Nelson Rockefeller first asked Picasso and Matisse to paint the mural in Rockefeller Center, but Matisse refused and Picasso never replied to the request. Diego Rivera was then asked, and given the honor to paint the mural at one of the biggest tourist areas in New York City. According to the audio at the MoMA, the mural was “intended to be the greatest and most monumental of all civic construction projects.” Diego Rivera was given this great opportunity to showcase his work. The theme: Man at the Crossroads Looking with Hope and High Vision to the Choosing of a New and Better Future. Instead of Rivera respecting the Rockefeller’s and appreciating the opportunity he was given, he did something that I believe was very wrong. The Rockefeller’s were Baptists, who at that time were part of the Prohibition movement. Diego Rivera included in the mural a painting of David Rockefeller’s father drinking gin surround by women in low cut gowns. This portrayed the Rockefeller’s as hypocrites. The mural also featured a painting of Lenin, a famous communist. In the early sketches of the mural, Rivera showed the competition between communism and capitalism, and later on sketched Lenin in the mural. Nelson Rockefeller asked Rivera to remove that portion of the mural, but he refused. The mural was supposed to show the great future that America and New York had in store in the 20th century, but Rivera showed an intoxicated Rockefeller and a communist instead. Before the painting was even completed, Rivera was let go from the job. The mural was covered and eventually removed. I strongly agree with the decision made because Rivera took advantage and didn’t seem to me like he wanted to portray a positive depiction of New York, but instead show his own views. I believe that Abby Rockefeller is partially at fault too because she greatly admired Diego Rivera and his work and wanted Nelson Rockefeller to call upon him to do the work. She should have known that he was a communist and may have depicted his own views in his work. I agree with Abby Rockefeller and do believe that Diego Rivera is a very talented artist after seeing all of his paintings. They evoke emotions in the viewers. However, I think what he did with the Rockefeller mural was very wrong and the removal and destruction of the mural was the right result.
Don Giovanni was my first opera and it was very different than I expected it to be. First of all, the Metropolitan Opera House was absolutely beautiful. From the moment I saw it, I was astounded. The glowing stairs and the brightly lit glass windows really captured my attention. Elegantly dressed individuals surrounded the fountain. As I walked into the Opera House, I loved looking at the formal attire of everyone attending. Women dressed in stunning dresses and gowns accompanied by men in suits and tuxedos. When we walked inside, the first thing that caught my eye was the chandelier. To me, it looked like a huge snowflake. It was so glamorous with its sparkling crystals. The red carpet made me feel like I was some kind of superstar at an awards show. While finding our seats, I felt nauseous looking down because of how high up we were, but it was amazing to me how well we could see the stage from so far away. To my surprise, I was completely captivated from the moment the opera began. I thought the singing would be loud and uncomfortable to hear, but it was actually very enjoyable. I thought it was great that we were able to have the subtitles throughout the performance. Although I read the libretto beforehand, I wanted to know which parts we were up to. Every so often I would glance at the subtitles and immediately know what was happening. I didn’t think they were distracting, but instead helpful. I think I would have become uninterested after a while without the subtitles because I wouldn’t have known what was going on. I also think that the humor of the opera would be lost without the subtitles. If I hadn’t read in English what was said, I would just hear the crowd laughing and not know what the joke was about. The fact that I can understand some Italian made me enjoy the opera even more because I was attending an event that my grandparents did, and I could understand some of what was being said. I loved the scene where Leporello tells Donna Elvira all about Don Giovanni’s list of women. It was humorous and we really got to see Leporello’s character. My favorite part of the opera was when Don Giovanni was dragged to hell. It was so unexpected for me. I thought the set of the whole performance was pretty simple and the moment the stage opened and the fire came shooting up, I was speechless. I felt the heat from the stage and it was amazing to me how real it looked. I really enjoyed the opera and am glad that I was able to experience such a classy event.