This is one of the few places in the Western World where I have seen a museum devoted to the Arab World. Despite there being limited English text, the museum is worth visiting due to reminders that math and science are largely attributed to Arab inventions and discoveries.
Treasured silk was traded from Asia used to convert into garments and fabrics. The beautiful draped clothing takes advantage of the light that casts iridescent hues, and the geometric patterns found in many carpets and tapestries are reflective of the mathematical mind that developed in the Arab World. Other decorative patterns come from foliage and nature and often are in symmetrical, orderly arrangements.
One of my pursuits for this trip is to connect the dots between Western and Eastern cultures. The Arab World as well as Persia played a huge part in bridging this gap through trade and education.
1. Detail of aperture on the facade of the museum. Apertures are purported to adjust to the exterior light conditions but did not appear to have any consistency..
2. Intricate woven garment
3. Chest with geometric and foliate patterns
4. Carpet with geometric patterns
The Ai-Wei Wei exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum was thought-provoking and raised many issues about Chinese policies towards its own people. Many photographs of the artist revealed his early years living in New York
and his father’s background as a poet and artist. AWW is still very much from the genre of crude and glaringly graphic artists who emerged after the fall of the Gang of Four–use of nudity and human existence ( did I really need to see video clips of his barfing?) leave you nowhere to avoid his messages.
At the same time the use of everyday materials is clever and resourceful and often beautiful. For example, a traditional piece of furniture is cut to create a new appreciation of the craftsmanship and design of a familiar object (photo 3).
Photos, from top:
1. Common kitchen stools
2. Backpacks sewn together representing those from student killed in schoolhouse in Szechuan. Apparently there was no accounting of construction methods or whether rebars were installed in original building.
3. Traditional Chinese furniture put in a different dimension and respective.
1. Visit the Ai-Wei Wei exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum;(update: done)
2. Indulge in Balthazar pastries or read a paper during breakfast at the Neue Gallerie (update:done)
3. Take a walk on the Highline (update:done)