Exhibitions: The New Merengue

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels

The altarpiece of which this is a direct replica was commissioned from Luini in 1523 for the church of San Magno in the Northern Italian tow...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Candelabrum

    Cornelius & Company exhibited a pair of fifteen-foot-tall candelabra in the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and was...

    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    PSC_E1992i049.jpg PSC_E1992i048.jpg PSC_E1992i047.jpg PSC_E1992i046.jpg PSC_E1992i045.jpg PSC_E1992i044.jpg PSC_E1992i043.jpg PSC_E1992i042.jpg PSC_E1992i041.jpg PSC_E1992i040.jpg PSC_E1992i039.jpg PSC_E1992i038.jpg PSC_E1992i029.jpg PSC_E1992i028.jpg PHO_E1992i003.jpg PHO_E1992i002.jpg PHO_E1992i001.jpg

    The New Merengue

    Press Releases ?
    • December 1991: PRESS PREVIEW: Thursday, January 30, 1992, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Special motorcoach service will be available to the Museum from Manhattan, departing from the Central Park side of the Plaza Hotel at 5:30 p.m. and from the southeast corner of West Broadway and Houston at 6:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Please RSVP to the Public Information office, (718) 638-5000, ext. 330/331.

      The migration of Caribbean and African Americans to Brooklyn is the subject of The Brooklyn Museum’s twenty-ninth Grand Lobby project, The New Merengue, which opens on January 31 and continues through May 3, 1992. The site-specific work will be designed by sculptor Houston Conwill (b. 1947), architect Joseph De Pace (b. 1954), and poet Estella Conwill Majozo (b. 1949), three Harlem-based artists who have collaborated on projects for more than five years.

      The New Merengue pulls together seemingly disparate elements—Caribbean music and dance, the blues, architectural components of Chartres Cathedral, geography, and numerology—into a coherent project that unites the movements of migration, pilgrimage, and the dance of the merengue. While Conwill, De Pace, and Majozo’s work has been called both modern and postmodern, they resist these art-historical labels and place their work in a genre they call “High Funk.” “High Funk,” they state, “is a deliberate contradiction in terms. It conjugates the high (the transcendent—metaphorically, the ancestral plane) with the low (the working, the funktional).”

      The installation consists of a large mirrored map, or cosmogram, mounted on the back wall of the Grand Lobby, with Weeksville, the nineteenth-century Brooklyn community settled by African Americans, at the center. Situated between the Grand Lobby’s two columns will be a freestanding photograph of a young black woman from the 19th century. She is the symbolic ancestor of several of the individuals from Brooklyn quoted on the cosmogram, including Shirley Chisholm, Lena Horne, Ira Alridge, and Sammy Davis, Jr. The original tintype of this unknown woman was found in the late 1960s excavation of Weeksville and is called “The Weeksville Lady.” She, along with the viewer, is mirrored in the cosmogram and incorporated into the installation, thereby joining the pilgrimage taken by Brooklyn blacks.

      At the crossroads of the cosmogram is Weeksville, now a part of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Placed about the cosmogram are fourteen other Brooklyn sites the artists call “spiritual signposts of African-American history and culture.” These sites, corresponding to the fourteen Stations of the Cross, include the original location of the Bridge Street Church, established in 1818 and a stop on the Underground Railroad; Wallabout Bay (now the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard), where 11,644 Americans, both black and white, died on British prison ships during the Revolution; and Ebbets Field, where Jackie Robinson first played with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, breaking the color barrier in major league baseball.

      Conwill and Majozo are brother and sister and were born in Louisville, Kentucky. New York-born De Pace met Conwill in 1984 when they were Prix de Rome fellows at the American Academy in Rome. The trio have employed the cosmogram in other works, often with reference to a specific dance as in The New Cakewalk (1989) at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and The New Charleston (1991) at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

      In conjunction with the exhibition there will be an artist-in-residence program, “Conversation with the Artists,” in which Conwill, De Pace, and Majozo, along with curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport, will give a slide presentation on their past and present collaborations. The program will be held Sunday, April 12, at 3 p.m., and is free with Museum admission.

      The Grand Lobby project was organized by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, with the assistance of Pamela S. Johnson, a curatorial intern funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. The exhibition and its associated Artist-in-Residence programs are made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 01-06/1992, 097-99. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3

    advanced 109,021 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Recently Tagged Exhibitions

    Recent Comments

    "Hi Aimee, I think you mean Oreet Ashery? More information can be found in her profile on the Feminist Art Base: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/oreet_ashery.php?i=266"
    By shelley

    "Hi, I am trying to find the name of the artist who took and is in the photograph that follows- http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/exhibitions/664/Global_Feminisms_Remix/image/216/Global_Feminisms_Remix._%7C08032007_-_03032008%7C._Installation_view. I believe the artist takes pictures of herself dressed as a man but then exposes her femaleness, as in the photo of her dressed as an Ascetic Jew exposing her breast. Can you help me find her information? Thanks in advance- Aimee Record"
    By Aimee Record

    "For more information on Louis Schanker and the New York Art Scene of the mid 1900's go to http://www.LouisSchanker.info "
    By Lou Siegel

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.

    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
    This section utilizes the New York Times API in order to display related materials in New York Times publications.