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space.” I thought it was very Fluxus, considering it didn’t have a storyline or plot and there were many random things happening at once. I like how they carried the same song throughout each part of the performance and used it in different ways. As we were saying in class, music can affect everyone differently and the lyrics of the song were portrayed differently in each scene. In the original song, you can really hear Gloria’s feelings with the musical sounds behind the lyrics she sings. With the dancers speaking the lyrics of the song without music, they were able to change the feeling and meaning of the original song. For example, when the creepy neighbor visits the woman and is told “no” after asking for a drink from the whisky cabinet and hoping to “get down,” he speaks the lyrics sarcastically, making the scene humorous. Other scenes of the performance were also funny, including the one in which the “politician” uses sexual innuendos to try and get elected. He wanted to “undress and world and share his cocktail with everyone.” His remarks kept the audience laughing and awake. For me, certain parts of the performance became boring, when the music and dancing became very slow. I enjoyed watching all the chaos onstage and trying to figure out what was going on. One of the most chaotic scenes was when the narrator kept repeating, “As if by any chance.” My favorite parts were when the individual woman spoke the dialogue of the creepy neighbor and the woman. I found it very entertaining the way she moved her body and changed her voice. The ping pong scene was also very enjoyable, because although there actually was no ping pong ball, the way the dancers moved to the sounds made you believe there was. I think the performance displays a very Dionysiac art, with randomness, chaos, and a few sexual references. I think when Nietzsche says we need more Dionysiac art, he means art like “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space.” To me, many ballet performances are boring and lack excitement, but I think “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space” breaks the boundaries of the usual ballets and gives the audience a new experience. If this is what Nietzsche meant, then I would agree that we need more art that isn’t so Apollonian, or confined, to show the real world.
Take a stroll on the boardwalk,
With the wind blowing through your hair,
Or ride the Wonder Wheel,
If you have some time to spare.
Nathan’s is the place to go
If you want a bite to eat,
The best hot dogs in New York
Will knock you off your feet.
Take a ride on the Cyclone,
If you have some nerve
But try and hold on really tight,
Cause it’s filled with drops and swerves.
Go to see a Cyclone game,
If you like baseball,
See the Beach Bums do their dance,
And meet Sandy the seagull.
Take a swim in the ocean,
Or lay out on the beach,
Feel the sand between your toes
And have an ice cream each.
If you want to see some fish,
The aquarium’s the place to go,
Visit the walruses and the sharks
Or see the Sea Lion Show.
Come to Coney Island
Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall,
Any day or time,
You know they’ve got it all.
Some may call New York City a “concrete jungle,” but in my opinion, it is the best city in the world. Two places that we had the opportunity of visiting were Coney Island and the High Line. I’ve been to Coney Island many times before, but never even heard of the High Line until given this assignment. It was an interesting experience to compare two completely different, yet similar places, one of which I was familiar with, and the other which I’ve never been to.
Coney Island, located in Brooklyn, is a fun-filled place where people come to experience a good time. There are so many things to do which attracts a high number of tourists and visitors. In the summer, the beach is always crowded with people, taking the sun or swimming in the ocean. The boardwalk, filled with restaurants, arcade games, and occasional events is also always busy. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is home of the famous Wonder Wheel, an official landmark that has been operating since 1920. The swinging and rolling cars make this ride like no other Ferris wheel. Luna Park also has many different rides, including the Steeplechase found in the Scream Zone. As described in Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York, “a favorite activity of the cosmopolites…was horseback riding”(37). Also in Luna Park is the Cyclone, another official landmark. Opened in 1927, many people still come to ride this famous wooden roller coaster that’s been operating for over 80 years. Along with visiting these two parks, many people go to eat at the original Nathan’s and enjoy the “famous frankfurters.” The New York Aquarium, which is open 365 days a year, is also located in Coney Island. MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones is where many fans gather to see a real Brooklyn team play ball. I think Coney Island really reflects the high energy of its neighborhood. The boardwalk is always packed with people, the streets are crowded with visitors, and police are on constant patrol.
