Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Brooklyn Museum -part 2- Special Exhibits


As I described in part one, (click here to read my introduction) the Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. It has been modernizing in the past few decades to bring both the building and galleries into the new century. As the museums web site states: "In recent years, the Museum has focused on redesigning its galleries and reinstalling its major collections to make them more accessible to the public. Flowing spaces, vivid wall colors, dramatic graphic elements, and multimedia components feature in many of these reconfigured galleries."


The Museum opened its dramatically redesigned front entrance and new public plaza on April 17, 2004


The sheer-glass entrance pavilion, named the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby, provides a dramatic architectural connection between the interior of the building and the exterior surroundings, while bringing natural light into the formerly dark interior. It doubles the lobby space and as you can see in the photo above, it allows space for cultural programs. The first Saturday of each month the Brooklyn Museum stays open late with free family events, which include gallery tours, lectures, arts and crafts, live music, and a dance party. In this way the museum has done much to incorporate itself into the neighborhood by being a welcoming place to visit and not a stuffy institution.


I am a frequent visitor of the Brooklyn Museum and always try to see their special exhibits. Last weekend we went to see Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera which is located  in the Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor of the museum.  The last day of the exhibit is April 10, 2011, so we did not want to miss it! The exhibit has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in collaboration with guest curator Ron Schick. Well known in the United States, Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than four decades, and Look Magazine later in his career.

The exhibit stated that from the 1930's, Norman Rockwell used photography as a medium in the production of his art work. He would stage his models to express his ideas, photograph them, then use the photogaphs to copy the people and scenes and bring his illustration ideas to life. As a long time Rockwell admirer this came as a surprise to me, as I always thought his artwork came from his imagination and that he did not use models.

Photography was not allowed in this exhibit, so the following photos are from the museum's web site.


The Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibit presented the study photographs alongside his paintings, and drawings, to offer a fascinating look at the artist’s working process. For Rockwell's 1950 painting "Shuffleton’s Barbershop" seen on the right above, he said the photographs he took of the actual shop helped him see details, such as the way the light enters the room, that he would have other wised missed if he had done only a rough sketch.



For his 1948 painting entitled The Dugout (above right), Rockwell traveled to Boston with Saturday Evening Post art editor Ken Stuart to photograph fans during a doubleheader between the Boston Braves and the visiting Chicago Cubs at Braves Field. He did additional photos of staged poses as you can see on the left.  This is one of his rare watercolor paintings, as most of his painting were done in oils.


For the 1967 cover of Look Magazine entitled "New Kids in the Neighborhood," Rockwell used his favorite subject, children, to illustrate an article on the changing racial profile of America’s suburbs. The exhibit explained that when Rockwell left The Post for Look magazine in 1964,  he was able to take on issues of social consciousness, such as war, racism, poverty and injustice, and some of his most well know paintings are from that era.


Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978). The Tattoo Artist, 1944.
Oil on canvas, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist

It was a fascinating exhibit and a thrill for me to see many more full sized original artworks by Norman Rockwell that up to now I have only been able to appreciate in book form. I have greater appreciation of the amount of time he took into setting up a scene before he painted it, and how much of a perfectionist he was in trying to capture every detail.


Another special exhibit we saw was Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains  on exhibit February 18 to May 15, 2011, Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor

Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains  on the web explains: "...the tipi as the center of Plains culture and social, religious, and creative traditions from the early nineteenth century to the present. The exhibition examines the tipi as an architectural form, an expression of Plains artistic and cultural identity, and an interior space for domestic and ritual use. Tipi features more than 160 objects from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection of Plains material, as well as selected works from other museums; objects by contemporary Plains artists; and three full-size tipis, two with furnished interiors."


A short video about the tipi and its installation.


An informational placard about tipi designs at the exhibit (double click to enlarge)


There were many wonderful artifacts on exhibit. Native American women made most of the family's possessions, and designed and beaded the clothing.  Native American men owned and displayed their medicine bundles and warrior regalia in the tipi, earning the rights to add feathers in war bonnets based on their warrior skills and strengths. I was fascinated by the bear claw necklace made by a Northern Plains Crow artist, circa 1850 as it contains a silver George Washington peace medal dated 1789. (double click on the photo collage above for a closer view).


Last, before leaving the museum, we walked though reOrder: An Architectural Environment by Situ Studio  on exhibit March 4, 2011 to January 15, 2012 in the  Great Hall, 1st Floor.
Situ Studios explains the soft sculptures were a way to show how the museum  has evolved continuously in its 120 year history, constantly reshaping itself and adapting to a unfolding city.

If you are interested to learn more about any of these exhibits the Brooklyn Museum gift shop has books for sale specific to the their topic, among other interesting books, posters, note cards, etc., including my favorite....


(double click on photo to enlarge)

What better gift to get a Brooklyn-ite, past or present, or one who wishes to be ?


There is still more to show about this fascinating museum and my next post will  be about the Brooklyn Museum's collection of ancient Egyptian art, one of the largest and finest in the United States, and world renowned.




