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

Dia: Beacon

The view heading North was actually one of the most striking works of art I saw today.

That being said, the following are some other notable experiences.

Sol LeWitt’s Drawing Series was amazing because of the dramatic irony. In Wall Drawing #136, the viewer thinks the scribbles (arcs, straight, not straight, and broken lines) on the wall are haphazard. Which is an interesting assumption int he first place, considering that even those who don’t appreciate modern art and its ambiguous lines and shapes cannot fail to recognize that the artist very carefully orchestrated a piece. It is not just a random assortment of lines, or if it appears so to the viewer that is only because the artist wanted it to appear so. LeWitt elevates this reality by showing the viewer exactly how precise his randomness is. The writing is (literally) on the wall. Each “random” line is numbered and each sequence planned. No one sequence is repeated.

Wall Drawing #248, too, looks random. Elementary shapes drawn on a white wall. However, LeWitt also writes exactly where each shape is placed. His “not-straight” line is not randomly but rather exactly placed. He writes so finely, one could almost miss it altogether.

Another favorite exhibit of mine was Franz Erhard Walther’s Work as Action. On first inspection, the room is strangely silly. Pieces of canvas line the walls on a raised part of the floor. They are sitting, neatly folded. It’s not art. It’s not pretty. It’s not striking. Then one reads figures out this is art waiting to be made (In my case it was Maryam who figured it out) The canvas pieces are meant to be turned into art. In doing so, the viewer becomes the creator…or the art itself. When we were re-enacting the positions and formations photographed by Walther, the other visitors to the gallery were watching us with curiosity. We were the exhibit, as novel as the item with which we were “playing”. It was a pretty powerful moment. And it was fun.

Another interesting exhibit was was the strings. It’s like the emperor’s new clothes. There’s nothing there…or is there? The outline is the artwork. Or maybe the art is the outline.

My other favorite was the twisted metal sculptures. They were made of solid metal pieces crushed as one would a piece of unwanted paper. They sit on the floor as if tossed there. The in-congruence here exists in the sturdy nature of metal and the form into which it has been molded. It is treated as if it was a flimsy notepaper.

And on to Yvonne Rainer‘s dance ….um….. (I’m not sure what to call it)


Crazy as it may sound, the most amusing part of the performance was the third “act” in which the initial performer, Patricia Hoffbauer, throws a temper tantrum replete with strangled screams and a wrestling match with a coat-covered lump of gauzy material. Everyone has a moment when s/he wants to scream like a banshee and throw a real two-year old temper tantrum. I don’t know if this was the response Rainer hoped to elicit, but I found it hysterical. Startling, granted, but then, I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for a temper tantrum.

I also found Hoffbauer’s overall performance to be very emotional and expressive. When she drags herself across the “stage” in a way that suggests she is being pulled by strings or is otherwise made of rubber, she is depicting lethargy in an explicitly tangible way. She is enacting typical ballet “moves”, butchering the exaggeratedly precise and subtly energetic nature of ballet dancing in the process.

To be honest, the silent, slow motion “dancing” (or, more accurately, movement) was interesting but far too long.

To backtrack, the stage itself was fascinating because it wasn’t actually a stage. The performance was on level ground. In fact, the only elevated object was the stands on which the viewers sat. In a funny way, that makes the viewers the viewed. They are raised on a stage, not the dancers. I cannot guess what Yvonne Rainer meant by this, nor do I think I am qualified to understand her piece in its entirety.

October 24, 2011   No Comments

Doors: ICP

At IPC, my favourite photo was the real old school one of the house in black and white. Something about the wooden panels, use of shade and contrast along with the general humbleness of the abode gave it not only a an eerie ambience, but also a sense of history. For that I decided to write a little something.


“That creaking door, it leads to the bastard’s basement. That’s where they keep the children I hear.” Seán claimed, but I whispered back, “Ludcrisity!” He responded, “No, little injun Conall, he said so.”

We laughed, uncontrollable. Kept walking down the city land. The old youngster Paddy sat on the corner of the chemist’s house, panting, unrestrained.

“Don’t run in the mornin’ mate, it’ll kill ya.”

I knew it would but that didn’t stop me, or Paddy.  I told him, “Good on you, have a fair journey.” He said fine but still followed.

“I oughta have one.”

He did. We passed through the lane, swiftly dodging the drunken fathers on Amsterdam Avenue. Their children left in the bars as collateral for unpaid tabs. It was a sad affair surely. Seán came along too, step-by-step, right behind us, beyond us as well but only he knew that.

He whispered to ‘imself, thinking no one could hear him but hoping someone did, “Oi avent tha sloightest idea wher’ hes goin’. I ‘ont know.”

Paddy headed to a house in the middle of the lane, no different than the one to its right, no different than the one to its left, undistinguished among the rusted ruins of skyscrapers reminiscent of the overthrown empire. It was just dark, but he was cowardly; he was worried, frightened. Paddy was an ol’ pal. He had tripped up with us a fair lot. We almost got the dreaded sores together, yet another odd experience.

“Goodday o’ sunshine, dark-

day reins over night, sometimes.” I sing, a popular song of the city, sombre thing it is.

Paddy, the pal, and he was here, insufferable as he be, was. A nice, tall, square man, he was before door. An annoying fool. Dead to me, dead to all he was then. That house there had a nice old man with a 12 gauge shot gun and a jumpy finger.

