Feeling Affirmed

It’s been healing and comforting to be surrounded by people who affirm my identity. At Westtown, I’ve struggled with coming to terms with my identity in a space that is overwhelmingly white, cis, and straight. While Westtown is in some ways a progressive and open-minded community, it isn’t one in which there are many other people like me.

At the museum, I am being surrounded by queer people of color, their art, and their energies. My boss Lindsay is genderqueer and black! So are a lot of the teens in the programs I’ve been helping with over the past week. I’m so grateful to be spending time in a place with people who are so empathetic and passionate.

And the people I work with are similar to me outside of our shared identities; we’re all passionate about art! I’ve been engaging in amazing conversations with my supervisors and other teens alike about what art means to them, especially in relation to social justice. This is one of the few times in my life where I have not been the only one, and I am so happy.

 

Love,

Jay

Basquiat

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The museum’s One Basquiat exhibition is amazing. It is only one painting in a mostly empty room, but somehow that connects you to Basquiat even more deeply than if there were a whole collection of his work. There is something amazing about a painting that allows you to time travel into the exact setting of the artist. It was a deeply emotional experience for me to view the painting as I’ve always loved Basquiat.

The work was donated by Yusuku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire and art collector who bought the it for $110 million dollars.The purchase made history as the most expensive American painting ever auctioned, so it was a huge deal in the art world when he bought it. Since I keep up with art news, I remember hearing it about it on one of my favorite podcasts! The purchase was a huge deal not only because of the price tag, but because Basquiat was a black artist in a largely white art world. On Friday, Mr. Maezawa came to talk to teen staff about how the education department was using the artwork!

It’s been a great first week and I’m feeling extremely grateful and inspired by the art around me.

Love,

Jay

First day and Ava DuVernay!?

Today is my second full day at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s been great so far. Not only have I met a ton of people in the museum’s education department who are super passionate about art, I’ve also been able to clean up and update the Teen Program’s Digital Artizens website. The site is a collection of intersectional feminist art, thoughts, and writing, all by teenagers! As a teenage activist and art lover, this is an exciting project for me to take on.

Yesterday after Intersextions, a paid internship at the museum for LGBTQ+ teens, all of the teen staff went to a special preview of Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time at the Lincoln Center! Ava DuVernay is a black female director who is known for directing Selma and The Thirteenth, both serious movies about black identity and civil rights in America. A Wrinkle In Time however is a children’s fantasy movie, starring a black girl as the main character! After the film, Ava answered audience questions. I was starstruck! She’s such an inspiration and a trailblazer as a black female director. It’s so exciting to see her unique lens set upon such a classic children’s novel, and in addition, the movie was great!

Love,

 

Jay ❤