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Like many of my classmates, I was not completely sure what to expect from this experience. Never having been to opera before (or at least not one that I was old enough to appreciate), I felt there was just as much a chance that I would hate it as that I would love it. Mark’s talk was very interesting, and I think gave me a good idea of what to expect, but it did make me worry that, because I don’t really have a very trained ear for music, I would have a hard time really appreciating the opera. However, this turned out to not be the case at all. While actually at the opera, I found myself really caring about the plot and its strangely endearing (if utterly ridiculous, and occasionally morally disgusting) characters. It was good to know that even though it was a little harder for me to notice the more subtle changes in the music of the performance, I was still able to appreciate it on some level. The only thing I had a hard time with was understanding the difference made by a lack of microphone. Perhaps the problem is that I had never realized that that particular sound was the result of a performer singing without a microphone. With this knowledge, however, I was more impressed even than I usually am by the ability of these singers to project.

However, terrible as it may sound, the opera was not even my favorite part of the evening (though to be fair, that is saying a lot, as I greatly enjoyed Cosi Fan Tutte). Rather, the most exciting thing for me was just the opportunity to see a great opera at Lincoln Center. This was another one of those wonderful moments, much like our afternoon at the Woolworth Building, where I realized, and more fully appreciated, the fact that I am going to college in New York City, and am having a very different, and in my opinion far more rich, experience than that of my friends from home. This performance, more than any other our class has attended, truly made me appreciate just what this seminar has given me, and what both Macaulay and Hunter in general will give me in the next few years. It was, in short, a fantastic way to end a semester.

Marcin Roncancio.

I have always disliked expressionism. The style never really appealed to me, so imagine my trepidation at something I thought could only be far worse– Abstract Expressionism, oh the horror! Despite this, I knew the value of seeing a gallery alongside of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, and Ms. Goldberg, who gave the talk did not disappoint.

The gallery was flooded with works by Pollock, which I will admit, even with my interest at its height, I could not bring myself to truly appreciate. What interested me most in association to his work, was the term “action painting,” and the particular way it was explained to me: it describes art, such as Pollock’s, in which the process of creating was just as important and full of meaning–if not more so–than the final product. To me, it describes art for the artist, not for the viewer or the patron. Art that is cathartic and full of feeling, if not any particular meaning.

Speaking about painting full of feeling, full of emotion, I find it impossible not to squeeze in mention of Rothko, by far my favorite artist in the gallery, and perhaps the saving grace of abstract expressionism in my personal taste. His large broad canvases with bold streaks of color somehow spoke to me. I understood the use of color, and appreciated the layering and amount of work put into these paintings. I also thought it fascinating to see how matured as an artist and developed his own trademark.

Finally I’d like to mention how incredibly interesting I found the connections between the various artists influenced their works. From what I gathered, the scope of the art world during this period, and within the particular movement was quite small. It seemed as though all of the artists knew each other, and in constructing what we now call “abstract expressionism” they worked off of each other’s ideas, and provided each other with great inspiration. The influences of individual artists can be seen in the works of others, through use of color (the black and white room), structure (biomorphism, cubism), technique (dripping, “action painting”, zips), and materials (use of masking tape, plaster, oil and enamel paints).

(I apologize for the late post.)

The Chelsea Galleries were fun.  Not all of the galleries appealed to my taste, but there were a few that stood out among the rest.  Such exhibits that intereseted me were the Chinese calligraphy/squiggly line exhibit from Bryce Martin and “New Material” by Kim Doland. I also feel that I would have enjoyed Nicky Nodjoumi if I had seen it earlier in our tour.

The squiggly line exhibit fascinated me.  I didn’t know I could find emotion in such a seemingly senseless collection.   At first glance I didn’t know what to think of the gallery.  I couldn’t see where any of the paintings required the skill and artistic outlook that it takes to have one’s art recognized.  I also couldn’t understand how these pictures were inspired by Chinese calligraphy; they all just seemed like bunches of multicolored yarn on worn-out canvas.  But after further observation I began to recognize the insight of the artist.  I began to find meaning, or at least a personal meaning, in the layering, colors, and borders.  Brightly colored lines were meant to stand out from the more bland colors of the other lines and the canvas.  Each line was drawn under the second line but above the third line.  I saw juxtaposition in the colors, and the layering represented an unending battle between brightness and darkness.  When considering the exhibit as a whole, the paintings each represented emotions, from anger to jealousy to happiness.  Different feelings were represented by different colors, and the squiggles and layers implied complexity in each emotion. I left the emotion with a different opinion from the one I walked in with.

