Nietzsche’s (Dis)approval

Dec 14 2011 Published by under Reviews

Friedrich Nietzsche recognized a disturbing trend of the modern world in The Birth of Tragedy. Following in the footsteps of philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, we have placed the utmost importance on rationality and the sciences, while abandoning emotion and the arts. According to Nietzsche, the balance has shifted greatly towards the Apolline rather than the Dionysian.

Would Nietzsche consider “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space” to be an oasis in the cold desert of rationality? I cannot help but believe that the answer is a resounding no. This cannot be the Dionysian art that Nietzsche revered so greatly. The performance included unorthodox dance movements and extremely limited plot development; it is in direct opposition to the majority of ballets. The talent of the performers is undeniable. One performer was impressively able to vary both her movements as well as her voice in accordance with the two parts that she played. However, this is not the nature of chaos that Nietzsche envisioned in art’s most perfect state.

Dionysian art is completely immersive. There may be chaos, but the audience is united in chaos. The performance only left me feeling alienated and annoyed. William Forsythe’s esoteric references only served to exacerbate these feelings. In addition, the most important form of Dionysian art, music, was relegated to a secondary role. Instead, dialogue and dance were put in the forefront. Dionysian art is supposed to be intoxicating. The only intoxication involved in this performance must have taken place while Forsythe produced it.

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Fluxus in Captivity

Dec 14 2011 Published by under Reviews

I despise being a spectator. Although I was involved in athletics throughout most of my youth and teenage years, watching sports on television or even from the bleachers has always been a mind-numbing bore. For this reason museum and art exhibits have always been extremely difficult for me to appreciate.

Fluxus art is clearly different though. Whether it’s the anti-commercialism theme of many pieces, the way in which it combines different art media, or even it’s anti-art message, Fluxus is an alien movement in comparison to most art. However, the aspect of Fluxus that interested me the most was the attempt by artists to produce interactive works of art.

Such pieces were on display at the “Fluxus and The Essential Questions of Life” exhibit in The Grey Art Gallery. For example Yoko Ono’s “Painting to Be Stepped On” instructed the observer to leave a canvas or painting on the floor so that it could be stepped on. Such pieces kept in spirit with the anti-art message of Fluxus while giving a more direct involvement to the observer. Other “event” pieces held instructions for the observer to complete as well. However, I was utterly disgusted when our peer was told not to touch a book that was part of an art piece. It was then that I noticed all of the Fluxboxes held in captivity underneath clear glass cases. Surely the creators of these boxes would not be pleased. The exhibit had completely twisted the message of Fluxus. Rather than working in the lab, we were reading the textbook.

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Teaching Tomorrow

Dec 14 2011 Published by under Reviews

In Brother I’m Dying, Edwidge Danticat delivers a memoir with poignant and candid writing. It was an excellent choice for the required freshman reading for Brooklyn College students. Although, most of our struggles cannot nearly compare to the author’s, themes such as immigration and family provided us with relatable material. In addition, I believe her message for action in the face of injustices was necessary for us to hear. As the future of America and college students, it was important for an older generation to remind us that there are certain things more important than the pursuit of our career.

During the most memorable part of Danticat’s visit to Brooklyn College she motherly echoed her sentiments through a series of Haitian proverbs. When I heard “proverbs” I expected cliché ideas. However, their origin in a culture I was unacquainted with made them far more interesting. “Those who care cannot sleep,” she told us. There are still far too many troubles in the world for those who want change to take rest. Another proverb, which obviously centered on her passion for writing, was “Words have wings, words have feet.” Although, I plan for my future to revolve around the sciences, specifically medicine, these words still resonated with me. Literature has always been an escape from the mundane for me. Furthermore, as imperfect as democracy in America may be, this proverb reminded me how lucky I am to live in a country which gives its citizens freedom of speech. To be as voiceless as Danticat’s uncle was in Haiti is something that I could not bear.

