What We Feel and What We Mean
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Category — What is Art

Jimi Hendrix

Opps! after doing a last check through of work done I found that I missed the artist one so he is mine!:

“Oh Say, can you really see?” was a seminar offered by the Wolfe Institute on Jimi Hendrix and his connection to escapist science fiction. Will Fulton describe the sound painting that takes place in Jimi Hendrix’s music that illustrates the science fiction aspect of the music. However, this was only the surface, as beyond the fantastic lyrics lay social subtext. Jimi Hendrix’s isolation, he says, served as an impetus for this new form of writing. Coupled with this shift in lyrical style, the 1960s technology was changing music production.

To this “Allegorical atomic science fiction” rock and artists utilized different technologies to enhance the estrangement. Multitrack allowed for addition parts to be recorded and overdubbing, which permitted further manipulation of composite sounds. Examples of these techniques were depicted by “1983… (A Merman I should turn to be” a late Hendrix Song. Several effects can be easily noted: whistling and breathing vocals through ADT delay, echo on lead vocals, flute, and bass. VFO on flextone that made the bouy sound, tape speed variation to sound the fish, panned echoes of cymbal “bubbles” echo on headphones feedback to represent seagulls, and live fade ins/out to mark transitions.
So what does this mean in retrospect? The 60’s were a time of great change, or rather an immense desire for change. However, Jimi Hendrix who often avoided much social commentary believed that “the only happiness is the kind that you hold in your mind.” As such, the only happiness to be found was not on this world but those beyond, a fantastic escape.

December 24, 2011   1 Comment

Mark and Michael’s Final Project

December 20, 2011   No Comments

Dia Beacon

With those frightening screams still ringing in my ears (yes, even now), I can’t help but feel a little confused at the interpretation of art at Dia Beacon. One of the clauses in their modern contemporary art handbook is that the art is not supposed to make you feel anything. Walking around and looking at the exhibits, I could not stop myself from trying to think of some sort of meaning to the art, until I remembered that there wasn’t supposed to be one. After training myself to think of art as symbolic and metaphorical, I found it hard to not try and feel. I think that modern art’s purpose should be to make you feel, but in a different way. Beacon did that to me, but according to them it’s not supposed to. It’s just a little confusing.

Specifically, though, I did enjoy the exhibit where there were hundreds of squares containing every possible combination of four different lines in possible combinations of two. It’s just amazing how having such a one-dimensional, organized, and logical inspiration for art can create such an interesting piece. It’s kind of an oxymoron. It was also interesting that the blue print was displayed as well. The other exhibits were nice to look at, but nothing more. Beacon was interesting, more in a peculiar way than anything else.

December 8, 2011   No Comments

The Dinner Party

The Brooklyn Museum was much nicer than I expected, and the exhibits were beautiful as well as thought provoking. When I walked into The Dinner Party, I was confused at first. I didn’t understand the purpose of the exhibit. When I took a closer look, I realized that the names on each place setting were the names of famous women. The names were placed chronologically according to when each of the women was alive. There were names of Greek and Roman goddesses, politicians, and movement leaders. I found it vulgar and really strange that there were female organs displayed on the plates around the table. It goes against everything that today’s feminists stand for, so I don’t really understand how this is looked at as a “feminist” piece of art.

I was surprised to hear that the exhibit isn’t a new exhibit. It was originally created in the 1970’s and was recently moved to the Brooklyn Museum. It looked so clean and new, so I wouldn’t have thought that it was around for about 40 years.

Overall, the trip to the Brooklyn Museum was an interesting trip for me, and I enjoyed the experience.

November 23, 2011   No Comments

Meet the Artist: Alicia Hall Moran

Last night (its Tuesday, November 22) I went to Meet the Artist at the Macaulay building. The artist performing that night was Alicia Hall Moran. When I RSVP’d I saw that she was a musician/composer so I expected some musical performance.

I arrived ten minutes late because I miscalculated the time it would take to get to the building. I walked in to a room with a stage and Mrs. Moran was standing on it with another fellow holding a guitar. She talked, for around 10 minutes, about the influence Motown music had on her style of music. She then told us she was going to perform a mash up of a Motown and opera. I’m kind of familiar with Motown but I don’t know much about opera so I was expecting a Motown sound.

