From the Collection
The interest in collecting contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum dates back to 1855, when Asher B. Durand’s The First Harvest in the Wilderness (on view nearby in Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape) was commissioned directly from the artist to become the first painting in the permanent collection. Since then, the Brooklyn Museum has actively collected the works of living American artists, amassing one of the world’s most outstanding collections of American art.
The selection of contemporary works from the Museum’s collection displayed in this installation explore themes of fantasy and the fable, a tale that teaches a moral, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters. For many of the artists represented, the realm of fantasy becomes a tool for social critique and change. A number of them use imagery associated with childhood memories to translate the narrative of fable into visual language, rearranging the elements of traditional lore and everyday reality or re-imagining the social landscape.