My favorite gallery was the “New Material” gallery by Kim Dorland.  There were so many things I liked about this, but what I liked the most was the ingenuity.  I thought it was ingenious how he used glitter, feathers, and dried paint on top of dead wolves, bark, and a deer head in order to reduce painting to its basic constituents, thereby expanding the field by applying it in a new way.  I also liked the environmentalist touch to the paintings.  The graffiti on the deer head, the beer cans in the trees, and the fiery colors on some of the paintings illustrate man’s intrusion on nature, which is given a negative connotation throughout the gallery.  The wolves, ghosts, and other scary objects are evidently moments from Dorland’s childhood that have stayed in his subconscious, but what they actually represent is fascinating. This ghost effect also characterizes the humans in the woodland area (all of the paintings have a woodland setting) as a boogieman, adding to the negative connotation previously mentioned.  Particularly, I found it interesting that a demon-like figure standing by a lake was representative of his father.  The fact that each painting has its own value to me and a separate meaning to the painter is what I have always enjoyed about art.

One thing I didn’t like about the tour is that there were so many galleries.  I enjoyed a few of them, but I felt that by the end of the tour I was tired of appreciating pictures. This fatigue influenced how I viewed the later galleries.  I didn’t find anything interesting in the sex gallery. As I watched the Israeli gallery I could tell that I wasn’t enjoying, but not because of the art.  If we had seen this exhibit earlier I would have loved it, but so late I was just tired of interpreting things. After about 5 galleries my open mind had been filled and I no longer found appeal in the arts.  However, I loved the Telsa cars.  Those were amazing.  I think those, combined with the highline and Dorland’s gallery made this trip very enjoyable and insightful.

The exhibit on absract expressionism at the MoMA was absolutely superb. I learned a lot about origins and the development of the movement itself. Additionally, many of the key pioneers were introduced to me, many of whom I had never heard of before except for Jackson Pollock. Our tour guide, Agnes Berecz was not afraid to get up close and personal and ask pivotal questions about the paintings, which helped us too learn even more.

The first painter that we were exposed to was Hans Hofmann and his painting “Spring” painted in 1941. When we first approached the painting , I thought we were approaching a Jackson Pollock piece, but it was not. Hofmann was important in the expressionist movment because he was one of the first European artists to flee from Europe to America during WWII and helped start the movement.  His painting was very similar to Pollock’s in that it involved the drizzling of paint on canvas with no real rhyme or reason to it. The key to his painting, however, was the use of “push and pull with red and blue colors”. Despite being a two-dimensional piece, he managed to create depth on the flat surface by using two contrasting colors that create illusions in the human eye. By placing blue and red next to each other, it seems as if the red is jumping out at you and the blue is pushing into the canvas. For this reason, Hofmann is one of the master expressionists.

Of all the artists that Mrs. Berecz showed us, my overall favorite is of course Mr. Pollock. His work just amazes me and has always stood out to me since childhood. His pieces might seem quite primitive, but as Mrs. Berecz demonstrated, there was actually a reasoning behind his method; It wasn’t just throwing paint at canvas. For instance, there was no up, down, left, or right in his painting style, leaving much up to the viewer in terms of interpretation. Similarly, this was revolutionary as he was one of the pioneers to take a canvas and place it on the floor . Aside from his unique style, the method to his paint throwing was very artistic  in that it was very symbolic of the dancing movements he made while painting. Everything is rounded and smooth imitating the dance like movments he made while painting. Also, he actually layered his application of paint, creating depth to the image.

Now while Pollock was my favorite artist overall, the image above of Willem de Kooning’s “Painting” was absolutely my favorite piece in the exhibit. It has a graffiti like nature to it, and looks like an explosion that’s both violent yet gentle thereby combining the best of both worlds. It seriously stands out to me and was by far my favorite piece in the whole exhibit. If I had the money, I would buy it because I loved it so much. For this reason, my trip to the MoMA to see this exhibit will be unforgettable.

Matthew Taylor

I’m supposed to be at the tech fair today right now, so it seems as though I’m a little behind…I’m sure I’ll pull it together.

here’s a picture…Here’s me and Ting!

Me and Ting!

Ali Simon-Fox

My name is Ali. I like to make things.I also like to write short, concise sentences.

Welcome, class!