Since it’s the holiday season, there are holiday decorations on almost every block you go. When I was walking around near Rockefeller Center, right across the Radio City Music Hall, I saw these huge red ornaments outside of a building. These simple ornaments bring a christmas spirit to anyone walking pass. Looking it up online, I found out that this building is called the Exxon Building, also known as the “X” Building from the “XYZ Buildings.” This display is designed by Stephen Stefanou, a visual display artist and designer known for his unique installations and seasonal décor of grandly scaled proportions. What surprised me was that this display is installed every holiday season for the past 22 years! Although they completely remake it every five years, they decide they want the same exact thing every five years. I think displaying the same decoration every year allow people to remember the building every time they see these christmas ornaments anywhere they go.
Later, I heard a bunch of loud motorcycle noises. As I made my way down the block, I was surprised to see a group of Santa Clauses on motorcycles. It was a group of people all dressed up as Santa Claus riding on the road in motorcycles. They just sat there and waved to everyone as they waited for the traffic light. It was an interesting sight to see on the street.
I visited the Taglialatella Galleries, which is just a short walk from The High Line, on 24th Street a while ago. Because we visited galleries before, I knew that this gallery welcomed visitors and was a place where artwork is sold.
Inside the gallery, everyone was busy with their own job; some were unwrapping paintings to put up and others were answering the endless ringing phones. However, the atmosphere was comfortable and friendly. Walking in, visitors are greeted with attention-grabbing pieces by artists of the pop movement including Andy Warhol, Mr. Brainwash, Keith Haring, Russell Young, and Banksy.
From this gallery, I discovered Mr. Brainwash, a pseudonym for Thierry Guetta, a street artist whose name I never heard of before, but discovered I love. My favorite piece by him is Chaplin and Mickey, which features a collection of icons together. First, we see Mickey Mouse and Charlie Chaplin in the center, but looking closely we can see in the background Mr. Brainwash includes Campbell Soup cans and a face of a famous woman, who I still can’t figure out who because we can’t see the whole face. I also love the different colors of splattered paint that I think made the painting even more unique.
Another painting I love by Mr. Brainwash is Broadway, which was being sold for almost $2,000 unframed! It is a mostly black and white picture that is altered by the artist. He adds a cutout of a man with a shopping cart in the middle of the street and a quote in color on the side of a truck. The quote he adds is, “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it,” a quote that stayed with me even after leaving the gallery.
I discovered my interest in pop art through visiting this gallery and now I am able to recognize artists, like Keith Haring, whose work I now see everywhere.
On my way to the train station last Friday, I saw a small group of people starting to gather around a small stage. I decided to go take a look at what was happening and realized that a group of people was singing. As I got closer I realized they were singing about Xbox One, which surprised me so I decided to stay to listen to the full song.
Because I didn’t see any signs around, except one that said “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer,” I didn’t really know what I was watching, except a group of people singing. However, after I went home, I searched for it and learned that what I watched was a musical improv performed by the People’s Improv Theater (the PIT), which is located right on 24th Street! While I heard of improv comedy shows, I have never heard of musical improv before. This amazed me because it didn’t sound like improvisation to me at all.
This event is part of the 23 Days of Flatiron Cheer, an annual holiday celebration that brings 23 days of holiday-themed events to the Flatiron neighborhood. There are live performances, art displays, kids story time, fun traditions like the “ugly sweater” contest, and more. This event goes on until December 24th, so you should definitely stop by if you have time after class!
The Guggenheim is an art itself. The building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was originally built as a temple for spirit. The magnificent design of a ramp going up in a spiral was also carefully designed to hide the artworks above from guests on the ground floor. It was designed so that visitors can take the elevator to the top and enjoy the artworks while making their way down the ramp.
Viewers entering the exhibition, Wang Jianwei: Time Temple, are greeted with a quote from the artist, “I think revolution happens when you distrust anything in its current state, including yourself.”
The different carved sculptures each have an individual uniqueness in its shape. Wang Jianwei also adds an additional piece to some like a touch of blue, yellow, or black paint, gold brass, and a layer of black rubber. The colors of the different mediums of artwork all match each other and include mostly just yellow, blue, and black. Each of these pieces of art can function as individual artworks as well as a group when they are together.
In the large paneled painting, there are people seated at a table while on one side someone stood and on the other, a man sitting. They all seemed to be observing what the lady on the other end was holding, like in show and tell. The most unique part of the paint is the yellow diagonal lines coming down from the top right corner of every panel. To me, it seemed like light was coming into the painting. Our tour guide explained that yellow is the “in between” color as it is the middle in a traffic light. I think Wang Jianwei wanted us to stop and think about this moment where we don’t have to stop or go, but at this transitional phase in between.
