Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for February 19—25

The American Revolution through gardening, get close to stinky cheese, monumental artwork at Brooklyn Museum and it’s NYC Beer Week in Kings County.
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The Old Stone House, portrayed in this historic rendering, is the perfect backdrop for a talk by
Andrea Wulf, author of The Founding Gardeners. See first item, below.

Thursday The Founding Gardeners, a talk and reception with design historian Andrea Wulf. Celebrate President’s Day with a fundraiser talk and wine reception for The Old Stone House. Our founding fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Bartram, Madison) were as passionate about gardening, agriculture and botany, as in their belief in liberty for the nation they were creating. Author Andrea Wulf will reveal their unique ideologies as the gardeners, plantsmen and farmers of the American Revolution. The Old Stone House, with its colonial heritage and habitat gardens, is the ideal setting and beneficiary for this evening. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Park Slope. 7pm-9pm.

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“It’s a pungent job but
someone has to do it,” says
Stinky Bklyn. (Photograph
by Morgan Ione Yeager.)

Thursday Affinage: the Sophisticated Art of Aging Cheese, a workshop with Christopher Killoran, shown left, of Stinky Bklyn, in conjunction with The Horticultural Society of NY (“The Hort”). Affinage is the process of washing, innoculating and injecting young cheeses with the molds, bacterias, cultures and enzymes that will allow the cheese to reach maturity and become delicious. This evening’s event will discuss the whole process, all while learning how to use, serve and enjoy cheese. The Hort is dedicated to urban gardeners, with the aim to grow a green community that values horticulture and the benefits gained to the environment, neighborhoods and lives. Advanced registration advised. Outer Brooklyn. 6:30pm.

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El Anatsui, Conspirators, 1997. Composed of individual strips of wood, this piece can be
arranged differently each time it is installed, reflecting the artist’s desire for his work
to remain dynamic. At Brooklyn Museum, see below. (Photograph by Andrew McAllister,
courtesy of the Akron Art Museum.)

Thursday Curator Tour, Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, Brooklyn Museum. Curator Kevin Dumouchelle will lead a free tour of this fascinating exhibit of wall and floor sculptures and installations. Ghanaian artist Anatsui converts found materials, often bottle caps, into colorful, textured hangings and site-specific sculptures. Prospect Heights. 6pm.

nycbg-centerimageFriday Opening Night Bash, New York City Beer Week. Rare and exotic beers from over 30 breweries will be poured at Galapagos Art Space. Sponsored by New York City Brewers Guild. DUMBO. 7pm-10pm. Through March 3, NYC Beer Week will bring together 12 NYC craft breweries, nationally and internationally renowned breweries, over 250 NYC beer destinations, celebrity chefs, and restaurants for the “beer spectacle” of the year. All Beer Week events in BKLYN and Outer BKLYN are listed on the site. Here’s a few other events that caught our attention for this weekend:

caption Robert Buchan

Beer Week tap takeover at Banter.
(Photograph by Robert Buchan.)

 Friday Banter, Williamsburg. New York tap takeover, with 24 craft beers on tap featuring rarities from New York’s finest brewers.

Saturday Fermented NY Craft Beer Crawl of Williamsburg, tour by Urban Oyster Tours.

Sunday The Owl Farm, Park Slope. Celebrating wheat beers: Berlinerweisses, Wheatwines, Weizenbocks, Goses and more.

montague street caption

A Montague Street view from The
Brooklyn Historical Society archives.

Saturday Big Onion Walking Tour of Historic Brooklyn Heights. Sponsored along with Brooklyn Historical Society, this two-hour tour will explore NYC’s first Landmark District. The walk starts at Borough Hall by Cadman Plaza, and ends with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Brooklyn Historical Society building. Along the way are sites associated with Gypsy Rose Lee, WEB DuBois, and others. Brooklyn Heights. 1pm.

