MHC Seminar 1, Professor Casey Henry

Author: preetiprez

Phone Conversations Between Artists

When walking into museum, we observe the work of prodigies who have spent their lives dedicated to creating the art showcased. However, sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and see forms of art by those who don’t intend it to showcase their work in that manner. For example, in the MET museum there is an exhibition going on depicting the use of pictures taken by phones, and creating them into a conversation. Because technology has become such an integrated aspect of our contemporary lives, I thought it would be interesting to mimic this exhibition within the classroom.

What inspired me most about the idea of conversations with just our phone camera, is that it portrays the concept that art does not have to be planned or worked on for years before in order to be a masterpiece.

I aimed to show how art does not have to be planned or perfectly created. It can be in the rush of the moment, yet still intend to connect people with different artistic intentions.



Advertising as a New Art

One could say fashion and art is half complete without the advertising component. To the creator it may be a masterpiece, but to the general audience it could just be another item that their eye glances over without the notion to stop and stare.

I was particularly fond of O’Brien’s remark, “The fusion of advertising and art is adding another dimension to culture,” because it rang true of our contemporary society today. I think that in earlier times, people appreciated art and fashion more because it was just becoming popular in its new and raw form. Today, art and fashion have lost this sense of tradition because people have lost it too. Thus what appeals to younger generations today, is not the same as from what did of years ago.

Much like these ads from Urban Decay

The one on the left with Gwen Stefani, is an earlier ad and is in no doubt a stunning portrayal of the model, but it is simple and traditional. Her blond hair, deep red lipstick, and her apparel, reminds me of a doll type of look: simple, elegant, and clean, much like the makeup presented. There is nothing out of the ordinary being advertised.

The more recent ad on the right by Urban Decay featuring Ruby Rose,  (known for pushing the boundaries of gender stereotypes in Orange is the New Black), embodies a more dramatic and dangerous look, which pars well together with the company’s new lipstick collection of bold and unique colors.  Her tattoos and shorter hair cut stray away from the conventional manner of portraying women in makeup ads but in a way that would attract a diverse group of youngsters. The unzipped leather jacket to me spoke out as liberated and carefree, not to mention how her mouth is slightly opened and the model is holding an eyeshadow brush in her mouth like a cigarette, which all contribute to this rebellious ambiance.

Overall, the ad on the left speaks to me as, look beautiful and play it safe today, whereas the ad on the right says, look sexy and be dangerous tonight.

These two types of ads portray two different types of women, as well as two different styles of makeup, and will therefore attract two different followings when viewed.

From the first article, Abloh’s statement “We’re all individuals; we’re all critics; we all look at things from a discerning eye,” coincides with the idea that a piece of art/fashion can not satisfy everyone because we all see things differently. Thus advertisements help lure those stragglers who are not enticed by first glance, or are unsure of what they are truly looking at.

MichealAngelo and Rodin

While at the MET museum, I found both Rodin and Michelangelo’s work extremely captivating and unique to their respectful creators.

Within Rodin’s sculptures, I noticed there was a somber aspect connected to the works of art and it looked as if many of the characters depicted were suffering in one way or the other. I also noticed many of them were bent in a way that was covering themselves and or protecting their bodies.

In contrast, within MichealAngelo’s sculptures, I saw many of them portrayed liberally and gracefully. For example, this marble sculpture reminds me of an angel ready to soar and be free.

This sculpture by Angelo is depicted in a way in which the man is flaunting himself and is proudly posing for the viewer. His face is calm and relaxed and this piece of work had an overall serene feeling associated with it.

In opposition,  this  marble sculpture by Rodin, portrays a woman sitting in a lonesome manner as she turns her head away from something or someone. She doesn’t look like she is going anywhere and looks as if she is almost ashamed of something.

I found this particular sculpture of Rodin’s interesting as the woman bows and surrenders herself and body to the man who is only gently bowing his head, yet is holding her with a firm grip. Its almost as if he’s consuming her, as her body merges within his, and we see more of his body as opposed to hers.Thus I sense a patriarchal dominance within Rodin’s sculptures depicting the man and woman.

One of Michelangelo’s paintings that stood out to me was The Battle of Cascina, primarily because it didn’t seem like a battle that I was expecting.

