Sunday, July 25, 2010

His Gilfriend is Wack!: The Opening

by Drew Martin

An hour before the little art opening at my house last night, I threw off my oversized curator and director hats and seethed myself into the stereotype of difficult artist: I was having a horrid day. I wanted to lock myself in a room (which I did for a little while) and let the whole affair pass without me.

Part of me panicked that dozens of strangers, would be tromping over my soft pine floors, while the other part felt the build up paid too much attention to the party aspect of it all: "What about the art!" I heard a little voice cry from within.

Since deciding to host His Girlfriend is Wack!, I have become personally much more reclusive so I was actually not surprised by my actions. Needless to say the artist, Malgrue (pictured above in the gallery), was a little beside herself to find me in my sorry state but took it all in stride. Last minute touches gave us a common goal and the timely arrival of the first guests put everything in perspective: it was a small introductory show, for neighbors and friends.

In a matter of minutes the evening took on a life of its own and became a wonderful example of the social function of art. Very few of the people who knew the artist, had seen the work on view, so there was an element of surprise. The quick drawings with personal notes on the backside of many of the pieces of lined paper, torn form her notebook, played nicely into the feeling of the discovered, private journal.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blown Away

by Drew Martin

I had intended on going for a midday walk yesterday to a promenade along the Hudson River. I wanted to clear my mind and forget about things; neither bad nor complicated. I just wanted to stop thinking for awhile because I ponder too much for my own good, especially about art. Halfway to the river's eastern bank, however, I seem to have gotten off track and found myself in the Maccarone gallery at 630 Greenwich Street in the West Village. I frequent this gallery and I always wanted to write something about their shows but my thoughts usually wander away from my intentions. So if I end up posting this, it will be quite an accomplishment for me.

I have to say that I am very glad I waited. This is my favorite show to date at Maccarone. An initial glance into the space from the street was enough to draw me in to spend some time there. The show "This is the last place I could hide" by the northwesterner Eli Hansen seems entirely experimental because his work looks the part: beakers, iron armatures, steel tables, an electric hot plate, tubes passing bubbling water into pails and a dangling extension cord. Hansen's glass art objects are hand blown so there is a broad material familiarity that stretches from early 17th century Jamestown craftsmanship to today's toker bong displays at head shops.

The apparatus first reads as scientific but quickly reveals itself as a rigged joke, at worst, a middle America crystal meth lab. Reconsidering the show's name and works with titles such as We used to get so high, the gallery takes on a dubious and illegal tone. It's actually a good feeling because even the most shocking and pornographic art these days feels safe and approved of in a gallery setting. Hansen's work, however, is beautifully suspect. The glass bulbs are colorful and fluid looking but there is an odd tension, like a mad scientist or a junkie lab tech might catch you snooping around his place and either shoot you on the spot with a sawed-off shotgun or throw you down a dry well in his basement in a Silence of the Lambs way. At least, this is how I felt in one of the rooms. The other room is much more formal and about display.

A third area, a tiny, low-ceiling walk-in room lined with tar paper, is the most curious space. From the outside you see only white sheetrock walls and a glassy eye; an over-sized peep hole shaped by Hansen. You expect to go in and have a secret view of the gallery but once inside, you feel like the blinded Polyphemus or at least a cyclops with severe glaucoma because Hansen's lens is purposefully imperfect and it's hard to make sense of what you can see. You are then left to examine the contents of the black room: articulated metal funnels in a glass orb on a low table, wall-mounted tin boxes: one with Factory Seconds printed on the lid and the other labeled Special Value Panatellas with the handwritten words Rubber on the former and Electronics on the latter. For a moment the dubious feeling returned, however, this time I did not feel like a wayward but innocent Goldilocks. I felt like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, in his backwoods shack.

Fortunately, this unpleasant sensation quickly lifted with cheerful memories of studying installation art at my university two decades ago, when it was a more popular art form. This little room made me realize how much I like and miss this kind of art, especially since I studied for two years with one of the most influential installation artists, Ann Hamilton. When you are surrounded by such work, you lose focus on a specific object; a lone painting or sculpture. Certain barriers are eliminated and you surrender yourself to the space.

I made a reference earlier to Jamestown because I first saw glass being blown at a young age by a historical interpreter in Virginia. The fact that Hansen places his handmade glass vessels on simple wooden shelves, deepens the reference. By putting them in the same room as his edgier pieces, the mood reminded me of the unfortunate fate of Americas' first glass blowers.