61LocalSaturday 2 Year Anniversary Bash at 61 Local, a public house featuring locally crafted food, drink and the people who make it. Celebrate with special soda shandies from Brooklyn Soda Works, a raffle for a knife crafted by Joel Bukiewicz, Cut Brooklyn, with all proceeds of the evening to benefit BK Farmyards. At 8pm there will be a documentary screening that highlights the collaboration with these producers. Cobble Hill. Begins at 5pm.

Coney Island new: the shake was messy but great at newly-opened Tom's back in October 2012, pre-Sandy, but there's all that darn whipped cream! Read what my colleague Bruce Campbell had to say about Tom's Prospect Heights Egg Cream. (photograph, Brooklyn Artisan photo pool)

Coney Island new: the shake was messy but great at newly-opened Tom’s back in pre-Sandy October, but there’s all that darn whipped cream! Read what my colleague Bruce Campbell had to say about Tom’s Prospect Heights Egg Cream. (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan photo pool.)

Saturday and Sunday Ice Skating in BKLYN: If you’re missing the Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park, closed due to construction, try an afternoon of ice skating en plein air at Coney Island at the Abe Stark Rink. Until March 24, the rink is open weekends from 12:30pm-3:30pm. Skate rental is available. Hydrate and refuel at Tom’s, a branch of the venerable Prospect Heights eatery.

Sunday Oscar Party at Pine Box Rock Shop, a bartender/musician-owned vegan bar and performance space. Cast your ballot and enjoy champagne specials and free popcorn during the awards show. Pine Box promises awesome prizes to those whose ballots match the actual winners. Bushwick. 7pm.

9781118062975_cover.inddMonday Sandy Benefit Concert with jazz guitarist, singer, raconteur John Pizzarelli. Tonight’s fundraiser at powerHouse Arena will feature music and talk from one of the connoisseurs of The Great American Songbook. Pizzarelli will sign copies of his new memoir, World on A String. As the son of jazz-legend Bucky Pizzarelli, as the opening act for Frank Sinatra’s last tour, to performing with Paul McCartney in 2012—Pizzarelli has a lot of material to work with. DUMBO. 7pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the beginning of February

A mixed-bag of talks, rides, exhibits and Valentines for the shortest, but often sweetest, month.
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1922 meets 2013 with an amazing view at Jane’s Carousel. See Friday, Feb. 1.

begraciousThursday, Jan. 31 Artists’ Responses to Sandy, a panel discussion on relief efforts presented at School of Visual Arts. Five panelists will showcase work and discuss the impact the storm has had on the wider community as well as the art world: John Mattiuzzi, video artist; Jessica Rionero and Chelsea Marino, BeGracious.org; Kathy Shorr, The Summer in the City Project; Dena Muller, New York Foundation for the Arts. At SVA’s Amphitheater in Outer Brooklyn, Manhattan. 7pm-9pm.

janes_carousel-9

The Carousel was originally installed in Idora Park in
Youngstown, Ohio. Restoration began in 1984, and
the magnificent Carousel opened to the public in 2011.

Friday, Feb. 1 February Celebration at Jane’s Carousel. If you need an excuse for a treat this month, go for a two-for-one ride ($2) on Jane’s Carousel. Damage from you-know-who has been repaired, and the restored merry-go-round is in full splendor and ready for play—and it’s heated too. Made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, this carousel has 48 exquisitely carved horses and two chariots along with original scenic panels. The carousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is housed in a see-through minimalist pavilion designed in 2011 by Atelier Jean Nouvel. Brooklyn Bridge Park. DUMBO.

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Bees in the city: maybe not as scary as this looks. (Photograph from HoneybeeLives.)

Saturday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 3 Organic Beekeeping Workshop, led by HoneybeeLives beekeeper/bee doctor Chris Harp, and beekeeper Grai Rice. This is a hands-on one- or two-day workshop to learn about Chris and Grai’s gentle approach to organic beekeeping. Saturday: Plan a new hive this spring by learning about bee communities and instincts, as well as beekeeper responsibilities. Sunday: How to care for bees through hive design, health and disease management, seasonal concerns. Pre-registration advised. The Commons, Boerum Hill. 10am-6pm each day.

