Tag Archives: Brooklyn

New Website Features ‘Big Maps’

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There is a new New York City addition to the Big Map Blog, a bird’s-eye view of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1885 made by noted print makers Currier & Ives. The image is freely downloadable by anyone at its highest resolution [8,999px × 6,293px].

The Big Map Blog was begun in March and already has a considerable number of large, unusual maps. “I came across many of the maps you’ll see on the Big Map Blog while doing research for a film I’m working on,” The Big Map Blog’s curator, who calls himself 59 King, reports. “While searching, I found thousands of old, beautiful maps that are sadly being kept from the public that deserves them — sometimes by clumsy or unwieldy government ftp sites, and other times by archives with steep fees for research, and steeper fees for reproduction. I felt strongly that something should be done about this.”

The site adds new maps five days a week. There are also several other NYC maps on the Big Map Blog, which can be found using the New York City tag.

Young Al Capone: Scarface in New York

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Many people are familiar with the story of Al Capone, the “untouchable” Chicago gangster best known for orchestrating the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. But few are aware that Capone’s remarkable story began in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn. Tutored by the likes of infamous mobsters Johnny Torrio and Frankie Yale, young Capone’s disquieting demeanor, combined with the “technical advice” he learned from these insidious pedagogues, contributed to the molding of a brutal criminal whose pseudonym, “Scarface,” evoked fascination throughout the world.

Despite the best efforts of previous biographers lacking true insider access, details about Capone’s early years have generally remained shrouded in mystery. Now through family connections the authors of Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925, William and John Balsamo, were able to access Capone’s known living associates. Collecting information through these interviews and rare documents, the life of young Al Capone in New York comes into greater focus.

Among the revelations in Young Al Capone are new details about the brutal Halloween Night murder of rival gangster “Wild Bill” Lovett, grisly details on how Capone and his Black Hand crew cleverly planned the shootout and barbaric hatchet slaying of White Hand boss, Richard “Peg Leg” Lonergan, insight into the dramatic incident that forced Capone to leave New York, and more.

Bill Balsamo, considered by some to be one of the premier Capone historians, has invested more than twenty-five years in researching and writing this book. He is the author of Crime, Inc. (now in its fifth printing). John Balsamo worked on the Brooklyn waterfront for more than thirty years while compiling extensive material regarding the life of young Capone.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Brooklyn Museum Announces New Trustees

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Associate Professor of Law at New York Law School Tamara C. Belinfanti, Forest City Ratner Companies Executive Vice President and General Counsel David L. Berliner, and Brooklyn-based artist Fred Tomaselli were elected to the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum at the June Board meeting. The election of Tomaselli marks the first time in recent years an artist has served on the Museum Board.

“We are delighted to welcome these three new Members. They bring a breadth of experience, interest, and expertise that will further enhance and strengthen our Board, working together with Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman and the Staff,” states newly elected Board Chair John S. Tamagni.

Tamara C. Belinfanti is an Associate Professor of Law at New York Law School and lives in Brooklyn. Previously, she was a Corporate Associate with the international law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was a Clinical Intern to Professor Alan M. Dershowitz.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Forest City Ratner Companies, a Brooklyn-based real estate developer and property owner, David Berliner is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Madison Square Park Conservancy and a founding member of their Curatorial Committee, an advisory group that sources and evaluates proposals to commission work of contemporary artists to be shown in Madison Square Park.

A native of California, Fred Tomaselli emerged from the California art scene, creating installation and performance art in the early 1980s. In 1985 he moved to New York, where he was one of the pioneering artists of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His work has been shown worldwide in both galleries and museums and is represented in public and private collections. In the fall of 2010, the Brooklyn Museum presented a critically acclaimed mid-career survey of his work.

