Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Afternoon at the Brooklyn Museum: "HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture"

We spent several wonderful hours this Christmas Eve afternoon in an uncrowded Brooklyn Museum, taking in HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, nearly intact a year after its controversial mounting at the National Portrait Gallery that got right-wing nuts -- in other words, Republicans in Congress -- all agitated.

The New York Times called HIDE/SEEK "the first major museum exhibition to focus on homosexuality and to trace some of the ways that same-sex desire — and unconventional notions of masculinity and femininity in general — have been manifested in early Modern, Modern and postmodern American art, as evinced primarily in portraiture."

We found it utterly fascinating, even it did focus on the big names, both as artists and subjects, and are grateful to the Brooklyn Museum for bringing it to New York and to the exhibition's organizers, Jonathan D. Katz, an art historian at the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York, and David C. Ward, a historian at the National Portrait Gallery.

After spending a long time at HIDE/SEEK, we wandered around the Brooklyn Museum, which we used to go to starting when we were about four years old in 1955. Our pediatrician until we turned 18, Dr. Jacob L. Stein, had his office on the ground floor of Turner Towers directly across Eastern Parkway, and we often combined a checkup and polio shot with a visit to the museum, which has changed considerably over more than half a century.

On our last day in Brooklyn before we go back to Arizona tomorrow, it was great to visit the Brooklyn Museum, a place we've gone back to many, many times over the decades of our life. We hope to be back when we can.

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