MoMA After Dark: Your Free Ticket to Modern Education
The most valuable part of your education may not be your expertise on Heidegger, your supreme writing skills or your ability to navigate your way through four years of classes and requirements without an ounce of help from your academic advisor.
It might just be your student ID. At least it is at MoMA. With the exception of Tuesdays when the museum is closed, there are film screenings and events every evening, and they’re free with your handy dandy, otherwise relatively useless little piece of plastic.
Evenings at MoMA are a world apart from the museum’s daytime atmosphere. There are no tourists, no echoes of people screaming in Yoko Ono’s scream exhibit, no constant blinding from everyone’s camera flash going off. After dark and in the film screening section of the museum, MoMA is transformed into a place for New Yorkers only. You’re in with the in crowd, and for us, it’s free.
Most screenings at MoMA go beyond the usual realm of sit, watch and leave. Many films have their American premiere at MoMA, or have a director’s talk as well, or are shown in correlation with one of the museum’s art exhibits. Late last year in a series called “The Contenders” they showed the big Hollywood films that might be nominated for the Oscars. Since November and until March 7 the “Weimar Cinema, 1919-1933: Daydreams and Nightmares” series shows films from the influential German era of filmmaking. “Modern Mondays,” which happen almost every Monday, show innovative film makers and video artists.
Recently there was a performance by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, the directors of the film “A Perfect Day.” After getting my free ticket, I turned the corner to find a crowd of familiar on-screen faces and none other than Valentino himself walking down an indoor red carpet. Coming straight from school looking like the typical grungy Lang student, I only wished that I had washed my hair that week. The celebs were attending a different event, which was just fine because Hadjithomas and Joreige’s performance remains on my list of top New York experiences. The performance was a lesson in politics, religion and coincidence. The directors took the audience through their tumultuous journey of making a film with reference to death in a culture that is so desperately afraid of dying.
The “Documentary Fortnight 2011” exhibit hosted a range of international films, one of which was the U.S. premiere of “Nostalgia for the Light” with a director’s Q & A. This is a beautifully shot Chilean film about the correlation between astrology and “the disappeared,” the people who were murdered and whose bodies were never accounted for during the Pinochet dictatorship. The remarkable thing about the audience was how everyone seemed to know each other. MoMA screenings might just the place to strike up conversation with the perfect art industry insider.
February 7 was the opening night of Juxtapoz magazine’s week-long documentary festival, “All the Wrong Art.” The documentary was “Mr. Bitchin’,” a hilarious film about Robert Williams, an artist and founder of Juxtapoz. After the film the artist came on stage for a Q & A. The entire time I felt oddly out of place — not because of the rest of the crowd, they seemed rather nice — but because all I had to do to get there was be a New School student.
Cool upcoming exhibits:
“Looking at Music 3.0”, featuring the film “Krush Groove,” a fictional story based on Def Jam Recordings. March 2-10.
“Foreign Parts” is a film about the auto shops by Citi Field in Queens and how the community around it is being torn apart by new development plans. The directors will be present on March 10.
“New Directors/New Films 2011” should be one free way to get the lowdown on what’s coming next. March 23-April 3.