Sneakers, Arcades, and Neon: The Brooklyn Museum

Everything from Brooklyn is cool so it, right;) So it only makes sense that the Brooklyn Museum is also awesome.  Most tourists don’t make it out to this museum, opting instead for the Met, MOMA, and the Guggenheim.

Brooklyn Museum, NYC musuems

But the Brooklyn Museum has a world-class collection in its own right.  It also had some of the most fun exhibits up, including the much anticipated ‘Rise of Sneaker Culture’ and a free arcade (yes, an old-school arcade in the museum) as part of the ‘FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds’.

Faile, Brooklyn Museum

Wish I was wearing all white in the crazy, blacklight, neon room

I got a look into how the sneaker became such a big thing.  They had everything in this exhibit from the earliest Converse show to a full collection of Air Jordan shoes and a gold studded pair of Prada sneakers. It’s funny to think of shoes as a cultural phenomenon, but the evolution of the sneaker is a surprisingly complex series of connections.

sneaker culture, brooklyn museum

The FAILE exhibit was probably one of the most unique installations I’ve seen in a museum.  I wandered into it and found an entire room covered completely–walls, floors, ceilings–plastered with neon posters. The whole room was practically screaming at you in an absolutely amazing way. It had several separate spaces and included a classic style sculpture of a girl with a skateboard, a strange and crumbling worship space, the aforementioned neon-black light room, and an arcade space. All the games were free so you could spend your entire museum visit playing ping-pong if you wanted.

Faile, Arcade, Brooklyn Museum

There was, of course, also more traditional collections and galleries full of Egyptian art and sculpture, many famous American artworks, and more.

egyptian sarcophagus art

As per the usual, I did not do any research on what the museum had and was pleasantly surprised to run into pieces I had studied or heard of, including Judy Chicago’s feminist work “The Dinner Party”… so many plates with artful variations on vaginas.  The Brooklyn Museum is actually quite the little goldmine for feminist works of art.

the dinner party, judy chicago, virginia wolf

Virginia Wolf’s place setting at the 1970s Judy Chicago installment “The Dinner Party”

They were also displaying the poignant pieces of Zanele Muholi, whose work spans several years and deals with LGBTI communities in her native South Africa and abroad. One particularly moving space was a wall of portraits along with a massive chalk wall with messages from people about tragedies perpetrated against lesbian women.

zanele muholi, faces and phases, brooklyn museum

These types of exhibits really emphasize how important art is as a commentary on the time. As much as I love strolling through antiquities and famous old paintings, these contemporary pieces speak to me in such a different way, narrating experiences that I can relate to on a more personal level.

So next time you’re in NY, why not get away from Manhattan and check out more of what Brooklyn has to offer… The Brooklyn Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday (check hours here) and they have free wi-fi.
tree in piano, art

Also this tree growing inside a piano is perfect:)


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