When you have one of the largest front stoops in Brooklyn, it makes sense to turn it into an outdoor performance location.
This fall, the Brooklyn Museum is hosting Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings, an outdoor exhibition of video art on its public plaza every Wednesday through Sunday evening.
The two-hour-long screenings take place starting at 6 pm each evening, with videos playing twice on Fridays and Saturdays. The museum reopened for indoor visitors on September 12 following nearly six months of closure due to COVID-19 with General Admission and General Admission PLUS tickets timed in 15-minute increments. No tickets are required for the stoop.
The General Admission PLUS ticket includes Studio 54: Night Magic, extended through October 8, 2020, traces the radiant history, social politics, and trailblazing aesthetics of the most iconic nightclub of all time. Behind the velvet rope, partygoers of all backgrounds and lifestyles could come together for nights of music, dazzling lights, and the popular song and dance “The Hustle.”
Organized chronologically, Studio 54: Night Magic uses photography, fashion, drawing, and film, as well as never-before-exhibited costume illustrations, set proposals, and designs, to place the nightclub within the wider history of New York, from Prohibition through the 1970s. Blueprints and architecture models illustrate the club’s innovative development and creation, while documentation of extravagant theme parties traces its thirty-three month run. The exhibition continues through the years after the nightclub’s closure, showing the ongoing influence of Studio 54 aesthetics.
Art on the Stoop uses the plaza as a bridge to the Museum’s collection through November 8, highlighting several video works that have been commissioned by the Museum in recent years. The videos are presented on a 30-foot screen atop the Museum’s tiered seating that overlooks the plaza. They include:
Tourmaline’s Salacia (2019), which explores the insurgent power of the historic life of Mary Jones, a Black transgender woman who lived in New York City during the early nineteenth century.
Rashaad Newsome’s KNOT (2014), which signifies the cultural ascendance of ballroom culture and heralds the legacy and longevity of vogue dancing’s Black, Latinx, queer, and trans originators.
Marilyn Minter’s Smash (2014), evoking the power of feminism in shattering proverbial glass ceilings.
Art on the Stoop also features COVID-19 public service announcement–style videos by Carrie Mae Weems, as well as an installation by Weems wrapped around the plaza seats leading up to the video screen. The installation and announcements bring awareness to the greater impact of the pandemic on Black, brown, and Indigenous communities, as a result of economic and social inequities. Weems uses the visual language of advertising, combining photographs, text, and bold graphics, to promote measures known to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The installation also thanks the dedicated frontline workers who continue to help New Yorkers through the pandemic, and encourages people to vote in upcoming elections.
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