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When you visit the Brooklyn Museum, you can use our app to ask us questions or chat about the artwork you see.

You’ll be connected with a team of art historians and educators who know our collection, can answer your questions, and can give you recommendations on what to see next. 

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Explore our permanent collection or a special exhibition on a guided group tour led by one of our friendly and experienced Museum Guides, or on your own with a self-guided group tour. These tours are for adult groups with at least 10 people, last about one hour, and can be tailored to meet the interests and needs of your group.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're renovating our second floor to bring you a better experience, which means the Libraries and Archives are closed to the public until spring 2017. If you're a researcher who would like to access our resources, send us an email and we'll do our best to assist you.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fifth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fourth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Third Floor

Also on the Third Floor: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Our Second Floor galleries are currently closed for renovations.

Also on the Second Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Parking
Parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays, there's a flat rate of $6 starting at 5 p.m. Park your bicycle in the rack behind the building, next to our sculpture garden.

Shopping
Our Shop offers an eclectic mix of gifts, jewelry, books, clothing, crafts, and foods from around Brooklyn and around the world. Shop hours

Dining
Stop by the BKM Café or BKM Bowl. Planning a group tour? Consider a catered lunch for your group. (Saul is temporarily closed to bring you an exciting new Brooklyn dining experience.)

Rest Rooms
Rest rooms are on the first and third floors (floor plan), are wheelchair accessible, and have baby-changing tables. A family rest room is located just off the main lobby.

Coat Check
A free coat check is available on the first floor, where you can leave any packages, large bags, umbrellas, or strollers.

Wheelchairs
Complimentary wheelchairs are available at the coat check on the first floor. Our entrances and rest rooms are wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our Accessibility page.

Strollers
You're welcome to use strollers throughout the building (although from time to time there are certain areas where we might need to restrict their use, on account of small spaces, especially fragile art, or other circumstances). If necessary, leave your stroller at the coat check.

Wireless Access
We offer free wireless access throughout our galleries and grounds. During your visit, we encourage you to switch to wifi (BrooklynMuseum) for faster download speeds. The wireless project was created by the Brooklyn Museum Technology Department, with help from NYCWireless.

Go Mobile
Need information on the go? Planning your next visit? Access www.brooklynmuseum.org from your mobile phone to view our mobile-friendly website.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're committed to making our galleries and facilities accessible to everyone.

  • We are fully wheelchair accessible. Check our online and printed floor plan for details.
  • If you need a wheelchair during your visit, they're available for free at the coat check in the lobby.
  • Companions of people with disabilities are admitted for free.
  • The parking lot behind the Museum is fully accessible. There's a free, 15-minute grace period for pickups and dropoffs.
  • If you need an assistive-listening device, they're available for free at our Admissions Desk, on the first floor.

We also offer a wide range of services for our visitors of all ages with special needs.

  • For those who have low or no vision, guided visits that include verbal descriptions can be scheduled for both adult and school groups, with advance notice. We also offer Sensory Tours, monthly public tours designed to accommodate and engage both sighted and non-sighted visitors. Verbal descriptions of collection highlights are available via Art Beyond Sight.
  • For those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, American Sign Language interpretation for both adult and school group tours can be arranged, with advance notice.
  • For those with intellectual disabilities or other special needs, we offer specially tailored guided gallery visits to adult and school groups.

We hope that you'll get in touch with us via email or at 718.501.6229 if you have questions about any of the above services, or if you'd like to make advance arrangements.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

No matter what your interest, there's a tour for you:

  • Join our Museum Guides for daily public tours (free with admission) focusing on a variety of themes, eras, and movements in art.
  • Book a group tour for ten or more adults.
  • Explore tours and programs for school groups, all designed to help students and teachers construct meaningful experiences with works of art.
ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the First Floor

Also on the First Floor

  • Admissions Desk
  • Museum Shop
  • Dining (Saul is temporarily closed. Stop by our BKM Café and Bowl.)

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

By Subway

2/3 to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. Transfer to 2/3 from 4/5 (at Nevins Street) and B, D, Q, N, R, and LIRR (at Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center). See a subway map. Make sure to check with the MTA for any service changes, especially on the weekend.


