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Updated: May 23, 2023

I remember my first visit to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in NYC. I recall it so vividly because it marked the beginning of a very important part of my life. I was overwhelmed by the audacity of the displayed pieces and I succumbed to the conclusion that I was hopelessly lost for understanding their meaning and purpose. It was the first time in my young life when I found myself in a state of complete ignorance. That realization spilled on the canvas the very next day with my initials in blood red.

Asi Efros, Realization, Oil on Canvas, 1990

It is only after years of studying, reading and painting I was able to reach a similar frequency of the heart and mind and earn the ability to sense their dexterity. Since then the halls of the MoMA and Whitney Museums have become my coveted places of refuge and peace. I venture there to find answers and spend time with my old friends. Frida Kahlo stares at me from her painfully truthful self-portraits and I always visit her when feeling blue or under-confident. I love to dream together with Henri Rousseau and listen to the melody played by the dark-skinned wanderer. I also want to pet the scared lions and assure them of their safety. I accept Matisse’s invitation to dance and cheer his airy eclecticity. I treasure the moments of stillness granted by Mark Rothko and savor his prolifically colored canvases.

Modern art to me is an impression of the artists’ cognition and their innervation. It’s an insatiable desire to dive into the medium. It’s an addiction to all that is complex and irrational. It’s an impulsive need to question reality, past, and future. It’s a kaleidoscope of self-reflection projected outwards.

Besides the artists that have labored these works of art, I’m always aware of another energy present in the museum. I understand that spirit as it mirrors my own. The desire of people standing in front of the artforms to accept, understand and relate to the people that created them is almost palpable. Just as the artists who front their bare conscience, the people reflect their empathy in a yin-yang manner. All reflections are unique to the nature of their owners.

I love to capture that energy, that moment in space and time when the exchange takes place. My museum solitudes inexplicably afford me with new images of its visitants. In a way, people become artforms in a house of art.

I graciously anticipate my next visit to the Museum of Modern Art where paintings are people and people are paintings.

Until then...

Asi Efros

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