For nearly 125 years the massive Brooklyn Museum has housed an ever-expanding collection of art from around the world and across the centuries. Its vast permanent collection drawing from around the world cannot be seen in a single day. However, the museum's vibrant events and rotating exhibitions are the main draws for current visitors. Diverse, contemporary, and often controversial, exhibitions feature rising and established artists from across the country and the world. It's popular First Saturday program often fills to capacity.
Brooklyn was a dream. All the things that happened there just couldn't happen.
What You Will See
The museum is home to an impressive collection of Egyptian, African, European, Islamic, and Asian Art, often rivaling Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum. But despite the traditional collections and stoic, classical building, the museum's recent energy has tilted towards diverse modern and contemporary exhibitions and collections, including the Slacker Center for Feminist Art, which opened in 2007. Ceding responsibility for traditional art history exhibitions to other institutions, Brooklyn's flagship museum increasingly reflects the energy and diversity of the borough's population.
Why You Should Go
While the number of visitors is down from recent decades, renovations have kept some collections from view for several years, and the museum is often a source of artistic or cultural controversy, none of this should deter you from enjoying one of the great institutions of the city. The museum takes risks with its exhibitions--you will love some and not others. But with a collection this vast, when you find yourself in an exhibition that is not to your tastes, you have entire wings filled with an impressive and accessible permanent collection to fill out your day.
The painter and sculptor Jeffrey Gibson was invited by the museum to display his work alongside selections from the permanent collection he felt contrasted his own work. The result is an exhibition which suggests a re-categorization of Indigenous and Native American Art (Gibson is Choctaw-Cherokee). Gibson's works are the primary draw, but the contrast with traditional pieces is impactful.
This powerful exhibition draws upon the museum's vast holdings of Indigenous art to consider the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples across the Americas. The exhibit gathers over 60 objects, some of them almost three millennia old, which examine traditional Indigenous relationships with nature as well as the potential threat climate change poses to their traditional and contemporary ways of life.