Monday, February 22, 2010

Brooklyn Museum

Well dear readers, hopefully you haven't abandoned me yet, Last weekend was filled with a visit to Jersey and the plague like illness that I contracted while there. Rest assured I am slowly mending, which is why I'm happy to say I present you with another adventure!

I went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art!

Easily got to by taking the 2 or 3 lines south until you get to the Eastern Parkway stop and Voila!

The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest in the City and arguably one of the largest in the United States; it was opened just prior to the consolidation of the Boroughs into New York City.
It has a pretty eclectic collection and sorts things similar to the way the larger Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan divides it's art, albeit with a slightly smaller collection. To its credit though the Museum embraces a more personal, human approach to art and although it has within it's collection Cezannes, Picassos and Monets, it also has a rather nice chunk of religious/iconic work, African, Asian and Islamic, personal artifacts of various other cultures. Some of my favorites, include:

Albert Bierstadt's "A Storm over in The Rocky Mountains", located within the America Identities, A New Look, American Landscapes exhibit, which looks at the changing concepts and norms of American art.

Another interesting one was by Louis Rémy Mignot "Niagara". I enjoyed most the thoughts of one child who visited the museum:

Pretty articulate for a 7th grader, even if from a school devoted to a Museum! See what you think of it:

Apologies for the weird angle, there was an awkward chair seating area in front of the painting and I wasn't sure if it was a 'Sit and Enjoy the Art!' or a 'This is a display of art that happens to be chairs'. Either way I didn't want to be the one who accidentally traipsed across the 15th century Ming Dynasty, hand-woven carpet made of unicorn hair.

Now for those kids at heart LOOK AT THIS! I was so amazed by it, and although supposed to be about how the West has essentially lumped Native American cultures into one category and illustrated this feeling by the whole plastic mold bit. BUT if for a moment we ignore the smallpox blankets for a bit and be amazed at this for the very fact that it's a GIANT PLASTIC (native american) INDIAN!:

Thank you Yoram Wolberger for creating "Red Indian#4 (Spearman)" and while making a social, political and cultural statement also making a life size toy!

And lastly this is just fun to look at. I forgot to look at the name so I have no idea who this is by or the title, but it is AWESOME.

What's also unique about the Museum is they have a large group of actual rooms (and an entire house!) of hisorical homes both from Brooklyn and other colonial states. Here's the Schneck House: It's the original Schenck House which was the family house of one of the settlers of the Dutch Colony of I think present day Flatbush. The Museum also has rooms from colonial South Carolina, Connecticut, 1920's New York. It was very cool to walk through and see how folks lived. (They were so short!)

Last but not least, what is unique (at least I think) about the Brooklyn Museum is they have a publicly accessible Collection Storage area. A humidity and temperature regulated space, it contains a large portion of the Museum's collection which it can't display due to space constraint. Nearly every Museum actually usually has more art stored behind the scenes then it actually displays to the public, it simply doesn't have enough wall space. The Brooklyn Museum, I think takes this in stride and allows both the protection and storage of it's collection but also the public a glimpse at as much of their art as possible. I managed to snap a picture for you to see what it was like:

If I haven't been able to convince you yet to visit the Brooklyn Museum perhaps this picture will tip the scale:

Yes, That is Three kinds of Beer and two kinds of wine, in the museum cafe. If you don't love this Museum by now, then clearly we cannot be friends. I did take a few more pictures of the nearby main Brooklyn Public Library and Grand Army plaza, which you're welcome to check out in my Flickr feed, I might include them in a general post about Prospect Park, but this entry would be HUGE if I included them too!

Hope you enjoyed my adventure to the Brooklyn Museum!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kosciuszko Bridge

This will just be a quick "adventure" entry. Regrettably I was over served last night and so I am dealing with an epic hangover and a gashed and bleedy leg.

Let me explain.

Last night started off as any other night, had made plans to go to MOMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit with a friend and then it was decided that we should visit the fine drinking establishments of Brooklyn. How could we go wrong.

We started our evening off at my lovely neighborhood pizza place, whose charm is slowly being eaten away by it's complete lack of service. Although it has absolutely amazing pizza, it's windows announce what you're in for, in Niçois, the French dialect of Nice, is written "I don't give a shit, I'm from Nice." Midway through our dinner the waiter walked out for what I thought was a cigarette, except he never came back. Today I found out that my flatmate saw him in the local bar down the block, having a drink, about the same time we were having Pizza. Of course, I'll still go back, because it's amazing pizza, but I'll just lower my expectations.

Anyway, we then hopped on the G and took it to Metropolitan and Lorimer and visited the aptly named Metropolitan bar/lounge/place. It was pretty nice, Brooklyn Hipster central, I was in heaven really. We stayed there for a bit and then reaching the point of drinking exhaustion and getting sleep, we decided to head back to the Heights. This is where the adventures comes in.

The G was shut down for the night, we had to take a cab. The reader should note that trying to find a yellow cab in the outer Boroughs, regardless of the night is not an easy task, the reader should also note that trying to find a cab and then telling the driver how to get home, also not an easy task, when you've forgotten which borough you're in. I thought I was in Queens, and after the driver had some confusion about where I actually lived, I announced that we had to take the bridge whose name I can't pronounce, because we're in Queens and have to get to Brooklyn, did he realize just how lost I really was. We luckily made it home, after a nice conversation with the Israeli cab driver, who I thought was French and the only war wound I'm left with is a wicked gash on my leg from my bed. Apparently at 24 I need corner guards.

So that dear reader is why you'll have to get by without lovely flashy pictures and instead take pity on this poor soul who went into the ring with Brooklyn last night and lost.