The initial British "adventurers" here weren't very skillful. Even the task of making the protective palisades at Jamestown was left to the sailors before leaving the dandies behind for England. Germans and Poles were imported as glass blowers and pitch makers to kick start such trades. When Jamestown fell into the starving period early on, the continental Europeans, abandoned the settlement project, which had been established to find gold, and went to live with Pocahontas and the other Algonquians. They filled their bellies with fresh venison and were much better off than their emaciated English counterparts but when supply ships finally arrived with an impressive new leader for the swampy pre-colonial disaster, chief Powhatan feared they would switch sides again so he ordered to have all of their heads smashed with rocks, which is indeed what happened. Needless to say, the first efforts in glass making were thwarted.

Four hundred years later, Hansen is here to remind us that glass blowing is alive and well in America and has its place in contemporary art. Unfortunately, what is missing is the beauty of the process, but he seems to want to usher us beyond the knowns of glass and explore its hidden, emotional qualities.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Church of Art

by Drew Martin

I have just started reading Sarah Thornton's Seven Days in the Art World. In the introduction, she touches on the popular idea that art fills a void for atheists in the absence of religion (inferring here Christianity):

One theme that runs through the narratives of Seven Days in the Art World is that contemporary art has become a kind of alternative religion for atheists...For many art world insiders and art aficionados of other kinds, concept-driven art is a kind of existential channel through which they bring meaning to their lives. It demands leaps of faith, but it rewards the believer with a sense of consequence. Moreover, just as churches and other ritualistic meeting places serve a social function, so art events generate a sense of community around shared interests.

I have heard this often and I have some problems with it. The argument that art is a substitute for religion denies art not only its evolution from religion but even more importantly, its contribution to religion. In many ways art, architecture, music and literature (or at least the book medium) defined religion. All of these things existed well before Christianity. Likewise, the communal nature of a church fellowship is simply a function of human socializing that embedded itself in religion, which has regrouped within the art world, as it has in sports and every other common interest group, not to mention that it is simply a continuum of most other living creatures - even trees.

The art part of the art has been the constant but religious narrative has ended and the belief in that narrative has atrophied. This is true of architecture and literature as well. Visual expressions, edifices and forms of communication naturally predate theology and will always be essential to human development.

I would argue that religion itself created the current art world. I say this because The Protestant leaders Martin Luther and Jan Hus sought a purer form of Christianity, which also meant parting with the invented gestures and props. The split from Catholicism was also a split from the gilded art of Catholics. This was the true dawn of minimalism and conceptual art in the Western world.

A bare cross and unadorned churches exposed underlying forms and the literal interpretations of the Bible became more figurative and abstract. Taking the bloody body of Christ off the cross was as profound as introducing 0 into the European numbering system. It was an unthinkable void that allowed for so much more potential and expression.

To understand American art is to understand the influence of Protestant thinking in America. It is remarkable that John F. Kennedy was not only the first but is thus far the only Catholic president of the United States. No other religion has held the office. This retained power is now much more about a national psyche than command. The fact is: a Protestant society is less hierarchical than a Catholic one, which is most obvious in the internal organizational structures of the respective churches. I am not saying that is good or bad, only that the success of today's artist and the freedom of expression has something to do with the original spirit of the Protestant movement.

If the museum is the new church for the art world then the artist and his or her object is not the priest and a symbol of Christ: monstrance, chalice, altar etc...but is more akin to the minister and the sermon; a common and pragmatic man or woman with something to say that will expand our minds and make us think differently about our existence. Art is not the substitution of religion but the transformation and resurrection of that which comprised it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not A Word

My drawings have started creeping into this site through various posts (including this one), so I decided to make yet another sister-blog, dedicated entirely to recent pen and ink work.

These new drawings can be found at Not A Word (linked to the right as "New Drawings by Drew Martin!!!). This title is obviously a play on René Magritte's This is Not a Pipe as well as suggesting the curt command, Not a word out of you. Both instances are fitting because people sometimes feel the urge/need to give captions to my drawings, perhaps because of the style favored by The New Yorker.

That is not beyond fact, there was once a time when I had entered a couple drawings with captions (including the one on the right, without the caption) to the magazine, only to be politely declined. Although there was a part of me that felt like I needed to be in The New Yorker, I have moved on and think adding text to my drawings is a bit suffocating. Drawings should be free and open to a myriad of interpretations.

