Brian Feeney

Museum Life

At the Brooklyn Museum, the tech offices are on the sixth and top floor (inaccessible to the public). Anytime my eyes get that computer-screen-strain, I can take a fifteen minute break and wander the galleries. It's a lovely perk.

Art is refreshing. I'm really surprised I forgot that. There really isn't anything like galleries full of paintings, sculpture, antique furniture. There's a nice calm feeling about them. Images on the web are no substitute. When there is nothing artificial between the art and your eyes the connection is physical. You can feel it. Some pieces have a magnetism which draw you in and won't let you go. So I let them hold me for awhile, waiting to see what they might say to me. If nothing else, they seem grateful I gave them my attention for a time.

The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Sometimes the lights are out and the galleries dimly lit with only security lights. Walking around with the museum like this gives the art a different kind of life. They have down time, too, just like us.

The Brooklyn Museum isn't a huge one. It's sizable, but it's footprint is surely less than a quarter that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and our collection has a much quieter profile than, say, MoMA. Still, there's a lot of pride here, and our stated mission is wonderful: the goal of our institution is to be a museum for the local community, to exist for the visitor. We downplay our curatorial work and the academic stuff. It's a lovely environment to work in.

There is also the added benefit of meeting interesting people, and being in the mix. The museum had a really great Swoon exhibition up this last Spring and Summer and I met Calendonia Curry in the cafe line as we were buying our lunch. I told her I liked her work. I should have told her that I was in possession of a couple tossed off pieces that she had given to the museum and which had found their way into the Tech office. They are preliminary sketches for what she would eventually install in the gallery, an exhibit called Submerged Motherlands. I had them framed.


These feather/leaf screen prints will be my reminder of my time here at the museum.

The project I'm working on with the Tech team should bring people closer to all our art. It could help them to get a little more out of their time visiting with us. That's the hope, anyway. Working there, I've learned to love art again, and I hope this project might bring people closer to it, too.

August 30, 2014