A Brooklyn afternoon: cherry blossoms and Keith Haring graffitis

Last week I took the train to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to view the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, hoping to recapture a hint of my life experience in Japan. Sure enough, the Cherry Esplanade delivered its promise: bunches of pink cherry blossoms on the myriad of branches forming arches over the garden alleys; a rain of pastel petals whirling in the wind, dotting the field of grass.

Coincidentally I met my friend Carolyn from Ma Vie en Franglais there. We continued our tour of the garden together, wondering at the bright colors along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I hate gardening with a passion (I couldn’t even name the flowers pictured below) but if I need to relax, nothing’s better than a walk in a park.

Carolyn and I then made our way to the Brooklyn Museum to view the Keith Haring exhibition. One of the best-known American artists of the 20th century, Keith Haring was deeply inspired by graffiti. The exhibition focuses on the beginning of his career from 1978 to 1982, when his energetic street-art was ubiquitous throughout New York City.

A fixture of New York’s downtown culture, Haring befriended artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. New York was quite a different city at the time: gritty, with a somewhat dangerous and creatively bustling energy. The amazing soundtrack of the exhibition stays true to the period with bands like The B-52’s, Blondie, Talking Heads and The Clash; you can listen to the iTunes list on the exhibition’s page.

The highlight of the exhibition was this impressively long mural. Carolyn wondered if Haring had painted it according to a plan or if he had improvised little by little given how detailed it is.

Apart from the background music, I really loved Haring’s sense of humor and his way of mocking the consumer society. I was also impressed to see how detailed his work could be. Finally, this quote from Keith Haring struck me as wonderfully true on art: “I am interested in making art to be experienced and explored by as many individuals as possible with as many different individual ideas about the given piece with no final meaning attached. The viewer creates the reality, the meaning, the conception of the piece. I am merely a middleman trying to bring together ideas.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour in Brooklyn! Now tell me, how did you spend your own weekend?

You can read Carolyn’s great post about our afternoon right here on her blog Ma Vie en Franglais.

8 Comments

Filed under Art, New York

8 responses to “A Brooklyn afternoon: cherry blossoms and Keith Haring graffitis

  1. The Brooklyn Museum is one of my favourites, haven’t been in years! Anne, I can always count on you for such lovely, intelligent posts (and photos from museums you daring photographer!). I hope to make good on my plans to visit soon and catch up. PS, glad to have some fresh content from you!!

  2. wow, what a great weekend! love the art and quotes, i spent last weekend taking part in a demonstration in uk for free and fair elections for my home countrt, malaysia!

  3. That graffiti looks Egyptian actually! It’s so cool! Love the blossom too!

  4. Those gardens are lovely but I wish they had a part where you could take a picnic, the different features are so pretty to look at and spend time in. When I visited the cherry esplanade was still to bloom, I really should go back to see this! So funny you bumped into Carolyn, small world!

  5. I couldn’t help but laugh at the similarities. I absolutely abhor gardening. I’d much rather be whipped. Conversely, I love traipsing through James’ Park in London or the local gardens here in Hampshire. Just don’t ask me to name any flowers or plants because I have no idea what they are.

    p.s. I just discovered recently that the beautiful flowers I’ve been admiring for so long are called peonies. See what I mean?

  6. Pingback: Edward Hopper at the Grand Palais in Paris: impressions of solitude | Ritournelle

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