Call me a geek, but if you have a few hours free on a drizzly afternoon, the best place to spend them – apart from the pub – is a museum. Last weekend, I spotted the first flakes of yet another snowfall and took the chance to finally check out the Brooklyn Museum.
And ooooh, it is amazing.
First up, if you’ve not seen it, they have a brilliant special exhibition that’s on only until March 1 — ‘Killer Heels’. I might only own one pair of high heels (and I have no idea where they are), but I loved it.
The exhibition shows how heeled shoes were first used by men to stay in their horses’ stirrups before the fancy footwear was nicked by women and developed in wilder and wackier ways across the East and West.
As well as the sheer volume of beautiful – and very odd – shoes on display, I also loved seeing how the whole exhibition was curated.
Rather than simply showing shoes from the oldest to the newest, the displays linked influences. Shoes from the Renaissance were placed beside slip-ons from the 40s, while Jean Paul Gaultier boots were alongside intricately-painted Chinese vases bearing similar designs.
In fact, the whole museum was organized this way – and it was smart.
Rather than separating paintings or sculptures into eras, they were largely divided by theme: how people through the years represented the sea or how they portrayed civilization, for example. Even the sections of the museum that were divvied up into eras held cabinets filled with items from different centuries but with the same running theme.
It’s the sort of place that just keeps going. (Another great exhibition was by Judith Scott, an artist who had Down syndrome.) And just when you think they can’t have squeezed anymore in, you turn a corner and find a whole house that’s been taken apart and then rebuilt.
The Brooklyn Museum is really fantastic – and I think it’s far more manageable than the Met. And as an added bonus for visiting on a rainy (or snowy) day? There’s a subway right on its doorstep. Hurrah!
The Brooklyn Museum is at 200 Eastern Parkway, just next to Prospect Park. The nearest subway is the Brooklyn Museum, which serves the 2/3 lines. Opening hours are 11am-6pm Tuesday through Sunday (apart from Thursday, when it’s open until 10pm). The museum is closed on Monday. Entry is a suggested donation of $16 for adults. For more info and to see their current exhibits, visit their website.
(My visit also means I can check another one off my ’30 Before 30′ list!)