Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Brooklyn Museum Celebrates Native American Culture


By on

0 Comments

The Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday event attracts thousands of visitors to free programs of art and entertainment each month. The March 5 event celebrates the rich heritage and cultures of North America’s Native Americans and showcases the special exhibition Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains.

Throughout the evening, a cash bar will offer beer and wine, and the Museum Café will serve a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and beverages. The Museum Shop will remain open until 11 p.m.

Some Target First Saturday programs have limited space available and are ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs are subject to change without notice. Museum admission is free after 5 p.m. Museum galleries are open until 11 p.m. Parking is a flat rate of $4 from 5 to 11 p.m.

Highlights include:

5-7 p.m. Music
Martha Redbone (pictured) performs a combination of R & B, soul, rock, and traditional Native American music.

5:30 p.m. Performance
The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers perform an array of traditional Native American songs and dances.

6 p.m. Film
Edge of America (James McDaniel, 2003, 105 min.). An African American educator takes a job teaching high-school English on a Native American reservation and is coaxed into coaching the girls’ basketball team. Free tickets available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6:30-8:30 Hands-On Art
Design your own parfleche, an elegant Native American pouch made of hide. Free timed tickets available at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.

7 p.m. Curator Talk
Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Curator and Chair of the Arts of the Americas, on Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains. Free tickets available at the Visitor Center at 6 p.m.

8 p.m. Young Voices Talk
Student Guides on Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains

8-10 p.m. Dance Party
Dee Jay Frame spins tracks fusing hip-hop and traditional Native American music.

9 p.m. Book Club
Lakota scholar Joseph Marshall III speaks about his latest book, To You We Shall Return. A book signing follows.

9-10 p.m. Performance
The Redhawk Arts Council hosts an interactive dance performance inspired by traditional Northern and Southern Plains dances.

10-11 p.m. Late Night in the Galleries
All galleries open.

Photo: Martha Redbone. Photo by Anthony Two Moons.

Black History Month at Brooklyn Museum


By on

0 Comments

The Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday attracts thousands of visitors to free programs of art and entertainment each month. The February 5 event celebrates Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans during the thirties, forties, and fifties with programs inspired by the exhibition Lorna Simpson: Gathered.

Throughout the evening, a cash bar will offer beer and wine, and the Museum Café will serve a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and beverages. The Museum Shop will remain open until 11 p.m.

Some Target First Saturday programs have limited space available and are ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs are subject to change without notice. Museum admission is free after 5 p.m. Museum galleries are open until 11 p.m. Parking is a flat rate of $4 from 5 to 11 p.m.

Highlights include:

5-7 p.m. Music
The Fat Cat Big Band plays bebop and swing.

5:30 p.m. Film
The Great Debaters (Denzel Washington, 2007, 126 min., PG-13). True story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas who inspired students to form the school’s first debate team in the segregated South of 1935. Writer Trey Ellis introduces the film and leads a discussion following the screening. Free tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6-7 p.m. Discussion
Writer Kalia Brooks on Lorna Simpson: Gathered.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Hands-On Art
Create a triptych portrait inspired by the work of Lorna Simpson. Free timed tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.

7 p.m. Curator Talk
Sharon Matt Atkins, Curator of Exhibitions, on Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Free tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 6 p.m.

7-8 p.m. Interactive Project
Bring your photos to contribute to a collaborative artwork on African American history.

8 p.m. Young Voices Talk
Student Guides on American Identities: A New Look.

8-10 p.m. Dance Party
DJ Stormin’ Norman, resident DJ of Harlem’s Sundae Sermon, hosts a hip-hop and soul dance party highlighting African American contributions to music.

9-10 p.m. Artist Talk
Hank Willis Thomas discusses his installation Unbranded and issues of race and class in magazine advertisements.

9-10 p.m. Performance
The Small’s Jazz Club All-Stars play big-band music of the thirties, forties, and fifties.

Photo: Fat Cat Big Band. Photo Courtesy of the Artist.

Brooklyn Museum to Open Lorna Simpson Photography Exhibition


By on

0 Comments

Brooklyn-based artist and photographer Lorna Simpson will have a solo exhibition at Brooklyn Museum. Lorna Simpson: Gathered presents photographic and other works that explore the artist’s interest in the interplay between fact and fiction, identity, and history. Through works that incorporate hundreds of original and found vintage photographs of African Americans that she collected from eBay and flea markets, Simpson undermines the assumption that archival materials are objective documents of history. The exhibition will be open to the public January 28 through August 21, 2011.

The exhibition also includes examples of Simpson’s series of installations of black-and-white photo-booth portraits of African Americans from the Jim Crow era and a new film work.

Lorna Simpson: Gathered is organized by Catherine Morris, Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Photo: Lorna Simpson (American, b. 1960). 1957-2009 Interiors (detail), 2009. Gelatin silver print. 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches each (14 x 14 cm); overall dimensions variable. © Lorna Simpson, 2009; courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York

New York State Historic Preservation Awards Announced for 2010


By on

0 Comments

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced the recipients of the 2010 New York State Historic Preservation Awards. Established in 1980, the State Historic Preservation Awards are given each year to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources.

“The Historic Preservation Awards honor the efforts and achievement of individuals, organizations and municipalities that make significant contributions to historic preservation objectives throughout New York State,” said Ruth Pierpont, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation. “The range of awards this year reflects the many ways that historic preservation serves as an important tool for economic development, creating affordable housing, and providing an effective approach to sustainable building design while preserving the unique character and heritage of our communities.”