At one point, early on, my cartoons were more text than image but this all changed one dreary morning in Prague in the early 1990's when I went to a library and saw the work of Jirí Slíva.

The drawing that opened my eyes to what could be done with the medium, was of a caveman who had made a slingshot on the tusks of a living woolly mammoth, which was loaded with a boulder he was ready to release upon his game. It was cruel but witty and in the cartoonists' version of history, put an end to the question of what brought the woolly mammoth to extinction: a design flaw taken advantage of by early man.

It was also a time, when I had the rude awakening that all of my previous work was literally lost in translation. I was abroad, traveling through and living in non-English speaking countries and the idea of relying on text to finish off an image was simply limiting.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Power Lines

by Drew Martin

Electrical lines strung between telephone poles are endless perches for birds and super highways for squirrels. Although the average person would say they are unsightly, messy and dangerous, they are, for the observant drawer, a delightful visual treat.

These umbilical cords from the mother-grid, which crisscross the sky, are the ultimate line...a life line, especially when you consider the actual energy and information they relay. While some are as taut as tightropes, others elegantly sag with the gravitational weight of the world.

I have always been fascinated by them, which is why when I saw Tony Ingrisano's Untitled (Lights) (pictured left) at the Allegra LaViola Gallery yesterday, with his entanglement of noodling wires between clustered telephone poles hewn from their vital trunks, I felt like I was in the right place at the right time: the Phantasmorganica show at 179 East Broadway in the lower east side of Manhattan, which is up through the end of July.

Co-curated with Danielle Mund, the exhibit explores various media including photography and video work but favors the line and the power of the line, which, in many of the works, build up with little inky scratches into very strong pieces.

While drawing is something usually considered manageable and politely small (such as the intimate and Dürer-like 6" x 8" Buried Weapons by Casey Jex Smith, pictured right), several of the works scale up quite nicely such as Ingrisano's Untitled (Red and Blue) and entertain the expandability of the medium.

This is the aspect of the show that I found most illuminating because seeing those elemental marks and what they totaled made everything beyond the gallery seem relational, including the doodled wall of the gallery's courtyard and the fragmented nature of that part of the city which culminates in the chaotic harmony of the neighboring Chinatown.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aesop's Feeble

by Drew Martin

In middle school, my friends and I talked a lot about what we wanted to be when we were adults. The bids for sportsmen, rock stars and actors were foolish to me. At the age of 12 these seemed shortsighted. "What's in it after 40?" I would argue.

I had deduced that the ultimate career would be as a cartoonist; something that could be developed and mastered until the age of 100 without being jeopardized by knee injuries and other falls from grace associated with vanishing youth. I had also always liked the invisibility of it: you could be internationally known and still be unrecognizable.

Although those were a child's thoughts and I don't have a career as a cartoonist, the medium was a wise choice to grow old with: it's virtually free, humble, meditative, universal and timeless.

As I matured, I also developed my interests in biology, which has since been complementary to my art. The prescience to consider what medium would be best for an aging man is very biologically minded and when it came time to start a family, it was easy to embrace what children bring into the world. Even before I had my children, I reckoned that there would be nothing I could create as special and precious as a son or daughter. Nor would there be any biological discovery as miraculous as witnessing the growth of my own child.

That being said, I have also been adamant about not abandoning my early interests. It is important for children to see their parents engaged in something beyond them and outside of work. All of these experiences and insights have also informed the work I do now. I understand the trappings of sentimental art and being too figurative and literal. I know these taboos especially exist in my drawings but I personally dismiss them for what I see, which is a kind of a parental creation and that the ideas take on a life of their own. I like my drawings to work so the viewer feels like he or she is getting a glimpse of some special organism's life. With that way of thinking and satisfaction, I hope to grow old with my drawings and the other artwork and writings I do and see them mature and become part of the world, just like my children.

Aesop's Feeble (above), drawn last night with children running around.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia are both terms for fear of Friday the 13th. Today is Tuesday the 13th, which is the unlucky day in Spanish speaking countries.

Whichever the case, the tales and myths worked their way through history to give these dates an unnerving significance, which is why the curator, Tony Ozuna, has chosen the next Friday the 13th, this August, for the opening of a return of his Freak Show, reworked as Lil' Freaks: Freak Show II.

