Friday, December 15, 2017

Back To Brooklyn

"Proof" with art by:
Sergei Eisenstein, Goya , and Robert Longo
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York

We can't leave New York City without stopping into the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway.

For years, we lived in Park Slope, so walking into the Brooklyn Museum was like coming home - only it has has gotten better!  The new entrance is expansive and the way that the museum curators have crafted their exhibitions is far more interesting now.

Etchings by Goya (1746-1828)

It is an unusual concept to pair the Spanish artist, Goya - who made some great etchings - with a film maker and a contemporary artist  who works in charcoal on paper.  There is a visual chord that is at play here and also a commitment to issues of human welfare and well-being. Another major factor that ties these works together is the black and white  nature of the present show which can be seen - now thru January 7th, 2018.

Robert Longo in the exhibition: "Proof"

When you walk into the show: "Proof" you see large screens and projections from filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, then intimate but moving graphics of Goya, and monumental drawings from Robert Longo, an artist whose work I followed from shows at Metro Pictures back in Soho days.
I learned about the films of Eisenstein when I took a class in the history of cinema and most of his works dramatized social and political issues that were a featured part of your life if you lived in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century and were part of the Bolshevik Revolution.  Eisenstein's films like "The Battleship Potemkin" and "Alexander Nevsky" are powerful in black and white, and his method of shooting sequences of dramatic action pointed out his use of montage as a guiding principle.

In the Brooklyn Museum, the curators have set up large screens and the Eisenstein films play very slowly so you can really study each composition like you would for a painting.

Goya etchings at The Brooklyn Museum

In the Goya etchings the imagination of the artist meets up with social realities and the use of poetic metaphor propels these works into our conscience. Goya is known for his dark periods ( as well as his fancy court paintings ) and the etchings on view in "Proof" have a somber even threatening point of view.

Robert Longo studies Joan Mitchell

After my visit with Goya who was working in the early 19th century we step into the large galleries that hold the monumental drawings by contemporary American artist Robert Longo.  First confronted by these large scale framed works they appear to be photographs, but when you step in really close, you can see that these are drawings in charcoal, and they stay true to their sources.  The drawing above of the refugees in their raft, and the study of the Joan Mitchell painting are awe inspiring.  How does he do it?

The Mummy Show

Downstairs we go around to look at the Animal Mummy show, and so much more.  Wall labels let the visitor know that the Egyptian people had their pets and other animals mummified.  The animal caskets are really remarkable considering when they were created was thousands of years ago.

Ibis Mummy casket

There are terrific carvings and so much history to take in at The Brooklyn Museum.  They have a wealth of material on antiquity, so if you want to know more about the customs of ancient Egypt
just look through this show, and you will learn so much ( for example there are estimated to be millions of animal mummies kept in vaults underground in parts of Egypt ).  Who knew?

Painted caskets at The Booklyn Museum

Ancient Mummy at The Bookly Museum - now thru January 21, 2018