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45 comments:

GrandmaK said...

Oh my what a wonderful post. It is so interesting to see the Norman Rockwell and the photos from which they were derived. Thank you!!!! Wishing you a wonderful day! Cathy

Sheila said...

Pat - I really found your visit to the Rockwell Exhibit fascinating. I have always loved Rockwell's paintings for the stories they tell. i didn't know that he used photos either but can see how it would help the realistic style of his paintings. You are lucky to live where you can take advantage of all New York has to offer. I admire you for doing all the things you do and seeing all the things you see. You're certainly living your retirement life to the fullest!

Vee said...

You must visit Stockbridge some lovely day, Pat. You'd so enjoy the museum there. We've been twice and both times former models of Rockwell's gave the tour. Their stories were so interesting. Rockwell's relocated studio is there...a fascinating place. (I wish they would allow photos to be taken inside.) There are always other featured artists in the guest gallery. The first time Bessie Pease Gutmann was the featured artist/illustrator and the second was all about fences and gates set up outside. (Dang that my computer crashed taking all of my photos with it.) I always found Rockwell's quote about not being an artist very interesting. He thought of himself as a storyteller.

Barbara F. said...

Pat, I have to get that game! The tipi was fascinating. I love learning about Native American history. xo,

EliFla said...

What a great Museum...I didn't know about it when I was in NY!!! I wish to visit it soon!!Thanks for infos, hugs and blessings, Flavia

Claudia said...

I definitely will be spending time at the Brooklyn Museum when next I go (planning, still planning). I enjoyed all the glimpses - but the raising of the tipi was just amazing. George Washington peace medal in Native American crafts? Wonderful.

Grandmother said...

Thanks for having the video about raising a tipi and its artist. How wonderful that they're having a welcoming tipi so people can actually go inside.

Jo said...

Hey Pat!...you share the most "awesomeness",It will take days to tour these wonderful places, but I would love to give it a whirl.

I saw the documentary "The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory", and I remembered your post,thanks for sharing so many interesting things things about NYC and her surrounds.
love you blog so much.

Have you ever thought about giving a tour to these places(the places beyond the tourist regulars)?
~JO
Lazy on Loblolly

Kris said...

I didn't go to any of the museums when I was in New York. Next time I will!!!! Lovely photos...as always. And you always make me want to book a flight to NYC immediately!!!

Lovella ♥ said...

Pat I've learned so much about the Brooklyn Museam in these last few posts. I doubt that I realize there was such a marvelous documentation of history there in NY.
The artwork I was aware of when I was growing up was Norman Rockwell. Even as a young girl I enjoyed looking at the pictures. He truly crossed generations with his view on life experiences.

pam said...

Oh that Rockwell exhibit would have been SO COOL to see in person. I grew up with his images. We always had large coffee table books of his. I knew he started with models but isn't it cool to see how he ramps up the expressions on the faces. LOVE HIM!

Yvette said...

Wonderful as usual, Pat. Just lovely work, m'dear.

Makes me feel as if I'm at the museum and since I rarely go anywhere these days, this is a special treat for me.

I'm also loving that Brooklyn Monopoly set. HAHA!!!

Yvette said...

Meant to add: I'd always known about Rockwell using models and photos, but it's a treat to see some of the sources. These I'd never seen before. He was an amazing artist. Well, you know I love his work you've seen it often enough on my blog. ;)

Loved seeing the Plains Indians exhibit as well.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

I am embarrassed to admit that I've never been to the Brooklyn Museum, but thanks to you I plan to go next time in NYC.

This was fabulous and informative! Thanks dear...

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green island

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, this is the absolute coolest. I loved seeing the Norman Rockwell part, and how neat to see the tipi, too. From the outside of the building (which is gorgeous) to the inside (which is filled with wonder), what a wonderful place to visit. Thank you, my friend, for this glorious tour.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Kathleen said...

I remember my dad subscribed to the Sat Eve Post. I always liked the Norman Rockwell illustrations!

Tara said...

I went to the museum wehn they had the Monet exhibit some years back, great place to be! Love the pics!

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! I profess my complete ignorance of Nrmal Rockwell - but his paintings look so familiar - it's like I've seen them on advertising posters? Maybe I have, I don't know but they look so familiar!!

Oh but what an artist!! I love his meticulous creation of scenes using models and photography for his paintings - he wants to tell a story and does it with such wit! Wonderful!!

Oh the Tipi is brilliant!!! I'd be the first one inside it - it's wonderful and I love that it's meant to be entered!!

What a brilliant museum!! Was there a concert when you got there?

I think the Brooklyn Museum is doing all the right things to get people to visit and interact with the museum itself.

Thanks for the links and the info and your gorgeous pics as always! Take care
x

Donnie said...

That is a fabulous place and I love all the photos you are showing me.

Donnie said...

That is a fabulous place and I love all the photos you are showing me.

La said...

Norman Rockwell was so talented and truly captured the emotion of his subjects. I have a book of his work.

