Postcards/NYC: Fun at the Brooklyn Museum

Now what kind of museum actually hangs out a welcome sign with no artsy fanfare. I am back in Brooklyn, and what could be better?

Mickalene Thomas A Little Taste Outside of Love and bystander sitting.

Having spent both high school and college here, and doing a little house painting in what was to become yup/hipster capital just known as Park Slope in those days. Round the corner from lovely Prospect Park, the cosmopolitan Grand Army Plaza, at the end of a rainbow of sorts, Washington Avenue, lies this wonderful gem. A little dated around the edges, this wonderful museum is still delightful 40 years later. Part of it is still traditional, but parts have moved from the 19th to the 21st century. I noticed Ringling had to borrow it’s mummy cases about a year ago, and there are always pieces in books which identify themselves as properties of this museum.

A wonderful little Sisley, as well as two first rate Boudins.

There are so many wonderful things to say about this unpretentious museum. There are lots of good tastes of everything. The is a thoughtful Islamic collection which includes larger painting from Iran, one includes a nude, which I thought was a no-no. The wonderful Sumerian collection, with perfect lighting makes the Met look tra-la-la!

Someone got the idea to do a “women’s art” section in the museum and so there were several wonderful rooms of contemporary women’s art, including the one dedicated to Pop, one of which was Majorie Strider’s, “Woman with a Radish,” which appeared on ArtNews cover recently. I don’t know if it is such a good thing to have a “women’s” section, as if being a woman artist would be out of the ordinary. There are just women, who are really good artists. Judy Chicago’s dishware, also on display, needs another blog for comment.

I am definitely in favor of taking out some questionable Pollacks and putting in the more really interesting Krasden’s, that goes for a ton of male artists whose oeuvres may rate them to heaven, but individual work remain suspect. Personally, this thing of segregating any group, especially women, leads to a sort of sentimentality–the last thing women individually need! I leave this to stakeholders like the Guerrilla Girls to figure out.

A couple in a hallway lying around making echo sounds, no guards, no hastles.

There are wonderful models of both the Sneck from Brooklyn and the Milligan house interiors from Saratoga Springs, NY (right) nearby the Vader Turner’s Reception installation (left). Even more provoking the Kehinde Wiley pieces which is part of a ceiling mural (below).  It all works well, no hodgepodge for these curators.

Marlene Fein was a wonderful boss about 100 years ago. I don’t know if she is still alive, but she came from Eastern Parkway, and the Brooklyn Museum definitely shaped her. She was dismayed how the neighborhood had gone from a middle class Jewish enclave to more working class African American. But the museum remained, and the neighborhood becomes something else again. She would be interested how the Brooklyn Museum kept its individuality, kept an inexpensive admission ($10 a bargain by NYC standards), remained accessible both with a small parking lot and subway on the corner, and how its collection is still relevant.

There may be idiots like this who think it is funny to mimic Boldini’s Whistler while sitting on a Rodin statue, but a lot of us, love what a wonderful collection and what a good job the curators have done. She would also get a kick out of the Statue of Liberty in the back lot. Please go see the Brooklyn Museum if you get a chance. All museums need your patronage!


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