They come in all sizes

Museums come in all shapes and sizes, integral parts of our society and pivotal in preserving, studying and expanding knowledge about the culture, heritage and nature of our world. And in an ethnically diverse metropolis of the magnitude of New York City, Museums come in every conceivable type: from the matchbox Mmuseumm to the jewel box Frick Collection, the Ambassador of Modernism that is the MoMA to the National Museum of the American Indian, advocate of Native American heritage, there are weird museums, pop up museums, museums of gigantic proportions like The Met; there is something for every interest, taste and even physical condition.

The Brooklyn Museum falls under the category of those Tardis-like structures that are surprisingly ”bigger on the inside”. How else can I explain the seemingly endless space when, after going through the galleries hosting the extensive Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition occupying -what we thought was- the largest part of the Museum, we found ourselves walking through corridors and galleries, monumental installations and even reconstructed period rooms, only to end up in this vast open space, its glass-tile floor reflecting the natural light coming from a skylight as large as the ceiling, enhanced by a huge chandelier?

It was only afterwards I looked it up and realised we had just visited the third largest Museum in New York City! This is the ”Beaux-Arts Court”, where the portraits of Washington A. Roebling and his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, fittingly hang side-by-side. Mr. Roebling was the chief engineer during the construction of Brooklyn Bridge, visible through the window in his portrait. When he fell ill, it was his wife who stepped in and oversaw its completion. Mrs. Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge, carrying a rooster for good luck.Portrait of Washington A. Roebling, 1899 by Théobald Chartran
Portrait of Emily Warren Roebling, 1896, by 
Charles-Émile-Auguste Carolus-Duran

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Haunted

By benign spirits.

1/Henry Trippe House; Secretary, Maryland; c. 1730
Major Henry Trippe, a gentleman landowner and planter of English origin, built this one-and-a-half story brick home he called ”Carthagena” between 1724 and 1731 on land he head inherited from his father. The house faced the head of Secretary Creek on the eastern shore of Maryland. This orientation indicates the importance of water access before the development of good roads.

Greatly altered, the house still stands on its original site. A model and its living room can be viewed at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the twenty-three American period rooms installed as part of the Museum’s decorative arts collection.

2/Raphael Soyer (American, born Russia, 1899-1987); Café Scene, ca. 1940; oil on canvas
Raphael Soyer had a lifelong interest in the daily lives of working-class New Yorkers. His paintings of lone women in the early 1940s suggest the absence of husbands or sweethearts who had been called up to serve in WWII.

3/Luigi Lucioni (American, born Italy, 1900-1988); Paul Cadmus, 1928; oil on canvas
Luigi Lucioni and Paul Cadmus probably met as students, and they doubtless shared acquaintances within New York’s circles of gay artists and writers.

4/Reginald Marsh (American, 1898-1954); The Bowl, 1933; egg tempera on pressed wood panel
In this vivid Depression-era painting of one of the wild “bowl” rides at Coney Island, friends and strangers alike are thrown into contact by the overpowering centrifugal force. Reginald Marsh described the chaotic tangle of female bodies with the sensual physicality for which his work was best known.

5/Abbott H. Thayer (American, 1849-1921); The Sisters, 1884; oil on canvas
The women in this portrait were Bessie (left) and Clara Stillman, the sisters of the powerful financier James Stillman. 

The Dinner Party

Yesterday’s ”seating plan” was drawn in preparation of today’s ”Dinner Party”. Please come in, make yourself at home – but don’t get too comfortable – and meet our guests of honour.

Blending in


Amazon
On the plate is an image of breasts covered in gold and silver, representing the breastplates that the warriors wore in battle. The image may also refer to the legend that Amazon warriors cut off one of their breasts to be better archers. The plate also depicts two double-headed axes, a white egg, a red crescent, and a black stone, all of which are associated with the Amazons.


Sappho
Called the Tenth Muse by Plato, Sappho was a prolific poet of ancient Greece. She innovated the form of poetry through her first-person narration (instead of writing from the vantage point of the gods) and by refining the lyric meter. The details of Sappho’s life have been obscured by legend and mythology, and the best source of information is the Suidas, a Greek lexicon compiled in the 10th century.


Aspasia
Aspasia of Miletus was a scholar and philosopher whose intellectual influence distinguished her in Athenian culture, which treated women as second-class citizens during the 5th century B.C.E. She used her status to open a school of philosophy and rhetoric, and she is known to have had enormous influence over such prominent leaders and philosophers as Pericles, Plato, and Socrates.


