Viewing single post of blog New York Art Explorations!

Kicked off my morning by walking past three giant inflatable rats that were adopted as a patron of protesting metro workers, because ‘rats were also survivors’.
There was an obvious prevalent tension and more of a heavily armed police and anti terrorist presence due to the imminent anniversary of 9-11, and when I went to explore the old church near to Ground Zero I found a large amount of city workers sitting inside praying.
I wandered around for a while, chatted to a few people then headed to the Brooklyn Art Museum thinking nothing could top my Metropolitan Museum of Art experience.
I had a drink in the coffee shop of the museum to recover my equilibrium after my usual horrific battle on the metro (I can’t tell the time, nor differentiate between left and right, and numbers and straight lines blow my mind…all of which make for fraught negotiation of the New York Transit system).
I noted the superior hip piped music, the Nick Cave and Faith Ringgold named sandwiches and the well heeled and arty customers and went into the galleries to have any sneering preconceptions I had about the museum’s pretentions, thoroughly blown out of the water.
The Museum deliberately presents art work in a different way than the norm (‘The Norm’ is name of the above coffee bar interestingly enough). They unusually regroup and present the exhibits to challenge preceptions and create different reactions from the viewer, rather than make them more intellectually accessible and understandable as most museums do.
Much of the art work was hung at a lower level than is usual in most galleries and museums in Europe where the art often seems to look down on you rather than envelope and involve you.
One room at the museum was arranged like a storage unit, stacks of chrome and glass shelving with wonderful objects near piled up like a collectors dream sequence.
The Masks and Global African Art Exhibition mixed traditional with contemporary re-workings and modern interpretations and was stunning and incredibly exciting.
Earlier in the day as I was on the Staten Island Ferry passing the Statue of Liberty and I was thinking about how both people and countries acquire objects to validate themselves, and in doing so often nullify the artist or the culture that produced the piece.
The Brooklyn Museum in many ways addressed this, looking at the basis of the artistic premise and recognising it as something that has power in itself, beyond being a ‘thing’ and offering the opportunity for the premise to evolve beyond being statically symbolic.
I feel the protesting workers I saw earlier in the day at Wall Street were doing the same thing. Using the symbolism of the rat, reinventing it, inflating it, giving it a different spin and animating that spin for creative, active protest.
The header image is from Saya Woolfalk, ChimaTEK