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Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Nov 28 2011 Published by under Reviews

Money is the root of all evil. Although not entirely true, the preceding statement bears great relevance to the world of art. Money can often work as a corruptive force in the lives of artists. Some of our favorite musical talents grow in the underground scene, where our fandom begins. We wish them success but also to be cautious of the negatively transformative power of money. However, upon “blowing up,” their messages are often tainted by industry executives who wish to make the music more marketable. Then we accuse them of “selling out.” Diego Rivera underwent an almost analogous situation. Rivera built a reputation as an extremely talented artist. Thus, the esteemed Rockefeller family commissioned a Rivera mural to be placed in their great, forthcoming center. The Rockefellers should have taken the message of his other pieces into consideration, though. Murals such as “Liberation of the Peon” and “Uprising” display his clear support for the working class. In his mural Rivera stayed true to his message, and did not “sell out,” a commendable action. Still, Rockefeller was not wrong in his decision to remove the mural. Not only was he the patron of the piece, but the center was also being built in his name. Therefore, any message in the mural would reflect directly on him. Destroying the mural was also his right, but it definitely displayed a lack of character and appreciation for art on his part. I am sure he could have easily had it removed and transported at Rivera’s expense.

Personally, genuineness is of the utmost importance to me. In fact there is no principle I value more. Thus, knowing the history of the mural controversy is absolutely necessary when evaluating Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller’s decision to have the mural removed may cause visitors to question the purpose of other features of the center.


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No Escape from the City

Sep 27 2011 Published by under Site Essay,Site Observations

The 14th street entrance was in sight. Upon viewing the lackluster, metal staircase I lowered my expectations of what would greet me at the landing. In retrospect, I realize that this design aimed to resemble a staircase found at functioning above-ground train stations. This misleading staircase did not prepare me for the beautiful greens, yellows, and browns of the grasses, flowers, and trees. The High Line Park had merged innovative architectural scheming with varying natural features. However, within minutes of traversing the wooden floors amidst my fellow New Yorkers, I came to another realization: this was no park. The space was far too narrow. I found my sentiments in accordance with photographer Joel Sternfeld’s view that the High Line is “more of a path than a park” (Gopnik).

Newfound awareness of limited resources, both natural and monetary, have inspired New Yorkers, and Americans in general, to adopt principles of efficient reusing and recycling. This ideology directly manifests itself in the High Line. With the rails, of a path long abandoned, ingrained in the floors of the park, the depth of the innovative transformation is particularly noticeable. Rather than demolish and rebuild, the railway was revitalized. Furthermore, the urban renewal allows an eyesore of the past to mesh well with the surrounding neighborhood.

Still though, there is something unsettling about the Frankenstein-like rebirth. Once again, Sternfeld’s words echoed in my mind: “I just pray that, if they save the High Line, they’ll save some of the virgin parts, so that people can have this hallucinatory experience of nature in the city” (Gopnik). The high line was saved, indeed, but the hallucinatory experience is absent. The artificiality of the flora became painfully obvious when I witnessed work being done on a certain section of the park. The illusion was broken further through a reminder of the commercial nature of New York City. A mass of people surrounded a large coffee cart, with a gelato cart adjacent to it. A painter attempted to sell her wares a few steps down. This is one attribute of the city that remains timeless.

This commercial nature is even more apparent in Coney Island. Home to restaurants, nightclubs, bars, amusement park rides, and an aquarium, Coney Island offers distinct forms of pleasure. Each comes with a different price tag as well. In times of excess, the magnitude of choices often reflects the surplus. Coney Island seems to have been built on this principle. In a time when Coney Island’s fantastical creations produced much greater revenue, entrepreneurs allowed their imaginations to run wild.

Coney Island was not an escape from the urban confines to a natural setting. Instead, it was an escape to the fantasies of men and women everywhere. For this reason there was little consideration in the surrounding environment, natural or residential. The attractions of Coney Island are disharmonious with its surroundings. In fact, these motley attractions are disharmonious with each other. My walk along the boardwalk, away from the auditory and visual distractions, offered me the most serene pleasure. I could not help but wonder if Coney Island would have been a better place, had the majority of funds been invested in excellent maintenance of the beach.

The hustle and bustle of the city can place a great amount of stress on its residents. Throughout the years, the search for escape in New York City has been as common an endeavor as the search for the dollar. Although Coney Island and the High Line Park seem to take vastly different approaches to finding this escape, the synthetic environments of both left me jaded. A true escape can only be made within pure Mother Nature.

Works Cited

Gopnik, Adam. “A Walk on the High Line.” The New Yorker May 21, 2001: 44-49. Print.

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A Hasty Apology

Sep 26 2011 Published by under Site Creative,Site Observations

Told me not to tell anyone.

Secret amongst the few,

it should remain.


But how could I not share?

Awe-inspiring wonders.


Vivid descriptions

of green and rust,



I tasted

at the tip of my tongue.

Spit them out with vigor.


How could I divine?


Induced by the masses,

clean and corrupt.


Now I must believe.

Happiness is genuine.


The secrets out.

And I’m sorry.



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