The awards follow:

OUTSTANDING NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATION:

New York City’s Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District

Presented to: Two Bridges Neighborhood Council (Victor Papa, president and director) and architectural consultant Kerri Culhane, for a project that illuminates the common heritage and shared future of New York

New York City’s Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in February 2010 as being nationally significant in the history of immigration. The project’s success was due to the inspired leadership of the sponsor, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council; exemplary scholarship of their consultant – architectural historian Kerri Culhane; and the support of Chinese-American and Italian-American organizations. Key to the process was educating the public about the significance of two ethnic groups whose 150 years of interwoven immigrant experiences had been previously overlooked. This nomination has proven to be a catalyst for a planning process aimed at enhancing economic development opportunities while respecting the important history of these neighborhoods.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT:

The Montour House, Village of Montour Falls, Schuyler County, 1850

For Outstanding Adaptive Use and Commitment to Community Revitalization

Presented to: Bruce Nelson, Nelson Development, Village of Montour Falls and Schuyler County Partners for Economic Development

Set in motion by a Restore New York grant and assistance from the Schuyler County Partners for Economic Development (SCOPED), the Village of Montour Falls hired developer Bruce Nelson to bring the 1850 Montour House back to life. Nelson, of Nelson Development in Vestal, worked closely with SHPO staff to determine the best approach to adapting the former hotel for apartments and commercial spaces while adhering to historic preservation standards. Over 20 years of neglect had caused severe water damage and other deterioration, and the village was in danger of losing the central landmark. A mason employed on the job for 18 months and a millwright who restored 118 historic wood windows were joined by other team members who restored and replaced decorative plaster elements. The project fulfilled the Village’s goals of attracting new and long-time residents as tenants, and helped inspired other local rehabilitation projects.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT:

257 Lafayette Center (The Former Annunciation School), Buffalo, 1928

For Outstanding Adaptive Use and Commitment to Community Revitalization

Presented to: Karl Frizlen, The Frizlen Group Architects and Paul Johnson, Johnson and Sons Contractors

After having served as an integral part of the community for over 80 years, the school closed and the building stood vacant for several years. Karl Frizlen, of The Frizlen Group Architects, and Paul Johnson, of Johnson & Sons General Contractor, recognized that the well-designed school would be ideal for an adaptive, mixed-used development that would incorporate green building design and historic preservation. The partners attracted tenants for the commercial portion of the building before beginning the project, including a day-care center and several firms for the incubator offices. In converting former school rooms, the work exhibits a high degree of creativity in reusing historic elements in place, such as pivoting blackboards, or recycling materials for new uses in the building. The project is an outstanding example of how historic tax credits can be used for a mid-sized rehabilitation project. Having obtained LEED certification, the project demonstrates that historic preservation and sustainable design are mutually supportive approaches to development.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT:

44 West 87th Street, New York City, 1910

For Outstanding Adaptive Use and Commitment to Community Revitalization

Presented to: The West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc. and Red Top Architects

In adapting the 1910 townhouse at 44 West 87th Street in New York City for senior and transitional housing and program services, the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc. and Red Top Architects needed to upgrade the building to meet accessibility requirements; provide affordable rental units and smaller, transitional housing units; and also insert meeting and office space. Project partners worked through a highly collaborative process to solve design challenges. Preservation tax credits helped make the difference in the remarkable quality of workmanship and historic character preserved by the adaptive use project on a tight budget.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT:

P. S. 124, High School of Telecommunication Arts & Technology, Brooklyn, 1917

For an Outstanding Rehabilitation Project and Commitment to Community Revitalization

Presented to: New York City School Construction Authority and STV Group, Inc.

In planning a new wing for the overcrowded school building, the School Construction Authority staff and STV Group architects had to design a structure that would fit on the limited land available, would be compatible with the materials, massing and scale of the existing building and that would also meet with the approval of both SHPO and the community. The end result included a well-designed new wing and restoration of the school’s original auditorium, portions of which had previously been converted to classroom space. In returning the auditorium to its former grandeur, the team recreated missing decorative elements and restored stained glass windows.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT:

Dunderberg Creek Walls and NY Route 51 Stone Arch Bridge over Dunderberg Creek, Village of Gilbertsville, Otsego County

For an Outstanding Rehabilitation Project and Commitment to Community Revitalization

Presented to: Village of Gilbertsville and New York State Department of Transportation, Region 9

The historic Village of Gilbertsville’s picturesque setting was threatened in June 2006, when storm waters overflowed the Dunderberg Creek banks and came roaring through the village. The historic stone walls lining the creek were washed away, debris carried by the waters destroyed one of the piers supporting the historic Gilbert Building, and the NY Route 51 Bridge was damaged. Village officials, committed to preserving the historic character of the village, worked closely with the NYSDOT to coordinate repairs to the 1919 bridge and creek walls in a manner that retained the historic pattern of the stonework.

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT:

Anne H. Van Ingen, former director of the Architecture, Planning and Design and Capital Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Recently-retired as director of the Architecture, Planning and Design (APD) and Capital Aid Programs at the New York State Council on the Arts, Anne Van Ingen was recognized for her extraordinary leadership in and commitment and contributions to the field of historic preservation, both as a public servant and a private citizen.

For 27 years, she served as NYSCA’s representative on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, reviewing and approving nominations to the State and National Registers for Historic Places. Her focus as APD director was on what quality planning and design work – including historic preservation – could do for arts organizations and the communities they serve. She is a founding director of the Deborah J. Norden Fund of the Architectural League, established in memory of a talented NYSCA colleague, the Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund, and is president of the St. Regis Foundation, a land trust in the Adirondacks.

More recently, she purchased a traditional “shotgun” house in New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Ninth Ward and invited friends and family down to help undertake the extensive rehabilitation needed to turn the property into affordable housing.

Recognition for OPRHP Agency Best Practices in Historic Preservation

Taconic Regional Headquarters Adaptive Use Project

The Preservation awards program initiated a new component this year to recognize projects undertaken within the OPRHP agency that demonstrate best practices in historic preservation. Ruth Pierpont, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation explained, “by highlighting high-quality rehabilitation and restoration projects, we hope to encourage similar approaches throughout all state parks.” The project chosen this year was the adaptive use of the former Staatsburg School for the OPRHP Taconic Regional Headquarters.

The project was initiated with a gift from Dr. Lucy R. Waletsky, chair of the New York State Council of Parks, who stipulated that the project use sustainable, green building practices and become LEED certified. In order to retain the proportions of the 1930 school, the wide corridors were retained and glass walls were inserted in former classrooms to divide the work spaces and allow the distribution of natural light. On the exterior, instead of separating the accessible entrance from the main door, a “universally accessible” entry was created by redesigning the building site and locating the main entrance at the former rear of the building. This approach also avoided alterations to the stately, historic façade which was restored.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which is part of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, helps communities identify, recognize, and preserve their historic resources, and incorporate them into local improvement and economic development activities. The SHPO administers several programs including the state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program, state historic preservation grants, the Certified Local Government program, and the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which are the official lists of properties significant in the history, architecture, and archeology of the state and nation.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites.. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com.