By Bus

The closest bus stops are:

B41 and B69 at Grand Army Plaza

B45 at St. Johns Place and Washington Avenue

Check with the MTA for the most up-to-date bus information.


By Car

From Manhattan:

Brooklyn Bridge; left at Tillary Street; right on Flatbush Avenue for about 1.5 miles to Grand Army Plaza; about 2/3 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at the first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue). Or: Manhattan Bridge enters directly onto Flatbush Avenue.

From Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, or Connecticut:

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (Triborough) to Brooklyn Queens Express (BQE); Manhattan Bridge exit to Tillary Street; left onto Flatbush Avenue and proceed according to the directions from Manhattan.

From Staten Island and southern or central New Jersey:

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Gowanus Expressway (Route 278 towards Manhattan); exit to 38th Street; left on Fourth Avenue for about 2 miles; right on Union Street; 5 blocks to Grand Army Plaza; go 1/2 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue).

From northern or north central New Jersey:

George Washington Bridge/Holland or Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan; follow directions from Manhattan.

From Long Island:

Grand Central Parkway to Jackie Robinson Parkway; exit at Bushwick Avenue; left at third traffic light to Eastern Parkway; about 3 miles to Washington Avenue. We're across intersection at left.


Parking

On-site parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays there's a flat rate of $5 beginning at 5 p.m.


Bikes

Park your bicycle at the racks behind the Museum, next to the Sculpture Garden. Bikes are parked at your own risk; we don't accept responsibility for vandalism or theft.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

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Here's what people are asking.