Last year the show was in the Galerie Califia in Hořazdovice, Czech Republic and ran from August 21st to October 31st. This year the show will run from August 13th to September 27th at the a.m. 180 collective in Prague.

Returning from last year's show with new works are the Czech artists Lenka Vítková, Josef Bolf, Veronika Bromová, Marie Hladíková and Jolana Ruchařová along with the two American artists: Clint Takeda and me (Drew Martin). New to this year's show with be the well known Czech artist Lenka Klodová whose work deals with themes of sexuality, love and motherhood through uninhibited expressions of the female body, including her own.

Poster design by Drew Martin

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fiction and Non-Fiction Friction

by Drew Martin

A lot of men I come across, especially the engineering types, often explain to me that they usually do not venture beyond non-fiction when they read. They want to read something that is "true", or so they believe to be. Likewise, many freer spirits would find it difficult to actually read something about history or more specific, biographical. It's a fascinating situation.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (which is a good read for both types) Robert Pirsig cracks this hard nut open:

It was an intrusion on his reality. It just blew a hole right through his whole groovy way of looking at things and he would not face up to it because it seemed to threaten his whole life style. In a way he was experiencing the same sort of anger scientific people have sometimes about abstract art, or at least used to have...

What you've got here, really, are two realities, one of immediate artistic appearance and one of underlying scientific explanation, and they don't match and they don't fit and they don't really have much of anything to do with one another.

It is interesting when you not only consider the content but the medium as well. To take something as loose and flowing as someone's life or wild and chaotic as an ancient battle and try to reduce it not only to text but into marks of ink on dry sheets of paper is actually quite a bizarre thing to do, which turns the multi-faceted realities of a situation into a one-sided fiction of sorts.

Likewise, to create a story from thin air and produce a book from nothing is a kind of documentation in the spirit of non-fiction. At least the oral tradition left a lot of room for embellishments and was without borders, covers and ISBN numbers.

We all know "truth can be stranger than fiction", which can be quickly discovered in the first few pages of a well written non-fiction book such as The Professor and The Madman. Less convincing (to the factual type) is that the fiction can simply do things and go places that non-fiction simply cannot. It gives us missing information. A good example of this is The Life of Pi, which has a source in the real world but is turned on its head by the creative, compensating mind of the only survivor of a shipwreck.

My advice for either side is varied. For the fictional minds, I would suggest taking a book, which seems incredibly boring such as The Professor and the Madman, which is really about about the creation of the Oxford English Dicitionary, and just read a few pages of it. It's treatment of paranoia, obsession and even self-castration make it almost impossible to put down.

For the fact-oriented person, I would recommend taking a topic he or she knows very well and then reading a fictional book which speaks to that topic and period. You can read as much as you want about puritan New England but nothing would get you as close to certain ways of thinking as embedding yourself in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Onion, a Cow and The Stranger

by Drew Martin

Every now and then, I reach into a small sidewalk news stand and take a free copy of The Onion. It's a guilty pleasure and quite a detour for me but sometimes I also need a good laugh.

The reprinted article I saw yesterday did it for me:

Breakup Hints Misinterpreted As Marriage-Proposal Hints

KNOXVILLE, TN—Amanda Gentry, 25, has misinterpreted longtime boyfriend Wilson Crandall's recent break-up hints—including erratic behavior and strange, cryptic remarks about their future—as marriage-proposal hints.

"I can tell Wilson is getting ready to pop the question," Gentry said. "The last few weeks, he's been acting so weird. He keeps saying he needs to 'take stock of his life' and 'face some important decisions he's been putting off.' I hear wedding bells!"

The article continues this cruel but witty humor about miscommunication between the young couple.

I have always felt connected to The Onion even though there is no creative relationship between us. In the early 1990's, the original staff of The Onion sold the paper in Madison, Wisconsin, picked up and traveled around Brazil in hammock tents and then resettled in Seattle, Washington and started The Stranger, Seattle's answer to New York's Village Voice. That is the story I recall The Stranger's editor Tim Keck, once telling me.

When I was at the University of California at Santa Barbara, I drew editorial illustrations and cartoons for our college paper, The Daily Nexus. The most popular was Bovina, a story about a vegan activist cow. Someone at the nascent The Stranger got wind of it so Keck reached out to me and asked me if they could run it.

