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Most of the current Alighiero Boetti retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art is housed in the second-floor atrium and on the sixth floor, but there’s one work tucked away in the sculpture garden, surrounded by a pile of stones and a few warning signs. That’s Boetti’s 1993 Autoritratto (Self-portrait), a bronze sculpture of the artist that is heated with electrical equipment inside his head (“Please do not touch,” those signs state).
If you want to see the Museum of Modern Art’s atrium gallery looking better than it ever has before, go now. Walls and floor alike are covered with handwoven rugs in an installation that forms part of a retrospective of the late Italian artist Alighiero Boetti. Since the museum opened its Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building eight years ago, this tricky atrium has foiled curators and artists alike, but the team responsible for the Boetti show—MoMA’s Christian Rattemeyer, along with Lynne Cooke, chief curator at Madrid’s Reina Sofia, and Mark Godfrey, curator at London’s Tate Modern—has transformed it into an intimate space. The museum’s heart finally looks warm and inviting rather than mall-like, a place where a small caravan might encamp, or a group of schoolchildren sit in a circle.