Magazine article Sculpture

BRONX, NEW YORK: Jackie Brookner

Magazine article Sculpture

BRONX, NEW YORK: Jackie Brookner

Article excerpt

Bronx, New York jackie Brookner Wave Hill Glyndor Gallery

First trained as an art historian at Wellesley College and Harvard, Jackie Brookner moved to downtown New York in 1976, where she studied art at the New York Studio School. Her paintings and sculptures reflect a thorough knowledge of and kinship with the legacy of the New York School, but she is primarily known for her social practice. In 2000, she began developing unusual public projects (Brookner died in 2015), which used water-rivers, streams, storm run-offs-and water-related issues as the centerpiece of an effort to merge art, ecological awareness, and practical intervention in troubled outdoor landscapes.

"Of Nature," a mini-retrospective organized by Wave Hill's senior curator Jennifer McGregor and independent curator Amy Lipton, gave long overdue appreciation to this highly active and independent artist. The show could only hint at the scope of Brookner's public projects, which were detailed on video screens, in books, and in photographs. Yet her political awareness was made evident through her remarkable body of paintings and sculptures. Perhaps the most notable sculpture on display was the installation Of Earth and Cotton (1994-98), consisting of multiple pairs of feet placed on a small pallet. As McGregor explains in her catalogue essay, Brookner "followed the westward migration of the cotton belt," interviewing people who had gathered cotton in the 1930s and '40s. She then modeled their feet from local soil. The piece functions marvelously as a memorial, and the feet themselves are quite beautifully rendered. …

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