This is Andreas Gursky’s Ratingen Swimming Pool (1987). It’s a pretty standard late-’80s Gursky, a medium-sized picture of a big scene. (The print is about two-feet wide and a little less high.) Made just two years after Gursky started exhibiting his work, Ratingen Swimming Pool not exactly a focal point of Gursky literature or scholarship, though art historian Michael Fried spent a bit of time on it in his 2008 book “Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before.” The picture is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, but it is not currently on view.
Then why was it the most-viewed artwork in MoMA’s online-accessible collection last week, beating out Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and other mega-famous artworks? I have no idea. (Readers?)
Every couple weeks this gem of a feature on MoMA’s website throws us a curve ball such as this. It’s fun to see (and wonder about) what people are looking at most, especially when the No. 1 artwork is inexplicable and even quirky. More art museums should offer fun little nuggets such as this up on their websites…
Related: In March, I surveyed a bunch of museums asking for what was most-viewed on their websites. Here’s what they reported back. (The only museum I asked to participate that declined was the National Gallery of Art.)