Gary Fong, New York, See — April 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm





Brooklyn Museum

NEW YORK – I’m not a huge fan of Brooklyn; it’s a bit too hipster-y for me.  But I’ve always enjoyed Brooklyn’s main museum located over in Prospect Heights.  Housed in a lovely, turn of the century McKim, Mead & White designed building (the same blokes who designed a bit of the Met and that grand entrance to the Manhattan Bridge), the Brooklyn Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon, regardless of where you land on the hipster issue.   The museum’s permanent collection, while not on par with top tier players like the Met, is still one of the best.  And their temporary shows can be excellent, as demonstrated by  the current Keith Haring: 1978-1982.  Moreover, Brooklyn Museum’s suggested admission price is $12, or half the amount of its Manhattan cousins (the Met and MOMA are both $25) – a great value, considering all that the museum has to offer.

Beaux-Arts Court

Egyptian Antiquities

And what might that be?  Only a permanent collection that is one of the largest in the world – so not only is there lots to see but something for everyone.  Certainly not to be missed (and my faves):  the recently renovated, spectacular Beaux-Arts court, the museum’s extensive collection of Ancient Egyptian Art (like the Met, their assortment includes those amazing Assyrian wall reliefs), Judy Chicago’s massive Dinner Party installation (a definite conversation piece), their impressive collection of Rodin sculptures (Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude is a highlight), and the interesting range of European, Russian and American paintings lining the hallways of the Beaux-Arts court (visiting Boldini’s Portrait of a Lady is a must for me).


Also worth checking out is their current exhibition, Keith Haring: 1978-1982 (which runs through July 8).  The show focuses on Haring’s early years as an artist, and is just a really fascinating look into his work – from his early comic book influenced pieces to his later, more complex, shape-driven images.  The exhibition includes his journals, videos, and photos with locales ranging from his studio to the streets of NYC.  Haring’s works feel just as bold, smart and funny as ever and, surprisingly, seem just as relevant today as they were back in 1980’s.  With themes of corporate America’s influence, greed and money all featured prominently in the show, you can’t help but wonder what Haring’s reaction might be to today’s young Occupy-ers who have similar concerns (and to the irony that they also fanatically support one of the largest corporations ever – Apple).  Nevertheless, the show gave me a renewed sense of Haring’s talent and genius that I think for many (including myself) had been distorted by the decades-old, rampant, licensing (both legit and pirated) of his work.  Keith Haring: 1978-1982, is a great way to remember a great artist and should not be missed.


Cherry Blossoms at nearby Botanic Gardens

The little things that makes Brooklyn Museum worthwhile:  The ancient Egyptian art collection, the inspiration of  a show like Keith Haring: 1978-1982, and (post-museum) popping over to the nearby Botanic Garden in late March when the cherry trees are in bloom.  And lots of hipsters, if you like that sort of thing.

Where is it:  The Brooklyn Museum is located in Prospect Heights and can be reached from Manhattan by taking the 2 or 3 subway line to the Eastern Parkway station.

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Photos: Gary Fong, Artwork © The Brooklyn Museum

Author:  Gary Fong

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