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Part of Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, this Kachina looks ready to party.

Saturday, Feb. 2 Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum. If you’ve attended in the past, you know that from 5pm until 11pm, happy crowds of families, neighborhood types, and fun-seekers descend upon the museum (admission is free) to partake in programs of art and entertainment. The Dance Party, alas, has been put on hold, but there’s still plenty to explore. This month’s First Saturday is themed African Innovations and includes music, dance, hands-on activities, and a fashion showcase/performance by New York-based designers with music by Ethiopian DJ Sirak.

Melissa Godoy Nieto Myrtle ave caption tkSaturday, Feb. 2 A Patchwork Story: Myrtle Windows Gallery. Opening this evening, A Patchwork Story is on view in eight storefronts along Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Over nine artists (Melissa Godoy Nieto’s work is at left) have contributed works to this month-long, curated exhibit that draws inspiration from African American quilts as part of personal identity and cultural heritage. Part of Black Artstory Month on Myrtle, in honor of Black History Month. Reception at Sans Souci Restaurant. 6:30pm-9pm.

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Sesame Letterpress will pass
along their love of letterpress
on a Vandercook at Etsy Labs.

hearts_lg-300x224Monday, Feb. 3 Etsy Hands-On: Letterpress Valentines, a printing workshop from font-loving Sesame Letterpress. Here’s a chance to get an introduction to letterpress printing using the Etsy Labs’s Vandercook press. After learning about the process and printing a Valentine’s Day card, students will get to personalize their work using colored pencils, ephemera, and other collage materials. The typography class at my college, Tyler School of Art, included a semester’s worth of handset type printed on a Vandercook. Pre-digital, totally bespoke—it was hard work but a lot of fun. DUMBO. 5pm-8pm.

Tuesday, Feb. 4 How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs. Brooklyn-based online marketplace UncommonGoods is sponsoring a panel discussion about the whys and ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices in your business. Guests can present their designs and ideas for feedback by emailing in advance—or tweet #howtomakeitUG. Following the talk, there will be a networking happy hour (free Brooklyn Brewery beer) to mingle and meet panelists Tiffany Threadgould, chief design junkie at TerraCycle, Rebecca Krauss, EcoBizNYC, and Yuka Yoneda, editor of inhabitat.com. At Powerhouse Arena, DUMBO. 6:30pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for January 25, 26, 27

Paulette Tavormina: Natura Morta. Lemons and Pomegranates, after J.V.H., 2010. Robert Mann Gallery

Paulette Tavormina Natura Morta. Lemons and Pomegranates, after J.V.H., 2010.
From her solo exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery.

Too beautiful to pass by: Paulette Tavormina Natura Morta, a solo exhibition of photographs at Robert Mann Gallery. In the manner of Irving Penn and Edward Weston, Tavormina’s work depicts intensely personal images that recall old-master still-life paintings depicting edible objects. Her bio notes that she is an avid collector of butterflies and insects, shells, dried flowers and ceramics, and has worked as a food stylist in Hollywood. Outer Brooklyn—Chelsea, Manhattan. through March 9.

The Reuben is one of over ten typical sandwiches offered daily at Court Street Grocers.

Friday dinners and daily Reubens.

Friday: The next in a series of Friday Night Dinner at Court Street Grocers. According to Serious Eats, this larder-cum-sandwich place is run by “three dudes [who] just want to sell all the seriously good stuff they can find across the country.” And present a monthly BYOB dinner in their side dining room. Friday’s menu of five courses features ingredients such as octopus with caesar vinaigrette, crispy chicken skin and maytag blue cheese, bone marrow and bbq sunchokes. Court Street Grocers’s Red Hook annex was severely damaged by Sandy and owners Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross are depending on crowdsourced fund-raising through Smallknot to help restore. Carroll Gardens. Reserve—two seatings at 7pm and 9:30pm are sure to fill up fast.

BBG will celebrate the full moon tonight.

