Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Night at the Brooklyn Museum (Plus a MoMA Preview)

Gli (Wall)
This past Saturday, the SO and I ventured over to Brooklyn Museum for Target First Saturday, a program offering free art and entertainment each month.  We had arrived a little late, but just in time to grab a plastic cup of wine for $8 -- side note, but don't you just love it when you get to drink in spaces you normally can't, like museums and movie theaters? -- and find a good place to stand before Zozo Afrobeat took the stage.  As a tip, we had found our spots to see Zozo Afrobeat about five minutes before the performance, and while we didn't manage to grab seats, we did manage to find a pretty good standing spot with a clear, unobstructed view of the stage.  Apparently this five minutes mattered, as the crowd started gathering once the band started playing. 

Zozo Afrobeat
While the band was setting up, I loved how children were dancing to the music playing on the speakers.  It made me a little sad when they patiently sat down once Zozo Afrobeat started playing their set.  Probably not from a lack of beat to dance to, but rather parents pressuring their children to be respectful. 

Zozo Afrobeat's website claims that it's a 13-piece ensemble band, but I thought there were at least 14 people I could see cramped on the tiny stage.  The music was good and very different -- it was exactly what I thought "world music" should sound like; funky, easy to dance to, and using all different types of instruments.  It was cool to see how the composition of Zozo Afrobeat reflected the composition of the audience at Brooklyn Museum that night; people of varying races, ages, genders, you name it all gathering together for this event.

Everyone's mesmerized
After a couple of songs, we made our way through the large audience to see the rest of the museum.  Knowing the night was late and our time limited, we headed to the 5th floor to see the exhibition, Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui.  I'll be honest here, and note that whenever I've gone to Brooklyn Museum in the past, I've always seen what I'll refer to as "weird art," so my expectations were a bit low.  But I was pleasantly blown away by how wonderful the El Anatsui exhibition was.  As soon as you step off the elevator, you find yourself staring at beautiful mesh-like curtains hanging from the ceiling.  As you get closer, you realize that El Anatsui has made this gorgeous piece of art using ordinary, mundane materials. 

Every piece of art at the exhibition seemed to get better as I walked from room to room.  The gold and red of Gravity and Grace reminded me of an opulent curtain that would be found in a 15th century royal's palace (but not stuffy at all).  I also loved the irony of Peak Project, miniature gold peaks made of tins from a brand of milk called "Peak Milk."  My favorite room was the display of a red "curtain" and a black "curtain" next to each other; the drapery achieved by El Anatsui using these hard materials was incredible. 

After perusing the El Anatsui exhibition, and having been exhausted from our tour of Red Hook earlier that day, we decided to head home.  We were tired, but happy, with the sounds of Zozo Afrobeat and images of El Anatsui's works in our heads.  I can't wait until the next Target First Saturday.

Gravity and Grace is at the Brooklyn Museum until August 4th.

A closer look at the materials
The best for last

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Wed (11-6), Thurs (11-10), Fri-Sun (11-6).  Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 


In other news in the New York City art world, last night I had the chance to catch a sneak preview of Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light, an exhibition opening on March 10th at the Museum of Modern Art.  Since this blog is about my adventures in Brooklyn, I won't go into much detail here, but will share some of the pictures I took. 

I've rarely seen exhibitions showcasing the works of an architect, but the MoMA captures the intricacy and talent it must take to be a historic architect like Labrouste.  The drawings of Italian columns are so perfectly detailed in every aspect, and the models of Labrouste's works demonstrate the difficulty and planning that must go into building a truly great structure.  I liked how other great works influenced by Labrouste were on display at the end.  

If you have the chance to see this exhibition, it's worth checking out (along with everything else fabulous at the MoMA).

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