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Special fall preview! Your cultural calendar starts at the Brooklyn Museum • Brooklyn Paper

Special fall preview! Your cultural calendar starts at the Brooklyn Museum

Provocative paintings like “The Bathers” by John Steuart Curry are what makes the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition of 1920s art worth seeing.

Art it up!

The Brooklyn Museum has nine new exhibitions this fall, and the pieces are as diverse as the borough itself. Expect to see everything from casts made by a Bushwick artist to a giant jigsaw puzzle to classic paintings from the Roaring Twenties. Here’s the list of what you need to see to truly consider yourself a borough art snob.

Modern family room

Find out what living rooms looked like before IKEA!

The museum’s debut exhibit, “19th Century Modern” (Sept. 2–April 1), features furniture and trinkets that date back to the 1800s, when the Modernist movement began in America and Europe. When you see items such as the silver candlestick holders — still perfect for an ultra-fancy dinner party — you realize the truth of the old adage, “The more things change ….”

Hear her roar

The hot show, “Hide/Seek: Difference in Desire in American Portraiture,” can teach you a lot about sexual desire, though Minor White’s photo, “Tom Murphy” (1948) is pretty obvious.

The multi-media installation “Matthew Buckingham: The Spirit and the Letter” (Sept. 3–Jan. 8) pays tribute to Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th-century writer who was audacious enough to declare that women are equal to men. A video by artist Matthew Buckingham includes spoken excerpts from Wollstonecraft’s essay, “A Vindication of the Rights of Women,” which paved the way for the feminist movement.

9-11 reflection

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the the day we all remember like it was yesterday, the museum offers “Ten Years Later: Ground Zero Remembered” (Sept. 7-Oct. 30), featuring a giant jigsaw puzzle comprised of press photographs taken of the aftermath. There will also be a sculpture by artist Michael Richards, who died in the North Tower on 9-11.

Forever young

Talk about a hard-knock life! German artist Eva Hesse escaped the Nazis, dealt with her mother’s suicide and died of a brain tumor in 1970 at age 34. The collection of Hesse’s self-portraits, “Eva Hesse Spectres 1960” (Sept. 16-Jan. 8), convey a range of emotions, from devastation to aspiration.

Brooklyn in the house

Billy Joel-wannabes are allowed to play this piano that’s bisected by a wall, part of the show, “Sanford Biggers: Sweet Funk — An Introspective.”

The borough’s largest art museum is giving props to its homegrown artists. “Raw/Cooked” (Sept. 16-Sept. 9, 2012) will exhibit works by five up-and-coming Brooklyn creators, including a Bushwick guy who makes casts based on human bodies and museum artifacts.

“Brooklyn has so many terrific artists, so it’s great to see the museum’s format reflect that,” said Sanford Biggers, who is putting on his own exhibit at the museum this fall.

Biggers deal

Make sure to learn to play “Chopsticks” before visiting this exhibit. A collection of sculptures by artist Sandford Biggers, “Sweet Funk — An Introspective” (Sept. 23- Jan. 8), includes a piano that’s divided by a wall. Museum visitors can play half the keyboard while an unseen person tickles the ivories on the other side.

“The concept of this piece was to put on an anonymous duet,” Biggers said.

Flower power

A 45-foot granite table of fresh-cut flowers will line the museum from October to January.

Stop and smell the roses at “Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden” (Oct. 5- Jan. 22). A bank of 100 fresh-cut flowers will make the museum look like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. As an added bonus, visitors can take the blossoms arranged around the exhibit.

Jazz hands

Channel your inner flapper by exploring “Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties” (Oct. 28-Jan. 29), featuring 140 works created during the Jazz Age. Highlights include paintings by legends such as Edward Hopper.

Sexuality feeling

A collection of portraits called “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” (Nov. 18-Feb. 12, 2012) explores how sexual and gender identities are represented in art. Works include multi-media reflections on the Stonewall riots in 1969 and the AIDS epidemic.

“It’s an important chronicle of a neglected dimension of American art,” said museum director Arnold Lehman.

Artist Michael Richards made this sculpture, part of his “Tuskegee Airmen Series,” four years before he died in the World Trade Center attacks. His piece is being shown as part of the museum’s 9-11 commemoration.

All shows at Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000]. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

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