Ginny said...

i learned so much here!!! I didn't know that Norman Rockwell used photos! And the tipi, for one thing I learned how to spell it, I thought it was teepee!! The video is fascinating showing how they put it up, I had no idea!! They put the poles up in a certain order and twine them at the top to stay, then how they hook the fabric on at the top on just one pole and just billow it around! I would have loved to go in!!!

Carol said...

The Pavilion is stunning! What a fantastic exhibit. I love Norman Rockwell's art. Have you been to the museum in Stockbridge? It's one of my favorite places, that and lunch at the Red Lion Inn nearby. It's been years but every summer we'd go there.

Jenny said...

Very cool! And, you just saved me a very expensive trip!

Love the pics!

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Hi Pat, First of all, congratulations on the new arrival! The picture on your sidebar of big brother and baby is adorable! I hope you are able to visit them soon. I have been scrolling through all your posts that I missed while away. I'm so happy you posted the orchid show, as I am going to miss it! Did you go during members' time and was it less crowded? We used to go to the Brooklyn Bot. Garden park on Sundays to sit and read the Times, but I never went into the Museum! I can't believe that! I have, however, been to Stockbridge to see Norman R. a few times as my Mom is a huge fan. If you go there you can see all the covers of the Sat. Ev. Post hung in chronological order, and it is amazing to see the history in the series! You can also see people he used over and over appearing. It is a great museum. Looking forward to your next museum post! Linda

Ciao Chow Linda said...

The more I read your posts, the more I'm convinced you should be working for the department of tourism - or writing your own tour guide to NYC. Have to get to the Brooklyn Museum.

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

Is there a soul on earth who doesn't appreciate Rockwell's gift?

I love the idea of the Brooklyn Monopoly game!!

diane b said...

This is so good to be able to tour the museum from my chair with all the necessary info too. I'm learning heaps from you.

merrilymarylee said...

So neat to learn more about Norman Rockwell's methods. I think his work was the first art that struck my fancy as a kid. I loved those magazine covers.

Oliag said...

When my daughter lived in Brooklyn we went to the Brooklyn Museum several times...and loved each visit...it is a wonderful museum. Now that she lives in Boston I am wondering if and when we will ever get back...Someday we will have to make a special trip....We have been to the Norman Rockwell Museum in western Mass and it is wonderful...a nice weekend trip:)

nanny said...

I love Norman Rockwell and would love to see that exhibit....isn't his work fascinating?
We use to give his calendars away at work and everyone loved them. They would call before January to see if we had any yet.

Linda said...

Thanks for taking us along with you! It's amazing how much history you have so close by you.

Theanne and Baron said...

Great post Pat! Enjoyed the whole thing, thanks for sharing! It's marvelous to see things I wouldn't see otherwise!

steviewren said...

Again...I am green with envy! I bought Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera when it was published a couple of years ago and have really enjoyed looking through it...BUT how fun to see the exhibits up close and personal.

Deanna said...

Hi Pat,
I read Parts 1 and 2 and so thoroughly enjoyed the posts and looking at all the paintings. Especially interesting were the two paintings of Washington. We so rarely see painting of him as a younger man.

The Tipi video was wonderful and I played it several times. In our Lubbock museum, there was a tipi set up and it was always such a treat to be able to see it but we weren't allowed to go inside and see what life might have been like in there.

The Norman Rockwell exhibit was really special. The little girl in his painting of the New Neighbors always reminds me of little Ruby Bridges.

Thanks for creating these wonderful posts for those of us who are not able to see these wonderful treasures in person!

Deanna :D

Vagabonde said...

We went to this museum in the fall two years ago and spent the day there – we did not see everything. You are fortunate to live close by since there are all these special exhibits. The Normal Rockwell exhibits looks so very interesting. I enjoyed all your explanations.

lines n shades said...

interesting and informative post. thank you for sharing.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your 2 part series on "The Brooklyn Museum". It all interested me so much and really made me want to take my daughter to visit it someday. For many years she has collected items from Norman Rockwell. You shared many new things on that exhibit. It would be difficult for me to say which exhibits I liked most, but I really liked the painting of "A Storm in the Rockies". Beautiful! And the Situ Studio exhibit was unique and most impressive. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

The picture at the side of your two grandsons is so adorable!

Elettra said...

Very special !!!!!!!! Very interesting and informative, thanks for all the wonderful things that you mostrato.Ciao Pat

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you for this interesting and informative post. I would love to visit this museum!

top MBA colleges in India said...

Wonderful Post.

Tess Kincaid said...

Oliag was kind enough to mention that we are on the same page with Schick's Rockwell! I'm envious of your Brooklyn Museum.

Brenda said...

What a wonderful museum! I must put it on my list of things to see if and when I visit your wonderful city again. I know I'm repeating myself, but all of your posts are great, Pat!

Infatuated with Homes and Gardens said...

I love those paintings, I haven;t seen that many Norman Rockwell pictures, I think this is something I need to read up on:)

cookbookshelf said...

We LOVED the Rockwell exhibit! It's a shame so many people are unaware of how wonderful 'our' museum is!