Historic Districts Council’s NYC Preservation Priorities


By on

1 Comment

The Historic Districts Council, New York’s city-wide advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods, has announced it’s first Six to Celebrate, a list of historic New York City neighborhoods that merit preservation attention. This is New York’s only citywide list of preservation priorities.

The Six were chosen from applications submitted by neighborhood groups around the city on the basis of the architectural and historic merit of the area; the level of threat to the neighborhood; strength and willingness of the local advocates, and where HDC’s citywide preservation perspective and assistance could be the most meaningful. Throughout 2011, HDC will work with these neighborhood partners to set and reach preservation goals through strategic planning, advocacy, outreach, programs and publicity.

“Neighborhoods throughout New York are fighting an unseen struggle to determine their own futures. By bringing these locally-driven neighborhood preservation efforts into the spotlight, HDC hopes to focus New Yorker’s attention on the very real threats that historic communities throughout the city are facing from indiscriminate and inappropriate development.” said Simeon Bankoff, HDC’s Executive Director. “As the first list of its kind in New York, the Six to Celebrate will help raise awareness of local efforts to save neighborhoods on a citywide level.”

Founded in 1971 as a coalition of community groups from New York City’s designated historic districts, the Historic Districts Council has grown to become one of the foremost citywide voices for historic preservation. Serving a network of over 500 neighborhood-based community groups in all five boroughs, HDC strives to protect, preserve and enhance New York City’s historic buildings and neighborhoods through ongoing programs of advocacy, community development and education.

The 2011 Six to Celebrate (in alphabetical order):

Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
The Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood contains an astonishing number of architecturally, historically and culturally significant structures, including rowhouses, mansions, religious buildings, and schools dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although there are currently two designated historic districts in the area, the vast majority of Bedford Stuyvesant’s architectural splendor is unprotected. The recently-formed Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, a coalition of concerned neighborhood block associations, and the landmarks committee of Brooklyn Community Board 3 are working to correct that.

The Bowery, Manhattan
One of Manhattan’s oldest thoroughfares, the Bowery, stretching from Cooper Square to Canal Street, has a fascinatingly rich history which has left an equally rich built environment. From a fashionable shopping and residential neighborhood at the end of the 18th century, to bustling center of drygoods, hardware and other specialty stores, to an entertainment mecca and later the notorious “skid row” in the 20th century, the Bowery was always a part of the city’s culture, for better or for worse. In recent years,, the mix of historic structures along the street has been extremely threatened by high-rise hotel development. The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors was formed to help save the remaining historic buildings on the Bowery and to celebrate the avenue’s interesting and important history.

Gowanus, Brooklyn
The Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus nominated the neighborhood surrounding the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. This unique area retains its largely industrial character, with some of the businesses dating back more than 75 years. In recent years, plans for the canal have conflicted with the existing character of the neighborhood and some significant industrial structures have been demolished for out-of-scale, speculative development. However, with the canal’s recent designation as a federal Superfund site, there is now an opportunity to successfully advocate for the preservation of the industrial character of the area and retention of significant structures associated with this history.

Inwood, Manhattan
Inwood, at the very northern tip of Manhattan, combines striking geography of hills and views with notable architecture that includes art-deco apartment building, Tudor Revival houses, and unique elements such as the 215th Street Steps, the Seaman-Drake Arch and the historic Isham Park. Despite this, very little of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are protected or even official acknowledged. The Volunteers for Isham Park is working to identify and protect the neighborhood’s landmarks.

Jackson Heights, Queens
Jackson Heights is New York City’s first planned neighborhood of “garden apartments” and “garden homes”. These airy, light-filled residences, combined with commercial, institutional and recreational buildings, provided an attractive environment for middle-class families to live when it was developed in the early 20th century, and it still does today. The Jackson Heights Beautification Group, established in 1988, is seeking to extend the boundaries of the existing Jackson Heights Historic District, landmarked in 1993, to better reflect and protect the actual historic neighborhood.

Mount Morris Park, Manhattan
The residential area adjacent surrounding Mount Morris Park in Harlem includes elegant rowhouses and larger apartment buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Romanesque Revival, neo-Grec and Queen Anne styles. The longtime civic group, the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, is seeking to expand the boundaries of the current city-landmarked Historic District, which does not adequately represent the elegant architect of this Harlem neighborhood.

Brooklyn Museum January Public Programs


By on

0 Comments

During January the Brooklyn Museum will present a variety of public programs for adults, including a new series of programs that will take place every Thursday at 7 p.m. (during the Museum’s new extended hours), a performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, a panel discussion about the sexual exploitation of women farmworkers in America, and a screening of the independent film Good Fortune.

As a component of this series, the Museum is partnering with the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and PBS’s award-winning independent film showcase POV. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe will present poetry and performance every third Thursday of the month and POV will present Brooklyn-related films every fourth Thursday.

PERFORMING ARTS & FILM

Music Off The Walls: The Brooklyn Philharmonic
Sunday, January 23, 2 p.m.
In a program entitled “Falling Apart and Coming Together,” members of the Philharmonic present the world premiere of a work by composer Corey Dargel inspired by the exhibition Body Parts: Ancient Egyptian Fragments and Amulets. A related gallery talk precedes the program at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15; $10 for members, students, and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit www.brooklynphilharmonic.org or call (718) 488-5913.

TALKS & TOURS

Lecture: Farmworkers in America
Saturday, January 22, 2 p.m.
Mónica Ramírez, Senior Staff Attorney and Project Director of Esperanza, the Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center, discusses the state of American farmworkers, with an in-depth look at the economic and sexual exploitation suffered by farmworker women.

NEW THURSDAY EVENING PROGRAMS

January 6
“You Must See This” Tour:
Norman Rockwell’s artistic process.

January 13
Conversation
Noted cultural thinkers and media theorists Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed; and Steven Berlin Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, discuss technical innovation. A book signing follows.

Visitor’s Choice Tour
Visitors choose the objects they want to see.

January 20
Nuyorican Poets Cafe
First installment in the Museum’s partnership with acclaimed forum for innovative poetry features poetry and performances by muMs and Aurora, Carlos Andrés Gómez, and others.

Hidden Secrets of the Brooklyn Museum Collection
“Inside the Museum’s Mummies: The CT Scanning Project,” with curator Edward Bleiberg.

