May 30, 2007

Why I Won't Join the Brooklyn Museum

I'm pretty passionate about all things Brooklyn.

Way back in 1999, I almost joined the Brooklyn Museum. Why almost? I didn't take too kindly to their hosting an exhibit by an "artist" whose masterwork was a painting of the Virgin Mary daubed which elephant shit How clever. This was part of a larger exhibition of Howard Stern type shock-jock "art" by
Young British Artists

So, after eight years, I decide, time to forgive and forget, join the biggest museum in Brooklyn. I logged onto the Brooklyn Museum website, to see that their new permanent exhibition is something called the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art

What the hell is "feminist art"? It sounds like something joyless, thin-lipped, and political. Wiki describes it this art movement as referring to "the efforts and accomplishments of feminists internationally to bring more visibility to women within art history and art practice. Corresponding with general developments within feminism, the movement began in the 1960s, flourished throughout the 1970s, and the effects of it continue to the present. " That's the positive spin. But this is a separatist and exclusionary strand in the artistic universe. I don't think its particularly interesting to men --or women. And this is to be a permanent collection, sharing the museum with the art of ancient Egypt?

Sorry, I won't support this.

The museum's a fine space, despite the amateurish turns they've taken over the past decade. I do want to visit soon. Target Stores hosts a free "First Saturdays" program once a month. I may visit next weekend. If they ask me for a contribution, I'll say "No-Go ask Elizabeth Sackler!"


Last night on Charlie Rose, Ronnie "the Hitman" Lauder from New York's Neue Galerie was the guest. Lauder is reported to have spent $135 million to buy Gustav Klimt's "Porträt der Adele Bloch-Bauer" for the Neue Galerie. Perhaps because Ronnie overpaid so badly for this painting, the Neue Galerie charges $275 a year for a New Yorker to be a member. Don't look for me there. You'll see me drooling over the next Elizabeth Sackler feminist art show before you see me pay $275 annual dues to join a museum!


Anonymous said...

Well Mr. Bay Ridge I think it is ok that you do not want to join the museum. If you feel so strongly about a museum choosing to show work that has a great deal of historical importance then we (the patrons of said museum) do not want you as a member. I think it is ok to disapprove of art, I find myself constantly disapproving of the current art world where works of art are helping to improve the lives of so many of the elite in this country. However, do you feel that such a subject should be disregarded? If so it probably is best that you steer clear of any museum in the tri-state area because no matter where you go the feminists will follow.

The Phantom said...

Hey anonymous

Some of my best friends are feminists ( whatever that term is supposed to mean anyway )

My objection is solely due to the "sexism squared" that is at the essence of thin-lipped "Feminist Art"--art only by women, and then only by women of a certain political belief system.

The art that I see is unimpressive, but my big objection comes from its petty apartheid nature.

It's sad to say, but the Brooklyn Museum has relegated itself permanent minor league status by focusing so much on this. They've elected to be the Brooklyn Cyclones of museums as compared to the "major league" museums of Manhattan.

Too bad. It is a magnificent space, in a borough whose best days ahead of it. The Brooklyn Museum couldda been a contender--but they took a dive. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

It is truly a wonderful space and great museum. The trick is not to go to the exhibits/permanent collections you do not wish to view. The rest is terrific: cultural shows of all stripes, First Fridays, kids and adult art programs - painting, photography, mask-making - , Rodin collection; huge European paintings collections; plus its a beautiful space, etc. No, it isn't the Met or MoMa, etc, but it is a great way to spend a day or half of one. You need not support the museum, but you should definitely check it out.

Anonymous said...

Awww, that's cute. You managed to agree with the NY Times with only half the intellect and searing jibes at feminism, the show, and the museum.

The Phantom said...

Hey, the NY Times gets it right sometimes.

I hadn't seen that article. Thanks for sharing.

And yes, to the June 8 anonymous I will be visiting the Brooklyn Cyclones of museums one of these first Saturdays.

Anonymous said...

FEMINIST ART is a well past due "genre" that needs to be integrated into this patriarchal western society.

It's of no surprise to read shocking responses to such movements, with women generally having hardly any (in most cases, none) recognition in art outside of being subjects, or makers of "crafts", despite their integral contributions.

"FEMINIST ART" should be a permanent fixture in every museum, irregardless of ignorants' perceptions. The art raises awareness, encourages gender balance and opportunity equality, and finally, grants women the recognition they deserve- and have been deprived of- for their talents.

Side Note: This should apply to history as well. Men are notoriously honored for their contributions to "civilization". Women have been stowed out of the books, bending to Western idealisms, contributing to abounding sex-based inequalities.
If only the term "feminist" didn't harbor man-hating implications, or conjure an image of some enraged unfortunate woman.
The ironic thing is, those things wouldn't come to mind if the equality existed.


Anonymous said...

|FEMINIST ART is a well past due "genre" that needs to be integrated into this patriarchal western society.|

This is politics over substance, and not even good politics. This exhibit should never had been funded or placed the museum and the pity of it is that very important exhibits on American Architecture was ripped out of the Museum's limited exhibition space for this fake genre that has no place in the Museum. You make not remember this but this Museum had far more painting exhibited at one time include Picassos, Alter pieces, hundreds of pieces of works have been lost to the museum over the years.

I have no patients for fake "art genres". Its a museum of art and frankly the Chicago piece barely qualifies as art.

It needs to be dumped.