Caroline Herschel
Caroline Herschel was a pioneering female astronomer, and the first woman to discover a comet. Her achievements enabled generations of women to develop a career in the sciences, a field that was once exclusively reserved for men.


Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, was recognized as one of the first people to identify the similarities between the struggles of black slaves and the struggles of women. As an abolitionist and suffragist, she was a powerful force in the fight for justice and equality for both African Americans and women in the U.S.


Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony’s life and work offer a glimpse into the extraordinary events of both the abolitionist movement and the women’s suffrage movement in the late nineteenth century. Anthony was the face of the American suffrage movement and one of its primary organizers. Her actions contributed to significant progress in the inclusion of women in the United States political process.


Natalie Barney
Natalie Barney was both a poet and a prose writer, who was famous for her weekly salons, which gathered together many of the twentieth century’s greatest artists and writers from the Western world. She is celebrated for openly living and writing as a lesbian during a time when women’s behavior was closely circumscribed.


Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is a renowned British novelist associated with the modernist movement in literature; her writing is characterized by experiments in language, narrative, and the treatment of time. Woolf is often considered one of the most innovative writers of the 20th century, best known for fractured narratives and writing in a stream-of-consciousness prose style, in which characters are depicted through their interior monologue; her books were sometimes called psychological novels. In her work, she also discusses the issues and prejudices surrounding women’s writing in the Western world.


The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized. The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history.

The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table. {source}

Hope you enjoyed your Dinner @ the Brooklyn Museum.

July 22nd, 2017

 

Seating Plan

In great Stijl.

1/ Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
Armchair, designed 1917
Made by Gerard van de Groenekan (1904-1994)
The Netherlands
Painted beechwood

It is rare for decorative arts objects to evoke an artistic movement, but this armchair, formerly owned by De Stijl architect J.J. Oud, has become an icon. It expresses De Stijl ideology through balanced application of colour and the arrangement of geometric elements. De Stijl artists shunned historicism and naturalism and sought new abstract forms to express the ideals of the future

&

Child’s Wheelbarrow, designed 1923, made 1958
Made by Gerard van de Groenekan, The Netherlands
Wood

This child’s wheelbarrow is based on a toy that Gerrit Rietveld made in 1923 for the son of J.J. P. Oud. It exemplifies the stylistic characteristics of De Stijl: composed of elemental geometric forms, painted in primary colours and made of inexpensive wood.

2/ Marcel Breuer
Side Chair, Model B5, ca. 1926, Germany
Armchair, Model b4, ca. 1927-28
Table, Model B19, ca. 1928
Chromium-plated tubular steel, white canvas (chairs), glass (table)

3/ Ettore Sottsass, Jr.
“Casablanca” Cabinet, designed 1981. Manufactured by Memphis. Milan.
Wood, plastic laminate

&

Carlo Mollino
Table, ca 1949. Made by F. Apelli and L. Varesio, Turin.
Laminated wood, glass, brass

Although it is functional, this table looks like a piece of sculpture. Its undulating curves were inspired by the work of Surrealist artists, in particular Jan Arp’s flowing lines and biomorphic shapes. The shape of the table top was based on the outlines of a woman’s torso. Mollino had traced it from a drawing by the Italian Surrealist Leonor Fini (1908-1996). In 1950 the table was included in a major exhibition of Italian design called Italy at Work: Her Renaissance in Design Today. The Italian government sent this travelling exhibition around America. {source}

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Attaining Perfection

Imagine living in a world where these treasures were household items – not museum objects.

1/ Maurice Sterne
The Awakening, ca. 1926
Bronze

2/ Kem Weber
Vanity with Mirror and Stool, 1934

3/ John Vassos
RCA Victor Special Model K Portable Electric Phonograph, c.a 1935

4/ Emilie Robert
Pair of Gates, ca. 1900 (detail), France
Iron

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Adagio

Swaying into December with Grace.

Auguste Rodin
Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude (Pierre de Wiessant, nu monumental), 1886, cast 1983, for The Burghers of Calais.
Bronze

The Burghers of Calais is a memorial to a group of fourteenth-century citizens who offered to sacrifice themselves to save their long-suffering city. It comprises six large figures. For each of four of the monument’s six figures, Rodin also executed a full-scale nude, among them this undraped version of the burgher Pierre de Wiessant. The practice of creating nude figure studies, which allowed artists to refine poses and understand how clothing should drape over the body, derives from the academic tradition that Rodin both embraced and rejected during his career. {source}

The full picture:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017