a Friday Night and More
Two Girls dresses 1961 Braselette 1961

MOMA is hot, blame it on Global Warming.

I can't remember anytime I enjoyed such a large range of works on different floors at MOMA. Claes Oldenburg's old storefront packed up a little differently this week compared to what must have happened after its four year run in the early 1960's. You may have missed this one that has sat too long on my desktop. As recompense go to MOMA for free one Friday night from 4-8pm, tell them Barry sent you. Often we only read about exhibitions, who can schlep to so much?

BWW Reviews: MOMA's Fun, For a Friday Night and More
Breakfast Table and Lingerie Counter 1962

You could taste the energy in Oldenburg's drawings and sculptures and feel the force from the MOMA exhibit hall. Oldenburg made palpable the street energy of the era. Claus's drawing were not coming from a Zen-like introspective searching for an outward guiding hand but from a fierce hand with a frenzied pace reaching for a similar power of the possessed. Claus removes the function of the object to make it useless as anything else but art. He tricks us and plays between the lines of the real, the faux and art.

From MOMA's greatly expanded ceilings hung screens that projected happenings from an era we are mostly removed from and are now distant from today's Sotheby's and Christies sales happenings. The cynic in me wants to mention the destruction of the temple, the ruin of the old MOMA by its older Dadas- the garden, the lone relic of the past, but I won't digress. I want to compare boards desires for bigger and better art spaces as a parallel with some other infatuation in our society for bigger and better something but the words and image eludes me and I won't do that either.

Back at MOMA, my friend mentioned he was in many such happenings like the ones we gazed mesmerized at from the well-hung ceilings. He recounted tails of happenings in pools. Nothings changed, pools are still happening. Oddly enough when we came to one of Oldenburg's seminal pieces, his shelve of solidified and splatterized dessert and ice cream treats gone mummified, it was my time to bring the work home, or better to work.

BWW Reviews: MOMA's Fun, For a Friday Night and More

Claes Oldenburg. Pastry Case, I. 1961-62. Painted plaster sculptures on ceramic plates, metal platter, and cups in glass-and-metal case, 20 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 14 3/4" (52.7 x 76.5 x 37.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2012 Claes Oldenburg

I looked closely and said in almost disbelief that there is my #28 base and a #566 top in the case. My old family business made, amongst other things, silver plated banana split and ice cream sundae dishes for many 50's ice cream shops. Mr. Oldenburg had used two of my products in his case! One of the sundae dishes was polished and the silver looked great and very reflective, almost too much so. The other had lost all it's silver and the base metal, nickle silver gave the opposite effect, a flat mat lighter grey finish. The clash of the two different finishes irked me a bit as I wondered how Claus had it and what would be the proper polished presentation.

BWW Reviews: MOMA's Fun, For a Friday Night and More

Now eat that in an hour you quick gobbling gargantuan guerillas

Oldenburg is mostly known for his soft sculptures and growing the small bigger: the mundane gone somewhat monumental. A few of these large limp alien like objects graced the grand exhibit space on MOMA's 6th floor. A few years ago I saw an exhibit that just focused on these game changers for contemporary sculptures that opened up doorways of possibilities for many young sculptures to whom Claes implies Santa. That show left me thinking Mr. Oldenburg, though critical for steering the path of art history was behind the times and his work was fading like a drawing in sunlight. I had seen other soft work, by other artists, in particular a white soft piano at the Bronx Museum, that moved me more than Oldenburg's work did. The MOMA show sets these soft oversized nonsubtleties in their proper context. They do come alive amongst the other art works cranked out from his creative and memorable though short lived storefront.


More From This Author

Barry Kostrinsky Barry Kostrinsky is the founder of Havensbx and Haven Arts. Gallery and performance spaces that reinvigorated the South Bronx arts scene from 2004-2017. The Municipal Arts Society (MAS) awarded Haven Arts a certificate of merit in 2006.

Barry has contributed to a variety of panels including a NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Percent for art program, and a Bronx Museum symposium for the Artist in the Artists in Marketplace (AIM) program. Barry formed and moderated talks for the Artists Talk on Art(ATOA) Series at The School of Visual Arts (SVA) and the National Arts Club that discussed the history of the Bronx arts scene and contemporary ceramics. Recently he joined the board of ATOA

Barry served as a member of the Arts in Public Places (AIPP) committee for Rockland County in the past and now sits on the board of "Human Connections Art"

His past experiences managing a family run manufacturing company in the South Bronx for 20+ years gives him a uniquely balanced view of the art world.

He worked in finance and banking from 2010-2013 for a small independent company and then for Bank of America. As a result he sees the art world from both the aesthetic side and the financial market it is.

As an artist Barry has exhibited in group shows in NYC. He works in a variety of medium including oil paints, ceramics, acrylics, watercolor, photography and mixed medium. Whereas the oil paintings are mostly plein-air works not unlike the impressionists and post-impressionist, his acrylic work is quite contemporary and often on found objects including car parts, light bulbs, beds and more. His photographic work ranges from serene nature shots, to street detritus and social commentary using his simple I-Phone and old Polaroid small format cameras. In ceramics Barry makes modern day minkisi-power figures and has helped developed Bruce Sherman's ceramic career while managing his studio from 2014-2016

Barry special ability is to be able to see others artists work from the eyes of an artist and to dialogue with artists in a meaningful way about their art and where they are going.

As a youth Barry was a math major at Vassar College and graduated in 1982. His High School days at New Rochelle High enabled him to develop his artistic talents, Mr. Blackburn was an inspiring teacher. He spent the summer before senior year at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and had a firm footing in the arts before college. By chance Vassar had one of the best art history departments in the US and he studied with Linda Nochlin, Susan Kuretsky and in his rookie year, Ken Silver.

He is a proud father of three grown kids ages 29,29 (twins is the way to start) and 24.

Like so many today he is divorced.

Barry has a strong passion for all things arts related and his love for cooking and eating run a close second.