Pipilotti Rist’s “Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters),” top left, welcomed viewers to cushioned divans; right, Martin Kippenberger’s “Happy End of Franz Kafka’s ‘Amerika;’ below left, Marina Abramovic. (Clockwise, from top left; Sara Krulwich/The New York Times; Patrick Andrade for The New York Times; Ruth Fremson/The New York Times.)

When I walk through the Museum of Modern Art these days, it sometimes feels as if the place has come back from the dead — even if I’m not always so crazy about the life it happens to be leading. There’s often a confusing, disjunctive quality to it, especially where contemporary art is concerned, as the museum’s programming lurches from crowd-drawing, performance-art spectacles in the atrium to relatively dry and didactic exhibitions in its galleries. But at least there’s a pulse.

The museum feels much, much more animated than it did back in 2005 and ’06, when it — and we — were first adjusting to its slick new home on West 53rd Street. That structure, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi and built at a cost of $425 million, opened in November 2004, and over the next two years it appeared to many depressed MoMA watchers that we were witnessing nothing less than a major museum’s suicide by architecture.


Roberta Smith
New York Times