Ayear ago, when the Museum of Modern Art opened its lavishly renovated and expanded building, most critics had complaints. The open, warehouse-style spaces of the new contemporary galleries never gave the eyes a rest and forced very different works of art to fight each other. Upstairs, in the vast special-exhibitions gallery, it was hard to imagine what kind of shows could ever fill its echoing expanse. In the building's soaring atrium, Monet's monumental paintings of a water lily pond looked dwarfed.
Now, most of those doubts have faded away.
MoMA must have realized the water lilies weren't working in the atrium; they've been replaced by four brash Cy Twombly scribbles.
In the special-exhibitions gallery, temporary walls allows curators to customize the space. For the current retrospective of 65-year-old American painter Elizabeth Murray, guest curator Robert Storr arranged to have a series of rooms, large and small.
In the contemporary galleries, curators have also broken up their spaces. There's now a suite of rooms that keeps incompatible works apart, brings allies together and allows for the possibility of unexpected finds. In a large room of its own is a stunning work called "40 Part Motet," by sound artist Janet Cardiff. The work is Cardiff at her very best, and it shows that MoMA, now 76 years old, is still keeping up.