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Reaffirming The True Value Of Art

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

For art lovers, New York City is a treasure trove. I recently spent a few days there and saw some truly iconic works of art.

First, I went to the Whitney Museum’s new building on the High Line, designed by Renzo Piano. Their inaugural show, America is Hard to See, is pulled from their impressive permanent collection. While there were big names around every bend, I was personally delighted to see Alexander Calder’s Circus, Lee Krasner’s epic painting The Seasons, Chris Burden’s disturbing video work Through the Night Softly, and Ben Shahn’s The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I got incredibly lost, but my aimless explorations were far from fruitless. Along the way I caught Picasso’s Gertrude Stein, saw Tomas Hart Benton’s mural America Today, and was awestruck by the heroic scale of the American masterpiece Washington Crossing the Delaware. Most of all, I was thrilled to see the opulent portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt at the Neue Gallery . This painting is known as the Mona Lisa of Austria, and is the subject of the recent film Woman in Gold, which tells the true story of the commissioned portrait that was looted by the Nazis before a long court battle rightfully returned it to the original family.

This whole experience reaffirmed to me that art is important and so are the cultural institutions that house these treasures. Art is a powerful part of who we are. It is an important part of our history and it affects us deeply. While I know that I pay for museum admission, I am always the one who leaves richer.