Erotic Art Tour
“Erotic Art through the Ages”

January 27
POV Independent Film
Good Fortune (Landon Van Soest and Jeremy Levine, 2010, 90 min.). Provocative exploration of how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa may be undermining the communities they aim to benefit. The event is a collaboration with the award-wining documentary series POV. (www.pbs.org/pov).

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Creative Art Making: Collage with Maura Madden
Saturday, January 15, 2 p.m.
Maura Madden, author of Crafternoon: A Guide to Getting Artsy and Crafty with Your Friends All Year Long, leads a workshop in how to make creative collage pieces inspired by Norman Rockwell. There is a $15 materials fee, and registration is required. Register at www.museumtix.com or at the Museum’s Visitor Center. A limited number of free tickets are reserved for Museum members on a first-come, first-served basis. Members should call (718) 501-6326 for tickets.

Photo: Carlos Andres Gomez. Photo courtesy Nuyorican Poets Cafe

JAY-Z to Appear at Brooklyn Museum


By on

0 Comments

In a rare interview, multi-platinum, 10-time Grammy Award-winning artist and icon JAY-Z will speak with Charlie Rose, executive editor and anchor of the Charlie Rose Show, before a live audience in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium at the Brooklyn Museum on Thursday, November 18, at 7 p.m. The conversation, which will be taped to air nationwide at a later date on the Charlie Rose program, will focus on JAY-Z’s book DECODED, to be published on November 16 by Spiegel & Grau, a Random House imprint. DECODED recounts JAY-Z’s life from his childhood in Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects to becoming a world-famous performer and songwriter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Tickets to the event will go on sale TODAY, Wednesday, November 10, at noon. They may be purchased online at www.museumtix.com (two-ticket purchase limit for this program) or at the Brooklyn Museum Visitor Center in person. Ticket prices are $50 for the general public, older adults, and students and $45 for Brooklyn Museum Members. Become a member at www.brookklynmuseum.org/support/membership_plans.php. Ticket price includes a copy of DECODED by JAY-Z that will be provided to the patron upon admission to the program the night of the event.

Printouts of tickets will not be accepted. Patrons must check in at the will-call desk (the night of the event) at the Brooklyn Museum to receive hard copies of their tickets and must provide ID matching the name on the ticket. There will be no standby line for this event.

Decoded Book Cover In his conversation with Charlie Rose, JAY-Z will speak candidly about his journey from drug dealing to becoming one of the best known hip-hop artists of his time. He will explore issues that informed him and his songwriting, including how visual art and poetry influenced his craft, how he became involved in politics and business, and how he managed to stay true to himself in the midst of extraordinary fame.

“When I first started working on this book, I told my editor that I wanted to do three important things. The first was to make the case that hip-hop lyrics-not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC-are poetry, if you look at them closely enough. The second was that I wanted the book to tell a little bit of the story of my generation, to show the context for the choices we made at a violent and chaotic crossroads in recent history. And the third piece was that I wanted the book to show how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to.”–JAY-Z from DECODED

Brooklyn Museum Offers Nov-Dec Adult Programs


By on

0 Comments

During November and December the Brooklyn Museum will present a variety of public programs for adults including a new series of Talks and Tours to take place on Thursdays at 7 p.m., as part of the Museum’s newly expanded hours, as well as performances by the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Brooklyn-based jazz pianist Randy Weston, a panel discussion about young women and feminism, and an artist talk with Fred Tomaselli.

PERFORMING ARTS & FILM

Music Off The Walls: Resonant Snapshots

Sunday, November 21, 2-4 p.m.
Concertmaster Deborah Buck and pianist Molly Morkowski present music by Scott Joplin, Charles Ives, and John Corigliano in conjunction with the special exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. A related gallery talk precedes the program at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15; $10 for Members, students, and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit www.brooklynphilharmonic.org or call (718) 488-5913.

Music: Randy Weston Trio with Ayanda Clarke
Sunday, December 12, 3-5 p.m.
Pianist Randy Weston, bassist Alex Blake, and percussionist Neil Clarke are joined by soprano saxophonist T.K. Blue, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, narrator Kim Weston Moran, and special guest percussionist Ayanda Clarke. Weston signs copies of his recently released autobiography, African Rhythms, after the concert. Tickets, which include Museum admission, are $15 and can be purchased at www.museumtix.com or in person at the Museum’s Visitor Center. The concert is co-presented by the Museum and the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) as part of BAC’s year-long initiative “Black Brooklyn Renaissance: Black Arts & Culture, 1960-2010.”

TALKS & TOURS

Tour: “Seeing Power in Art” NEW
Thursday, November 11, 7 p.m.

Lecture: Fred Tomaselli
Friday, November 12, 2 p.m. The artist shares insights about his working process and exhibition.

Panel Discussion: “The Art of Activism: Women Civil Rights Veterans Tell Their Stories”
Sunday, November 14, 2 p.m.
A panel made up of the editors of Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC discusses the book. Feminist historian Debra Schultz moderates. A book signing follows.

Conversation and Book Signing: The Four Fingers of Death by Rick Moody
Saturday, November 20, 3 p.m.
Moody discusses his new novel with artist Fred Tomaselli. A book signing follows.

Tour: Chief Curator’s Pick NEW
Thursday, Dec 2, 7 p.m.
Chief Curator Kevin Stayton chooses and discusses objects from the collection.

Tour: “Seeing Two Dutch Houses” NEW
Thursday, December 2, 7 p.m.

Tour: “Seeing Brooklyn’s Masterpieces” NEW
Thursday, December 9, 7 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Young Women and Feminism
Saturday, December 11, 2 p.m.
Courtney Martin, co-editor of the anthology Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists, leads a panel of young women in a discussion of how they discovered feminism.

Tour: “Seeing Royal Benin Bronzes” NEW
Thursday, December 16, 7 p.m.

Tour: “Seeing 4,000 years of Japanese Ceramics” NEW
Thursday, December 23, 7 p.m.

Tour: “Seeing Water” NEW
Thursday, December 30, 7 p.m.

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Creative Art Making: Soft Sculpture
Saturday, November 20, 2 p.m. The Girlie Show leads a workshop for adults on how to create a soft sculpturel using pop culture images of women. There is a $15 materials fee, and registration is required. Register at www.museumtix.com or at the Museum’s Visitor Center. A limited number of free tickets are reserved for Museum Members on a first-come, first-served basis. Members should call (718) 501-6326 for tickets.