They were just starting up (as I recall they were only at eight pages an issue then) so I offered it to them gratis, to help out. At that time I was in my early twenties, living in the mountains of Santa Barbara and working on an organic farm down near the ocean a few days a week. I slept in a trailer and had made a special fold-down desk over my bed, which allowed me to sit up drawing until my last moment of consciousness and then fall back onto my foamy mattress, which rocked with the trailer in the mountain breezes. I was a self-proclaimed cartooning monk, living a simple life outside and an imaginative adventure in my mind.

I had been saving up money to go to India but this plan was jettisoned for a quick departure to Europe when a good friend called and asked me to join her in Germany. I bought a one way ticket and told Keck I was not going to continue with Bovina. He insisted they repay me in some way and suggested an exchange of The Stranger staff hospitality. So, with his advice, I took the Green Tortoise up to Seattle, where he and a few other staff members met me at the bus station.

I spent a week in Seattle with various staff, including Keck, and crashed wherever I ended up in the evening. At some houses there were nice, communal dinners. I even fondly recall someone playing guitar for me as I soaked in a bathtub full of water, the ultimate treat for a Californian at the time during a five-year drought, when flushing a toilet was taken seriously.

At the end of my stay, Keck drove me back to the bus station. On the way there, it was announced over the car radio that Freddie Mercury had just died. It was November 24, 1991. I took the Green Tortoise down to San Francisco, spent an evening at a friend's place and then flew to Frankfurt the next morning.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

His Girlfriend is Wack!: Save the Date

Several years ago, there was a room in my house that served as an art gallery. We had openings and parties; life was good.

Then, something happened: couches started creeping in and little armies of toys invaded and the sensitive works fled to hideaways in closets and the basement.

The causes and crimes of the invasion were recently reviewed and it was determined that the artwork was indeed entitled to its own, independent space. So a peace-keeping wall was put up, with a built-in bookcase and an open book shelf top.

The room is now two-thirds sitting room and one-third micro-gallery. Though the space is small, the spirit is larger than ever.

Saturday, at 6:00 pm on July 24th will mark the reopening of the 209 South Broad Street Gallery, with the delightful show "His Girlfriend is Wack!".

The show is a playful collection of small notebook drawings by Malgrue (Malgosia Grue, pictured right). Malgrue came to the United States from Poland in 1989 after studying the History of Western Art at the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warsaw. Her interests in actually creating art started upon her arrival to California, where she first set up a kiln studio and later took to drawing.

Malgrue's most common style includes soft pastel drawings of organic shapes and faces. I felt there was something too airbrushed and Eastern European about them, which is why we arranged for a studio visit yesterday so I could review her other work. Almost immediately this show revealed itself when she showed me a series of lined notebook drawings. They were so fresh and fun and international looking I could not resist.

The title and work of "His Girlfriend is Wack!" was inspired by an exclamation made by Malgrue's husband after he returned from talking to a friend one evening, a few months ago. Everything about the drawings...the size, the perfect for the new space and has set the tone for shows to come.

Save the date:

"His Girlfriend is Wack!"

Saturday, July 24, 2010
6-8 pm

209 South Broad Street Gallery
Ridgewood, NJ

Join us for wine and cheese and art...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rocket's Red Glare

by Drew Martin

The summer that I remember first and foremost is 1976: America's bicentennial. I was seven years old. In my mind, everything was painted red, white and blue and the evening stars were replaced by constantly exploding fireworks. July seemed like one never-ending block party at which I must have spent hours sitting curbside on a neighbor's lush, green lawn watching the paper boys doing tricks on their skateboards, purchased with the money they made from their routes.

Despite being born on the other side of the world, fireworks seem totally American. Francis Scott Key's The Star-Spangled Banner merges the visual effects of the British bombardment of the War of 1812 and the stars of the American flag with the colorful dandelion flak we will be watching across the nation tonight.

