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A New Twist to Old Rooms

Moorish Smoking Room, The John D. Rockefeller House, built circa 1864–65; remodeled circa 1881. Entire room, 17 1/2 x 15 1/2 ft. (5.3 x 4.7 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and John D. Rockefeller III, 46.43

Moorish Smoking Room, The John D. Rockefeller House, built circa 1864–65; remodeled circa 1881 at the Brooklyn Museum. Source: Brooklyn Museum.

Playing House, which opened Friday 24, at the Brooklyn Museum adds new perspective to an old and much-loved exhibit. The exhibition is the first in a series of installations aimed at garnering new interest in the museum’s period rooms. Meticulously detailed and carefully built, the historic rooms at the Brooklyn Museum, favorites with Museum-goers, have always been vivid but silent windows into the past. For this installation, the Museum has invited four artists, Betty Woodman, Anne Chu, Ann Agee, and Mary Lucier to add contemporary artwork that will speak out loud to the history of each space.

Lucier, herself a descendent of Dutch and Huguenot settlers, has added a series of reminiscent videos throughout the 17th and 18th century rooms of her ancestors. Hear Lucier speak about the exhibition on Saturday, March 1, at Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum. Playing House is installed in eight of the rooms, including the Worsham-Rockefeller Moorish Smoking Room (pictured above), the Cane Acres Plantation Dining Room, and the Milligan Parlor and Library. Learn more about the inspiration for and artistry behind the exhibition at www.brooklynmuseum.org.