BBG will celebrate Saturday’s full moon with giant puppets and stilt dancers.

Saturday: Winter Cheese Party at The JakeWalk. Under the auspices of Stinky Bklyn, brush up on your knowledge of cheese pairings with wine, beer and cocktails during the cold days of January. After this week’s bitter temps, The JakeWalk’s comfy neighborhood vibe will keep things upbeat and toasty. Carroll Gardens. 1pm.

great for families Saturday and Sunday: Illuminated at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A series of winter pop-up events done Swedish-style. Featured on Saturday: a handstand class for adults, where lack of coordination is a plus (sign up begins at 10:30am for noon class). Moonlight Lantern Walk with giant puppets and stilt dancers celebrating the full moon at the Cherry Esplanade (6pm-8pm). On Sunday, the Mitten Lounge becomes a clubhouse for 9- to 15-year-olds complete with human pyramids, crafts, an acrobatic mandala and a flashlight tour. (12pm-5pm)

libraryCommons

Beyond research and reading: the new co-working
facility is structured for multi-media use.

bpl_logoAnother reason to keep your library card active: More exciting than the discussions about branding and the new logo is the opening of the Information Commons space at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. The Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons, located on the first floor, consists of public meeting rooms, a training lab and an open workspace. The workspace is equipped with ten iMacs and two HP design stations for general public use; each is equipped with Adobe CS6 Creative Suite, Audacity, Pro Tools, Office, Final Cut Pro X, and more creative and production software. One of seven meeting rooms—that can be reserved online—doubles as an amateur recording studio for audio and video projects. The room offers a video DSLR camera, microphones, and an iMac editing workstation. It’s wonderful that the Library is encouraging multi-media creativity, as well as being a local workstation source in case your Mac has a kernel panic or otherwise misbehaves.

elbowroom_facebook

Deceptively small-looking
portions are probably spot-on.

But it’s worth it: I have to thank fellow bloggers at Brooklyn Based for turning me on to a topic that is only slightly less talked about than Michelle’s bangs: Elbow Room’s mac and cheese menu. Located at the Barclays Center, the diet-wrecking selections start with Chef Luis Ulloa’s excellent mac-and-cheese base and add creative toppings. Poutine Mac (short rib gravy, yukon french fries, fresh cheese curds), Brats and Beer (Esposito’s sausage, Bronx Brewery Ale, caramelized onion), Mushroom Mac (crimini mushroom, spinach, Vermont gruyère, crispy shallots) are tempting…even if Lobster Macaroni Salad is more commonplace now. Elbow Room is open during Barclays Center events and to the public during non-event times. To do: bank the points, slip on the Fuel Band, promise to repent and report back. Prospect Heights.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, January 17 through 22

Two tons of sugar, truffled polenta, MLK day of service, borscht belt memories, brainiacs and more
Two tons of sugar make up Aude Moreau's Sugar Carpet, on view at Smack Mellon, part of Brooklyn/Montréal Contemporary Art event in DUMBO.

A carpet made up of sugar—two tons of it—is on view at Smack Mellon,
part of Brooklyn/Montréal Contemporary Art event in DUMBO.

logo_bmOngoing through February 2: Brooklyn/Montréal Contemporary Art. Brooklyn and Montréal, both leading centers of contemporary art, have created events and exhibitions that highlight artistic differences and similarities between the two cities. The first half of this event was held in Montréal in late fall. The second half, happening now throughout DUMBO, has eight art venues and 40 artists participating. At Smack Mellon, Montréal artist Aude Moreau’s Sugar Carpet (detail, shown above) is a large-scale installation comprised of 2 tons of refined white sugar that has been meticulously worked to look like a Persian rug. This is the first exhibition installed at Smack Mellon since Sandy flooded their Artist Studio Program and lower-level spaces. Complete programming information and venues are listed on the event website.

