Brooklyn Museum presents ‘Giants,’ with a focus on legacies among multigenerational Black artists

Brooklyn Museum Exhibition ‘Giants’

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New York/CMEDIA: Featuring over 100 major artworks by important Black American, African, and African diasporic artists, Brooklyn Museum Exhibition ‘Giants’ includes Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald.

In celebration of the exhibition, a promised gift of significant works from the Dean Collection will reportedly enter the Museum’s permanent collection and will be on view February 10–July 7, 2024.

The first major exhibition of the world-class collection of multigenerational Black diasporic artists owned by musical and cultural icons Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) and Alicia Keys, Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys  brings together nearly forty “giants” of the art world, including Gordon Parks, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lorna Simpson, Kehinde Wiley, and Nina Chanel Abney.

A rare look into the Deans’ expansive collecting history is offered by Giants including a founding passion for collecting albums, musical equipment, and BMX bikes to their present-day philosophy of “Black artists supporting Black artists,”.

“Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys have been among the most vocal advocates for Black creatives to support Black artists…have created one of the most important collections of contemporary art,” Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director ha e said in a news release.

Opening with an introduction to Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys’ creative lives and their sources of inspirations, the exhibition reveals their shared passion for collecting, supporting, and building community among artists, particularly artists of color, is at the heart of the Dean Collection.

“The collection started not just because we’re art lovers, but also because there’s not enough people of color collecting artists of color,” Beatz reportedly told Cultured magazine in 2018.

Referring to several aspects of the Dean Collection including the renown of legendary artists, the impact of canon-expanding contemporary artists, and the monumental works by such creators as Derrick Adams, Arthur Jafa, and Meleko Mokgosi, the exhibition’s title evokes the strong bonds between the Deans and the artists they support, as well as among the artists themselves.

Along with examining the links and legacies among multigenerational Black artists, the exhibition encourages “giant conversations” inspired by the works on view—critiquing society and celebrating Blackness.

Paying homage to legendary elder artists, the section On the Shoulders of Giants features work by artists who have left an indelible mark on the world. The legacy of portrait and street photography are exemplified in the works of Kwame Brathwaite, Malick Sidibé, and Gordon Parks, the last of which the Deans hold the largest private collection.

These internationally renowned photographers not only captured the moment in which they lived but also laid the foundation for current and future generations of artists.

The Giant Conversations section explores how artists have always critiqued and commented on the world around them.

Works on view also celebrate Blackness and champion the beauty, resilience, distinctiveness, connection, and joyousness within communities across the globe.

In the last section of the show, Giant Presence, monumental artworks form an impressive finale in the Museum’s Great Hall atrium.

The accompanying exhibition catalogue will reportedly be published by Phaidon featuring a foreword by Brooklyn Museum Director Anne Pasternak, interviews with artists in the Dean Collection, and a conversation between the Deans and exhibition curator Kimberli Gant.

Founded in 1898 as a division of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn Museum is an art museum located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn

Being New York City’s second largest museum, Brooklyn Museum was intended to educate tradespeople, and was planned to be the largest art museum in the world containing an art collection with around 500,000 objects.