leanor Foa Dienstag

The Brooklyn Museum – Two Not to Be Missed Exhibits

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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)

JOhn Singer Sargent PosterJohn Singer Sargent Poster

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.

rotunda3Sargent Room with People 

Ladies with parasols4Two Women in White Dresses


Gondolas in Venice

Flowers6Magnolia Tree Bough

Spouting Water7Outdoor Patio with Lemon Tree


Rocky Stream9River Scene

Gravity and Grace10Gravity and Grace

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.

Gold Snakes11Looks like Silver Snakes

Tin Can Tops12Close Up of Metal Can Tops that Make Up the Silver Snakes

Tan with yellow and orange13

Another tan14Silver Wall Hanging, from Different Angles

Liquid Headmaster15Close Up of Red and Yellow and Silver Materials that Make Up Part of the Wall Hanging

Blue Drips 16Silver and Blue Wall Hanging

Buttons 17Yellow, Red and Silver Wall Hanging

Three Dresses18Same Wall Hanging but Farther Away — Looks Like Three Dresses

Woman and Dress 19

Silver and Red Wall Hanging

Linked Lids 20Close Up of Red, Blue, Yellow, Crumpled Metal Pieces that Are the Material for the Previous Wall Hanging

Lid Blanket 21Larger Image of Same Crumpled Pieces — Shows How the Wall Hanging is Constructed

Against Wall22Wall Hanging

Blanket and Coins23

Same Wall Hanging with a Golden Mountain in Front

Red Curtain24Red Wall Hanging

Castello 25Red Castello Metal Pieces Close Up — Material Used to Make the Previous Wall Hanging

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.


Contact me at:
Telephone 212-879-1542
E-mail at efoa@usa.net