An art museum is a space or a building used to exhibit art especially visual art (Phaidon Press, & Schlagman). Museums can be private or public and are distinguished by the collection ownership. This essay looks into two art museums in New York. The organizations examined include the Brooklyn Museum and the Art and Design Museum. The Brooklyn Museum is considered to be one of the preeminent cultural institutions in Kings County. The museum was open on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, hence, I decided to visit it. Regarding the MAD museum, it is known for its contemporary crafts that bring together objects from a wide variety of media. This museum happened to be open on Friday, May 6, 2016, and was an obvious choice. Below is a discussion of the two museums in the light of the visits, the interiors and exteriors, the exhibits and artworks.

The Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum that has many African objects in its collection. It exhibits many assets, like the Egyptian collection that includes the ancient cosmos map, a statue of Amenhotep III, and a preserved mummy in its original coffin. It also has African galleries and artifacts from the Pacific Islands. Moreover, some parts of the European collection, such as the masterworks by Monet, Cezanne, and Degas, can be found at the Beaux-Arts court of the museum. American paintings such as the Pic-Nic of Thomas Cole and the Niagara of Louis Mignot are also available. The Brooklyn Museum is urbanely situated in the place where Eastern Parkway intersects with Washington Avenue. There are no other museums near the Brooklyn Museum, so it is easy to find it. The experience of getting into a museum was exciting, as I anticipated to see the different kinds of arts that I had never seen before. The museum turned out to be a large place with interesting pieces, a great variety of exhibits, and good commentary. Its spaciousness allows one to absorb any piece of interest or study. This was the first time I have visited a museum in the USA and I opted to go by car.

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The Museum Exterior and Interior

Brooklyn Museum occupies a large area of 52000 square meters. At the museum’s main entrance, there are statues, a Rubin Lobby, and Pavilion. Its interior consists of various artworks, while its ceiling is constructed from an ancient cosmos map. It has a Beaux-Art Court that displays some European collections. It has several African galleries as well as a preserved mummy in its coffin. Its glass storage space is visible and open to the public, so visitors get to see behind the scenes workings. Paintings are exhibited on rolling racks that are behind glass walled windows. The paintings are frequently rotated to show different pieces. Alongside the paintings are glass cases that hold decorative arts like sculptures, ceramics, and tiffany lamps. The museum is also very spacious, so it provides a sense of comfort while viewing the exhibits.

The Exhibit

One of the exhibits in Brooklyn Museum is the Nike Air Jordan. This exhibit shows the rise of the sneaker culture. The exhibit has about 150 pairs of sneakers, and it demonstrates the evolution of it from the beginning to the present, where it plays the role of an urban icon and a status symbol. There are film footages, photographic images, design drawings, and interactive media that contextualize the sneaker and explored the influence that sneaker culture has had on fashion trends and technical innovations for the last twenty years. This exhibit is effectively explained to the visitors and the facility is well designed for further understanding.


Earth’s Skin by El Anatsui is the work I would like to discuss. It was created in 2007 from copper wire and aluminum. The bits of metal of various colors are folded and joined to form a metallic sheen. The aluminum strips came from liquor bottles. The artist also decided to collect liquor bottle tops with their seals and labels to make the work. His work represents societal lives as it depicts the various states that people go through on earth.

Another work that interested me is Waste Paper Bag. It is dated back to 2003 and includes the materials of copper wire and aluminum plates. The sculpture is an eight foot tall oversized waste paper bag. The work challenges the stereotype that metal is a stiff rigid medium. Instead it is presented as a soft and pliable material. It also faintly depicts the disposability of humans through its use of discarded printing plates.

The other work is called Versatility. It was finished by the artist in 2006. He used copper wire and aluminum as materials for this art piece. It is a strip of woven metal cloth with graphic symbols that are two dimensional. The piece captures the alcoholic drinks introduced to Africa as trade items from Europe. The work symbolizes twists and adaptability of human existence. The three artworks are similar as they use the same materials and all venture into the existence, experience, and disposability of human lives.

