Anyone who says you can’t visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) in 90 minutes is wrong. Another different matter is that it is more advisable to dedicate six hours, a day, a week, or even a lifetime. The truth is that the more time you invest in your visit, the better for you and your cultural health. But unfortunately, we do not always have as much time as we would like. 

Inside MoMA, and spread over its six floors, there are more than 200,000 pieces of art. The best of the best when it comes to modern art. There are real gems of history. The most advisable thing is to prioritize and plan a route that includes the key works and the most outstanding authors, that is, the essentials. For this reason, we propose a visit to the 10 most significant works:

1. Van Gogh’s starry sky

If you are in a hurry, the first recommendation is to buy your tickets online with some anticipation, since, otherwise, you may end up wasting the little time you have in a desperate queue. MoMA is located in Midtown, at 11 West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, south of Central Park. The building is not as flashy as the Guggenheim or the Met, but the important thing here is the content. And in that sense, it is second to none.Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’.

2. Picasso’s ‘The Avignon Ladies’

Continuing on the fifth floor, in room 502, we will find another of the treasures of the place: one of the masterpieces of the famous Pablo Picasso. This painting actually represents five prostitutes from Avinyó Street in Barcelona. It breaks with realism and leads us to a revolutionary way of seeing things: cubism. It was a work that was very misunderstood at the time, even by the most avant-garde art experts, since they did not understand that abrupt change of course by the artist from Malaga. It is a key work in the artistic development of the 20th century.

3. Cloud reflections in Monet’s Water Lily Pond

Water Lilies by Claude Monet.

MoMA’s art collection is extraordinary. It’s hard not to spend hours mesmerized looking at many of the works on display. Precisely one of the decisive moments in the history of art was the appearance of Impressionism. Claude Monet was one of its promoters. His obsession with capturing color and light took him to extremes in his series of paintings (more than 250) on Water Lilies. 

4. ‘The world of Cristina’ by Wyeth

On the fifth floor, works by renowned authors such as Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Paul Gauguin or Henri Matisse are exhibited. If possible, it’s worth taking a few minutes to review some of his paintings. However, given the little time we have, we recommend spending a long time in front of one of the lesser-known artists on this list, but whose work cannot go unnoticed. His name is Andrew Newell Wyeth. 

5. Edward Hopper’s ‘Gas’ Station

‘Gas’ by Edward Hopper.

For those who do not know, on Fridays, between 4 and 8 pm, admission to MoMA is free. It is true that Hopper’s works are not the most striking, however, this in particular is one of those paintings that conveys a very powerful sense of restlessness. Edward Hopper had a talent that could transport you to his imaginary world and, from there, stories were generated. This work shows a simple gas station of the many that are lost in US territory. But when you look at her, you get the feeling that something is going to happen.

6. Campbell’s soup bowl by Warhol

And now we go down to the fourth floor. There is a point in the 20th century when art takes off the mystical and deified weight that it had carried during its past. Warhol explains it very well in this sentence: “We have come to the conclusion that the most banal and even vulgar elements of modern civilization can, when transported to canvas, become art.” This series of paintings with Campbell cans represent the most famous and fundamental pieces of Andy Warhol’s pop art. “Art should be for everyone”, defended the American artist.

7. ‘One; number 31’, by Jackson Pollock

‘One; number 31’, by Jackson Pollock.

The idea of ​​creating MoMA was conceived on November 7, 1929, shortly after the outbreak of the distressing crash of 1929, thanks to the initiative of the wives of three billionaires: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. The goal was to exhibit works by artists who were not admitted to other New York museums. It was founded as a museum of American artists versus classical art. 

8. ‘Broadway Boogie-Woogie’ by Mondrian

It is clear that to visit MoMA you have to have an open mind and keep your capacity for surprise active. It is always possible to find very unconventional things. In recent years, large sums of money have been invested in the renovation and expansion of the venue. The fourth floor is a good example. With World War II, a large number of artists fled to the United States.Mondrian’s ‘Broadway Boogie-Woogie’.

9. The sculpture garden

As you will see, in a quick tour of this museum, our suggestion is to concentrate on some of the most outstanding works on floors 5 and 4. However, if you still have time, you can speed through floors 3 and 2, where you will find photographs, drawings and works from 1970 to the present. 

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