For those who have never been to The Brooklyn Museum – as well as devoted visitors — two world-class exhibitions are now on view through midsummer. Don’t miss them. (Above photo, Museum Courtyard)
Attracting large crowds (for the Brooklyn Museum), is the Sargent watercolor show which, for the first time, unites two renowned collections – from the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – in this once-in-a-generation exhibit.
These ninety-three works are a testament to Sargent’s mastery of this notably difficult medium. (There is a special section in the show that deconstructs his techniques.) Overall, they suggest a photographer’s eye for light and shade, manage to both reference old master portraits and landscapes, yet embody a modern feel and sensibility. Below are some of my favorites.
Gondolas in Venice
Words – even photographs – cannot describe the amazingly beautiful and innovative work of globally renowned contemporary artist, El Anatsui, crafted from the humblest of found materials from bottle caps to can tops. The more than 30 works in this solo exhibition – somewhere between sculpture and painting – combine aesthetic traditions from Africa with the history of abstraction, creating pieces that are startling and extravagantly new. His textured hangings and floor pieces take on radically new shapes with each site-specific installation.
Though one of Anatsui’s hangings can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum (on the ground floor), where it is part of their permanent collection, nothing prepared me for the power of this show and the power of Anatsui’s vision.
Below are examples of his work, photographed from afar and close-up, which highlight the astonishing transformation of everyday materials into powerful pieces of art.
Silver and Red Wall Hanging
Same Wall Hanging with a Golden Mountain in Front
Photos by Eleanor Foa Dienstag
Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui – February 8 – August 4, 2013
John Singer Sargent Watercolors: April 5 – July 28, 2013
The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052
(No.2 & 3 Trains to Eastern Parkway)
Wednesday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Friday–Sunday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.