Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — Yuriy

Samuel Freedman

“Human nature can be broken down into love, hate, ambition, and disappointment,” Samuel G. Freedman pointed out to a class of students that he visited at Baruch College. It can be assumed that someone with extensive experience and vast knowledge of human life and our behavior can make such an argument, and in Freedman’s case, such an assumption would be correct. He is a columnist for Saturday’s New York Times, for which he is constantly interviewing people. He is also a professor at the prestigious Columbia University. However, it is probably his latest book, Who She Was: My Search for My Mother’s Life, that gives Freedman the most credentials as a respectable writer. [Read more →]

December 24, 2008   2 Comments

BAM:“Les Ecailles de la Memoire”

For years the Brooklyn Academy of Music has hosted some of the most brilliant and inspiring productions on stage, as well as musical and cinematic performances. Dozens of composers, musicians, and directors have set foot in this marvelous building to provide culturally enriching experiences for over 500,000 visitors annually. In a limited engagement this fall, the Urban Bush Women came to BAM to tell their story of the African Diaspora through dance. Germaine Acogny and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar put together a wonderful mixed cast of native Senegalese and African American dancers and set the stage alive with heart-throbbing music and lighting to create a joyful, cultural experience. [Read more →]

December 15, 2008   Comments Off on BAM:“Les Ecailles de la Memoire”

Beyond Babylon

How can we relive the past? I do not mean fifty years ago, or even a hundred. I mean four thousand years! Most people wonder in awe about what life was like such a long time ago. Did humans look the same as they do now? What kind of activities did people engage in? What did they wear? With new and innovative technologies emerging at what seems like lightning speed, uncovering the past seems like a more and more feasible feat. Thanks in large part to Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman and The Hagop Kevorkian Fund, as well as other sponsors, a new exhibition titled “Beyond Babylon” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was made possible. This intriguing exhibit takes us on an adventure through the Mesopotamian region in the Second Millennium B.C, showcasing ancient jewelry, weapons, and texts.
Walking through the doorway of the exhibit, it feels like you enter into a whole new world. In stark contrast to the off-white walls of the rest of the museum, the walls at “Beyond Babylon” are colored a bold blue. It is a good recreation of the old world. The ceilings are high and the doorways are massive, being a good representation of the word Babylon itself, which when disassembled into its parts means “gateway of deities”. It was clear indeed that deities had a powerful influence on the people of the Mesopotamian region in those days. On exhibit were various religious figures. Also, uncovered from Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12-13, was a wand. It was decorated with fantastic creatures and deities. Supposedly, it had a protective function. Circular motions were made with it over children to protect them during the night. It was made from beautiful hippopotamus ivory, as were many of the artifacts from this time.
Besides wands and such, weapons are also a big part of the exhibit. One particularly beautiful weapon was an Axe inscribed with Ahmos. It is made of gold, electrum, copper alloy, semi-precious stones, and wood. This battle-axe exemplifies the ingenuity of the people in those days, as well as their artistic and creative ability. This battle-axe can be considered as much a weapon as an artistic piece. Probably one of the most revealing artifacts of the time is The Uluburun Shipwreck. This ship was carrying 17 tons of cargo and 15,000 artifacts from 12 different cultures, including the Canaanite, Mycenaean, Cypriot, Egyptian, Nubian, Baltic, northern Balkan, Kassite, and Assyrian. At the exhibit, inside a fake vessel, are housed horse training manuals, cups and vessels, helmets and armory, as well as glass and ceramics.
“Beyond Babylon” is an exciting and interactive exhibit. There is a ton of information available, including a short film. In a rather small space, the creators manage to display artifacts from over ten different cultures, and from over 4 thousand years ago. This exhibit is an educational experience where you can come pretty close to reliving the past.

