View of the Brooklyn Museum's Eastern Parkway façade, showing the museum lit up for Hudson Fulton Centennial, 1909.
“The persons now in this room have it in their power to decide whether in the future intellectual progress of this nation, Brooklyn is to lead or to follow far in the rear.” —George Brown Goode, “The Museum of the Future” (1889)
Last December I wrote "How Brooklyn Missed Brooklyn," a critique of the museum's curious apathy to the art of its own borough and a reflection on history of its once illustrious past. With the announced retirement of Arnold Lehman, the museum's director since 1997, I signaled
the changing fortunes of the borough now call for a director who can draw on Brooklyn’s civic strengths to build the museum into what its founders intended. The time has come for a Brooklyn Museum that is truly “worthy of her wealth, her position, her culture and her people”—and her artists.
This week we learned that Lehman's successor will be Anne Pasternak, the president and artistic director of the public arts organization Creative Time. In "Does Anne Pasternak Have What It Takes?" written by Mostafa Heddaya for ARTINFO, I and others offer some thoughts on the museum's "creative choice" of a director who has received much fanfare for hosting contemporary-art events—but little experience tending to an arts institution with a history and its own important permanent collection. A museum is more than an event space, I say. It's a house for art. Now it remains to be seen if she can make it a home.