Since the 1990s, Yoko Ono has created her work Wish Tree in locations all over world. In honor of Ono’s acceptance of the Brooklyn Museum’s 2012 Women in the Arts Award, we have installed this work in our third floor elevator lobby through January 6, 2013. Additionally, in a rare opportunity to see an extended interview with Ono, we recorded the conversation I had with her during the program for the tenth annual Women in the Arts Luncheon, which took place at the museum on November 15.
A collaborative project between the artist and her audience, Wish Tree is Ono’s open invitation to viewers to write their own wishes on small tags that the writer then hangs on the live tree – making a kind of living monument to all our dreams, big and small. Ono has recounted that as a child in Japan she would write wishes on small pieces of paper which she then attached to the branches of flowering trees in the courtyard of a temple.
Yoko Ono's Wish Tree installed on our third floor.
Over the course of our exhibition, as the tree fills with wishes, the museum will occasionally collect the tags and at the end of the show, all the cards are returned to Ono, to be buried, unread, around her Imagine Peace Tower, a 2007 installation in Reykjavík, Iceland, dedicated to the memory of her late husband John Lennon. More than a million people have shared their wishes with Yoko Ono, and we invite you to add your dreams. As the artist has said, “All my works are a form of wishing. Keep wishing while you participate.”
Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Catherine J. Morris was an independent curator for more than twelve years prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum. Catherine has organized several exhibitions that explored issues related to feminism and its impact as a social, political, and intellectual construct on the development of visual culture.
Now that Seductive Subversion has closed, it’s time to look at the Wikipop project and report on what we’ve seen in the galleries over the run of the exhibition. In general, we believe this was one of our more successful interactives in the gallery, but want to remember that this is new and very attractive hardware; many visitors to the gallery reported that this was their first experience playing with an iPad and that alone is enough to boost traffic. With over 32,000 visitors to the show, we had roughly 12,000 sessions on the iPads and that meant that a fairly high percentage of visitors to the show used the devices [and giant disclaimer follows in the next paragraph, so please read it carefully].
More often than not, visitors were browsing the iPads in groups.
I’ll mention there is a lot of possible error with those numbers. For starters, we were seeing that the iPads were overwhelmingly social devices with often more than one person using them at a time, so while we can get a rough idea of sessions, it’s not indicative of how many visitors actually used them or how many of the same visitors may have used more than one device throughout their visit. In addition, there were some anomalies in the stats that had us questioning how we were capturing some of the metrics. That said, it seems better to release what we know and ask you to take these metrics with a grain of salt as we dive deeper into this post. (more…)
When I first saw Chryssa’s neon sculpture in storage in late 2004, the object was in an unexhibitable state, missing the two end pieces of the Plexiglas box, with scratches and small losses on the existing sides of the box. We also had no idea whether or not the neon lights worked.
Chryssa's Cents Sign Traveling From Broadway to Africa via Guadeloupe on view in Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968, October 15, 2010 through January 9, 2011 (Image: DIG_E2010_Seductive_Subversion_04_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010)
In January of 2005 we contacted David Ablon at Tecnolux a neon specialist who has worked with many artists who work in neon, including Chryssa herself. It was at that point we determined that the neon was in great working order. The outer box on the other hand was a problem. Before considering undertaking an extensive conservation treatment on a work of art by a living artist, it is necessary to consult the artist on possible treatment plans so that the conserved work will remain true to the artist’s intentions. Chryssa was born in 1933 and luckily for us was alive in 2005. Through a very circuitous route, (a Greek man in my Spanish class), we managed to find her contact information in NYC. We gained permission to have the outer box re-made so that the artwork could be exhibitable.
When Catherine Morris Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art put the Chryssa on the Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968 checklist, the project was a go! Grewe Plastics, Inc. was contracted to remake the neon box. They have worked with conservators from MOMA, and other artists in fabricating and re-fabricating precise plastic elements. The very difficult part in undertaking this conservation treatment was coordinating and communicating the work and the needs of the two specialists—the neon fabricator and the plastics fabricators—to ensure that the neon would fit inside the new box.
I first worked with David to disassemble the neon from the damaged box. A nerve racking process as Chryssa’s three dimensional neon tubes are extremely fragile. David can be heard in this video describing the colors of the neon before we begin the disassembly process. The difficult part for the plastics fabricators is that they had the original box, but had to replicate all of the holes, and transfer the internal shelves with extreme precision so that the neon tubes could be reinstalled inside the new box. Although there was a few moments of nail biting, both specialists were excellent and the end result is a completely transformed, exhibitable work of art.
Lisa Bruno is the head conservator of objects at the Brooklyn Museum, where she has been working since 1993. She has previously worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had internships at The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and in private practice. She has a Masters Degree in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum Art Conservation Department. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation.
This summer I had the opportunity to further investigate ways to teach students about feminist artworks from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection when I participated in “An Invitation to The Dinner Party Institute.” Held at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, the Institute was a short course dedicated to teaching K-12 teachers how to utilize The Dinner Party Curriculum Project to teach students about Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party and included topics that arise when looking at and discussing this artwork, such as feminism, gender, sexuality, women’s history, and women’s rights. Although brief, the time I spent in the Institute, with staff and participants was inspirational.
I travelled down to Kutztown for a couple of days and took part as a learner and student. We practiced Encounters, which are flexible entry points into teaching the work, rather than prescriptive lesson plans. This included watching Right out of History: the Making of Judy Chicago’s the Dinner Party and attending a presentation by art historian and co-author of Gender Matters in Art Education, Dr. Martin Rosenberg or Rutgers University, Camden.
On the third day, I travelled back to Brooklyn with the group. While at the Museum, participants had the chance to view and discuss The Dinner Party with artist and creator Judy Chicago; hear a curator talk of Kiki Smith’s exhibition Sojourn; and part-take in a hands-on lesson I taught modeling learning activities in the Fertile Goddess Teacher Packet.
This lesson showed how The Dinner Party can connect to women and artworks across history and time by joining the Fertile Goddess plate setting to ancient goddess figurines.
While some participants had known about The Dinner Party for many years, others were learning about it for the first time. For any teacher interested in teaching about feminism, feminist art, or The Dinner Party, I highly recommend using the 14 Encounters found in The Dinner Party K-12 Curriculum Project. I felt bonded to the participants I met through our passion for teaching and feminist art. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s stories of how they came to teaching art and the experiences that led them to want to learn more about Judy Chicago and The Dinner Party.
Cheri Ehrlich is a Senior Museum Educator and the Teen Programs Coordinator at the Museum. She is an Ed.D. candidate in Art and Art Education at Teachers College Columbia University, where she also received her Ed.M. Cheri holds a M.A.T. in Art from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and both a B.F.A. in Painting and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Cheri enjoys working with high school students because they are full of energy and great ideas. Since 2006, Cheri has been overseeing the Museum Apprentice Program and coordinating events for teens at the Museum.
"are you being cured
universal woman -
or are you still being held captive
in the cells of
the resourceful, patriarchal world? "
"This sounds hokey. Does the artist even know what the hell she's talking about or know what she is trying to say through her "art"... is the artist the one who actually created the art?
It seems like her talk was written by someone else... or she sounds like she's reading someone else's description of _her_ works..
how bizzarre! "
Ghost of Artists Past