New York City boasts an incomparable collection of premier art museums. The Brooklyn Museum is one the largest and most important, attracting half a million visitors each year.
The Brooklyn Museum opened its doors in 1897, making it one of the oldest museums in the country. The beautiful 560,000 square-foot Beaux-Arts building that houses the museum is surrounded by picturesque parks and gardens including Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Prospect Park Zoo.
The second-largest museum in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum showcases a permanent collection of more than one and a half million objects including a celebrated collection of mummies, feminist art, and buzzed-about temporary exhibitions. Click to book your Brooklyn Museum admission ticket.
The World on Display
The Brooklyn Museum is known for its diverse collections that reflect a wide range of cultures. From its massive, world-renowned galleries of Egyptian and African art to the Asian and Islamic collections, the museum features a rich representation of works of art from many different heritages.
The first floor of the museum features the Arts of Africa and the Arts of the Pacific. Arts of Asia and the Islamic World occupies the second floor, and Egyptian Art and European Paintings are found on the third floor. The museum is famous for its fascinating permanent collection of ancient Egyptian material including mummies and objects related to mummification. Contemporary, feminist, and decorative art galleries are located on the fourth floor and the Luce Center for American Art is situated on the fifth floor of the museum.
Also located on the first floor is the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden, which features outdoor architectural sculptures and fragments that once adorned New York City buildings. Salvaged from demolition sites, much of the collection is works by anonymous craftsmen dating from the turn of the 20th century, including a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Located on the fourth floor of the Brooklyn Museum are the decorative arts galleries, an exhibit of historical rooms including 23 complete American period rooms that were taken apart at their original locations, moved, and put back together at the museum. Visitors experience the actual interior design and furnishings of the rooms in 18th and 19th-century American homes, from early dining halls to opulent rooms such as John D. Rockefeller’s Moorish smoking room from his 54th Street mansion.
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Opened in 2007, this 8300 square-foot space also on the fourth floor of the museum features rotating exhibits and events that showcase important works of art by women. The anchor of the center is Judy Chicago’s celebrated piece The Dinner Party, a permanent installation acquired by the Brooklyn Museum in 2007. First exhibited in 1979, this integral piece toured the world extensively, drawing great praise as well as criticism.
The Dinner Party (which took six years and cost a quarter of a million dollars to produce) portrays 39 dinner place settings for 39 women of historical significance. The artist’s motivation for this piece was to “end the ongoing cycle of omission in which women were written out of the historical record.’
The Dinner Party isn’t the only piece of art at the Brooklyn Museum that made waves in the art world. In 1999 it hosted the controversial exhibition “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection,” which caused an uproar with its erotic and challenging pieces.
The work which caused the most protest was The Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili, a piece made with a variety of materials including paper collage, glitter, and elephant dung. So overwhelming was the outcry over the exhibition that New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani threatened to withdraw government funding from the museum.
Many powerful figures rallied in the museum’s defense, including Hillary Clinton. The museum did lose government funding for a brief period however it was quickly restored, and Ofili’s piece was guarded by the protective glass and an armed officer while it was on display.
Visiting Brooklyn Museum
Address: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY, 11238-6052
Click here to visit Brooklyn Museum website.