This past Tuesday, a group of art-interested WHSAD students ventured to the Brant Foundation Art Study Center. The Brant Foundation, located in the East Village Manhattan, is an art museum that houses various pieces throughout the year\. Last year, we came here for the Jean Michel Basquiat exhibit. Surreal, abstract, and modern art, can be seen cascading throughout each floor level as visitors make their descent down the heart of the museum. It’s quite immaculate. The history of the structure is quite rich as well, as it was originally a Con Edison building inhabited by an artist in the 1930s. Much of the architecture from the Con Edison building is preserved today like the neoclassical exterior and some interior walls. Though the owners of the museum have added their own touches here and there, the industrial presence still remains, which adds to the experience. We all had a great time with this peculiar place. The following are student narratives from some of the trip attendees
By: Mildred Amofa
The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is an art gallery with collections and exhibition spaces focusing on modern contemporary art. Aspiring art students were given the opportunity to visit the museum’s new “ Third Dimension” exhibit, which focuses on 3-dimensional artwork. While on this trip, we observed different works of art correlating to the architecture of each floor we traveled on. Starting at the third floor, we learned about minimalist art and pop art of different artists which provoked some dissension during the time of their creation. My favorite art piece would have to be the melting wax sculptures by Urs Fischer. The sculptures showed that life doesn’t last forever, as the wax sculptures melted away as time went by. The art piece would only last a couple of months because of the lighters placed on them. Then, when it was completely melted away it was on to the next exhibit. This piece was my favorite because it made me wonder about the way I’m living life, wasting countless time watching and waiting. It also was the only piece that physically changed, as it was actively melting away and had a different view on what art is. Overall the Brant Foundation art museum was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in art.
By: Mahalia Sainteloi
The Brant Foundation was a great experience. I personally thought the exhibitions were beautiful. Actually, the entire space was beautiful as it is a renovation of a former structure (a lovely concept). There were high ceilings with tall walls, exposed brick of the original structure, and a glass ceiling on the top floor that served the purpose of a skylight. I learned that the skylight is meant to give visitors a sense of calmness, and, depending on the weather outside, different perceptions of the work they’re seeing in the exhibitions. Selected sculptures, exhibits and other works that vary from painting to sculpture, reflect the multidimensional styles of the artists under examination. This gives visitors the chance to experience works from artists who have been extensively collected. Each floor had a specific theme. For example, the top floor had the theme of transforming a simple object into an artistic masterpiece. There were coke bottles, boxes of drinks and foods- all made into art. The Third Dimension exhibit was a personal favorite because the theme reflected the evolution of time. In the exhibit, the sculptures were entirely made of wax and remain lit until they completely melts away. It was so cool to see the perspectives of these artists and how their creativity reflects in their work.
By: Antonio Mendoza
On Tuesday, December 17th, I had the honor of visiting the Brant Foundation. As soon as the other students and I walked into the building, we were immediately greeted by the very kind staff. They handed us bags to put our wet umbrellas in, allowed us space to hang up our coats, and space to put our bags down. Afterwards, we entered the elevator and traveled up to the fourth floor where we started our tour of the museum. We were first told that the building was a former industrial factory. The tour guide also pointed out a metal grate most of us assumed to be from the original building, but was actually a renovation done by the museum to better transport the art pieces throughout the building. On this floor, we were greeted by a lot of artworks that challenge the way we see art. Some examples of these artworks were metal sheets om the floor, and a light up sign that spelled out “negro sunshine.” The common theme that tied all of these artworks together, was that they either represented or incorporated everyday objects in some way. The most famous artworks on the floor were by Andy Warhol. The first Warhol piece was a bunch of boxes that represented everyday items that you can purchase at a convenience store. The second Warhol piece was a case of Coca-Cola bottles spray painted silver and filled with perfume. Other objects, used by some other artists, were a car hood and stuffed animals.
Afterwards, we went to the next floor where the common theme was all about performance art. On this floor, we were introduced to a lot of artworks that were open to multiple interpretations. The best example of this was “The Island.” It was a large statue made of artificial fruit and fur. Anyone could interpret this piece in multiple ways, even the artist himself. We were told a story about the artist’s interpretation of his sculpture, at two separate events, a week apart from each one. By the second event, he had a completely different interpretation compared to what he said at the first event. When asked why, he simply said that his interpretation changed. It was fun to be able to put our spin on an artwork and still have it be what we imagined it to be.
We then moved on to my favorite floor. We first got to see original designs mixed with the renovations. We got to see a machine that was used to pick up heavy boxes. We also saw the contrast between the walls and window from before and after the renovation. Afterwards, we saw the other artworks that could have been interpreted in a few ways. My interpretation of this floor was the destruction of humanity and society. I say this because everything was destroyed and was empty. The best example of this was “The Third Dimension” by Urs Fischer. It was a recreation of an old sculpture that was made from candle wax so that over time, it would melt. When we visited, a lot of it was melted, and, it was like a metaphor in a way. One metaphor that I saw was that Beauty doesn’t last forever. This sculpture was once complete and beautiful, now was destroyed over time, and all that remained was the destroyed parts. Another metaphor was that time waits for no one. This sculpture is impacted by time, as it was made by candle wax and lit on fire. This shows that time isn’t going to stop, and the candle will continued to burn until there is nothing left to burn. After we saw all of the artwork, we went outside and got to see the neo-classical building, which itself is a work of art. Overall, I am glad that I went on this experience, and I would love to do it again.