It’s up to you to figure out where the art begins and the authentic ends in the new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.
Opening this week, “Playing House” is the result of four contemporary artists who reimagined eight of the museum’s period rooms. Normally these rooms allow visitors to get a taste for the decor and furnishings of eras gone by — illustrating how Americans from various times, economic levels, and locations lived. But in the hands of artists Betty Woodman, Ann Agee, Mary Lucier and Anne Chu, the 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century rooms have been transformed into evocative mash-ups of centuries-old furnishings with modern textiles, unexpected embellishments, and video installations. This exhibition, which runs through August 12, 2012, is the first in a series that will briefly renovate all of the Brooklyn Museum’s 23 period rooms.
Of course the eye-popping overhauls are about more than just aesthetics. The artists‘ work seeks to redefine each era and force visitors to re-consider history, social order and context.
Agee, an installation artist, transformed one of the museum’s most luxurious rooms into an artist’s studio while Woodman arranged her own ceramic creations atop 200-year-old tables. Lucier, a descendant of Dutch and Huguenot settlers, created videos that play on the antique furniture — a delightful anachronism in a room that pre-dates television by at least a century.
“Playing House” is just one exhibition among many currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the largest art institutions in the U.S. The Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collections represent nearly every culture around the world, and span thousands of years of human history — from ancient Egyptian artifacts to masterpieces by contemporary artists.
The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway, and is easily accessible by subway, bus or car. Open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets to the Brooklyn Museum are available now.