Mrs. Moran started to perform and the first thing that came out of her mouth was a very high pitched note that you would usually hear in an opera. Since I was expecting Motown, I was extremely surprised but interested at the same time. (I found out later that in the ten minutes I missed, Mrs. Moran explained that she sings opera with Motown lyrics and feel so I shouldn’t have been surprised at all).

This mash up was a very unusual sound to me. It at first intrigued me but then, after realizing I’m not a big fan of opera or Motown, I started to get bored of the music. Nothing against her, its just that I don’t particularly like that genre of music.

I did, however, enjoy the guitarist and flutist (Yes she brought someone who can play the flute with her) performances very much.

After she finished the song she talked for a little while about performing, choosing a career, and life in general. She performed another song she composed (Motown-opera mash up) and talked for a little more. She closed with one last song and offered us some tickets to her show tonight (which from what I understood  she was an understudy).

It was an interesting night which I learned another genre of music and some music history.

November 22, 2011   No Comments

New York City

No offense meant, but this is NYC

I think of Manhattan when I think of NYC, even though I know it includes Brooklyn, Queens, etc…

My New York is encapsulated in this poster.

I took this picture years ago. It’s a poster on a construction site, somewhere in Manhattan. Or actually, I doubt the site is still under construction. I am certain, too, that the poster is no longer there. I couldn’t say what street it was on because I didn’t know when I took it and I still don’t know now.

My friend and I had been wandering around the city when we stumbled across this sign. It just made sense, given the circumstances. We were lost, with no phone between the two of us…. nuf said. We did have a camera, though, which -as we all know- is what really counts.

Looking back at it, I appreciate that it represents a spot that no longer exists. The fence on which it was posted is probably gone, because in NYC, buildings are constantly going up and fences coming down.

And most of what I discover in NY (or Brooklyn or Queens or Staten Island) I never intend to find. I’m usually lost.

It also doesn’t really matter what it was advertising. It didn’t pop out at me then and it doesn’t now. NY is all about advertisement. Everything anyone sees is trying to sell something- electronics, happiness, beauty supplies, comfort, stability, home goods… It’s not so much the actual message so much as the ambiance. I expect to be bombarded in NY. It comes with the territory.

…the wandering…the buildings…the transience…the stupidity…being lost….

This poster speaks of movement and action and life (because who doesn’t do one or two stupid things in life) and that is MY NYC.


November 15, 2011   1 Comment

Alternative Media and Why it Matters Now

On Thursday, November 10th the Wolfe Institute invited DeeDee Halleck to speak about alternative media. Without a clear image of what the event was, I went on the notion of, “perhaps they’ll talk about how alternative media is effecting the way people express themselves or report things.” However, it was not so.

The first hour and a half consisted of stories. Stories of different radio programmes in different countries and how they came to be. They ranged from a communicative Bolivian Miners’ Radio to an empowering Honduran Teenage Radio. Each came with a little historic context and then, almost formulaically, their current success and influence. Despite the almost universal fact that these stations were representing the demands and preoccupations of “the people”, I felt that Halleck, for some reason, did not mention places that one would assume have much to do with rebellion, protest, and freedom of speech, namely, Egypt and the rest of the Middle-Eastern countries. The utter lack of any mention of the “Arab Spring” seemed odd and detrimental to the lecture because of their importance in the movements of Occupy Wall St. and the related causes.

Despite this, Halleck covered many different movements that while not inciting global occupations brought about practical and immediate change in there conditions. For example, the group that Halleck focused on the most was one of illiterate, rural, Indian women. Trained by a local university professor and given A/V equipment, these women were about to document their farming practices and related process to illuminate the damage certain government changes had caused and also to fight against the establishment of Monsanto terminator seeds. Their reports, sent to the government, helped pass legislature that benefited them and eased their woes.

But they are not alone, along with them were many others that worked in what Halleck called, “community media.” It is this resurgence of alternative media as a way of empowering and unifying the community that Halleck believes will be able to accomplish the dreams of movements like Occupy Wall St.: liberté, égalité, fraternité.

November 12, 2011   No Comments

Dia: Beacon

I really enjoyed our class trip to Dia: Beacon. After a long train ride starting at Grand Central Station, we arrived at the museum. I loved the whole feeling of the museum, the way it felt like we were standing in an abandoned warehouse with white walls and open space surrounding us. It was hard for us to keep track of where we were going, because the place was huge and it felt like a maze of art exhibits. We got to see a lot of paintings and sculptures, but my favorite was Dan Flavin’s exhibit of the different formations made out of fluorescent lights. They all looked similar, because they were all constructed using fluorescent rods, but when I looked closely at each one, they were all different. One of them looked like a spaceship, one looked like the empire state building, and one even looked like a gun turned sideways. The exhibit was very original, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I thought it was creative that he used light bulbs, an everyday object, to create art.