New Board Chair for Brooklyn Museum

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The Members of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum have elected John S. Tamagni, a member of the Board since 1987 and currently Chair of the finance committee and Board Treasurer, as the Museum’s Chair. He succeeds retiring Chair Norman M. Feinberg, who has served as Chair since 2006. Feinberg will continue to serve as an active Board member. Trustee Stephanie Ingrassia was elected Board President. Ingrassia has been a Trustee for ten years.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Tamagni has recently returned to the Borough after living in Summit, New Jersey, for four decades. He has had a connection to the Brooklyn Museum since childhood, coming as a visitor when his mother studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School (which was moved to the Pratt Institute in the 1980s). Following his graduation from Dartmouth College with a degree in economics, he served as a Line Officer in the United States Navy. After his release from active duty in 1959, he joined Blyth & Co. as an investment banker in its Municipal Finance group. In 1972 he moved to Lazard Frères & Co. as a General Partner and retired as a Managing Director at the end of 2005. He subsequently assumed control of Capital Markets at Lazard for corporate, government, and municipal securities. He is currently a Founding Partner and Chairman of Castleton Partners, a fixed-income investment management and advisory firm. He was Vice-Chairman of the Securities Industry Association as well as a Director. He was also Director of the Bond Market Association.

Tamagni has long been involved in philanthropic causes. He is also a Trustee of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and an overseer of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. He is a former Trustee of Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey and a former Overseer of the Graduate School of the New School in New York City. With his late wife Janet, to whom he was married for 52 years, he collected American paintings of the mid-nineteenth through early twentieth century.

Stephanie Ingrassia, who takes over the long-vacant position of President, studied fine arts and art history at Michigan State and the University of London, and received a B. A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York. A career in graphic design has included the design of books, magazines, newsletters, and promotional materials as well as teaching computer graphics at the School of Visual Arts. A collector of contemporary art, Ingrassia has served on the Brooklyn Museum Board since 2001. Prior to her election as President, she was a Vice Chair. She has also been a board member of BRIC Arts/Media and of Creative Time. She and her husband, Tim Ingrassia, and their four children live in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Museum Cancels Street Art Exhibition

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The Brooklyn Museum has canceled the spring 2012 presentation of Art in the Streets, the first major United States museum exhibition of the history of graffiti and street art. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, where it is currently on view at The Geffen Contemporary through August 8, 2011, the exhibition had been scheduled at the Brooklyn Museum from March 30 through July 8, 2012.

“This is an exhibition about which we were tremendously enthusiastic, and which would follow appropriately in the path of our Basquiat and graffiti exhibitions in 2005 and 2006, respectively. It is with regret, therefore, that the cancellation became necessary due to the current financial climate. As with most arts organizations throughout the country, we have had to make several difficult choices since the beginning of the economic downturn three years ago,” Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman said in a prepared statement.

The announcement follows a recent follows the limiting of Friday hours, effective July 1. The Brooklyn Museum will no longer remain open until 10 p.m. every Friday, a change resulting from what museum officials called “the challenging economic climate confronting many public institutions throughout New York City and the country.”

Broolyn Museum Programming, Hours Changes

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Open every Thursday evening until 10 p.m. since last October, the Brooklyn Museum will enhance its Thursdays @ 7 programming this fall to better meet the needs of visitors who work during the day.

However, effective July 1, the Brooklyn Museum will no longer remain open until 10 p.m. every Friday. This change is a result of the challenging economic climate confronting many public institutions throughout New York City and the country.

In a press statement issued last week, Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman said, “Although the difficult economy made it impossible to serve our visitors two evenings each week, based on our good experience with the history of First Saturdays, we believe that by focusing our resources on Thursday nights, we can more effectively serve our audience by presenting an increasingly dynamic and engaging schedule of programs each Thursday.”

The Museum will continue to be open every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. with a series of special programs including interviews, performance, film, and tours. The lineup for July and August is as follows:

July 7
Music: Winard Harper, one of the most celebrated drummers in jazz, performs with his sextet. Presented in conjunction with WBGO Jazz 88.3FM and Heart of Brooklyn as part of Jazz: Brooklyn’s Beat.

Moonlight Tour: “Nude, Naked, or Undressed? Eroticism in American Art”

July 14
Moonlight Tour: “Behind the Scenes with Split Second: Indian Paintings.”
Curator Joan Cummins and Director of Technology Shelley Bernstein discuss the curatorial experiment that resulted in Split Second. Space is limited, and reservations are required. RSVP to museum.guides@brooklynmuseum.org.

