“We do not just collect masterpieces; we have a story to tell about individual works of art, about art histories, and about how all this fits into a global world view. By telling those stories we connect people. My commitment is both to enhancing those stories – and to the Museum in its goal of making art make sense of the world.”
Opening in tandem with the #BKArtistsBall will be a special exhibition entitled Diverse Works: Director’s Choice 1997-2015, which brings together more than 125 exceptional works of collected during Director Arnold Lehman’s 18-year tenure. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum’s curators, the exhibition highlights the wide-ranging vision of the Institution’s retiring leader and underscores the Museum’s commitment to diversity in collection building. Coming from every corner of the globe and covering many centuries, the works come together to bring the many collection areas of the Brooklyn Museum into the 21st century. Each week leading up to the Ball and the exhibition we will feature an object from #DiverseWorks along with a musing about that work directly from #ArnoldLehman
The Brooklyn Museum is wrapping up its mid-career retrospective of artist Kehinde Wiley — which means 14 years of work and something like 60 paintings.
It’s been drawing a diverse and large crowd, partly because Wiley’s work has been featured on the TV show Empire, and partly because he is a well-known and, in some ways, controversial figure in the art world. Wiley takes contemporary figures — oftentimes young black men and women — and places them in old European art traditions: Oil paintings, portraits, stained glass and even bronze sculpture.
Wiley tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that the first time he stepped into a museum as a child, it was incredibly intimidating. “Great big paintings, history, gilded frames, a sense of power, a sense of majesty,” he says. “It was alienating but it was fabulous at the same time, because I was trying to learn how to paint. And here you had images where people had spent hundreds of years trying to figure out how to coax reality into form, and here it was.”
Photo credits: (Top) Katherine Wetzel/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts/Copyright Kehinde Wiley (Left) Jason Wyche/Courtesy of Sean Kelly/Copyright Kehinde Wiley (Right) Courtesy of Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris/Copyright Kehinde Wiley (Bottom) Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum/Copyright Kehinde Wiley
Wiley’s signature portraits of everyday men and women riff on specific paintings by Old Masters, replacing the European aristocrats depicted in those paintings with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist’s prolific fourteen-year career and features sixty paintings and sculptures. - thru May 24
“Besides being one of New York’s most important and controversial photographers, Andres Serrano is a longtime friend. In these photographs, the large scale and the angle of the poses lend a heroic quality to the rapper, the Boy Scout, and the pilot. These works are from Serrano’s photo series and book America, which set out to document the cultural reality of our nation today. The series also included such diverse personas as a Playboy Bunny, a homeless man, a firefighter, a street vendor, and a museum director—that’s me.”
“The tragedy of the black image in Western art history was not that it got degraded as "other”, but that black humanity came to be cruelly imprisoned by its own beauty as a result of a controlling gaze that constantly equivocated between love and hate.“ -Kobena Mercer, Professor of Art History and African American Studies, Yale.
Egyptian ceremonial Saw in the Shape of a Ma'at-feather, ca. 1353-1336 B.C.E.
What was Ma'at?
A difficult concept to summarize, but I would describe it as the Egyptian concept of balance, truth, law, order, justice, and morality; it was also personified as a goddess -identifiable by the feather she always wears on her head.
Here are a few more examples of Ma'at being represented elsewhere in Egyptian art:
It was the duty of all Egyptians to live in accordance with Ma'at. Only if they did so could they join the society of the dead when they died. In the final judgement that every Egyptian (even the king) had to pass through, the heart of the deceased was weighed against a feather to determine if his or her actions in life (symbolized by the heart) were in balance with Ma'at (the feather).
Unlike the final trail of Christian tradition, this was not a religious judgement but a social one: people who had been disruptive elements in the society of the living could hardly expect to be welcomed by members of the blessed society of the dead.
-James P. Allen, Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs (2000).
The shape of the shown saw suggestions that it was used for ceremonial purposes, possibly preparing meat for sacrifice to a god. Artifact courtesy & currently located at the Brooklyn Museum, photo via their online collections.
1. Reel Sisters & Kumble Theater Present Pride and Gender:
A Film Conversation! June
Reel Sisters of the
Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series and Kumble Theater will
celebrate LGBT Month on Thurs., June 4, 2015,
6 pm‐8 pm,
with an amazing line up of films!
Ọya: Something Happened On The Way To
West Africa! (Brooklyn Premiere)
Yoruba Richen- Executive Producer
The documentary follows my journey as
a Queer Gender Non Conforming Nigerian returning home to connect with Òrìṣà (African God/dess) tradition, and
follow a trail back to the powerful legacy of my great grandmother, Chief
Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya. This personal and political story vibrantly
investigates the heritage of command, mythology, gender fluidity, womyn’s power
and the hidden truth behind the power of indigenous Yorùbá spirituality.
As I encounter obstacles of a national strike and anti-gay marriage legislation
to find the roots of the practice, will I be able to find affirmation for
myself as a person between genders/ worlds and take on this inheritance?
The documentary illuminates the lives
of Òrìṣà Ọya (Warrior Goddess), Chief
Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya and Seyi Adebanjo
while interweaving Yorùbá mythology, poetry, performance, and
expert interviews. The documentary is lyrical, interwoven with
cultural nuances, ritual, interviews, chanting and narration.
Free refreshments provided by Buka authentic Nigerian restaurant
Brooklyn-based artist Swoon creates a site-specific installation in Brooklyn Museum’s rotunda gallery, transforming it into a fantastic landscape centering on a monumental sculptural tree with a constructed environment at its base, including sculpted boats and rafts, figurative prints and drawings, and cut paper foliage. Often inspired by contemporary and historical events, Swoon engages with climate change in the installation as a response to the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy that struck the Atlantic Coast in 2012, and Doggerland, a landmass that once connected Great Britain and Europe and that was destroyed by a tsunami 8,000 years ago.
In honor of legendary entertainer Judy Garland, who would have been 92-years old today, enjoy this amazing rainbow suede platform sandal designed by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1938, just one year before Garland sang “Over the Rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz. Be sure to come check out this sandal—and many other incredible “way up high” designs—in Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, opening on September 10.
“I’ve played so many video games and watched thousands of movies. It’s hard to know what memories happened to me and which come from other places.” - #BKArtistsBall artist Jeremy Couillard on the digital-inspired worlds in his work.
First featured in HF Vol. 18, FAILE is a collaboration between Brooklyn-based artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. Known for their critique on modern consumer culture and over indulgence, the two man art collective covers the walls of the Brooklyn Museum this week with their eye-catching, graphic style for their latest exhibition “Savage/Sacred Young Minds.” The exhibition sees the addition of new paintings and sculptures that display the artists’ growth, and also brings back some of their most well-known previous work including their two installations, “Temple” and “The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade”.
Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller did not always reveal themselves as the artists behind FAILE. Inspired by their art and their previous anonymity, Landon Nordeman recently visited the FAILE studio and created double-exposed portraits of the artists. Stay tuned for more #BKMstudiovisits with landonnordeman.