BROOKLYN, NY.- The Brooklyn Museum
is presenting Infinite Blue, a major collection exhibition in the Museums Great Hall and Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby that uses the color blue as a lens through which to explore art from ancient Egypt to the present. Through a cross-generational and multidisciplinary array of work, blue is examined as a link from the past to the present: as a historical force for global commerce; as an emblem of power, beauty, and spiritualism; and as a symbol for gender difference, among other uses and purposes.
Infinite Blue is on view through 2017 and is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong project celebrating a decade of feminist thinking at the Brooklyn Museum.
Opening to the public in four phases, Infinite Blue will expand throughout its run to represent the breadth of the Museums global collections, including objects from the museum's holdings of Asian, Egyptian, African, American, Native American, and European art, among them paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, the decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts, printed books, and contemporary art. The objects were selected for their beauty and historical significance as well as for their representative roles in the narrative of the color blue in art. Highlights include ceramic masterpieces from the Asian art collection; never before exhibited illuminated manuscripts from the European collection; costumes from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; images of Egyptian and South Asian blue-skinned deities; and paintings that contemplate blue in nature, among many others. The installation engages visitors from the moment they enter the Museums glass Pavilion with Untitled (Water), an expansive curtain of blue iridescent beads by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Liquidity Inc., an immersive video experience by Hito Steryl in the Museums Great Hall.
On view throughout the full run of the exhibition, the first iteration highlights some of the most remarkable works from the Museums acclaimed holdings. Such works include Wine Jar with Fish and Aquatic Plants, one of the finest examples of early Chinese blue-and-white porcelain in the world; and six never before exhibited illuminated manuscripts that showcase the symbolic ways Christian iconography employed the color blue whether to describe the Virgin Marys celestial mantle, heavens azure expanse, or the Holy Spirits divine aura.
Significant contemporary works include Joseph Kosuths 276 (On Color Blue), in which he reproduces in blue neon a quotation from philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein that questions our perception of blueness; and five works from Byron Kims ongoing series of Sunday Paintings, which represent the sky on the day they were painted with a short text of activities from the artists life on that day.
Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, states: Infinite Blue is an inspiring demonstration of how Brooklyn Museum curators can work collaboratively across departments to examine the rich and intertwined history of world cultures. They are rethinking the global collection through the lens of blue, in order to illuminate shared cultural themes through the ages, such as trade, spirituality, symbolism, and material innovation. The goal is not to homogenize the representation of different world cultures but rather to demonstrate points of confluence as well as points of great, if not irreconcilable, difference. Blue will provide a connective tissue with which to examine how the color has been manifest physically and symbolically in cultures as far afield as ancient Egypt, Asia, and Africa to nineteenth-century European and American painting and decorative arts, to the art of the present.