From Mediterranean Slow Cooking

Exquisite ingredients, from Michele Scicolone’s newly-released cookbook The Mediterranean Slow Cooker.

logoJanuary 17 • Thursday: Know Your Books: Free consultation with rare bookseller Honey & Wax. Want to find out if your copy of Nancy Drew: The Password to Larkspur Lane is valuable? The Community Bookstore is hosting a talk about contemporary book collecting, along with an Antiques Roadshow-style opportunity to have your old or not-so-old book appraised by Heather O’Donnell, founder of Honey and Wax Booksellers. Park Slope. 7pm.

January 19 • Saturday: Eat, Shop and Learn with author Michele Scicolone at A.L.C. Italian Grocery and Alimentari (featured in Brooklyn Artisan’s 12 Tastes of Brooklyn). Sample truffled polenta made with Italian black truffle butter, from Michele’s newly-released The Mediterranean Slow Cooker. Michele’s best-selling cookbooks receive high marks from notables such as Mario Batali, Dorie Greenspan and Lidia Bastianich. Bay Ridge. 12:30pm-3:30pm.

January 21 • Monday: Martin Luther King Day of Service. Brooklyn residents can join in with others across the country to honor Dr. King’s legacy by participating in local performances and community service activities. Here’s a few suggestions:

Layout 1Long Island University. Screening of We Shall Not Be Moved: Downstate ’63.” Speakers, discussions, performances, followed by an afternoon of service activities in the community. Downtown Brooklyn. 11am-1pm.

Brooklyn Academy of Music. Tribute kicks off with keynote by musician and humanitarian Harry Belafonte, Jr. Performances by Fort Greene/Clinton Hill’s Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, and R&B duo Kindred the Family Soul. Included is a live simulcast of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Fort Greene. First-come, first-seated tickets distributed at 8am for 10:30am start.

Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen is still out there needing support.

Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen is still out there needing support.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Usually closed on Mondays, the garden is open with free admission. 10am-4:30pm.

Stating the obvious: lots of organizations have an ongoing need for volunteers and dollars. On our list: Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen, an outcome of the around-the-clock food prep efforts at Two Boots; Masbia, a Brooklyn-based network of soup kitchens; CHIPS with a desperate need for men’s winter clothing.

When the dining room was closed, Kutsher’s Coffee Shop was always open, just in case you needed a nosh. (Photograph copyright by filmmakers Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg.)

If the dining room was closed, the coffee shop was usually open…just in case you needed a nosh between meals. (Photograph © by filmmakers Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg.)

January 22 • Tuesday: Screening, filmmaker discussion and tasting. Revisit New York’s last standing Catskill resort, Kutsher’s, with a screening and discussion of the 2012 award-winning documentary Welcome to Kutsher’s. It was in Kutsher’s large, communal dining room that traditional Eastern European Jewish food collided with American abundance. As part of the evening, you’ll taste traditional borscht belt specialities like Herring Salad à la Jenny Grossinger and Aunt Lilly’s Vegetarian Chopped Liver. Then sample some reimagined dishes from über-popular Kutsher’s Tribeca (the owner is fourth-generation Kutsher) such as Duck Breast Pastrami and Roasted Beet Salad with Marinated Goat Cheese, Fingerlings, Greens and Artichokes. Ah, this is not the eat-til-you-burst menu choices of my Grandmother’s days. Part of the Culinary Conversations series at the Tenement Museum, Outer Brooklyn, Manhattan. 6:30pm.

secretscienceJanuary 22 • Tuesday: The paradigm-shifting Secret Science Club meets at The Bell House. Attend 2013’s first monthly meeting with a group of self-proclaimed brainiacs. Astrophysicist Jeremiah Ostriker will explore the Dark Duo of dark matter and dark energy. You’re requested to strap on your rocket pack, bring your smart self, and enjoy energizing talk, a deep, dark cocktail of the night, and brain-boggling Q&A. Park Slope. 8pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Brooklyn Museum Meetup: Four Bourgeois Heroes

