Right now is a good time to visit the Brooklyn Museum! There's the Wangechi Mutu exhibit at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and the Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective. Both are amazing and very special.
The Gaultier exhibit is a real treat. You'll see your standard fashionistas there, which causes my eyes to roll spontaneously. BUT you'll mainly see a bunch of people there excited to see Gaultier couture up close. People that are truly excited to see garments in person that before they've only seen in photographs.
The Brooklyn Museum has everything from pieces from Gaultier's first collection from the late 70s up to now. You'll see basically every kind of garment. And what's so fun about his work is how he plays with history and culture and sex and gender. Bascially anything goes here. It's so refreshing.
Most of the pieces are modeled on these mannequins that have video images of faces projected onto the heads of the mannequins. I wasn't aware of this at first and thought the mannequins were alive or I was having a major acid flashback or something. But the effect is really cool---and slightly disorienting. Definitely brings the garments and mannequins to life.
These are just a few examples of the many, many garments you'll see at the Gaultier retrospective. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Then go to Wangechi Mutu's exhibit A Fantastic Journey. Mutu's work mainly consists of collages that are very engaging and psychedelic and slightly eerie. Above all the pieces are oddly beautiful.
When you inspect the pieces in person you'll see that her figures are made up of cut outs images of female body parts and plants and animals. They typically form to create a sort of hybrid creature that is almost human but not quite. And not quite animal or plant either.
As well as being visually compelling, it's feminist art but also very interested in our relationship to nature. It's a great antithesis to the Gaultier show. While both are rooted in body fantasies. Gaultier's main focus is materialistic (for a lack of better words), while Mutu's is more interested in a (re-)connection to the earth. Both are valid and legitimate collections of art.
Go see both!