July 21
Moonlight Tour: “Visitor’s Choice”

July 28
Moonlight Tour: “Fantasy, Fashion, and Reality in American Art”

Film: POV Short Cuts (2011, 60 min.). A collection of documentary films on subjects ranging from bird watching and Tiffany lamps to Sunday school teachers and family relationships. Appropriate for all audiences.

August 4
Moonlight Tour: “Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior with Curator Joan Cummins”

August 11
Moonlight Tour: “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago”

August 25
Film: Yogawoman (Kate Clere and Saraswati Clere, 2011, 90 min.). Documentary about how women are changing the face of yoga.

Exhibit to Focus on Gender in American Portraiture

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Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first major museum exhibition to explore how gender and sexual identity have shaped the creation of American portraiture, organized by and presented at the National Portrait Gallery last fall, will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from November 18, 2011, through February 12, 2012. With the cooperation of the National Portrait Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum has reconstituted the exhibition in concert with the Tacoma Art Museum, where it will be on view from March 17 through June 10, 2012.

Hide/Seek includes works in a wide range of media created over the course of one hundred years that reflect a variety of sexual identities and the stories of several generations. The exhibition also highlights the influence of gay and lesbian artists who often developed new visual strategies to code and disguise their subjects’ sexual identities, as well as their own. Hide/Seek considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern Americans, how artists have explored the definition of sexuality and gender, how major themes in modern art–especially abstraction–were influenced by marginalization, and how art has reflected society’s changing attitudes.

Announcing the Brooklyn presentation, Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman said, “From the moment I first learned about this extraordinary exhibition in its planning stages, presenting it in Brooklyn has been a priority. It is an important chronicle of a neglected dimension of American art and a brilliant complement and counterpoint to Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, a touring exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum, also on view this fall. “

In addition to its commentary on a marginalized cultural history, Hide/Seek offers an unprecedented survey of more than a century of American art. Beginning with late nineteenth-century works by Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent, the exhibition traces the subject of gender and sexuality with approximately one hundred works by masters including Romaine Brooks, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe. It continues through the postwar periods with works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Agnes Martin, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition addresses the impact of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the AIDS epidemic, and the advent of postmodernism and themes of identity in contemporary art. The exhibition continues through the end of the twentieth century with major works by artists including Keith Haring, Glenn Ligon, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Catherine Opie.

The Brooklyn presentation will feature nearly all of the works included in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. Among them are rarely seen works by Charles Demuth, whose better-known industrialized landscapes are on view in Youth and Beauty; a poignant portrait of New Yorker writer Janet Flanner wearing two masks, taken by photographer Bernice Abbott; Andrew Wyeth’s painting of a young neighbor standing nude in a wheat field, much like Botticelli’s Venus emerging from her shell; Robert Mapplethorpe’s photograph riffing on the classic family portrait, in which a leather-clad Brian Idley is seated on a wingback chair shackled to his whip-wielding partner, Lyle Heeter; and Cass Bird’s photographic portrait of a friend staring out from under a cap emblazoned with the words “I Look Just Like My Daddy.” The exhibition will also include David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly, an unfinished film the artist created between 1985 and 1987.

The original presentation was co-curated by David C. Ward, National Portrait Gallery historian, and Jonathan Katz, director of the doctoral program in visual studies at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

At the Brooklyn Museum the exhibition has been coordinated by Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Project Curator. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture has been generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Additional support has been provided by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Photo: Walt Whitman by Thomas Eakins. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Museum.

Museum Presents ‘The Brooklyn Artists Ball’

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The Brooklyn Museum will be partnering with Brooklyn artists to celebrate the Brooklyn Artists Ball, on Wednesday evening, April 27, 2011. This new twist on the Museum’s longstanding annual gala will celebrate the creativity and considerable influence of Brooklyn artists. Museum Trustee and arts patron Stephanie Ingrassia will chair the event with Sarah Jessica Parker acting as Honorary Co-Chair. “It is incredibly exciting for the Museum to enlarge in yet another way its already major engagement with the community of artists living and working in Brooklyn. The new direction of the Ball signifies the Museum’s enormous commitment to those artists, past and present, who are a cornerstone of the institution,” said the Museum’s Director, Arnold Lehman.

