When an announcement from the Museum of Modern Art arrived recently saying “Find serenity in moma’s galleries,” the message was gleefully circulated with a host of ironic comments. Even occasional visitors to Fifty-third Street must have found the pairing of “serenity” and “moma” preposterous. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that museums were spoken of as temples for art, sanctified public spaces that now substituted for cathedrals as places for high-minded experience and uplift—not how we think of most present-day institutions, especially moma, with its jam-packed lobby, crowded galleries, and swarming...

 

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