On the eve of the announcement of our judges’ decision, Brooklyn Museum staff wanted to share some of our own thoughts (ranging from the “I-have-to-smile moment” to “the wow feeling” to “sleeper hit artworks”) with the filmmakers who created these videos. Good luck to everyone! Click the ‘more’ link to see our thoughts.
Shelley (Information Systems): I loved “Off the Wall” which I thought showed off the collection and the event in a unique way. Especially the idea of naysayers, who really do love the event in the end. Loved “Mr. Cool” and “The Art Thief” which, to me, really show how both the event and the museum are given over to our visitors’ interpretation. The shot in the Jaygeeoh vid of the people dancing with the Target logo was awesome. How cute are the guy and gal in RapofArt??? VideoMuseum – love the contemporary cats to asian cats counter; love the punchline. Place Together had some of the best crowd shots…really beautiful footage and that great “sold out” shot panning down our First Saturday event board. Superti919 fab fridge, fountain (complete with screaming!), all the art looks fantastic…. Glad I don’t have to judge!!
Tamara (Exhibitions): I thought “The World in the Eyes” was a really clever way to explore our collection by using a common thread to unite works of art from different cultures, periods in history, and media. The video was fun and simultaneously profound, and it highlighted the art really well. The same goes for “RapOfArt” – kudos to the rappers for giving our historic collection a cool and modern interpretation. All the videos were really well done, and did the Brooklyn Museum proud!
Megan (Exhibitions): I love “Mr. Cool” – it brings visual art back into our everyday experience, just like your iPod’s daily playlist, and connects it to other Arts, like dance. “Off the Wall” is another of my favorites as it relates to 1st Saturday with some humor, and in a way that gets at what the program is all about – how everyone can love it in their own way. Jonatanifj on the other hand gives you some nice first-hand moments walking through the Museum, the details with the musicians are especially beautiful, along with some of the collection works like the goblets in the Dinner Party. Another wonderful I-have-to-smile moment was the fridge scene that starts off “Bklyn MuseumQT” – following it with the fountain activity and the shot of the silhouetted Rodin in the lobby was a great transition/contrast. In fact, I would really hate to be a judge as there are simply too many good moments throughout the submissions to even go over here, good-luck to all!
Schawannah (Community Involvement): My fav was Mr. Cool at the Brooklyn Museum, followed by the First Sat. at Brooklyn Museum.
Deborah (Digital Lab): As someone who “lives” in the weekday Brooklyn Museum, when the galleries are bright and sunny–and usually pretty quiet–the view of the nighttime museum was almost startling. The thing I loved most, and it was a thread through several of the videos, was the way people showed off and played with the faces in our art, pairing them with the living faces of themselves and other visitors. The sense of joy and fun was really right there. Crafty Statuary, BklynMuseumQT and World in the Eyes were my favorites. And I’m just going to have to make a trip over here (or work late instead of being an early bird) to see the fountains lit up for nighttime–how beautiful is that? I think everybody included at least one shot of them.
Marguerite (Curatorial): I am really amazed with the talent shown in all of the entries. Each video was compelling in its own way and invited the viewer in. All the participants captured the wonderful atmosphere at the museum. Some were very dynamic while others showed warmth and charm. One video even brought a tear to my eye! I would find it very hard to pick only one entry as the winner! Good work and congrats to all. They all showed a real love for our Brooklyn Museum!
Emily (Arts of Africa, Asia, and the Islamic World): I think “Last Worlds” was my favorite. I loved the montage element of it, and it really makes you examine history, especially in the context of Brooklyn. It was hard to pick just one!
Kathy (Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art): The judges must be having a very difficult time choosing their favorite piece! I know that I am. BrooklynMuseumQT’s video incorporates the flyer into the first shot as a visual reminder to save the date. The child bopping along to the rhythm of the fountains is beautiful. The way the shots alternate between the serene and electric bring together the very nature of first Saturday. I really love how seelos66 has the LED sign scrolling over the fountain. Mr. Cool captures how fun and exciting a visit to the Brooklyn Museum can be on a First Saturday as well as any other day. I also love how he interacts with the art objects themselves. I am really glad that the “Art Thief” is willing to share his favorite piece with the rest of us. “Last Worlds” is a work of art in itself. I love how it captures how much one can contemplate during a museum visit. The “RapofArt”, videomuseum, “Off the Wall”, “Place Together”, and “The World in the Eyes” entries all opened my eyes to some objects that I have never really looked at. Jaygeeoh does a great job of capturing the party scene and the original music is fantastic. All of the videos are thoughtful, observant, and well structured. They capture the serenity and the electricity one can encounter at a Brooklyn Museum First Saturday, and it’s great to see that people love this Museum as much as those of us who work here. Great job everyone, and I look forward to finding out the results.
Lisa (Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art): I really enjoyed ‘Bklyn MuseumQT’. I loved the music and I thought it was really fun. I loved how it started out with the note on the fridge. I also enjoyed ‘Crafty Saturday,’ I really like the intro with the fountain and the sign welcoming visitors to the museum. ‘Art Thief,’ was great as well. I thought it was very funny and added a fresh take to the contest.