The Museum will honor Brooklyn-based artists Fred Tomaselli, Lorna Simpson, and Fred Wilson, as well as retiring Brooklyn Museum Chair, Norman M. Feinberg. Fred Tomaselli is best known for his highly detailed paintings suspended in clear epoxy resin, which he has described as windows into a hallucinatory universe. Tomaselli has exhibited at the world’s foremost galleries and institutions, including in a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 2010.

Fred Wilson is an installation artist and a political activist who was chosen as the United States representative for the Venice Biennale in 2003. Wilson has had solo exhibitions around the world, including at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; and The Studio Museum in Harlem. He is also included in the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection.

Lorna Simpson’s work portrays images of black women combined with text to express contemporary society’s relationship with race, ethnicity, and sex. Simpson was the first African American woman to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale, had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007, and is the subject of an exhibition currently at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

The Brooklyn Artist’s Ball will commence at 6 p.m. with a special VIP cocktail reception hosted by Honorary Co-Chair Sarah Jessica Parker in the Great Hall, amid a space-altering, site-specific architectural installation created by Situ Studio, a Brooklyn-based creative practice specializing in design and fabrication. The installation, reOrder: An Architectural Environment reimagines the classically ordered space, transforming the scale of the hall with stretched fabric canopies and integrated furnishings that swell, expand, and augment the profile of the existing monumental columns. Also exhibited in the Great Hall will be a pulsating animated video environment by Brooklyn-based video artist and designer Sean Capone, whose dynamic and mesmerizing large-scale video projections have received critical acclaim for their breathtaking effect.

Following the cocktail reception a sumptuous seated dinner will take place in the Museum’s magnificent Beaux-Art Court. Table environments uniquely designed by Brooklyn-based artists including Aleksander Duravcevic, Valerie Hegarty, Ryan Humphrey, Bo Joseph, Jason Miller, Angel Otero, Duke Riley, Heather Rowe, Shinique Smith, Brian Tolle, Vadis Turner, Sara VanDerBeek and Anya Kielar, and Dustin Yellin will provide guests with an exceptional multi-sensory dining experience.

Tickets to the Brooklyn Artists Ball are available from $500 to $1,500 and tables range from $5,000 to $50,000. Tickets may be purchased online at www.brooklynmuseum.org. For further information on the event or ticket options please call (718) 501-6423 or e-mail emilie.schlegel@brooklynmuseum.org. Proceeds from the Brooklyn Artists Ball will support the Museum’s exhibition, education, and outreach programs.

Skylar Fein Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum

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A recent work by Skylar Fein titled Black Lincoln for Dooky Chase will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum through August 2011 as the centerpiece of an installation including related works from the permanent collection. In Fein’s 2010 work he overlays a silhouette portrait of Abraham Lincoln on a panel created to resemble an old wall menu from Dooky Chase, a well-known New Orleans Creole and soul food restaurant.

Painted in acrylic on plaster and wood, Fein’s portrait will be displayed alongside such works as an 1871 marble bas-relief profile of Lincoln, early nineteenth-century cut-paper silhouettes by French artist August Edouart, and Kara Walker’s 2005 Cotton Hoards in Southern Swamp (from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War).

Skylar Fein, a resident of New Orleans since 2005, believes that Lincoln’s opposition to slavery was shaped by a trip that he took as a teenager to New Orleans, which was then the center of the slave trade. Fein’s use of the silhouette taps into a long visual tradition, examples of which are included in the installation.

The silhouette was popularized in eighteenth-century Europe and soon caught on in the United States. Figures and profile portrait heads were cut from black card and set against a white ground or, in some instances, painted on glass. Evocative of the antebellum period and offering a graphic contrast of black and white the silhouette has inspired explorations of racial issues by contemporary artists such as Fein and Kara Walker.

A native of New York, Skylar Fein (born 1968) was a participant in Prospect.1 New Orleans, the 2008 biennial curated by Dan Cameron. His Remember the Upstair Lounge, a multimedia installation about a disastrous 1973 New Orleans fire at a gay bar that killed thirty-two and injured dozens, received broad critical acclaim. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions, including the 2009 exhibition Skylar Fein: Youth Manifesto at New Orleans Museum of Art, and is represented in public and private collections.

