In an effort to get as many free memberships, through her IDNYC, as she can before December 31st, rtb has been running quickly through a lot of the cultural institutions of all five boroughs. On Sunday I joined her at the museum of the Bronx Historical Society. I got there late and just did a quick run-through. I plan on going back and getting a better look at the old home.
But we found out that the Bronx Museum of the Arts would be open for another hour or so and that it was only a couple of subway stops away so we headed down there and filled out our membership forms for that museum also. Then we took a look around the place. It’s smaller than I remember (I haven’t been there for many years). The gift shop used to be in its own room and now it’s a glorified closet.
First exhibit was Martin Wong: Human Instamatic, which is a retrospective of the work of the Chinese-American painter. Wong accomplished a lot in his 53 years. Starting with self-portraits and then as a street artist selling portraits of passers-by in and around San Francisco, Wong moved to the Lower East Side and became part of the huge arts scene in the 1980s and 1990s. There are a lot of scenes of the buildings and portraits of the characters in the LES. There was also his obsession with firefighters and some interesting portraits of them including one of two firemen kissing. There is also communication through sign language and stars in the sky. Later Wong showed an interest in the buildings and people of Chinatown. When Wong moved back home (where he died of AIDS) he made some beautiful paintings of the plants in his mother’s garden.
Transisitons: New Photography from Bangladesh contained few photos but one especially was haunting. It was taken by Taslima Akhter after the collapse of a mill (Death of a Thousand Dreams).
(de) (re) construct: Artworks from the Permanent Collection was just what you’d think it was.
Liliana Porter: Bird, Drawing, Model, Painting, Rip, Hand
Marcelo Cidade: A ultima poesía concreta (The last concrete poem)
Because the museum has free admission, it is a true community museum. They also have a lot of performances and an interesting calendar of events.
By Carene Lydia Lopez