Follow the Brooklyn Museum’s Press Office on Twitter at BklynMuseumNews.

Photo: Randy Weston. Photo by Ariane Smolderen

Museum Seeks Pre-1945 African American Art


By on

0 Comments

The Brooklyn Museum is inaugurating a new collecting initiative that will focus on the acquisition of works by African American artists that were created between the mid-nineteenth century and 1945. In the first three years, the Museum is seeking to raise a minimum of $500,000 for this ongoing dedicated purchase fund, together with gifts of works of art. The project has already received $100,000, with an additional $100,000 to be given as a matching grant, from Museum Trustee Saundra Williams-Cornwell and her husband, Don Cornwell. Additionally, the promised gift of a major painting, Dream of Arcadia after Thomas Cole (1852) by Robert S. Duncanson, has been given by Museum Trustee Charlynn Goins and her husband, Dr. Warren Goins. Ms. Cornwell and Ms. Goins are both initiators of the project, along with former Trustee Tracey G. Riese.

Additional funds, which will go toward matching the Cornwell’s contribution, will be raised through a benefit dinner to take place on January 19, 2011, from 7 until 10 p.m. at the studio of Brooklyn-based artist Mickalene Thomas. This event is being guided by a steering committee chaired by Ms. Cornwell, Ms. Goins, and Ms. Riese. Individual tickets range from $500 to $1,000, and tables are available from $5,000 to $15,000. Introductory events for this newly initiated purchase fund took place this past February at the Swann Auction Galleries in New York, followed several weeks later by a dinner at the home of Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman and Pamela Lehman.

“This important new collecting initiative signals a deeper commitment by the Brooklyn Museum in building collections that are distinguished by the diversity of the artists represented. It will expand and enrich the Museum’s exceptional holdings of American art and will parallel what is already under way with our contemporary holdings. We are enormously grateful for the exceptionally generous gifts from our Trustees that will inaugurate this important undertaking,” states Arnold Lehman.

“The purchases and gifts made possible by this project will take their place in our current presentation of one of the largest and most important collections of historic American art in the United States and will allow us to celebrate more fully the long and rich tradition of African American artistic production,” states Teresa A. Carbone, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art and Managing Curator, Arts of the Americas and Europe. Dr. Carbone has worked closely with the steering committee on the implementation of the project.

During the past decade the Brooklyn Museum has significantly increased its holdings of works by contemporary African American artists, including Nina Chanel Abney, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Renée Cox, Rashid Johnson, Rashaad Newsome, Lorraine O’Grady, Adrian Piper, Michael Richards, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Mickalene Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Fred Wilson, and Hale Woodruff.

Since 1940, when the Brooklyn Museum was the New York venue for the landmark exhibition The Negro Artist Comes of Age, the Museum has actively sought to showcase the work of African American artists. The Museum has also presented landmark survey exhibitions including Two Centuries of Black American Art (1977), Black Folk Art in America (1982), Facing History: The Black Image in American Art, 1710-1940 (1990), Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930s and 1940s by African-American Artists (1996), and Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers (2001).

Beginning in the 1960s, the Museum has also presented several monographic exhibitions by black artists, among them Jacob Lawrence (1960 and 1987), James Van Der Zee (1978), Romare Bearden (1982), Martin Puryear (1988), Glen Ligon (1996), Kerry James Marshall (1998), Kehinde Wiley (2004), Jean-Michel Basquiat (2005), and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (2006).

About the Leadership

· Saundra Williams-Cornwell, a Brooklyn Museum Trustee since 2003, practiced law in New York for a decade. She has served on the boards of the Manhattan Theater Club, the Continuum Health Partners, and the Brooklyn Heights Association. She is a Chair of the Community Investment Committee of the Board of the United Way of New York City. She and her husband collect twentieth-century African American Art.

· After a career in the financial-services industry, Charlynn Goins, a Brooklyn Museum Trustee since 2003, is also the Chairman of the New York Community Trust. She is an independent trustee of New York Life Insurance Company’s Mainstay Funds and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School. Ms. Goins and her husband collect African American art, with a focus on nineteenth-century paintings.

· Tracy Riese is founder and president of T.G. Riese & Associates, Ltd., a branding and communication consultancy serving public and private organizations. She previously held positions at Revlon, RJR Nabisco, Chemical Bank, Young & Rubicam, Burson- Marsteller, and Sotheby’s, where she helped form their corporate art advisory service. She is currently on the boards of A Better Chance, the Hunter College Foundation, and of El Museo del Barrio. She and her husband live in Manhattan and collect contemporary art and twentieth-century furniture and design.

Illustration: Robert S. Duncanson (American, 1821-1872). Dream of Arcadia after Thomas Cole, circa 1852. Oil on canvas, 24 X 42 inches. Charlynn and Warren Goins, promised gift to the Brooklyn Museum.

Brooklyn Museum Announces Major Change in Hours


By on

0 Comments

Beginning Wednesday, October 6, the Brooklyn Museum will open to the public eight additional hours a week, including remaining open until 10 p.m. every Thursday and Friday. When the new schedule goes into effect, the Brooklyn Museum will have a greater number of evening hours than almost any other New York City museum. Despite the challenging economic climate, the enhanced public hours will be implemented following an exhaustive year-long analysis of how the Museum’s public hours might be reorganized to more effectively meet the current needs of its audience.

Chairman of the Museum Board of Trustees Norman M. Feinberg states, “The Board believes that the previous hours did not appropriately address the changing needs of its community. We are delighted, through this reorganization, to far better serve our visitors.”

In announcing the expanded hours, Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman comments, “This important and positive change is an institutional priority that will enable us to better serve a twenty-first century audience by providing greater access for visitors who work during the day, for families, as well as for those who prefer to visit weekday evenings.”

Under the new plan, the Brooklyn Museum will open each day at 11 a.m. On Wednesdays, it will remain open until 6 p.m. and on Thursdays and Fridays until 10 p.m. Weekend hours, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., remain the same. The Museum will continue to present Target First Saturdays, its popular free evening of art and entertainment, when it remains open until 11 p.m. the first Saturday of each month except September. School groups will continue to be admitted at 10 a.m. on weekdays for guided visits by reservation.

Admission during the new hours, with the exception of Target First Saturdays, will remain at a suggested admission price of $10 and $6 for older adults and students with valid I. D. Members and children under 12 continue to receive free admission.

