By far the most exuberant department at the Museum of Modern Art these days is the design program. Its openings, like the one last Tuesday evening for Ron Arad's "No Discipline," are filled with energetic FIT students, pulsating to the techno beats filling the museum garden. MoMA , like everyone else these days on a budget, even kept the bar open an extra hour to further inebriate the youth of modernism.
Time was that design at MoMA was a thin Olivetti typewriter or some Danish coffee maker. Now it is Arad's sixth-floor room-devouring colossus, which resembles the giant ark that Toland Grinnell constructed at the Gramercy Park Hotel Art Fair in 1995. Stacked on Arad's ark are a few dozen of his avant-garde chairs, fanny friendly subway seats made from every material imaginable. The artist Brooke Larsen and I attempted to sit on some of them but were shooed away by the guards and forced to settle our butts on the Franz West sculptures downstairs.
Artforum publisher Knight Landesman reminded me that "this is a design show, Charlie," in other words, "look, don't touch." Nevertheless, I think MoMA should allow people to sit on the Arads, as its design department generally accentuates the touchy feely. Perhaps the museum could designate Tuesdays as Touch Days, in which visitors could cop a feel of Rodin's Balzac or ride astride the Sikorsky helicopter with appropriate safety harness.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).