Next we went to see the dance performance, which I thought was pretty disturbing. I found it hard to see because of the poles in the middle of the floor that were blocking my view. The movements of the performers didn’t look like regular dance, rather they were dancing in very peculiar way. It was especially odd when the woman started screaming in the middle of the performance.


Overall, I enjoyed the trip to Dia Beacon (although I didn’t love the dance performance.) It was a truly beautiful exhibit, and I appreciated the art displayed there.

November 4, 2011   No Comments

Dia: Beacon

Waking up the Sunday morning that we went to Beacon was the earliest I had woken up on a Sunday in months. But after the sleepiness wore off some excitement started to arise as we gathered by the clock in Grand Central Station.

After the 90 minute train ride we had finally arrived. Then we started to look at some of the exhibits once we entered the gallery. The first one that we saw was the dots/squares on the floor in the middle of the room. It kinda set the tone for many of the other pieces. It seemed like many of the pieces shared a common theme of math. Something they also shared was their openness. Almost all the art was not blocked off or guarded. They were able to be touched and ruined (or enhanced?) by anyone with a marker or pen. The only security was the occasional gallery security guard who would say not to touch the art. I thought the ropes/string that looked like a piece of glass was very cool because its an illusion and I enjoy that type of stuff, David Blaine being a good example of someone who always uses illusions.

After the gallery, we went to the basement for an interpretive dance. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it too much. Aside from the performance which I didn’t love, the chairs were extremely uncomfortable and for me, its kind of a make or break type thing. I would have been more comfortable standing the entire time. I think comfort is a big part of entertainment (unless the point is to be uncomfortable). Even when I was watching a really cool stunt show at MGM studios in Disney, I couldn’t fully enjoy it because the bleachers were similar to the one at Beacon and if I’m constantly thinking about my back it takes away from the performance. So even though it might sound like I’m complaining a little too much, if the chairs were better I think, for me, the performance would have been better.

To address the actual dance, I didn’t really get it. I couldn’t connect at all with the performance and I had no emotion towards it aside from a slight annoyance at the repetition. After reading the NO manifesto, I might have been doing the right thing by  not feeling anything.

Overall I did not really connect with the whole day. But I’m not going to say that what we saw wasn’t art. I agree that it was art but not everyone likes all art. I, in particular, did not enjoy that style of art. But I will defend its right to be art. Its kind of like that quote from Voltaire, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

November 1, 2011   No Comments

Dia: Beacon Experience

In one word, the Beacon experience was mesmerizing. Even though I didn’t understand all of the art or agree with the purposes of some, I definitely appreciate the time and effort that went into the artists’ work. I also appreciated the museum itself.  The museum is able to utilize such a big space and welcome so many different aspects of modern art. It must take a lot of time and energy on the part of the museum directors to organize and maintain such a beautiful space.

That being said, in terms of the exhibits, the one that completely entranced me was the Richard Serra iron exhibitions. I loved how the artist was able to play with hard and soft, combining the intensely strong and massive figures of the iron with the soft changes in lighting that occurred at different points in the spiral. I also really enjoyed how the art was interactive in that we were able to walk through it and be active participants with the art and not just stand back and stare. Being in the iron cone, I had a realization of just how small I am as a human being. Even though I, and many others around me, may sometimes think that humans are central, the Serra’s art makes me see that there are things much bigger than we are.

On the other hand, one of the exhibits that I really could not understand was the Blinky Palermo exhibit. I am personally not a fan of the canvases with the various colors painted on it, but in my opinion, the artist did not get his point across with me. In my opinion, the purpose of great art is to have an impact on the viewer and have him/her thinking. Blinky Palermo’s exhibit did not do with it me. I felt like a little background from the museum people may have put everything in perspective for me, but as it was, I really didn’t take anything back from that portion of the museum.

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the Metro North train ride there and back. It was absolutely beautiful. The combination of the Hudson River and the fall foliage of the surrounding areas made for a gorgeous view. That in itself was a work of art for me. The train ride personally made the trip to Beacon even better.

November 1, 2011   No Comments