This doesn't look at all ancient. It supposedly dates from 120 CE?
Isn't that incredible? I've been studying these portraits a lot lately, they're a really amazing combination of cultures.
You mean this hasn't been retouched or updated?
This is influenced by the Greco-Roman painting style which was seen in both Greece and Rome at the time...the amazing thing is that many of the Greek and Roman portraits from the same period didn't survive the times because these were made and kept in the dry, hot desert they've been preserved.
But the colors are so rich! And his face looks so modern!
I know! That's what makes these portraits so special! I believe this one is done in encaustic, is that what the label says?
Yes although I don't know what that is.
It's a combination of hot and cold pigmented waxes, an incredible medium to use for portraiture. And unlike Egyptian portraits made before Roman rule, these are supposed to be as close as possible to a realistic representation of the subject. Prior to this, Egyptians were interested more in formulaic styles, or portraiture that makes the subject look more like the king or a specific god. But these are amazing...you can actually see the person in all their living, breathing form.
If you look really close, you'll see that the artist uses these really fine cross-hatching movements through the wax to create depth and detail.
So here's the wild part..these were often people of Greek heritage, with Greek names, who were direct descendants of the Greeks who lived in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. But they're wearing the styles of the time popular in Rome, and belong to the elite Roman society...AND they are being buried in the traditional Egyptian way, with this portrait fitting into the linen wrappings of a mummy, so that they could have a safe and successful journey through the Egyptian afterlife. Amazing, right?
Ha! And we thought we created the cultural phrase "melting pot"!
Totally! I think we tend to think of Ancient Egypt as this separate, totally insular society. But even before the Greeks and Roman periods, the Egyptians were trading with other cultures like the Minoans and Nubians. I think it's so interesting that throughout the different foreign rulers in Egypt, they didn't eradicate the traditions or beliefs but added to them.
I don't understand this. Why are there curtains, a watch, and why does the figure in the tub look like he is neutered? Also, why is his skin lighter than the other figure?
The curtain is a shower curtain. The watch may represent the passing of time and how quickly children grow.
The models for these figures were Aaron Gilbert's (the artist's) wife and son. He said, "The presence of interracial mixing in my paintings reflects my fixation on the reality that my life is not an anomaly, but the repetition of cycles that have been ongoing throughout the extended history of my family and of humanity as a whole. My interest is in reflecting life as it is…infinitely nuanced and always influenced in complex ways by external social pressures and forces."
He draws on Surrealist techniques in art by picturing a figure (in the tub) that appears like a child and an adult at the same time.
Gilbert has said of "The New One": "As a woman or man nears parenthood, there is a fear of being consumed by the role they are about to take on. One is also confronted with many of the issues that existed between them and their parent(s)."
The artist was inspired by the birth of his own son.
What can you tell me about this work?
There is so much going on in the painting. One question that intrigues me is that he has depicted the four seasons, but he has interchanged the order - winter comes before fall. Do you have any thoughts about why he may have made that decision?       
Maybe because it's a harsh season. Most humans and animals don't enjoy it as much as summer. There is this bitterness that comes with the weather change.
That's such a good point - and then it leads to the other seasons where there is so much life.
So what's the metaphor for the men and women in the far back working?
Well, he is showing them toiling and working the fields -- the men planting, and the women harvesting -- and he takes that from traditional African agricultural roles. He finished this painting after visiting Africa on a fellowship from UNESCO.
Biggers also references the web of Ananse - a traditional mythological figure prominent in oral Ghanan traditions - it's the story of a trickster spider and his web.  He also includes many oppositional references: female/male, Africa/American South, harvesting/planting.
He looks to the history of art for his inspiration. The two large figures that are touching fingers - do you see them? He used inspiration from a painting by Michelangelo, and was also inspired by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist. One of Rivera's paintings is right next to this one.
Valerie Hegarty was thinking about grand 19th century landscapes by Bierstadt, like the one to your right.
I'm also happy a work by Bierstadt is right there for comparison. I love this style of landscape, but never thought of the achievement (arrogance?) of capturing it in a painting, until seeing Hegarty's deconstruction.
She is able to emulate his style, and then she destroys and distresses it. I just thought of this as kind of an Oedipal moment for an artist -- killing the "father"!
And she's definitely thinking about the effects of Euro-American settlement (promoted by art like Bierstadt's) on the actual landscape and on the eventual collapse of the Manifest Destiny narrative.
Interesting, destroying the tradition so she and we can come at it anew.
She definitely gets us to look with "new" eyes.
A couple of years ago, she created some "interventions" in two American period rooms up on the 4th floor -- making them look damaged and invaded by birds!
Can you tell me more about this "History of Coney Island Amusement Park"?
That video was made by Thomas Edison's film studio and the couple are actors (whose names we don't know) playing a country couple who come to the big city for the day and have fun at Coney Island.
There are a few Coney Island-related works in that gallery, like Reginald Marsh's painting of some women enjoying a spinning ride.
When did it first open?
People started going to the beach there in the early 1800s but travel to Coney Island increased in the years after the Civil War, the later 1860s, due to better roads and ferries.
The amusement parks came later, the 1880s. There were several: the first one, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was followed by Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
An entire exhibition about Coney Island in art will be coming here in November -- we're just getting ready to learn about it. If you're local, maybe you can come back to see it!
Is this made of actual shells?
Yes, it is! The artist used seashells and quartz river stones. He called this innovation "Marine Mosaic."
He was trained as a painter, incidentally!
A woman had this window made in memory of her husband, who had recently died.
This is amazing, I can feel the movement.
That water is really surging around the rocks. You can feel the current!
Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld dedicated himself to landscape painting in his career, and he worked in France and Italy. One of his patrons was Napoleon, not bad, right?
It looks like these two works could have been made by the same people but they come from very distant places (Papua New Guinea on the LHS, Mali on the RHS). Are they connected? Is there a common history between these two places?
While they have visual similarities - narrow, vertically thrusting, and both made of wood indigenous to their respective topographies, the two groups do not have a common history beyond the Western history of "primitive art," which used to lump Africa and the Pacific together. 
The object on the left from the Abelum culture in Papua New Guinea represents ngwalndu, benevolent spirits of individual clans who are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figure on the right is from the Tellem or Dogon culture; it is a human form with its hands raised, which is said to refer to prayers for rain which would be crucial to the dry area of Mali that this object comes from.  A figure with raised arms is one of the most common types of Dogon sculpture. 
Are these tools?
They are actually handles from a vessel. They're in the form of an Ibex with legs folded under the body, and horns attached at the ears.
One thing I find especially interesting is that they represent a the popularity of Persian styles at this time. This was a result of the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 CE.
Who is Serapis?
He is a composite version of Zeus, and an Egyptian god, Amun (which is why he has ram's horns). It is actually a rare sculpture in that it depicts two faces - generally this is not the case. It is made at a time where there are a number of confluences of cultures happening.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.