The Joy of not being the best

Living in a city that is proud of having the best and the most wondeful is a bit of a double edged sword. Broadway is here so were have tons of top notch theatre. Carnegie Hall is here, so we hear the very best of classical music. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is just across town and it holds the best of in the world of art.

The negative side of all of the best and the most wonderful is that often there isn't room for the good and the quirky. This city can be a difficult one for the emerging artist. Other cities often take their own creative artistic output a little less seriously so there is room for the artistic to develop and emerge. Radio in Boston is way more delightful  than the not very exciting radio scene here in New York.

The Brooklyn Museum is an easy subway ride away from my house. I went yesterday with a friend who was doing a staycation.The fact that the museum isn't in Manhattan means that it is free to not take it self all that seriously. The staff is just easygoing, guards might just chat with you. The chronically uunderfunded Brooklyn Museum is famous for it's collection of textiles, African artifacts and it's vast collection of decorative objects. Their collection of art contains some real treasures and some good works by lesser known artists.

The museum has brilliant curators. Art is shown along with decorative objects made at the same time as the art. Stellar art is exhibited along with less than fabulous pieces. The result is a thrilling experience for the viewer. Mediocre 18th century portraits are shown along side the brillinat work of Samuel Morse or John Copley. It becomes easy to see why they are so good. The curators lead you towards  all sorts of big ideas about the nature of ar,t and they let you, the museum visitor, make all of the connections. The result is that a visit makes you feel like you have been on a really fun treasure hunt.

As you walk tyhrough the collections, you can almost hear the discussions between the curators,
    "How about this tea cup?",
   " No, that one picks up the pattern in the backgound of the painting"

Walking through the collections it is easier to understand artists working within the context of their own times and to understand how you look at their workl through the lens of the stuff of our own times.

I also love that my fellow visitors were not just your standard art lover. Many of our fellow visitors were elderly Russian couples, older Chassidic women and tons of first generation school kids who were clearly having a blast.

Hurray for Brooklyn!


  1. Sounds fascinating!

    I don't know if the museum you visited is anywhere near The Brooklyn Art Library, but I have participated in their Sketchbooks project this year. I know the books are going on tour, but maybe while they are there in Feb (February 19-27, 2011), you can pop in and look at my dragon stories. I think they are going back to Brooklyn at the end.
    Mine is under the topic "It Must Be..." (Dragons) I put in printouts of photos of the dragon textile art pieces I have been doing, and wrote their stories alongside.

    I don't know the procedure for checking them out, but you could look for Sandy Snowden or the barcode is 29347.
    Let me know if you see it!
    Sandy in the UK


    Is in the cool beyond cool neighborhood of Williamsburg. I have been there just a couple of times in my years living here.

    But congrats on getting a piece acceptedd by them!!!

  3. I really appreciate this piece, Sarah. Thank you for your wonderful perspective. I feel like I belong in the pile of the maybe good and quirky, and so relieved to not have to be the best. But I do appreciate having access to the best at times!

  4. Miss Mary...

    I think that most of us are in that quirky pile most of the time...


Post a Comment

Popular Posts