December 15, 2008   1 Comment

My First Street Photography Project

Street photography is the art of observing glimpses of every day life, freezing them, and putting them on display. Why is this an art? Photography is an art because in a sense it is subjective, and there is a huge element of creativity that is part of it. A photographer must see past what the naked eye sees. He or she must differentiate between something that is striking versus something that is plain. He or she must see colors not just as a characteristic of an object, but as a part of the whole image. Nowadays, taking a picture with a camera can be as easy as a click of a button, but it takes someone with creativity and insight to capture a genuinely good image. When I took on my own street photography project, I realized just how difficult taking a picture really is. [Read more →]

December 15, 2008   2 Comments



The title of my collage is “Eurotrip”. The reason I named it this was because the subject of the college is the trip I made with my family to Europe this past summer. We visited Paris, three cities in Belgium, and Amsterdam. I included little pieces of memories and things/ places I enjoyed most, mainly from Paris and Belgium. Instead of putting the combination of photos and objects on plain paper, I decided to make the background a map of central Paris. It is colorful and catches the eye, and gives the background much more meaning than a simple, colored paper. [Read more →]

December 14, 2008   5 Comments

My Mother: A Pioneer at Heart

Who was my mother before I was born? This is a question that I have not really confronted before, probably because I am always so busy with the present, and especially busy with thinking about what the future holds for me. While our country is in a deep recession, it is important to think about certain changes that I might possibly have to make to prepare myself for a grim future. However, this does not mean that the past holds no importance. Why do we study the past? Many historians might argue that learning the past can help us prepare for the future, because history repeats itself. Although this might hold true, this trend usually occurs every half- century or century at least. My mother is only 38 years old, so her past is not so far away. Nonetheless, memories can easily be forgotten, and in order to salvage these precious memories, I decided to learn more about what life was like during my mother’s childhood in the Soviet Union. All I can remember is the struggles of my parents during immigration to the United States, but was this future already in my mother’s mind in the 1970’s and 1980’s? Probably not. As I grow older, I begin to understand what kind of a person my mother is. She is caring and loving as a mother should be, but at the same time she is a fierce competitor, leader, and perfectionist. These qualities must have been instilled in her before I was born, so I wanted to delve into her past and see her growth, as she became the person that she is today. [Read more →]

December 12, 2008   Comments Off on My Mother: A Pioneer at Heart

Susan Meiselas at the ICP

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is a world-renowned museum for professional photographers from all over the world. For years it has displayed some of the most creative documentary as well as artistic images taken by experienced photographers. This year, from September 19th until January 4th, 2009, Susan Meiselas is showcasing her work at the ICP. Her work in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution, documentary of the people of Kurdistan, and her somewhat interesting take on “Carnival Strippers”, really show Meiselas’s talent and passion for the art of photography, as well as a longing to reveal the truths of our world. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   Comments Off on Susan Meiselas at the ICP

Frances Richey: Motherly Hardships

A corporate business- woman turned poet, Frances Richey has recently published her second collection of poems titled The Warrior. As her first book, The Burning Point, it has already received wide critical acclaim. Fueled by strong feelings toward her beloved son who was deployed to fight in Iraq, she began to write an anthology of poems to express her emotions. Her poetry is moving and at times tear jerking, leading one to question how Richey could have become such a magnificent poet after working in an absolutely non-creative profession. Nonetheless, Frances Richey has become a prolific and successful artist in her field. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   Comments Off on Frances Richey: Motherly Hardships


Who says that a good Broadway show must incorporate a cast of dozens of talented performers with extensive experience, or be performed on a grand stage with the latest and greatest lighting and sound equipment? At the Duke on 42nd street, viewers can enjoy one of the best Broadway shows playing today: “Clay”, a one-man hip-hop performance by the extremely talented Matt Sax. While attending Northwestern University, Sax began to write this musical and performed versions of it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Lookingglass Theatres/ About Face Theatre in Chicago before bringing it to The Duke in Times Square itself. A combination of heart-pumping music, a creative and emotional story, and spectacular acting make “Clay” a worthy Tony Award candidate. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   1 Comment

Jeff Mermelstein: Street Photographer and Artist

Who is Jeff Mermelstein? Some who accidentally notice him in the street with his Leica lense might think he is a tourist and yet others might even think of him as an invader of their privacy. The fact is though that Jeff Mermelstein is a street photographer, and definitely a passionate one. He takes pictures of anything that catches his eye, whether it is fruits and vegetables, animals, or people. Vivid color is his main criteria, and this makes his photographs absolutely ravishing. [Read more →]

November 19, 2008   Comments Off on Jeff Mermelstein: Street Photographer and Artist