What We Feel and What We Mean
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Brooklyn Museum

During our trip to the Brooklyn Museum, I found two exhibits to have an interesting relation. Firstly, Sanford Biggers’ exhibition, “Sweet Funk—An Introspective,” contained a particularly intriguing piece. The artist had taken a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. and added sculpting to the top in order to create the profile of President Barack Obama. Then, a light was placed on the side of the structure and the silhouette of Obama was projected onto the museum wall. These two prominent figures were placed in direct relation with each other. The sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. shows the past successes of the Civil Rights movement. The projected image of Barack Obama portrays the future of African American history in the United States. By placing these two figures in such close proximity, Biggers demonstrates the continuity of progress. This piece emphasizes the relations between two different yet potent eras in American history. The second selection that captivated me was the Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties collection. There was a section of this exhibit devoted to “modernity.” It displayed depictions of classic 1920s sceneries coupled with the progress of new and emerging technology. One particular painting showed a typical twenties kitchen table with a fruit bowl and characteristic tapestries and table settings. In addition to these items, there was a new and almost invasive invention—the telephone. These articles were shown in direct contrast to each other. The progress of technology can be seen as positive, but it can also be interpreted as intrusive. The pieces in this section focused on the movement towards modernity and the conflict between two eras. Both exhibits showed the advancement of time and how this evolution relates to different aspects of the period. Although these pieces were in separate wings of the museum, they still had reoccurring themes within both exhibitions.


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