|The Brooklyn Museum's 2004 new entrance.|
If it were in any other American city besides New York, the Brooklyn Museum would be recognized as the great encyclopedic museum it is. It's one of the oldest art museums in the country (McKim, Mead & White designed the Beaux-Arts building in 1893) and, at 560,00 square-feet, and with about one million objects in the collection, it's one of the biggest. Best of all, the Brooklyn Museum takes its educational mission seriously, and it’s a truly welcoming community institution that tries to make a diverse population feel comfortable.
|One of the many seating areas – Luce Center for American Art, fifth floor.|
In 1993, they renovated 30,000 square feet of gallery space on the third, fourth and fifth floors of the west wing – the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing – where they house special exhibitions and their great collection of Egyptian art. They redesigned the galleries to be flowing, gracious and colorful.
|Ancient Egyptian Art, Late Eighteenth Dynasty (beginning with Tutankhamun) – third floor.|
|Ancient Egyptian Art – third floor.|
I saw several excellent shows this visit — two of the solo shows in particular impressed me, but in very different ways. I found the huge show of the African artist El Anatsui, Gravity and Grace, surprisingly powerful. I didn't care for his work when I saw it a few months ago at the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. I thought, materials aside, it was boring academic abstraction. But those were all relatively flat wall works, while these are transparent, undulating, enormous hanging sculptures and reliefs, and are thrilling to see.
|Installation view, El Anatsui, Gli (Wall), 2010, aluminum and copper wire (courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery) – fifth floor.|
|LaToya Ruby Frazier / A Haunted Capital – second floor.|
|Beaux-Arts Court with European paintings installed along the perimeter.|
|The Colonial Period Galleries – fifth floor.|
|Luce Center for American Art, Visible Storage Study Center – fifth floor.|
Another thing that distinguishes the Brooklyn Museum from other New York museums is the myriad ways they go about educating people about the art on view: videos, free brochures (I picked up six of them), an informative and fast website, a blog, and even a free app; and of course wall labels — each enlivened with graphics. (One of my favorites explains why the noses of Egyptian sculptures are frequently broken — it's not just accidents. Go to the Museum and learn why.)
|One of many video areas — this for the exhibition African Innovations: Art That Moves – first floor.|
|Installation view, Connecting Cultures - Connecting People – first floor.|
|Installation view of Life, Death, and Transformations in the Americas - a long-term installation – fifth floor.|
|Contemporary Art Gallery, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Kitchen Table Allegory, 2010 in foreground – fourth floor.|
|Entrance to the 18th-Century Period Rooms, right off the Contemporary Art Galleries – fourth floor.|
|Erotic Composition, Ptolemaic Period, 305 - 30 B.C., limestone, painted, 6 ½ x 6 11/16 x 3 ¾ inches (Brooklyn Museum, 58.13) - third floor.|