The Brooklyn Museum’s main hall is finally ‘Great’

The Brooklyn Museum’s main hall is finally ‘Great’
Photo by Tom Callan

The Brooklyn Museum is shaking things up — way, way up.

In a new site-specific installation, “reOrder: An Architectural Environment,” opening this Friday, the Great Hall’s 25-foot-tall columns are refitted with suspended fabric canopies and furniture in a playful, dramatic design by the DUMBO-based Situ Studio.

“The design celebrates the architecture of the hall,” said curator Sharon Matt Atkins. “It rethinks the classically ordered space by creating dynamic forms that appear to push and pull at the edges of the columns.”

Indeed, each of the 16 columns in the colossal space are uniquely fitted in steel tubing, plywood rings and LEDs that are covered with white canvas, expanding out above gallery goers’ heads at different heights and widths, transforming the classical iconic form completely.

“We wanted each column to have personality,” said Wes Rozen, one of Situ’s founders. “We wanted this to be a place where people would pause and appreciate the architecture.”

To accomplish that, each of the 16 columns will be adorned with tables or benches, so visitors can pause beneath the canvas forest on their way to the museum’s cafe, gift shop or new exhibitions like “Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains.”

The opening of “reOrder” also marks the reopening of the Great Hall, found in the center of the ground floor, since closing more than a year ago for renovations. When the Situ installation closes in 2012, the space will be used as an introduction to the Museum’s comprehensive collections, which range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary works.

But for now, it’s a must-see.

New order: In “reOrder,” a site-specific installation at the Brooklyn Museum, the Grand Hall’s classical columns get refitted with white canvas in playful, dramatic designs.
Photo by Tom Callan

“reOrder: An Architectural Environment” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], March 4-Jan. 15, 2012. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. For info, visit www.brooklynmuseum.org.