I associate battles with weapons and soldiers with armor, not this dramatic scene with naked men going after one another. However, this highlights a greater battle, which is the fight between the individual man. Strip away, the weapons, the heavy armor, and cannons, what is there really left? Men fighting one another to the death. Thus, I think this painting portrays a battle scene at its most raw and real form.It was a daring task on MichealAngelo’s part, but nonetheless served to make a very loud statement centuries later and up to today.

Mean Streets and Ghostface

The film, Mean Streets, depicts the cutthroat lifestyle in which wealth is at the center, and artificial friendships are formed on the basis of giving and receiving money. We see the moral paradox most prominently within the character Charlie especially in the church scene. Apart from the fact he goes to clubs, gets tangled in fights and shootings, and isn’t dedicated to religion, his action of going to church may be a way for him to feel better about himself, and make up for his actions. Nevertheless, in the movie we are made aware that he recognizes the Catholic Church as a man-made organization, a business diverging not too far from organized crime, and capable of human fault.Charlie even mentions how he says prayers but the words have no meaning to him. Thus, we can see his attitude towards church is not spiritual but more ironic.The compelling nature of the movie is the thrill and rush, it seems as if the characters live in a world where every next moment is either a fight, adventure, or opportunity. Time doesn’t slow down and the characters move along without looking back.

Within Ghostface Killah’s song “Shakey Dog”. the rhythm and the tune of the music matches the environment of a neighborhood with mystery, crime, and danger. The language used represents a carefree attitude and one that is not looking to respect anyone.The song starts to reach a climactic scene within the house and when the shooting goes off leaving the listeners with an intense feeling. The lyrics have no filter and portray the deep and grimy undertakings of the gang lifestyle. This song connects to Mean Streets as they both represent a life of danger and crime, and most especially how people are out for one another. There is no friendship in the lyrics, nor is there someone to lean back on, as showed in the movie Mean Streets between Charlie and Johnny Boy. Charlie looks out for Johnny and even mentions to Teresa that one of the reasons why he’s staying back is to help his friend out.Thus, the song is a more brutal portrayal of what it is like to be a part of a gang, as opposed to the movie that shows there is loyalty and respect among the members.

Reflection on O’Hara’s work

Out of all the Lunch Poems, I was particular fond of O’Hara’s Having A Coke With you. This poem romanticizes the moment of sharing a drink with a lover and how this moment feels like a lifetime. While reading it, I felt that the speaker was in a daze and that he was entranced by the woman. Thus, the first song I could think of that gave me a back in the day love story feel was, Can’t help falling in Love by Elvis Presley.

This song is a classic, yet it captures the slowing down of time when two lovers are together. It’s a sweet serenade, which intertwines perfectly with how the speaker of the poem is admiring his significant other and how excited he is to endeavor new experiences with her.


As for the NYC aspect, the speaker mentions multiple places, and scenery as to complete the perfect environment. His full heart, his lover, and his beautiful surroundings emphasize the magic of New York City.  A song that echoes this theme would be “Fly to New York” by Above and Beyond.

This song is about a boy with divorced parents, who flies by himself to NYC to see his mother. His father then realizes his son is missing and goes to find him. The mother is also on edge of starting her life with another man but chooses to decline. When the son and father reunite, the mother finds them in the city, and you can feel the bursting of energy between the couple. Even though the storyline is completely different from the poem, the role of NYC in romance is evident in both. The city is showcased as a place with much hope and chance for love, despite the past and present uncertainties. 


This is a google earth image of the street view of the Frick Museum that the speaker mentions in hope to take his lover to visit.

As shown by these images, it is a beautiful building and a perfect place for couples to go to. The plants and colors of the building highlight the elegance and romantic nature of the museum, which is why the speaker most likely wants to take his woman there. 

O”Hara paints NYC as a dream like setting where hopes and dreams do come true in the most famous city of the world. Those who live in NYC know that’s not necessarily the case and that there are a lot of downsides with living in the city such as the smell, crowds, disrespectful people, and the ridiculous prices. However, because the speaker is in love, all these negative aspects fade away in the background and only feelings of bliss and euphoria resonate in the speaker’s heart.