Image: Skylar Fein (American, born 1968). Black Lincoln for Dooky Chase, 2010.

Brooklyn Museum Celebrates Rockwell Exhibit

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The Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday attracts thousands of visitors to free programs of art and entertainment each month. The April 2 event is a celebration of the different techniques artists employ to create a final product, as showcased in the special exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera.

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 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 Jazz Club presents the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance and the New York City All-Star Youth Big Band.

6 p.m. Film
Wuthering Heights (Peter Kosminsky, 1992, 105 min., PG). Juliette Binoche stars in this adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic novel, the inspiration for the exhibition Sam Taylor-Wood: “Ghosts.” Free tickets available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6:30 p.m. Performance
Beat boxer Kenny Muhammad (pictured) teams up with the Cocoro Strings for a new, percussive twist on classical music. Free tickets available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Hands-On Art
Sketch a charcoal portrait from live models as they emulate poses found in Rockwell’s illustrations. Free timed tickets available at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.

7 p.m. Curator Talk
Catherine Morris on Lorna Simpson: Gathered. Free tickets available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

8-10 p.m. Dance Party
DJ duo AndrewAndrew use their iPads to spin a zigzag history of pop.

9 p.m. Young Voices Talk
Student Guides on Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera.

9-10 p.m. Performance
The Upright Citizens Brigade presents a series of improvisational skits based on visitors’ suggestions.

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

Photo: Kenny Muhammad. Photo Courtesy of the Artist.

Brooklyn Museum Great Hall Renovation Complete

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The Brooklyn Museum has completed an extensive renovation of its historic Great Hall at the center of its ground floor and has reclaimed additional space for a new gallery. This project, which is the initial phase of a major redesign of the first floor, marks the most transformative change to the floor since that portion of the Museum was constructed in the early twentieth century. The renovated space has been redesigned by the award-winning studio Ennead Architects, formerly known as Polshek Partnership. Ennead has been the architectural firm responsible for the transformation of the Museum over the past twenty-five years.

According to Arnold L. Lehman, Museum Director, “This major rethinking of the nineteenth-century McKim, Mead & White architecture will completely alter and enhance the experience of every visitor in a way that makes for a more exciting and logical introduction to the Museum. Because only one-sixth of the original design for the building was completed, circulation on the first floor has always presented a navigational challenge for our visitors. Through this exciting and engaging new design by Ennead Architects, these issues have been resolved in a manner that will completely transform the visitor experience.”

The initial phase of renovation features the expansive, two-story-high colonnaded space with its original coffered glass-block ceiling. For many years, this room served to display the Museum’s holdings of pre-Columbian, Native American, and Oceanic art. Now to be known as the Great Hall, it is a rare example in New York City of a hypostyle hall, with a dense grid of columns. Designed to form the core of a series of galleries, the space now features four monumental freestanding walls, which define a central gallery. The renovation has also created a new South Gallery, restoring to public use an area previously used for back-of-house functions.

“The goal in this first phase of renovation has been to create a grand central gallery that gives focus to this tremendous space,” states Susan T. Rodriquez, a partner of Ennead Architects who led the design effort for the transformation. “The entire project, when completed, will provide a more porous, transparent, and accessible experience. It reimagines the Great Hall as layers of galleries surrounding the central space and provides a dramatic visitor sequence that will showcase the Museum’s collections.”

The new freestanding walls allow for the display of art while concealing climate-control systems within. Their crisp, diagonal edges facilitate and reinforce movement from the Lobby into the Great Hall. The central gallery features a new terrazzo floor. The entire gallery volume has been technically upgraded to become a state-of-the-art museum environment, complete with new sprinkler and lighting systems.

The lighting, designed by the Renfro Design Group, features a flexible track system integrated into the historic coffered ceiling, with LED lighting in the central bay. Natural light filters down to the Great Hall through McKim, Mead & White’s glass-block ceiling, which forms the floor of the Beaux-Arts Court. A new glass floor was introduced over the existing glass-block floor in the Court renovation by Ennead Architects in 2009. The Gilbane Building Company was the construction manager for that project.

