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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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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 fall 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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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
Have small plates, dinner, or drinks at The Norm restaurant and bar, led by Michelin-starred Chef Saul Bolton. Or stop by the BKM Café or Bowl. Planning a group tour? Consider a catered lunch for your group.

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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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 (The Norm restaurant and bar; 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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.

What is she cooking? Is she a servant?
In this scene, the woman is not a servant, but the lady of the house. We can guess her status from her clothing and jewelry. She is making preserves (jam, for example) from all the fruits on the table, and she has molasses in her spoon.
As you can see described in the label, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen person in a playful flirtation. As the title suggests, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses (a brown syrup that's a by-product of refined sugar) from the spoon in her hand. It was a time when a woman's place was definitely in the home, and Spencer's art usually showed idealized or humorous domestic scenes. Ironically, her own life was different! Spencer was unusual for her time: she was the principal breadwinner of the family, making a living as a professional artist. 
How in 200-300 BC were they able to carve/mould gold so well/intricately.
That's such a fragile and beautiful object! There were craftspeople dedicated to very specific materials and tasks -- they would create the finest objects for the royal courts and other elite individuals. Gold specifically, is a relatively soft metal and therefore pretty easy to work with/shape. These pieces of gold are beaten into such thin surfaces -- truly amazing craftsmanship.
Is this tree real?
No, the tree is not real, although it does incorporate real wood over a steel infrastructure.
Other materials like polyuerthane foam and clay were also used in this sculpture.
I love this work. What can you tell me? Can you tell me more about the context of how this work fits into the context of his career?
"Opalescent Vertical" by Ilya Bolotowsky is a nearly monochromatic work of straight lines and pure forms inspired by the art of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
The artist belonged to the American Abstract Artists Group, which was founded in 1936 in New York City, at a time when abstract art was met with strong critical resistance.
Also, the American Abstract Artists Group is one of the few artists’ organizations to survived the Great Depression and continue into the 21st century. We also have a mural by Bolotowsky near the Cafe -- it was commissioned by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to help the country's artists overcome the financial struggles of the 1930s. That work is slightly less geometrical and uses more color.
I like this work! Why is the model holding pearls?
We don't have any information about the specific piece of jewelry Madame Tallien is holding, but pearls are a material that has long been loaded with symbolism in Western art. According the the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2014 exhibition on pearls: As rare and delicate luxury items, pearls have been a symbol of wealth and status since antiquity. In medieval Europe, for example, they appeared both a symbols of authority on royal regalia, and as attributes of Christ and the Virgin Mary, thus symbolizing purity and chastity. By the 18th century pearl jewelry demonstrated high social rank and tended to be worn in a seductive manner, while in the early-19th century (when this picture was painted) more intimate pearl ornaments (like the one shown here) conveyed personal messages of love or grief.This portrait is intended to show the elite status of the newly-wed Princess of Chimay (formerly Madame Tallien) and possibly to clean up her reputation (since she was a divorcee on her third marriage!) The pearls' traditional symbolism helps with both these goals.Showing Madame Tallien holding a delicate string of pearls may also have given the artist an opportunity to show off his skill painting her elegant hands.
Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
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.