Results tagged “Ballantine House” from Real Clear Arts

At the Brooklyn Museum* on Friday, I stopped in to see the just-opened Yinka Shonibare MBE exhibition, which runs through Sept. 20. Unbeknownst to me, it beautifully illustrates one of the Milligan House Parlor.jpgstrategies I was going to bring up at my lunch with Director Arnold Lehman for getting people interested in seeing museums' permanent collections. Lehman and the museum's curators were one step ahead of me: they had already displayed some of Shonibare's works within the permanent collection galleries.

Most of the Shonibare show is on view in the fourth-floor special exhibitions galleries, with a couple pieces on the first floor, too. But Brooklyn also asked him to make site-specific works that are on display -- surprise -- in its period rooms.

Retailers have used this strategy for years -- setting up boutiques for, say, Coach leather goods in a department store. When shoppers go in to buy a Coach bag, they stay to shop for other merchandise. (Well, they did.)

What Brooklyn did isn't unique in the museum world, but it's not common, either; other museums can take a lesson from its example. The execution in the Shonibare show is brilliant.

Brooklyn has wonderful period rooms, ranging from the Milligan House Parlor (above) to a Rockefeller House Moorish Room, yet I'd venture that they get little traffic compared with the rest of the museum. For this installation -- called Mother and Father Worked Hard So I Can Play -- Shonibare made seven figures of children, headless as usual and dressed in Victorian costumes of the same Dutch wax fabrics he uses in the rest of his show. 

June 28, 2009 8:30 PM | | Comments (2) |


Real Clear Arts This blog is about culture in America as seen through my lens, which is informed and colored by years of reporting not only on the arts and humanities, but also on business, philanthropy, science, government and other subjects... more

Judith H. Dobrzynski Now an independent journalist, I've worked as a reporter in the culture and business sections of The New York Times, and been the editor of the Sunday business section and deputy business editor there, and... more

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