Brooklyn Museum courtyard: Brooklyn chest-pack Dad confronts Rodin statued

“THEY ARE VOLUNTARILY BOUND TO THE SAME SACRIFICE, but each of them plays the role suited to his individuality, his age and position,” Auguste Rodin said about the heroic citizens of Calais; four of his six bronzes of the  “Burghers of Calais” are currently on view in the Brooklyn Museum courtyard. The work was commissioned in 1875 by the Calais town council to commemorate events more than 500 years in the past (see Backstory, below), and Rodin’s winning proposal was solidly within the academic tradition of French Beaux Arts. Also, the story goes, he promised to deliver six statues for the price of one. But, as anyone on any side of the Atlantic Yards development can attest, what you think is approved is not necessarily how it turns out.

As delivered, the work was a major break with traditional Beaux-Arts monumental statuary. (Just a short walk from the Brooklyn Museum, an example of neo-classical Beaux-Arts style sits atop Grand Army Plaza’s Soldiers’ and  Sailors’ Arch, complete with the pyramid-shaped arrangement of figures led by the allegorical figure of Columbia who represented the Nation.) In developing his work, Rodin drew on the account of a contemporary of the historic events in Calais, Jean Froissart, and learned the personal histories and social background of the six men who volunteered as hostages to save their city. Rodin worked from carefully chosen live models – including a descendant of one of the six heroes – and then deliberately oversized the hands and feet to make gestures and stance more expressive. These figures show the suffering, humiliation and humanity of their situation. Greatness has been thrust upon them, and it is agonizing. [Read more…]

ODD CONNECTIONS: ‘Avarice’ at the Brooklyn Museum and ….

Brooklyn Museum "Avarice" Fernando Mastrangelo 2008IT’S A SHOW-STOPPING GRAND FINALE TO BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S GREAT-HALL EXHIBIT Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn, and no wonder, for the piece is spectacular. To Brooklyn Artisan’s surprise, it’s even more striking in situ than Gaston Lachaise’s monumental “Standing Woman” –  which we’d gone there to have another fond look at. (That, and the bronze foursome from Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” who’re standing around in the covered courtyard.)

What stunned us – and won us –  is the disc-shaped piece almost ten feet in diameter that’s called “Avarice.” Part of the museum’s collection of contemporary art, it was made in 2008 by Fernando Mastrangelo, who was then 30. Mastrangelo is a Brooklyn-based artist (whose mom lives in Texas, one learns from his Facebook page). As the name suggests, “Avarice” combines art and politics. Its artistic basis is, of course, the circa-1500 Aztec Calendar Stone – which recorded the creation story of the Aztec world – with the face of Tonatiuh, the Sun God, at the center. The political statement is what it’s made of, a wry example of Marshall McCluhan’s dictum that “the medium is the message.” The media in this case are:  White corn, white and yellow corn meal, epoxy, fiberglass, wood, and metal. (And maybe just a small shovelful from the recycling bin?)

In adjacent panels, some cobs and a Coke. Sounds like a summer snack in Mississippi.

In nearby panels, some cobs and a Coke. Staples of an American summer diet.

Toothpaste, spark plug, sliced lunch meat, see anything else?

Toothpaste, spark plugs, deli sliced meat. (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

The museum sign also tells us, “The depiction of corn-based products draws attention to Mexico’s mass cultivation of corn to meet energy needs (via ethanol) and foreign consumer demands.” The Aztec visual reference brings up the whole sordid story of the Spanish Conquest; the devil in the details, however, is the “avarice” of North American agribusiness and consumer culture. Take a look at these close-ups and the large image at top, and you’ll find some telltale items.

Political art is nothing new for Mastrangelo; his 2010 TED Talk spoke of art as an evolving way to record history, to tell the story and capture the spirit of one’s times, including in today’s digital world. Last year he had a 3-month show in Miami at the Charest-Weinberg Gallery called Black Sculpture. The gallery write-up makes clear this is not about race. “After creating exact molds based on the work of Frank Stella and Ad Reinhardt, Mastrangelo casts his reliefs out of compacted gunpowder. The pieces teeter on the precipice of annihilation.” Yikes, talk about jimmy-crack-corn. “Yet the pieces are not simply bombastic,” the gallery says; “submerged beneath the tense potential for destruction is an elegiac calm. They give form to the Existential angst that inspired their Cold War-era predecessors….The black gunpowder, coupled with the Reinhardt’s cruciform and Stella’s teleological line work, firmly suggests an end of something.” Indeed. One hopes all future shows will be firmly No-Smoking zones.

