Brooklyn Museum of Art

We’d heard about the El Anatsui exhibit from my sister, read the write-up in the New York Times, and put it on our list of Things To See.  Dave arrived home from his meetings around 6 p.m. and by 7 o’clock we had taken the 2/3 Red Line over to Brooklyn.

Subway Tile Sign Brooklyn

The museum stop lets you out right at the front steps.

Front Brooklyn Museum

The sun was setting, making the front of this glow.

Chairs Brooklyn Museum

First stop was the cafe.  Although it has a great setting, we don’t recommend it.  Better to eat the mints in your purse than eat there.

Parasols--Singer Sargeant

Simplon Pass: Reading (1901)

What brought us here were the John Singer Sargent watercolors that the Brooklyn Museum had put on display.


La Biancheria (1910) 

Sargent originally didn’t want to part with these watercolors, intending to keep them for his “own enjoyment.”  But he was finally persuaded to sell them all as a group, and the Brooklyn Museum was the new owner.


Corfu: Lights and Shadows (1909)

This one is my favorite, and everyone else’s too: it was sold out at the gift shop. While we came for the Sargent, we stayed for the next one: El Anatsui.


We entered the El Anatsui exhibit, walking into a large, high-ceilinged hall, where several of his creations were hung.  We knew a little about him before coming: that he used bottle caps and aluminum bands from liquor bottles to make these “patchwork” creations (that’s his word, found in his video at the museum).  His workers in his shop pound them flat, shape them and then they are put together to form these shimmering curtains, looking light as air.


They float in the air currents, moving ever-so-slightly. Here are a few closeups detailing the construction of these pieces:


ElAnatsui bottle tops




Amemo (Mask of Humankind), 2010

From the title card: “This work has no specific orientation and illustrates the artist’s desire for his art to reflect the ever-changing condition of life.  Anatsui also wishes to inspire creativity in the people charged with installing his work and says he merely provides ‘data’ for others to reenvision and manipulate.” El Anatsui is the name he took as an artist, preferring, it’s said, to keep the name his parents gave him to himself.


Drifting Continents, 2009


detail, Drifting Continents


Ink Splash, 2010


Earth’s Skin, 2007




Red Block, 2010


Red Block and Black Block, hung side by side


Black Block, 2010

The museum put up a video showing the hanging of this exhibit: Gravity and Grace.

Fascinating and amazing exhibits.  We also saw Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, which left us un-enthused (misplaced 1980′s Feminist angst?), and series of quilts over 150 years old, which were good examples of popular quilt designs, such as Star of Bethlehem, Flying Geese, and two different kinds of crazy quilts.  All in all, a satisfying evening at the Brooklyn Art Museum.

Arrivederci, Italy

Italy 2012, continued — final post

Arrivederci means “until we see each other again,” and that finality lingered around us when we woke up early that morning.  No high water siren last night, and we wanted one last walk in Venice before braving the airplane trip home later in the day.

Venice bridge foggy It was foggy this morning, too early for the boatloads of tourists.  We’ve learned that secret over the years, that the tourists don’t get up much before ten and disappear after dinner, so that you have the run of a town during the night and morning hours.

Bird with Umbrella Sign

I think I must have some thirty pictures of this serpent with the umbrella heads; it’s fascinating every time I see it.  At night, the umbrellas light up.

Foggy delivery

Rialto foggy

Rialto Bridge.

Rialto foggy 2

Rialto Bridge with vaparetto.  The vaparetto has a large number of people on it–I guess working Venice is up and around, just not the shop owners.

Venice bas relief wall

Venice Alitalia

Heading into San Marco square.  It’s amazing how quickly we could get there with no one out on the streets.  We have one tiny wrinkle in the day’s plans: we have to buy a separate ticket for our vaparetto to the airport, as it’s run by a different company.  This was discovered last night, too late to do anything about it, so we figure we’ll walk until 9:00 a.m., head over to the ticket agency, rush back to the hotel and hopefully make the right boat to the airport.

San Marco tourists foggy

Some tourists have arrived, standing on the high water walkways in San Marco square.  The fog makes this place seem other-worldly, mysterious.

San Marco in fog

San Marco flagpoles foggy

San Marco docks in fog

San Marco in fog sweeper

gondola in fog1

gondolas in fog 2

gondolas in fog 3

 I looked past the gondolas, to the vaparetto stop, and poked Dave–”Hey! I think I see the ticket agency.”  ”It won’t be open.” “Let’s try it anyway.”  Lo and behold, an outlier: there was one ticket window and it was open and we were able to buy the tickets.  Big Relief.  Traveling is just so many moving parts.

San Marco arch

We walk back up through San Marco.

Venice canal foggy1

Venice street sweeper

Venice Louis Vuitton

Venice Lion bas relief

Hoping it is faster, we jump onto the vaparetto at Accademia, and enjoy one more ride up the canal. The fog is beginning to break, and we look for Dave’s favorite building.

Venice Traghetto

Venice grand canal foggy3

There are several cross-canal routes, done standing up on a traghetto.

Venice grand canal red building

We see the “red” building from last night, and a boat appears to be loading giant loud speakers, or some sort of musical equipment.

Venice grand canal red building sign

Now you know as much as I do.

Venice grand canal foggy1

Venice grand canal foggy2

Venice DAE Fav Building

A foggy shot of Dave’s favorite building, with the golden mosaics on the front.

DAE fav building

Our stop at Ca’D'Or comes up and we’re off.

Ca D'or building

It’s named for this building, which used to be ornate, apparently.

Ca D'or corner

Ca D'or window

From here, we walk to our hotel, eat one more of those perfect breakfasts, gather our things and head towards the Fond. Nuvo stop, where we caught the vaparetto to Burano yesterday.  This morning, though, we join a crowd waiting for the airport water bus.  Suitcases get thrown (and I mean, thrown) in the front and passengers go down three steps to sit in the belly of the waterbus.  We had the usual chaos at the Venice airport (the usual Italian bureaucracy has prevented the airport from expanding, and there are signs posted everywhere to let you know), then a flight to Frankfurt, then to Dulles, Washington, then LAX.  We arrive back to our home around 3 a.m., and even though we both were able to snag rows of seats on the Dulles to LAX leg, and sort of stretch out for some sleep, we are tired.

I could put the usual pithy quote about travel in Italy here, but  will spare you.  We do have the desire to go to Italy again, but next time, we’ll try to avoid All Saints Weekend, rainy weather, bad pillows (the only flaw in the Venice hotel), and remember to always bring the granola bars.