Existing staff hours, particularly those of the security team, have been rescheduled. The Museum Café, which is managed by Restaurant Associates, will offer dinner options as well as light snacks and beverages, including wine and beer, in the Rubin Pavilion.

Brooklyn Museum Announces Visitor-Curated Event


By on

0 Comments

For the first time the Brooklyn Museum is inviting visitors to get directly involved in choosing the programs that will be presented at its popular First Saturdays event. From July 1 to 31, members of the public may log on to www.brooklynmuseum.org and nominate performers, musicians, films, books, and DJs that they would like to see featured at the October 2, 2010, First Saturday.

Nominees should relate to the exhibition Extended Family: Contemporary Connections, an exhibition that embraces the shared values and diversity of contemporary Brooklyn. At the end of the one-month nomination period, the Museum’s First Saturday committee will narrow down the nominees in each category based on relevance to the theme and artist availability. Voting by the public will take place August 1 to 15. The winners will be announced after August 15.

First Saturdays are sponsored by Target and made possible by the Wallace Foundation Community Programs Fund, established by the Wallace Foundation with additional support from DLA Piper US LLP, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Ellis A. Gimbel Trust, National Grid, and other donors.

Brooklyn Museum to Host Annual ‘Brooklyn Ball’


By on

0 Comments

The Brooklyn Museum will celebrate the major exhibition “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection” and the landmark collection-sharing partnership between Brooklyn and the Metropolitan Museum of Art at its annual gala, the Brooklyn Ball, on Thursday evening, April 22, 2010.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing on the fifth floor and an exclusive opportunity to preview American High Style. Featuring some eighty-five masterworks from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition traces the evolution of fashion in America from its nineteenth-century European beginnings through the twentieth century. It marks the first time in more than two decades that a large-scale survey drawn from this preeminent collection will be on public view.

Included in the exhibition will be creations by such legendary American designers as Charles James, Norman Norell, and Gilbert Adrian; works by influential French designers including Charles Frederick Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeanne Lanvin, Givenchy, and Christian Dior; and works by such first-generation American women designers as Bonnie Cashin, Elizabeth Hawes, and Claire McCardell. Among the objects presented will be Schiaparelli’s Surrealist Insect Necklace, considered by experts to be one of the most important works in the collection; elaborate ball gowns and day wear by Charles James; evening ensembles by Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, Scaasi, and Mainbocher; street wear by mid-twentieth-century designers Vera Maxwell, Claire McCardell, and Elizabeth Hawes; a group of hats by celebrated milliner Sally Victor; and dazzling evening wear by Norman Norell.

The Brooklyn Museum’s groundbreaking collection-sharing partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art went in to effect in January 2009. At that time Brooklyn’s renowned costume collection of 23,500 objects, acquired over the course of a century, was transferred to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it is fully integrated into the Institute’s program of exhibitions, publications, and education initiatives and remains available for exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

Co-chairs for this year’s Ball celebrating American High Style include chef and restaurateur Mario Batali and his wife Susan Cahn, European Editor-at-Large for Vogue Hamish Bowles, New York Times Style Editor Stefano Tonchi, Museum Trustee Stephanie Ingrassia, decorative arts specialist and educator Susan Weber, photographer Annie Leibovitz, fashion designer Zac Posen, and collector Carla Shen.

An interactive dining experience, designed by Jennifer Rubell, whom New York Times senior critic Roberta Smith credits with “laying waste to the prolonged ordeal that is the benefit dining experience,” will begin at 8 p.m. in the magnificent Beaux-Arts Court on the third floor. The interactive food journey through the Museum is titled Icons and includes drinking paintings, suspended melting cheese heads, and a larger-than-life dessert surprise. A hybrid of performance and installation art, Rubell’s food projects deconstruct the ritual of the meal and are often of monumental scale.

During the evening, the Brooklyn Museum will honor the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former Mellon Program Officer Angelica Rudenstine. Donald Randel, Mellon Foundation president, will accept the Museum’s highest honor, the Augustus Graham Medal, on their behalf.

Immediately following the Ball, the Museum will host High Style: The After Party in the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion. The festivities will feature artists’ fashions and dancing to live music.

Tickets to the Ball range from $500 to $1,500, and tables are available from $5,000 to $50,000. All tickets to the Ball include admission to High Style: The After Party. Tickets to the after party start at $75. Tickets may be purchased online through Monday, April 19. You may also download, print, and complete a ticket request form and send it by fax to (718) 501-6139. Further information about ticket options and table purchases is available by e-mailing special.events@brooklynmuseum.org or by phoning (718) 501-6423. Proceeds from the event will support the Museum’s public and education programs.

The Augustus Graham Medal is being presented to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in recognition of its outstanding support of the Brooklyn Museum, including funding for the survey of the costume collection and the endowment of curatorial positions at the Museum. Through the foundation’s generosity, the first complete inventory, collection review, digital photography, and cataloguing of the Museum’s holdings of approximately 23,500 American and European costumes and accessories has been completed. More than 5,800 of the most important works are now available to scholars, students, and the public through ARTstor, an innovative online initiative of the Mellon Foundation that provides access to curated collections of art images and associated data for noncommercial, scholarly, and not-for-profit educational use.

The Augustus Graham Medal is named after one of the founders of the Brooklyn Apprentices Library in 1823. That institution, which Graham nurtured and expanded, grew into the Brooklyn Institute and later became the Brooklyn Museum.

Exhibit: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864


By on

0 Comments

“Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864″ is the title of an exhibition that will run January 29th to October 17th at the Brooklyn Museum (Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Herstory Gallery, 4th floor). The exhibit will present a selection of artworks and historical objects celebrating the contributions of women to the mid-nineteenth-century Sanitary Movement, which organized Sanitary Fairs in major cities in the Northeast to raise money for the Civil War effort. Although the U.S. Sanitary Commission was headed by men, most of its work was accomplished by thousands of women volunteers. In Brooklyn, women’s organizations orchestrated the hugely successful Brooklyn and Long Island Sanitary Fair.

Highlights of the exhibition include a rare doll made by a young woman named Eliza Lefferts and sold at the Brooklyn Sanitary Fair in 1864; engravings created by Winslow Homer; and the rare book History of the Brooklyn and Long Island Fair, February 22, 1864. The Herstory Gallery is dedicated to exhibitions that elaborate on the lives and
histories of the 1,038 women who are named in Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, installed permanently in the adjacent gallery. Represented on The Dinner Party table is Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the country’s first female physician and a dedicated pioneer of the Sanitary Movement.