Jim (Publications): “Mr. Cool at the Museum” does a beautiful job of matching the shooting “cuts” in the video to the rhythm of the accompanying music. “First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum” effectively re-creates the relaxed yet dynamic atmosphere of a FSAT event, which is not easy to capture. “Place Together” does this very well, too, but with a completely different mix of shots. “Rap of Art” — totally adorable; I’d like to see these two presenters leading tours for young audiences. In “Brooklyn Art Museum,” the transition from the headless painted nude to the headless sculpture made me realize how weird such (intentionally or unintentionally) truncated works can look to the public; something to address in our wall labels. The back-and-forth between sedate Victorian interiors and field film footage in “Last Worlds” had me confused at first, but in the end it does make a strong postcolonial point. In “Off the Wall,” the artworks become visitors to the museum — a cool concept. Glad to see the “Art Thief” reformed by the power of art at the end of his video. “The World in the Eyes” draws us in by taking just one aspect of a portrait, the eyes, and making us realize how the art looks back at us. “First Saturday: Crafty Statuary” starts off with some of the best footage ever of the Museum’s fountain. What a range of talent is on view in these videos, which were not made under the easiest conditions.
Marcus (Public Information): The videos look awesome! I especially like how the artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection are integrated throughout each of the videos. Even though some of the videos stray a little from the First Saturday theme, I am glad that the visitors got to spot light their personal favorites. With such a big collection filled with many masterpieces, sometimes the sleeper hit artworks are overlooked.
Jessica (Publications): As a PSA “Art Thief” works well—succinct, humorous, and with a message—a very tight 30 sec. spot. I found “Last Worlds” compelling on the strength of its clips and their unsettling sequencing. Many of the videos are very successful at capturing the feel of First Saturdays: “First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum” projects the energy of the crowd, and I liked “Bklyn Museum QT” for its unusual opening sequence that begins with the postcard on the refrigerator followed by that great footage of the kids at the fountain. What I was most impressed by were the different approaches to our collection—not only what the videographers chose to focus on, but also how they cropped their shots or let the camera move over the work—it speaks to the truly individual experience viewing art is.
Madeleine (Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art): I loved “Mr Cool at the Brooklyn Museum.” Watching Mr Cool interact with the art and the building itself brought alive for me the joy and excitement that I associate with the experience of seeing great art. I have often wanted to dance around a gallery myself or jump up and down after seeing some work of art that delighted me. He seems to be having so much fun and that is really what is at the heart of a museum visit–the “wow” feeling of being around beautiful things that are there just for you. “Rap of Art” has a similar appeal for me, perfectly capturing the “oh come look at this!” feel of sharing the experience with someone else. I found “Last Worlds” haunting. The juxtaposition of static objects with people in videos makes a wonderful statement about how what is now displayed in museums was once “alive” and used in daily life. The emphasis on eyes and thus the act of looking adds a great layer of meaning that is also to be found in “The World in the Eyes.” “Off the Wall” and “The Art Thief” are both huge, whimsical fun. The first reminds me that I’ve often wondered what the objects would have to say about us if we could hear them. The second captures that feeling of overwhelming greed brought on by seeing something that one would love to take home and live with. I’m glad that I don’t have to judge this competition. All the submissions are great and make me want to spend some more time in the galleries or dancing at a First Saturday.
Sarah (Digital Lab): I liked all of the entries. They were really diverse and fun to watch. Overall, though, I thought Art Thief was funny & well executed. Also, Last Worlds had great music and I really like the way the art was used. It has an original editing style. Mr. Cool was pretty well done, too. If our biggest goal is to show what First Saturday is all about, though, I think Off the Wall does the best job. Really, outstanding entries all around!
Monica (Design): After watching all the videos, it is interesting to see how many and different interpretations of the space and functionality of the Museum can take off from a simple initiative to capture the feeling of the First Saturday events. I personally enjoyed watching the “Art Thief” video, for its provocative humor, positive ending–through the ironic comment to art robbery–and open invitation to return to the museum after a visit. I also liked the “treat” of the postcard, which is a way to take with you a memory of the Museum.
The music works very well in “1st Saturday: Crafty Statuary” by Carlos Pareja. The museum at night seems vibrant and exciting; the side-view shot of the fountain is particularly nice. “Bklyn MuseumQT” by Richard Superti does a good job of capturing the total First Saturday experience. Lightshow-party segments and a few quirky details of the collection, sandwiched between fountain action: pretty entertaining.
Allison (Registrar’s Dept.): “Off the Wall” is hilarious — I love how Rfavill gave “voice” and “personality” to the diverse objects in our collection, plus highlighted the fun of First Saturday! I also think MatthewK’s “Brooklyn Museum – Art Thief” was brilliant, witty, creative, and funny. While the concept was simple, it was extremely well put together! Stuggie43’s “RapOfArt” did a great job showing the collection through words, music, and images — that was a lot of work, generating a whole rap about First Saturday and then finding the right objects in the collection to go along with the words! Severny’s “Mr. Cool” does such an outstanding job covering a lot of ground: showing off the collection plus the dancing, movement, and fun of First Saturday. Videomuseum’s entry made some awesome connections between the different art objects, and shows off one of my favorite objects, the Seated Divinity. Alterno45 also drew great parallels between different objects in “Last Worlds.” I love how this person integrated the Brooklyn Museum’s videos into their entry. There was not a bad entry in the bunch. We have some VERY talented visitors!
Lisa (Conservation): Although I had huge reservations when I read the title of ‘Art Thief’, I thought it was very funny, clever and original. It’s true, you can always come back to visit!
Note: All videos can be seen in our YouTube playlist.
Shelley Bernstein is the former Vice Director of Digital Engagement & Technology at the Brooklyn Museum where she spearheaded digital projects with public participation at their center. In the most recent example—ASK Brooklyn Museum—visitors ask questions using their mobile devices and experts answer in real time. She organized three award-winning projects—Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition, Split Second: Indian Paintings, GO: a community-curated open studio project—which enabled the public to participate in the exhibition process.
Shelley was named one of the 40 Under 40 in Crain's New York Business and her work on the Museum's digital strategy has been featured in the New York Times.
In 2016, Shelley joined the staff at the Barnes Foundation as the Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer.