Creative Wellness Blog

MOMA and The Modern

Vincent Van Gogh, "The Starry Night"
A wall full of Monet's water lilies.
Robert Rauschenberg, “Signs,” 1970
Robert Rauschenberg, “Mirthday Man,” 1997
Robert Rauschenberg "Tree Frog," 1964, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Robert Rauschenberg, “Glacier (Hoarfrost),” 1974
The lounge at MoMA.
Jackson Pollock's "One Number 31," 1950.

I recently visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It’s always a pleasure to view its collection of van Goghs (including his very, very famous “The Starry Night”), Monets, Cezannes and Picassos. I also enjoy the more contemporary Andy Warhol soup cans and pop art, and Jackson Pollock’s splatter painting. And I love the outdoor Sculpture Garden, anchored by a 36-foot-tall sculpture of a rose by Isa Genzken.

I’m not a fan of Robert Rauschenberg’s color-on-color paintings (this genre of art, if you can even call it that, makes me INSANE), so I was happily surprised to find I enjoyed the current retrospective of his work entitled “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends” (on view through September 17, 2017). As a collagist myself, my favorites in the collection of over 250 works from various mediums were quite naturally, his collages. (I think collage is a very accessible artform for most people to view. It’s often easy to discern how a collage was pieced together, and it’s fun to examine all of the elements used to design it.) One collage, called “Signs,” was originally commissioned as a cover for Time Magazine and depicts the tumultuous events of the 1960s. Another, wall-size collage centers around an x-ray of Rauschenberg’s body and is called “Mirthday Man.” He created the piece in a single day’s work on his 72nd birthday! Pretty amazing.

I was even more delighted to realize that I had recently seen Rauschenberg’s work, such as “Tree Frog,” at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany during a Viking River Cruise of the Rhine this past May. (The world is a small place sometimes…)

As a fiber artist, I was surprised to see he had even done some work on chiffon and silk in “Glacier (Hoarfrost),” transferring newspaper and magazine images onto delicate fiber to create fragmented images and shadows.

The Modern Restaurant
After my visit to the museum, I attended a dinner hosted by the publishing company Bottom Line Inc. at MoMA’s 2-Michelin-starred restaurant The Modern. Bottom Line has been hosting these “Round Table at the Algonquin”-like dinners for the past 30 years and inviting their contributors and business associates to attend to discuss current trends, predictions and breakthroughs in the world. The tradition was started by founder Marty Edelston and has continued under the direction of his children, Bottom Line President Sarah Hiner and Executive Vice President Marjory Abrams, who have worked hard to keep the company’s digital and print publications relevant and cutting edge. (If you’ve never read Bottom Line Personal, you’re missing out. It’s a bi-monthly 16-page newsletter written in a succinct, bulleted style with no ads and scores of articles by leading experts in various fields. I personally get much of my financial and general practice advice from the newsletter, which I read religiously.)

At The Modern, our group of 25 or so was seated in a lovely private room with a monochromatic color scheme and a sleek design aesthetic overlooking MoMA’s Sculpture Garden. The service was attentive and friendly but not overbearing. Likewise, the New American-style food was superb, from the elegant appetizers to the first course of Wild Mushroom Fricassee with white polenta and green almonds to my second course of Roasted Beef Tenderloin with baby leeks and marinated mushrooms. A citrus-accented salad followed, and the meal finished up with a Pineapple Strudel with dark rum crème Anglaise and lemongrass coconut sorbet.

The conversation, as is always the case at these dinners attended by experts in the fields of finance, medicine, law, consulting, media, lifestyle and creativity (that would be me!), was fascinating and varied. The evening veered away from politics and religion to issues of science, the future, career and life satisfaction and health and well-being.

I think I can safely say that all of Bottom Line’s guests felt as grateful and privileged as I did to eat at such a wonderful restaurant in the heart of Manhattan. (One that is too pricey for this journalist to afford otherwise!) So thank you, Bottom Line.

11 West 53rd Street
Open 10:30AM-5:30PM most days and until 8:00PM on Thursdays
Admission: $25, $18 for seniors, $14 for students, children 16 and under free

The Modern at MoMA
Lunch: Mon-Fri 12:00-2:00PM
Dinner: Mon-Sat 5:00-10:30PM

All photographs by Nancy Monson.
Disclosure: I received a press pass from MoMA and was a guest of Bottom Line Personal at The Modern and have written for Bottom Line Personal in the past, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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Nancy Monson is a certified health and creativity coach who supports her clients to discover their healthier selves through personalized eating and exercise habits. She also speaks frequently on creativity, health, and diet topics. In addition, Nancy is a successful freelance writer. Her articles have been published in over 30 national magazines and newsletters, including Family Circle, Glamour, More, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Shape,, Weight Watchers Magazine, and Woman’s Day. Nancy is the author of three consumer books: Creative Wellness, an ebook published in 2012; Craft to Heal: Soothing Your Soul with Sewing, Painting, and Other Crafts; and The Smart Guide to Boosting Your Energy, published by John Wiley and Sons in 1999.