The exhibition has been organized by Catherine Morris, Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Photo: “Brooklyn Sanitary Fair, 1864. View of the Academy of Music as seen from the stage.” Brooklyn Public Library. Brooklyn Collection.

B&Bs With Underground Railroad Connections


By on

0 Comments

Throughout January and February, Americans celebrate the history and accomplishments of African-Americans with Martin Luther King’s birthday in January and Black History Month in February. In recognition, BedandBreakfast.com has described Bed & Breakfasts that were once associated with the Underground Railroad, the informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape to free states, Canada, Mexico, and other countries with the aid of abolitionists.

Here’s a list of those in New York State:

Escape Guest House, Brooklyn, NY: This B&B is just a short stroll from Plymouth Church, the “Grand Central Depot” of New York’s Underground Railroad. According to church history, slaves traveling to Canada were hidden in the tunnel-like basement beneath the church sanctuary; you can still visit there today. The church’s first pastor, Henry Ward Beecher, was a dedicated abolitionist and younger brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe, famous author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Merritt Hill Manor, Penn Yan, NY: One of the first houses built in Jerusalem Township, the land where this B&B sits now was deeded from the Seneca Indians in the Gorham/Phelps purchase. It was once used as a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves, heading north to freedom in Canada.

Saratoga Farmstead, Saratoga Springs, NY: Former owners and abolitionists Clarissa and Benjamin Dyer used the farmstead to connect to the Underground Railroad. According to some, a young black boy and his enslaved mother died while hiding in the attic. Legend tells that for many years thereafter, each time someone tried to climb the attic stairs, the boy’s ghost put an arm out, tripping the intruder and protecting his mother. During a session with a visiting expert on the paranormal, these ghosts were released to “the next level,” and visitors can now navigate the stairs safely.

Correction History Society: NYS’s Last Hanging Exhibit


By on

0 Comments

At the Raymond Street Jail in the City of Brooklyn, New York State’s last execution by hanging took place 120 years ago last week. German immigrant John Greenwall, a tailor by trade and a thief by rap sheet and reputation, was hanged for the murder of Manhattan hat firm senior staffer Lyman Smith Weeks during a burglary of the victim’s DeKalb Avenue home on March 15, 1887. After Greenwall’s hanging Dec. 6, 1889, all capital sentences in the state were carried out by electrocution.

To note that date marking the transition from “the noose” to “the chair” in capital punishment history, the New York Correction History Society (NYCHS) has unveiled a two-part online presentation entitled “Brooklyn Jail Scene of NYS’ Last Hanging Execution 120 Years Ago Dec. 6th” that examines the case in detail. The study raises questions about the prosecutorial conduct and judicial rulings that resulted, after two trials, in the condemned man’s state-implemented death.

The presentation also relates how Greenwall’s jail staff friend, an African-American porter, attempted to prove the convict innocent in a most bizarre way. Also, how the jail’s Catholic chaplain purchased a burial plot for Greenwall in East Flatbush’s Holy Cross Cemetery where 27 years later the priest himself was buried, having died a few days after being victimized by a anarchist’s attempt to poison hundreds at a Chicago dinner to honor a newly-named archbishop.

Photo: The Raymond Street Jail which closed July 20, 1963. Photo from Page 36 of NYC Dept. of Correction 1956 annual report, courtesy New York Correction History Society.

Who Shot Rock And Roll Photography Exhibit Opens


By on

0 Comments

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, which will run from October 30, 2009–January 31, 2010 at the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor of the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) features more than 175 works by 105 photographers, including many rare and never-before-exhibited photographs, that gave the music its visual identity. The exhibit is being billed as the first major museum exhibition on rock and roll to put photographers in the foreground, acknowledging their creative and collaborative role in the history of rock music. From its earliest days, rock and roll was captured in photographs that personalized, and frequently eroticized, the musicians, creating a visual identity for the genre.

The photographers were handmaidens to the rock-and-roll revolution, and their images communicate the social and cultural transformations that rock has fostered since the1950s. The exhibition is in six sections: rare and revealing images taken behind the scenes; tender snapshots of young musicians at the beginnings of their careers; exhilarating photographs of live performances that display the energy, passion, style, and sex appeal of the band on stage; powerful images of the crowds and fans that are often evocative of historic paintings; portraits revealing the soul and creativity, rather than the surface and celebrity, of the musicians; and conceptual images and album covers highlighting the collaborative efforts between the image makers and the musicians.

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present is organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book by Gail Buckland titled Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present, published by Alfred A. Knopf, with support from the Universal Music Group.

Photo: Henry Diltz (American, b. 1938). Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles (detail), October 1985. Chromogenic print. © Henry Diltz

James Tissot’s Life of Christ Watercolors Exhibit


By on

0 Comments

The exhibition James Tissot: “The Life of Christ” will include 124 watercolors selected from a set of 350 that depict detailed scenes from the New Testament, from before the birth of Jesus through the Resurrection, in a chronological narrative. On view from October 23, 2009, through January 17, 2010, it marks the first time in more than twenty years that any of the Tissot watercolors, a pivotal acquisition that entered the collection in 1900, have been on view at the Brooklyn Museum.

The exhibition has been organized by Judith F. Dolkart, Associate Curator, European Art, and will travel to venues to be announced. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue of the complete set of 350 images, to be published by the Museum in association with Merrell Publishers Ltd, London.

Born in France, James Tissot (1836-1902) had a successful artistic career in Paris before going to London in the 1870s, where he established himself as a renowned painter of London society, before returning to Paris in 1882. He then began work on a set of fifteen paintings depicting the costumes and manners of fashionable Parisian society women. While visiting the Church of St. Sulpice in the course of his research, he experienced a religious vision, after which he embarked on an ambitious project to illustrate the New Testament.

With the same meticulous attention to detail that he had applied to painting high society, he now created these precisely rendered watercolors. In preparation, he made expeditions to the Middle East to record the landscape, architecture, costumes, and customs of the Holy Land and its people, which he recorded in photographs, notes, and sketches, convinced that the region had remained unchanged since Jesus’s time. When he returned to his Paris studio he drew upon his research materials to execute the watercolors, concentrating on this project to the exclusion of his previous subject matter.