When I think of Coney Island, “art” is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind. However, when doing this project and walking through Coney Island, I actually became aware of all the art surrounding me. As you walk down the boardwalk, you may notice that every garbage can is painted in a uniquely different way. The walls of the public restrooms are filled with murals. There are artists sitting on benches waiting to draw pictures of you. To me, the beach itself is a work of art. Coney Island is one place that everyone should visit!
I consider the High Line, located in Manhattan, a respite from the city, yet one with it. To me, walking the High Line is an experience like no other. New York City is made up of streets, buildings, automobiles, and lots of people. When you walk on the High Line, although you are in this big city, you’re transported far from it. Instead of walking on the busy streets down below, avoiding cars and waiting for streetlights to change, you can take a peaceful walk on the High Line. It’s amazing how an abandoned, obsolete railroad was transformed into a beautiful public park unlike any other. With benches all along the way, and plants and flowers surrounding you (some growing between the train tracks that still remain), there is a whole new feeling of being in New York. In this fast-paced environment, the High Line provides the opportunity to slow down and take your time “to stop and smell the flowers.” I looked over the railing and saw New York through different eyes. “That little height makes even ugly things below look orderly and patterned” (Gopnik).
Unlike Coney Island, the High Line is located in a very artsy neighborhood. As you walk on the streets below and on the actual High Line, there are many vendors selling different works of art. Taking the unused train tracks and transforming them into a public park expresses an artistic creativity. The benches were constructed in a crafty way, with some resembling train tracks, others welcoming visitors to have a seat. The way the plants were rooted was also done creatively. My favorite part was the way the water flowed under some of the benches.
Coney Island and the High Line are two very remarkable places in New York that everyone should visit. Both places allow visitors to get to know New York City, not only as the “capital of the world,” or the hustle and bustle of Midtown and Times Square, but also as a recreational place where one can relax, reflect, and enjoy their time in the middle of this big city.
Gopnik, Adam. “A Walk on the High Line.” The New Yorker May 21, 2001: 44-49. Print.
Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York. New York: Monacelli Press, 1994. Print.
Visiting the Fluxus exhibit today was a new experience for me. I thought it was very enjoyable and unique, and I’ve never actually seen any art like it before. The tour made me question what art really is. In my own opinion, I don’t think many of the displays are actually “art,” or at least the type of art that normally comes to mind. For example, the “10-Hour Flux Clock,” with 10 hours instead of 12, is just a clock that someone reinvented. Anyone could have done that, but Robert Watts took action and did. He went against conventional art and, like all the Fluxus artists, did something new. Most of the art found in the exhibit was odd to me and made me question what the artists were trying to convey. It also made me realize that ANYTHING can be art. My favorite part of the whole exhibit was the event scores because viewers can interpret them however they choose and allow their imaginations to run wild without anyone telling them they are wrong. I also thought the “Fluxbox Containing God” was a very thought-provoking piece. We look at God as beyond our reach and I think Ben Vautier exposed that well. Our tour guide said, when a person is given the box, they tend to examine and then try to open it, but are unable to because it is glued shut. I think it relates to our relationship with God, because although we do have a connection to him, we can never fully understand, or see him. I also thought the “Revealing Fact” was interesting. It had a thermometer in the middle of a box and the words “good person” and “bad person” on opposite sides. I’m not sure what Jock Reynolds was trying to express, but I believe that the temperature on the thermometer would determine whether or not you were a good or bad person. All of the artwork I looked at, I interpreted in my own way, which I thought made the experience more fun. Instead of just looking at the artwork, the viewer is able to become a part of its meaning. I think art can often be boring, but Fluxus brought on a new set of emotions. Although it is different and unconventional, and some of it doesn’t look like art at all, it makes you think and question many things. I like the fact that the Fluxus artists did something new and didn’t follow the same, mundane rules of typical art.