The Museum of Arts and Design

I decided to visit MAD next. I did it on Friday, May 6 2016. I discovered that MAD is a contemporary museum that exhibits all types of contemporary objects. It has objects of glass, clay, metal, cloth, and wood that are strongly focused on processes and materials. The sixth floor of the museum allows the visitors to watch resident artists create their works in studios (Museum of Art and Design, 2016). Meanwhile, the curators display more than 2,000 pieces of the permanent collection that includes Cindy Sherman’s porcelain, Judith Schaechter’s stained glass, Robert Arneson’s Alice House Wall, and James Turrell’s black basalt ceramics. This museum is situated at 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan. It is at an urban no other museums are situated nearby. The experience of being in MAD was unprecedented as one gets to interact with technology, art, and design. This was my first visit to the museum and I went by car.

Interior and Exterior

From outside, MAD is a ten story building that occupies an about 5,000-square meter area. It has a tiled façade and strips of glass in all four facades. The façade also seems to have its windows form letters E and H. Regarding the interior, it consists of an auditorium of 150 seats for public classrooms and events, and a restaurant. It has exhibition galleries in four floors, while the sixth floor has studios that resident artists use to create their work. It also has an education center with multimedia access to first-hand source materials and a center for studying jewelry. The interior has ceramic tiles with small exhibition spaces that are thoughtful and elegant. Moreover, the interior has skinny windows that have ceramic frits in the glass diffusing daylight, which makes windows look white and cuts cooling costs.

The Exhibit

One of the most interesting exhibits of MAD is Maryland to Murano. This sculpture combines Scott’s neckpieces with blown glass sculptures. This sculpture shows the interplay between the two works, hence, showing Scott’s skill and technique and the complex relationship of content, adornment, and methodology. This exhibit displays 34 neckpieces by Joyce Scott in collaboration with jeweler Art Smith. The exhibit includes 13 glass sculptures and a 3-beaded wall hanging. Scott challenges perceived dichotomies of art and craft politics and adornment, sophistication and naiveté, successfully incorporating these elements within a variety of works including printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, installation, and apparel worthy of the wide audience and recognition. Scott confronts contentious issues that affect contemporary society. This exhibit was accessible to the museum due to the support several individuals and foundations. This exhibit has been explained effectively as the personnel are well informed and the facility is well designed.


The other work is titled Burj Khalifa. It dates back to 2013-2014 and its material are bronze and gold gilding and Swarovski crystals. This piece depicts an ape climbing the tallest building in the world Burj Khalifa. The skyscraper originates from a mound of rock that openly reveals Al Khazneh, the Greek style temple in Jordan carved in sandstone and a clock built into the miniature façade. The image of the beast represents the instinctual energies that civilization tries to keep under control.

Monkey Business is yet another work title that is dated back to 2013. The artist used gold-tassel and tiny crystals. This image depicts a long tailed primate with a coat made of tiny crystals and a gold tasseled fez with a treasure chest. The animal tries to lift the lid with one hand, allowing a glimpse into the golden glow inside. This image uses a monkey to represent greed and temptation, while showing that monkey business is a luxury object accessible only to people with lots of money.

Another work is the Train Crush that was created in 2015. The materials used include aluminum and patinated and polished bronze. This piece shows a head on collision of two trains that produce clouds of smoke. This smoke merges to form a tabletop. The work symbolizes the autobiography of Studio Job through the huge amount of energy. Therefore, the Burj Khalifa and Monkey Business use animals to pass their message of the world’s trends in modern society. Meanwhile, the Train Crush takes on a different turn as it uses metal to show the life story of two artists who decide to end their partnership. The three works are, however, similar as they aim to represent human lives.


In conclusion, it is clear that an art museum can be private or public. They are distinguished by the collection ownership. The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum that exhibits African objects mostly, while MAD is a contemporary museum that exhibits all types of contemporary objects. The exterior of Brooklyn Museum is an area of 52,000 square meters, which has statues at the main entrance. Meanwhile, its interior has paintings exhibited on rolling racks that are behind glass walled windows. The paintings are frequently rotated to show different pieces. As for MAD, it is a ten story building that occupies an about 5,000 square meter area. It has a tiled façade and strips of glass in all four facades. Its interior has exhibition galleries in four floors, while the sixth floor has studios that resident artists use to create their works. One of the exhibits in the Brooklyn Museum is the Nike Air Jordan that shows the rise of the sneaker culture and has been discussed above. Meanwhile, MAD’s exhibit called Maryland to Murano has also been discussed. Concerning the artworks identified, they include the Earth’s Skin by El Anatsui, the Burj Khalifa, and the Monkey Business.

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