For J's birthday this year, I got him (us, really) a membership to the Brooklyn Museum. Last Thursday was the fall preview and members' reception, so we went and it was great, and quite Brooklyn-y.
The featured exhibit was called Crossing Brooklyn and comprised work from 35 artists and collectives.
There was this statute of a horse made of cork ("The Commons") by Paul Ramirez Jonas and modeled after the horse in an equestrian statute of Marcus Aurelius. Members of the public were invited to attach their own objects to the horse using pushpins. J left his business card.
The colorful garlands above the horse were part of a kite exhibit titled Amani Kites, part of an ongoing public art project, Rising Against the Wind, by Miguel Luciano. The kites were made in collaboration with a grassroots art collective, Wajukuu, in Nariobi and the portraits on the kites were taken as part of a dialogue around the meaning of flying and freedom.
For "Pimp My Piragua," the same artist went around selling piragua (a Puerto Rican shaved-ice dessert) on a custom-built pushcart-tricycle, which had video monitors that recorded some of his interactions.
There was also a pigeon coop - with actual pigeons (so Brooklyn).
The artist, Duke Riley, had trained the pigeons to smuggle cigars between Miami and Cuba (because "pigeons cannot be prosecuted for smuggling"), and then outfitted some of the pigeons with video cameras. The film shot by the pigeons was Blair Witch Project-level of shakiness times one thousand. Pigeons are not constrained by the rules of traditional cinematography.
I'm also not sure the pigeons were all that thrilled to be at the museum. Pigeons don't care about innovation in art.
One of my favorites was the "Smily Bag Portrait." Nobutaka Aozaki went around the city asking people to sit for a free portrait, which he would draw on the plastic bags with yellow smily faces that you always get from take-out spots. There was an accompanying video showing some of the people he'd drawn with their portraits and there was something about it that just struck me as very sweet and almost innocent.
I also liked this needle point installation, "Dear Grandmother." Shantell Martin would design the pieces and then have her British grandmother, Dot, craft them.
There was also a collection of clothing from Aisha Cousins' "The Obama Skirt Project." It referenced the tradition of commemorative fabrics, i.e., printed fabrics that celebrate important events or political leaders or other themes of community import. This tradition is common throughout Africa; here, Aisha brought it to Brooklyn as part of a year-long performative piece exploring reactions to the election of the first Black President in the U.S.
Tons of other cool stuff, so consider this your teaser and just go check it out.
After the exhibit, we headed over to The Islands. It was too dark inside to take photos, so just trust me on this: You. Must. Go. There.
Eating there is like if someone's auntie welcomed you into their kitchen and fed you with love. Or, as J says, "That jerk chicken is ridiculous." (We also had the oxtails. Also ridiculous.)