Posted inOpinion

David Wojnarowicz’s Journals Make His Private World Very Public

Just in time for National Coming Out Day last Tuesday and the November opening of the controversial Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Brooklyn Museum, Triple Canopy has published a selection of visual artist and writer David Wojnarowicz’s journals online. Giving readers a brief and fascinating look into Wojnarowicz’s life and thoughts, the publication of the journals follow Wojnarowicz’s imploring to turn the private into something public as a political tactic.

Posted inArt

Interview with Tipi Artist Bently Spang

The following is an interview with artist Bently Spang, whose work appears in the Brooklyn Museum’s current Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains exhibit. Through the interview, Spang explores ideas of Native American identity, cultural stereotypes and the difficulty of showing Native American spiritual objects in museum spaces. The Brooklyn Museum show makes progress, Spang says, but there remain problems to be solved.

Posted inArt

An Attempt to Shatter Native American Stereotypes in Brooklyn

A traditional 19th-century Sioux warrior shirt in the Brooklyn Museum’s current Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains exhibit is made from buckskin, decorated with green and red pigment, hair, feather, fiber and a white and red beaded bear claw motif. Like all Plains war shirts, it could only be worn by males after acts of bravery in battle.

Exhibited just a few feet away, Northern Cheyenne contemporary artist Bently Spang’s “War Shirt #3, The Great Divide” (2006) is made out of photographs, photographic film, sinew, velvet and found objects such as the compact disc pinned on the shirt’s center like a decorative medallion or amulet. Its arms are outstretched through a white plastic stand in the form of a “t” and two tiny white plastic toy horses flank either side of its base. Like the traditional Sioux shirt, Spang’s is now ensconced in a glass case but it has never been — nor will it ever be — worn.

Posted inOpinion

Native American Art’s Disputed Boundaries

Every so often an art review riles readers and critics enough to actually respond to it. That’s what happened after New York Times art critic Ken Johnson’s review of the Brooklyn Museum’s Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains exhibit was published a week and a half ago. Johnson is not shy about stating his assessment up front, leading with “You know there’s trouble when the first object you encounter in a museum exhibition looks as if it had been misplaced from the gift shop.” Johnson faults the museum for exhibiting “kitschy” contemporary Native American artists alongside the “outstanding” mostly 19th-century Plains objects that make up the majority of the exhibition.

Posted inArt

Brooklyn Museum’s New Acquisition Shines Light on Unlikely 18th C Racial Revolutionary

The Brooklyn Museum has an extensive collection of Spanish Colonial painting, but the institution’s relatively new curator of European art Richard Aste knew the museum lacked the same depth in their British colonial works. Recently, Brooklyn’s premiere fine art institution announced the acquisition of a new work by Agostino Brunias, “Free Women of Color with their Children and Servants in a Landscape” (ca. 1764-1796), which will partially fill that gap but there is something else about the painting that makes it interesting to the contemporary viewer, namely its multicultural subjects.

Posted inNews

Brooklyn Museum Posts Archive of 1st Fans Twitter Art

The Brooklyn Museum has posted an archive of its 1st Fans Twitter art. The Twitter Art Feed was a benefit for @brooklynmuseum‘s 1stfans (formerly @1stfans) members from December 2008 to December 2010. The feed featured tweets by contemporary artists every month, including Joseph Kosuth, Tracey Moffatt, Mike Montiero, Duke Riley, and names familiar to social media art fans, such as An Xiao, Man Bartlett, Lauren McCarthy, Nina Meledandri, and Joanie San Chirico.