Funding has been provided by the City of New York, the State of New York, and the Brooklyn Museum.

The renovated space will be inaugurated on March 4 with a site-specific architectural installation, reOrder: An Architectural Environment by Situ Studio, which will engage the existing monumental columns with a series of suspended fabric canopies and furniture that relate to the details of the McKim, Mead & White structure. It will be on view through January 15, 2012, after which the space will become an introductory gallery to the entire permanent collection.

The first exhibition to be presented in the new South Gallery will be Thinking Big: Recent Design Acquisitions, also opening on March 4 and on view through May 29, 2011, after which it will be given over to a new installation of selections from the Museum’s holdings of African Art. Current plans for additional enhancements to the Hall and the first floor are anticipated to begin in the fall of 2011 and be completed in 2013.

The next phase of the first-floor transformation will include a Museum Café, a bar, and an outdoor dining terrace located directly off the lobby. The design will include the Williamsburg murals, on long-term loan from the New York City Housing Authority. The café will feature a formal dining room that can be used for special functions and a casual dining area overlooking the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden. There will be direct access to the dining areas from adjacent parking.

The Museum Shop will be relocated to the area currently occupied by the Robert E. Blum Gallery near the main lobby. The new shop will be redesigned by Visbeen Associates, Inc., an award-winning architectural firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, whose projects include several of the Metropolitan Museum of Art satellite stores, as well as the Peabody Essex Museum shop. Important new features to enhance the visitor’s experience will be a wider entrance that will open onto the Grand Lobby, providing greater visual access to the galleries in the Great Hall and assisting with circulation patterns, as well as a new signage system.

The space that has been occupied for decades by the Museum Café, as well as offices and art-storage areas, will be reclaimed as a special exhibition gallery, which will replace the existing Robert E. Blum Gallery. The final phase of the first-floor transformation will include the renovation of gallery space currently occupied by the African galleries, which will be deinstalled on June 26, 2011, and will reopen in the South Gallery on August 12, 2011.

At the completion of the renovation of the first floor, all gallery space will be climate controlled, and non-exhibition spaces will be air-conditioned.

The Brooklyn Museum, as designed by McKim, Mead & White in the late nineteenth century, was built in many stages, and only one-sixth of the original design was completed. It has undergone several subsequent changes. In 1897 the West Wing (now known as the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing) was completed. Construction continued through the early twentieth century, and the large first-floor hall that housed the Museum’s non-European art collections opened in 1925, serving as the focal point of a series of galleries dedicated to various cultures of the world. Until the staircase in front of the Museum was removed in 1934, a large portion of the first floor contained an auditorium. Another major change took place in 1965, when four massive case structures were constructed and the space, showcasing North Central and South American collections, was renamed the Hall of the Americas (now to be called the Great Hall). The addition of the glass Rubin Pavilion on Eastern Parkway in 2004 reenergized visitor circulation on the first floor.

The current first-floor renovation continues a major redesign of the Museum’s ground level that began in 2004 with the opening of the Rubin Pavilion, the Ennead-designed, critically acclaimed front entrance, as well as the renovated lobby, redesigned front plaza, new South Entrance, and expanded parking facilities. It continues a Master Plan created in 1986 by the partnership of Polshek Partnership (now Ennead architects) and Arata Isozaki & Associates to improve and expand the Museum building, with a strong emphasis on making all gallery spaces climate controlled. Subsequently, they affected a number of significant changes to the building, including the 1993 renovation of the entire Schapiro Wing, as well as the creation of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium and new art-storage facilities in the early 1990s. Ennead also designed the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which opened in 2007. The recently completed Service Extension building for the reception and processing of art and the complete renovation of the entire basement for staff and support spaces were both designed by Ewing Cole.

Image: Rendering Courtesy Ennead Architects.

Brooklyn Museum Celebrates Native American Culture

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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

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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

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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

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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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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

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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.


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.


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.


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

January 13
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).


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

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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

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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.


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.”


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.


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

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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.