When MOMA opened a year ago it seemed as if other local museums would be eclipsed. The opposite has happened. The Whitney now looks scrappy and sassy by comparison and is infused with a nothing-to-lose drive. Having two Europeans curate the upcoming Biennial may provide a nifty dose of anti-provincialism. Even the big, bad Guggenheim, run as it is by a kind of tough guy, has lately been putting on good, weird shows and taking risks (although this doesn’t undo the terrible things it did to art recently).
For an idea of how safe MOMA is playing it, compare it to Tate Modern, the Walker Art Center, L.A.’s MOCA, UCLA Hammer, Chicago’s MCA, or even the Studio Museum in Harlem and Philadelphia’s little ICA. All these institutions feel light-years ahead of MOMA when it comes to dynamism, vision, and nerve.