Ni Youyu’s Brooklyn Galaxy consists of sixty-six coins from different nations, each hammered flat and ornamented with a miniature ink painting created by the artist, using a magnifying glass. It is inspired by Chinese cosmology and ancient star charts, reinterpreted with new materials and meanings. The artist’s Galaxy installations are a critique of consumerism and the global commodification of art; in Chinese, the word for “galaxy” translates as “silver river” (yin he), and the expression “to pound money” (za qian) can refer to a businessman who spends prolifically to make a fast profit.
This work was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum for the new galleries of Chinese art. Some of the coins in this unique work have images of landscapes reminiscent of the Song (960–1279) or Yuan (1279–1368) dynasties: birds with lush feathers, vibrant flowers, and scholar’s rocks. On others, Ni has painted images of some of the masterworks from the Museum’s collection of historical Chinese art. Viewers are invited to match the coins from Ni’s galaxy with the objects on display in the adjacent gallery for the Arts of China.
Bequest of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner, by exchange and Designated Purchase Fund
Sixty-five flattened coins painted with miniature images, adhered directly to a wall in a prescribed arrangement to mimick a galaxy. The coin images range from traditional Chinese motifs drawn from Chinese painting, to objects from the Brooklyn Museum's collection of traditional Chinese art.
This item is not on view
Ni Youyu (Chinese, born 1984). Brooklyn Galaxy, 2014. Metal, pigment Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner, by exchange and Designated Purchase Fund, 2019.9. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2019.9_overall_PS11.jpg)
overall, 2019.9_overall_PS11.jpg., 2019
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
© Ni Youyu
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.