It was to be expected though; that genius Paddy, it wouldn’t av happened any other way and I know how god abhors the immortal. Somewhat a hypocrite, that god fellow eh? Yarbles. Paddy would say if you asked him. He was one of them religious types, sorta. Thou shant have other gods, other than meself, god would go round sayin’. What a scribbish god. Paddy that fool.

The house was mighty cold, hellishly so, Satan ‘imself probably batin’ his wings in the basement, that masochistic fool. An irrevocable fetter ice is to one’s heart, but more importantly, one’s feet. It was a self-imprisoning classism, impossible to exit but all too easy to get caught in, poor Paddy.

It was a beautifully cold house though. Sparkling too, definitely a feast for those that such is of interest no doubt, but warily one must chew as it is one you are bound to choke on. It had these golden streamers on the walls, all mixed up with each other. There was a stairway to the left that led to an open door, this stair’s streamers were black, didn’t match the walls, hurt my eyes. We went up ‘em, crouched a bit, silent as could be. Paddy ain’t the fastest, that nervous prick, but once in he off’d the top lights, maybe he warn’t as scared, we needn’t be blinded but so we were, We went the first left and were left in the right, though left to stare at the blackening white wall, decaying from the inside out with a sort of vomit orange foam that poked out of a few holes. There green couch with the white man in it, black wears, black gun, silver bullets, red blood, pink n’ purple wall, yellow faces, back door.

We ran.

We ran.

We Ran.

Bright light, dark eyes, even darker, tainted souls; we were corrupted if we were innocent.

Poor Paddy, paddled in his own blue blood, benevolent.

October 18, 2011   No Comments

9/11 Memorial- My feelings

Hey Guys!

I know this has been a long time coming, but I needed to gather my thoughts and I felt that I needed to let my thoughts settle.

While first walking into the memorial, I felt excited. It was an interesting feeling because memorials are usually somber and beautiful, not fun and adventurous. That feeling was probably due to the fact that it was my first memorial visited. Nevertheless, as I went inside, I found that I felt guilty. I felt an overwhelming sense of disrespect, stemming from myself. I realized that it was because I was talking, laughing, and joking, something that these victims could not do with their families and friends. From that moment till the end, I tried to only speak when necessary, and no more.

While wandering around, I took note of the people walking around, specifically the people who seemed to be relatives and/or friends of the victims. I felt a powerful sense of anguish and pain, and my heart wanted me to reach out to these people, and to console them to the best of my ability. I walked around, watching these people in sorrow and thanking G-d that it didn’t happen to a relative or friend of mine. And, as if I didn’t feel their pain enough, I took note of two very painful yet powerful actions that happened onsite. The first one was a man who stood next to two of the names (from the same group of firefighters) and tried to clean them as best he could. This really struck me deeply as I could not bring myself to truly absorb this till later. That man loved those two people with all his heart, and they probably loved him back. And yet, they were struck by this shameless act of terrorism and lost for lives for a meaningless cause. Their agenda might have been completed, but we still stand strong. They might fight for one cause, but our freedom is what gives us the strength to fight on against them. The second action was the placing of a rose in the name of Douglas D. Ketcham, as depicted in the photo shown below. That act spoke books to me. It told me that even though he dies, his family, friends, and all who love him still live on.

As shown on their website, the memorial is made to be extremely sustainable. That means that the memorial is caught in a cycle of renewing the resources within it. We see from the memorial an amazing and (hopefully) intentional lesson. With life comes death. With death comes more life. It is an endless circle. And even though those victims died, we live on, and so does their spirit. We will never forget 9/11.

Joey Kabariti

October 10, 2011   No Comments

Art is…

What would a jagged mountain of color have to do with New York? It’s sort of like asking, “what does art have to do with New York?” As a foreigner looking in, the wild, unbridled energy of New York is something that is very unique. Go to Paris, Florence, Vienna, Munich, San Juan, DC, and you will never find the sort of ambience that is in New York, and every New Yorker knows it. They know it, love it, or hate it. No matter what, it plays an integral part of their lives and its absence is often felt, even to the most subtle degree. Art, like NY, is an accessible source of innumerable amounts of innovative ideas, aesthetic intents; a figurative fountain that shots out techicolour cranial explosions of creativity. The raw energy  just does not stay still, it is in a constant vibrato, a constant vibration; like an ADHD kid on cocaine and Ritalin, it is agitated by its own inner energy that is just forcing its way out, pushing its way through the psych to the canvas, to the sax, to the lips.

Laying in soft slumber, a slobbering child of the subconscious, Art invades electronic pathways, finding its way of escape from the claustrophobic entrapments of the human mind.  It does not scream from free enclosure, but rather wraps itself around such prison and makes it its own. The possessed is now the possessor and the mind is left to Art’s discretion. The rudimentary tasks are now put to flow into grand rivers of subconscience awareness that form even grander waterfalls into the active conscience to further explore and become small streams that end in the ocean of reality. What one sees as art is not what art is but rather art’s diluted, emasculated form. For true art one must not look in the pages of a book, the composition of a portrait, or the melody of a song but must stare at the colours of words, the sounds of brush strokes; true art is synesthesia. Art hides though, it doesn’t want to be found, for being found would make it lose its meaning as silence would be lost due to sound. It is scared of company and jealous of competition. Art is true to itself and is not one to suffer for any less. It is the most demand of slave drivers, directing its hordes into creative supernovas. Still the world is yet ready for such exstatic explosions, limitation and restriction must be held; for the benefit of mankind, art is held bound by the chains of reason and expression.




October 6, 2011   1 Comment