It is an odd, warlike aesthetic since fireworks are the brilliant offspring of gunpowder, which was invented during the Jin Dynasty in the 12th century and was used for various explosive weapons against the invading Mongols. Gunpowder, or black powder, is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. To a chemist the bombastic spectacle looks like this:

10 KNO3 + 3 S + 8 C → 2 K2CO3 + 3 K2SO4 + 6 CO2 + 5 N2

The powder's charcoal component makes it seem like a natural fit for artists, but all of its possibilities weren't explored until Cai Guo-Qiang developed a prominent artistic career out of it. Born in China in 1957, and now based in New York, Cai uses gunpowder with a jazzy, Jackson Pollock sense; letting the spontaneity of the medium chance the final look. Sometimes, however, his control is delicate and literal, as in his Tree With Yellow Blossoms, pictured above. Though his work may often come across as having too much of a traditional narrative, the unique medium is metaphoric for Cai.

"Why is it important to make these violent explosions beautiful?"

Cai answers these questions he asks himself simply by using such a loaded material for art, and, for that matter, using his own physical energy for something good. In this sense, the message is that humans are a lot like gunpowder.

Fireworks, from kissing scenes in the television shows of my childhood to the KA-BOOM! explosive graphics in comics have established themselves as iconic America.

One of my favorite and earliest images of fireworks by an American artist is by the New England born, expatriate, and before-his-time, James McNeill Whistler, in his Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket. For 1875, it is an amazing step into abstract art.

In Still Looking: Essays on American Art, the author John Updike writes about the controversy of this painting, which even turned into an 1878 lawsuit for libel against the English art critic, John Ruskin who had made a snobbish comment that Falling Rocket was "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face."

In the Ruskin trial Whistler testified:

"By using the word 'nocturne' I wished to indicate an artistic interest alone, divesting the picture of any outside anecdotal interest which might have been otherwise attached to it. A nocturne is an arrangement of line, form and colour first."

Updike commented on the Nocturne series 117 years later:

"...though Whistler does approach their extremity of abstraction; part of our pleasure lies in recognizing bridges and buildings in the mist, and in sensing the damp riverine silence, the glimmering metropolitan presence."

Friday, July 2, 2010

On View at The 2009 Financial Statements

by Drew MartinThe Museum of Modern Art has fascinated me for decades. Just as New York City was my first city, MoMA was my first modern art museum. All the art I loved and connected with was there in its collection. I remember the former MoMA well and fortunately, was professionally associated with its expansion. I do not visit MoMA as much as I would like; the last show I went to was the Bauhaus exhibit. Perhaps, one day I will live across the street and take my evening walks through the galleries, but for the meantime I go when I can and check up on the website now and again.

I was particularly looking forward to the end of June because that's when my favorite publication from MoMA is posted: the financial statements...properly called, The Museum of Modern Art Consolidated Financial Statements June 30, 2009 and 2008. I doubt many art lovers anticipate a museum's financial reporting but I find it quite fascinating to see such an organization on paper.

Officially, MoMA is an educational* not-for-profit organization but there is a business side to it behind the Warhol's and Picasso's: they have to keep the lights on and the doors open...not to mention the bathrooms clean and the floors swept.

The financial statements are not summer reading but sometimes might fall under the Mystery genre: under O
perating Revenues and Other Support we see that in 2009 there was over $22 Million generated from admissions (up a million from 2008), $14 Million in memberships, $31 Million from investment income and $51 Million in "Revenue of Auxiliary Activities".

While there was only $275,000 in government support and about $750,000 in circulating exhibition fees, there was almost $10 Million in "Other Grants" and $6 Million for the line that simply reads "Other." Although the $14 Million of Revenues of Membership seems like a nice sum (roughly two thirds of the admissions revenues), if you drop down to Operating Expenses, MoMA claims over $11 Million for Spending for Membership, Development and that $14 Million noted earlier is really olny a $3 Million gain from membership. Focusing on just that line, one could say the memberships fees are spent almost exclusively on the marketing for more members. That might be a bit myopic but the figure does include events (fancy dinners) for membership retention, which is even more suspect than proselytizing.

In 2009, MoMA spent over $33 Million on the Acquisition of Works of Arts, compared to $18 Million in 2008, and spent just under $13 Million for exhibitions. More than twice that amount is for "Curatorial and Related Support Services." No big waves were made for operating expenses over the past two years but there was three times the amount of total-non operating expenses. While that includes money for acquisitions, the real change was a $126 Million hit
compared to $36 Million in 2008 for "Excess of investment loss over amounts designated for operations and specific purposes."

*The Museum is chartered as an educational institution whose collection of modern and contemporary art is made available to its members and the public to encourage an ever-deeper understanding and enjoyment of such art by the diverse local, national, and international audiences that it serves.