Brooklyn Museum First Saturday

At the beginning of this month, I attended the First Saturday party at the Brooklyn Museum, where the museum stays open until midnight and there are special events. It was a foggy winter night, and the building looked both majestic and ominous. The museum first opened in 1897 and was designed by McKim, Mead, and White, the same firm that designed Penn Station. The modern entryway you see here was opened in 2004. It sort of looks like the old building is taking off on a UFO. I don’t think this is a bad thing.

The museum was packed, with people crowding through the exhibits and a bit of a feeling of controlled anarchy in the place. People were having deeply personal conversations by Japanese screens painted with rotund puppies, couples were making out in corners of the decorative arts gallery, a pulsing dance party was overtaking the great hall. The people watching was the best in the city.

I didn’t have an itinerary for my visit and just wandered, starting with the always inspiring feminist Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. (I’ve blogged about it before.)

I also saw the excellent current exhibit Lorna Simpson: Gathered, including the installation shown above. Called Please remind me of who I am, it was created from hundreds of photo-booth portraits taken by African Americans.

I spent some time with the Arts of the Islamic World galleries, and was drawn to this painting of a man with a fabulous moustache and an incredible attitude of calm, considering a lion is devouring his leg.

He was next to this stately gentlemen being attacked by a strange animal…an evil sloth? The horse looks concerned, but only slightly.

A final object I was drawn to: this carved creature with sharp teeth.

I didn’t stay until midnight, and instead met up with some friends at a bar called Weather Up that is covered in subway tiles and serves well made cocktails. The next First Saturday in March is going to have a “Heritage of the Great Plains” theme, so I might have to go if I’m feeling homesick. Or if I want to discover more curious animals hiding in the art.

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