This thought provoking exhibit shows Wang Jianwei’s complex ideas that he is trying to express and I really enjoyed it.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet at The Joyce Theatre was the first modern dance performance I’ve seen. I found contemporary dance to be interesting because it doesn’t follow the normal forms and rules like other forms of dance, like ballet. What surprised me was what the article said about how contemporary dance sometimes ignores the music altogether, so I paid special attention to how music played in a role in the performance.
At the beginning, during the performance of Head Space, I felt slightly uncomfortable because of the dissonance in the music that was playing. At one time the dancers were in pairs and each pair danced their own routine. This goes with the dissonance in the music in that it seemed messy and uncontrolled. I found this especially interesting because it was unlike other dance performances I’ve seen in which they were usually in unison. I didn’t know which pair to look at since there were so many different things happening on stage. There were a lot of push and pull in their dance between the pairs that made them complement each other.
I was able to see how they emphasized the use of different muscles. I noticed many times the use of the Martha Graham stance, which we tried in class. While it looked simple, we realized that it was actually quite difficult. It takes a lot of strength to dance while staying in that position and the dancers even did it on tiptoes!
My favorite part of the performance was the final dance, The Groove. It was different from the rest of the dances in that the music was upbeat and energetic, making it lively and exciting. The lights were also brighter and moved around the stage adding to the overall effect of the mood that was portrayed.
Throughout the whole dance, I was constantly thinking about how talented the dancers were and how much practice and effort they must have put in the performance. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the experience.
My first experience at the opera to watch Carmen was very different from what I expected. I thought I would be falling asleep by the second act, but instead, I found myself fascinated by this new experience and ended up enjoying it.
First of all, the set was gorgeous. I was surprised by how large and realistic it was. The two walls formed a circular arena that conveniently turned to reveal different settings. It acted as the barracks for the soldiers, cigarette factory, the mountain hideout, and more. What also caught my eye were the costumes. While some were plain like the Gypsies’ factory dresses and some were elaborate like the toreadors’ outfits, their costumes clearly represented each of their roles.
Next, I loved the musical pieces. I observed the conductor as he guided the orchestra to produce the sound we all heard. I think it’s interesting how he is able to unify all the instruments to work together cueing in different instruments at different times while also communicating the dynamics, beat and tempo. Every scene was paired with a piece that sets the mood preparing the audience for a gloomy or lively event. And because of the preparation before the opera, I listened for the musical themes played for each character. I loved the cast was able to show their passion and emotions through their voices and actions. Although we learned beforehand that opera singers are trained to project their voices well, I was still surprised by how loud they were able to be. It was amazing how their voices could be so rich and strong.
In addition to music, I also noticed the use of the lighting that helped set the setting and the mood. During the scene when Don Jose meets Escamillo at the mountain hideout, it was slightly dark with blue lighting, giving off a cold and gloomy vibe. But during the entrance of the toreadors outside the bullring, the lighting was bright and celebratory.
I am glad we prepared for it beforehand, so I would know what I was watching and what I should watch for. I really enjoyed my first experience watching an opera and I am definitely interested in going back in the future for more!
All Over the World
is a sky
is a bird in
is a place far away
is a reunion of loved o n e s
is a vivid memory of friends is
a meeting of new friends
is a making of new
memories to be
is to fly
is an adventure is a
journey to begin is a world
waiting… to be discovered
to be explored is a
dream is a
to f l y.
Visiting Tom Smith’s Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the ROX gallery gave me an insight on the life of an artist and how they work. The first thing that captured my attention was the bright colors in almost all his artwork. The colors he used made his paintings stand out from the white walls, making such a stark contrast as if they were glowing, making the atmosphere of the gallery bright and lively. On each side of the wall, there are different sets of artwork, each with a different style. He explained to us how one set of his artwork led him to create the next, building on each style.
This is my favorite piece from the exhibit:
I love the colors used here, the layered effect, and the splattered paint, which all make it very unique. There are painted strips overlapping each other that made me feel like I was looking through window blinds. Tom Smith explained that he cut similar paintings into tiny strips and glued them all together to create the collage. Even he didn’t know exactly how the painting would turn out! I thought that was interesting because I always thought artists had a clear idea of what they were going to create and how it would turn out.
When I first saw his 3-D works, the effects of the carved wood reminded me of a landscape map and the bright red color he used reminded me of fire. This makes sense since he later said that he worked on it in Iceland, where there are a lot of volcanoes.
I also learned from this experience that artists usually take on another job while they work on their art. This makes sense since it’s hard for emerging artists at first.
In conclusion, I’m really glad I was able to visit this exhibit and see the artist, Tom Smith, and learn from him through his experiences.