Brooklyn Artisan came across what seemed to be a clear Brooklyn influence in Mastrangelo’s other discographic work from 2008 (click through to have a look). Though our favorite was composed of “Turquoise Sugar, Red Arbol Chili, Corn, Corn meal” and titled “Xochiquetzal,” we knew at a glance its visual vocabulary was from Brownstone Brooklyn’s   ornate plaster ceiling medallions, including the hole for the chandelier.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall: The stated purpose of the Brooklyn Museum exhibit is to “create new ways of looking at art by making connections between cultures as well as objects…. Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn was a joint effort of the Brooklyn Museum’s curators, organized by Kevin Stayton, Chief Curator. The installation was designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer at the Brooklyn Museum” and financial support for the long-term installation came from Lisa and Dick Cashin. Brooklyn Artisan salutes them all, but as much as we enjoyed working the room, we do admire this comment shown on the museum’s own web site: “it’s a strange collection that doesn’t seem to sync with each other. reminds me more of a victorian living room than a museum exhibit.” — Posted by Tameka G.

From totally outside the museum scope, there was one more odd cultural connection we couldn’t help making. Last fall Brooklyn Artisan visited another great hall exhibit, “American Made,” put on in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station by Martha Stewart. In our photos made at the time, take a look at the sign and its detail.

Painter's tape, sparkly braid and bating brush.

Painter tape, sequin braid, brush.

From the exhibit in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall.

From Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall.

A Zen Palace of Materials and Makers in Outer Brooklyn

Museum of Arts and Design's mission is to honor the relationship between materials and maker, with processes ranging from the artisanal to the digital. Exhibitions, such as the current Playing with Fire: 50 Years of Contemporary Glass, blur distinctions between art, design and craft. Shown above, Tastes Like Applebees, 2007, Matt Eskuche. Flameworked glass, twine, steel, clothespins. (Photograph by David Behl). On exhibit through April 7.

Museum of Arts and Design‘s mission is to honor the relationship between materials and maker, with processes ranging from the artisanal to the digital. Exhibitions, such as the current
Playing with Fire: 50 Years of Contemporary Glass, blur distinctions between art, design
and craft. Shown above, Tastes Like Applebees, 2007, Matt Eskuche. Flameworked glass,
twine, steel, clothespins. (Photograph by David Behl.) On exhibit through April 7.

A friend lives in this cool Brooklyn loft. She decorates in a wonderfully minimalist style and I bet she can’t pass Roche Bobois without salespeople waving hello. In contrast, I’m on a first-name basis at the Stickley store. I’m jealous of Ms. Minimalist’s space as it always has a restorative zen-like appeal to me. So when I can’t visit my friend and need to reset my senses from all the dark wood and overstuffed/overpropped places I hang in, I head to The Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle. The clean lines of the building’s architecture, the open and quiet exhibit spaces, and beautifully curated and installed exhibits recharge me creatively and spiritually.

The Art of Scent 1889-2012 is on display through February 24.

The Art of Scent 1889-2012 is on display through February 24.

I was wowed by the design of the current exhibition, The Art of Scent 1889-2012. As shown in the photograph above, this open space is minimal, futuristic, even daunting when you first approach the exhibit. My initial reaction was that I didn’t know what to make of it until I followed others and placed my head into one of twelve carved wall spaces. Fragrance softly wafts up to your nose, and written descriptions of the scents light up next to the space. The museum states that it purposely created a space devoid of all visual indicators, such as logos and marketing materials, so that visitors would concentrate on smell only. That would explain the almost-totally white room one encounters. [Read more…]

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