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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brooklyn Museum, other exhibits

The room next to the JOHN SINGER SARGENT exhibit was an exhibit of quilts. Not modern quilts but from earlier times, even centuries ago. The details in these quilts were remarkable. I really liked the crazy quilts, some of the best I have ever seen. The detail above had the most amazing border of morning glories. They were so beautifully done with the finest of thread; if I did not know better, I would say they were machine made, the stitching was so perfect. And then the binding around each piece of fabric was like a sampler of stitches. The detail below was to not only show the outline of the fabrics but the ribbon appliqued flower. No two flowers depicted were the same. I can only imagine the time and energy that went into these quilts. (These details are from two different quilts)
The quilt below I liked for its simplicity of pattern - a stark contrast to most of the quilts in the show. I don't know enough about quilts, but I want to say it is a ribbon quilt. I saw this only because it seemed to be satin fabric. I certainly would not want to cut all those pieces, if it were not in fact done from ribbons!
We were on the elevator getting ready to leave and as we were getting off, a woman who had been on the elevator with us was telling her friend who happened to be getting on the elevator, that she had to go see this exhibit on the 5th floor-all made from "bottle tops." Well, this intrigued us as my cousin was thinking of famous paintings made with bottle caps- something she had seen on TV. Okay, so we bit and went back up to see this exhibit. It was nothing like we had imagined it. I did recognize it though, as I had recently caught a snippet on PBS on this man, El Anatsui, who uses only recycled materials for his installation pieces. Each time he has a museum show, he personally does the installation, and each time, he arranges them differently. The bottle tops ended up being the end cap off of twist top alcoholic beverages, as well as the wrapper that stays on the bottle after the cap twists off. Here is a detail of that strip of foil, folded and attached together to form a facsimile of chain mail.

The photo above shows on the wall, a "sculpture" made with the tabs off of bottles as in the detail above. This one shows  the use of multicolored wrappers, but some were all black, or all red. I took this photo to show the scope of them. The "sculpture" in the foreground is made from the tops of tin cans, but put together the same way, ie with little pieces of copper wire. On the PBS snippet I caught, it shows worker bees doing  the actual putting together while El Anatsui supervises. The photo in the middle is an example of his wood pieces, which I personally really liked better, not only are they more manageable, but also more aesthetically pleasing. But again, since each piece hangs on its own, he can change how it hangs each time it is installed. I really liked that concept. The ability to change your art around without really having to do anything but move the strips of wood to please you.

Isn't mankind creative, whether painting, gardening, sewing or re-purposing found materials?
The final exhibit, of which we only had the energy for one room, was on drawing; "Fine Lines, American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum." I had read a review in the WSJ, on this exhibit and the companion exhibit at the Frick, which was impressionist drawings and prints from the Clark, including some Americans. The critic thought the Frick exhibit the better of the two, so I went there the next day. I must say, though I only saw one room of Fine Lines, I was impressed enough with what I saw that I ordered the book/catalogue of the show so that I could study it further. I am very happy I did. Maybe because I have seen so much of what was exhibited at the Frick over the years it is not as exciting to me, personally. (although I always enjoy seeing Lautrec!) It was also more crowded. I was however, excited to see what some big name American painters drew that you don't often see. And there was NO ONE else in the gallery with us. Such a shame.

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