Unlike earlier artists, who often depicted biblical figures anachronistically, Tissot painted the many figures in costumes he believed to be historically authentic. In addition to the archaeological exactitude of many of the watercolors, the series presents other, highly dramatic and often mystical images, such as Jesus Ministered to by Angels and The Grotto of the Agony.

Tissot began the monumental task of illustrating the New Testament in 1886 and first presented selections at the Paris Salon in 1894 (before the series’ completion), where they were received with great enthusiasm. Press accounts on both sides of the Atlantic reported emotional reactions among the visitors: some women wept or kneeled before the works, crawling from picture to picture, while men removed their hats in reverence.

In May 1901 the 350 watercolors, newly mounted in gold mats and reframed, went on view for the first time on Eastern Parkway; records seem to indicate they remained on nearly continuous display until the 1930s. Since then, in part because of conservation concerns, they have only rarely been shown, and then only small portions of the series, most recently in late 1989 through early 1990.

Photo: James Tissot. Jesus Goes Up Alone onto a Mountain to Pray, 1886-94. Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum Launches Smart Phone Gallery Tours


By on

0 Comments

Visitors to the Brooklyn Museum with mobile phones with Internet access can now create their own gallery guides to the permanent collections through a first-of-its kind program launched last week. Museum attendees who bring their Web-enabled phones will also be able to suggest works of art to fellow visitors. Based on the visitor’s initial selections, the guide will generate additional recommendations about works to see.

Anyone who wants to will now also be able to create sets of annotated objects, which function as customized tours, through the Museum Web site, www.brooklynmuseum.org. These tours may be shared with friends and featured on the Museum Web site for other visitors. The Brooklyn Museum Web site now contains images and brief information on more than 11,000 objects from its comprehensive holdings, which range from antiquity to the present and
include nearly every culture.

For example, a visitor to the ancient Egyptian galleries containing more than 1,200 objects might focus on the Old Kingdom section, encompassing Dynasties 3 through 6, from 2675 through 2170. There, they might select a limestone group statue depicting a man, his wife, and their small son that was the first major work of Egyptian art ever exhibited in America. Given their interest in this statue, the program then might suggest that the visitor look at three elaborately painted wooden tomb statues depicting a man at various stages of his life and an exquisite alabaster statue of the child King Pepy II seated on the lap of his mother.

Through the aggregation of data provided by visitors and their individual tastes, the guide is designed to grow more intelligent as more visitors use it and more data is supplied. The new customized guide will be free to all visitors and may be used on any Web-enabled mobile phone.

The guide is designed as a mobile Web application, specifically engineered for the small screen of a mobile device. The object data displayed within the application is drawn from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection online and combined with the social element that each visitor contributes while in the gallery during their visit.

Eventually, the data generated by visitors using the guide in-house will be exported back into the collection online to form a recommendation system on the Brooklyn Museum Web site.

This project was developed by Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology, with assistance from Jennifer Bantz, Manager Interpretive Materials, Brooklyn Museum. The Web application was engineered in-house by Paul Beaudoin, Programmer, Brooklyn Museum.

A New Book Highlights Brooklyn’s Evergreens Cemetery


By on

0 Comments

Organized in 1849 as a non-sectarian cemetery Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn (it actually borders Brooklyn and Queens) and covers 225 acres and is the resting place of over a half million people. This remarkable cemetery of rolling hills and gently sloping meadows features several thousand trees and flowering shrubs in a park like setting and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also the subject of an outstanding new book, Green Oasis in Brooklyn: The Evergreens Cemetery 1849-2008 by noted historian John Rousmaniere.

This oversize book filled with unique and picturesque photographs by Ken Druse, traces the history of the Evergreens Cemetery beginning with the land on which the cemetery was founded, and it’s design by some of the most acclaimed architects of their time, Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing. It also shows how the forces that shaped the history of New York – population growth, immigration and growing wealth – also shaped the Evergreens. Among the monuments of fascinating characters buried there are those of Brooklyn’s Eastern District Fire Department (site of a statue memorializing a fireman who died in the Brooklyn Theatre Fire of 1876), Chinese American plots, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Memorial, Stranger’s mound (pauper’s graves), the graves of more then 500 entertainers, the 20th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops plot, Yusef Hawkins (the 16-year-old African American youth who was shot to death in 1989 in Bensonhurst sparking racial tensions), Max Weber, Anthony Comstock, and literally thousands of other notable people.

Take a listen to NPR’s recent tour of The Evergreens here.

This is the rest of the post

Mad Ones: Media Darling Crazy Joe Gallo


By on

0 Comments

Tom Folsom’s new book, The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld, takes readers back to a time when Red Hook, Brooklyn called to mind a bloody guerrilla war with the mafia, and not a new IKEA store. Because he writes about the history and cultural fabric of the city in a fresh and inventive way Folsom recently appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. You can also find a YouTube video of Folsom discussing what the neighborhood at the junction of Columbia and Union Streets in Red Hook was like before waterfront crime and the construction of the BQE and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

Joe Gallo’s short life as gangster, gunman, and racketeer of the Profaci crime family (later known as the Colombo crime family) drew much media attention. Joey and his two brothers initiated one of the bloodiest mob conflicts since the Castellammarese War of 1931. He was an inspiration for Jimmy Breslin and Mario Puzo, considered a threat by both Jimmy Hoffa and Bobby Kennedy, and was teh subject of spreads in Life magazine and Women’s Wear Daily. His gangster chic was the popularized by Harvey Keitel in Reservoir Dogs. His death would be the subject of Bob Dylan’s 1976 song “Joey”.

The Mad Ones tells the story of the Gallo brothers, a trio of reckless young gangsters from Red Hook who staged a coup against the Mafia. In the book, author Tom Folsom recreates the New York City Joey Gallo and the Gallo brothers inhabited. To do this, Folsom—who went inside the FBI Witness Protection Program to research the critically acclaimed “>Mr Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of the Black Godfather written with its subject Nicky Barnes, immersed himself in the strange, brutal, and sometimes poetic world of the Gallo brothers. He waded through almost 1,500 pages of unpublished FBI files, spent hours in the tabloid archives at the New York Public Library, interviewed the Federal agents and NYPD detectives who had staked out the Gallo headquarters almost a half a century ago, and culled what made sense from wiretaps of underworld conversations and leads from informants.