Contemporary Art Lovers: Visit Isa Genzken’s MoMA Retrospective

In the lobby of the MoMA, Isa Genzen set up a luggage lobby with several colorful pieces of luggage

Full disclosure: I had never heard of the German-born, obviously influential, Isa Genzken before this sprawling retrospective opened at the Museum of Modern Art. I really had no idea what to expect when I went to a preview showing, but after about an hour or so wandering through the many galleries, and the many different styles and materials the artist used over the past thirty years, I totally understood why she's getting the full retrospective treatment. Genzken either foretold or led the charge on just about every sort of contemporary art trend you'll find on a typical Saturday afternoon in Chelsea, and it's a pleasure to see it all in one place. 

Sitting on a large white surface lies Isa Genzen's giant colorful toothpicks as part of her MoMA exhibition

Walking Through The Isa Genzken Retrospective

Though the show takes up much of the museum's sixth floor, the Isa Genzken retrospective actually begins in MoMA's lobby, with suitcase, animal-themed assemblages and a trio of floating astronauts. As is the case with much of the show, I don't really know what it "means", but it sure is fun to look at. Upstairs, it's as if even the large exhibition space can't contain Genzken's creativity, with an entire crew of her cheeky mannequin/sculptures greeting you as you enter. Once inside the exhibition proper, there's so much interesting, provocative stuff it's hard to know where to even begin. I will say that some of my favorite pieces in the show are her earliest works, from the 1980s and '90s. The concrete "radios", the giant wooden utensils, the large spray paintings that look like x-rays: these are all fantastic. 

There's really no saggy middle to the exhibition. It all instantly engages, from the grim dioramas to the hilarious executive's office to the colorful, mixed-medium wall sculptures. If you're heading to MoMA anytime soon, don't miss the Genzken. This is energetic, entertaining, enlightening. 

Isa Genzen has also worked with concrete in her art, and at the MoMA stands this large rectangular sculpture

More Information: Isa Genzken at MoMA

Isa Genzken: A Retrospective will be at MoMA through March 10th, 2014. The museum is located between Sixth and Fifth Avenues, with entrances on both 53rd and 54th Streets, and is open seven days a week from 10:30 to 5:30, except for Fridays, when it's open until 8:00. Admission is free on Fridays after 4:00.

Man standing in front of Isa Genzen's concrete radio sculptures

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