What We Feel and What We Mean
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Category — Aesthetic Interactions

Brooklyn Museum

On our trip to the Brooklyn Museum, I noticed that a wide variety of exhibits were displayed in the museum. From displays of rooms in houses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to a tree/piano piece, it definitely seemed like the Brooklyn Museum did not have a particular art theme as in other museums, like Beacon. I particularly enjoyed the room display; it gave a first-hand view of what living conditions were like for people in those times, something I find fascinating.

The Dinner Party, as pointed out by others in the class, was a very feminist art display. The piece looks very quiet and passive, yet, it really displays some very strong themes. But, because this is all passive, I don’t consider it pornography as others have. The piece displays what seems like a dinner party with a bunch of other things that seem out of place, like the words in the center of the table and the art pieces on the plates. Yes, “art pieces” and not “pornography.” The piece merely displays things that at first glance don’t mean anything, and after personal interpretation, some find it to symbolize other things. The fact that interpretation is needed to get to that conclusion of the meaning of the piece doesn’t mean it’s pornography. It’s just good art.

December 14, 2011   No Comments

Music IS Art: Final Project

December 14, 2011   No Comments

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden

For the Macaulay Snapshot Day (October 11th) I decided to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Garden with two of my friends. There could not have been a more perfect time to visit it. The garden was absolutely beaufiful and while it may seem cliche, nature is truly art. One of the first things that caught my attention was this water fountain. I could not resist the urge to toss in a coin and make a wish. 

Even though Spring, Summer and now Fall were passing right before my eyes,  it felt like it was the beginning of Spring. Vibrant, pinks, reds and greens were abundant in the whole garden.

This is a close up of a flower that looked like a dandelion. It was interesting to see al the intricate details that make up this wild flower. I can actually see each little speck, seed and the contrast of brown and white hues. I really wanted to take one of these and blow the little specks into the air but of course I cannot tamper with the garden.

I also thought the flower below was really interesting because it reminded me of a pine cone. I liked the soft suface of the flower. When I was touching it, it felt feathery, almost cotton-like. I also loved its subtle purple color.

My favorite part of the Garden were these hay-like structures below. I felt like an ant when I was in them. It reminded me of the Richard Serra iron pieces we saw at the Dia Beacon. I think we all enjoy being part of the art-work and walking around in the art-work gives us a sense of that. I also think seeing being in these massive structures gives us an escape from the outside world.

Taking all these photographs also got me thinking about a discussion we had in class: why do people take photographs? I know that one of our theories was that we want to provide proof. But as I was taking these photographs it wasn’t as much as proof as it was recreating the art piece. As I was shooting my camera, I was thinking about the lighting and the angle. Taking photographs is another artform and I think people enjoy taking part in that.

December 11, 2011   No Comments

Exploration of the MET

As someone who loves museums, this Macaulay Seminar allowed me to explore a museum I probably would have never entered on my own will. I have never been a big fan of looking too deeply in art. I was always one of those people who just looked at it for it’s physical appearance and never thought too deeply as to why the artist made it or the underlying meaning behind art. However over the course of this semester, I’ve began to become more comfortable with art and the depth behind it. This is when I decided that I would have to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a museum revered for it’s great art collection by New Yorkers. On October 28th, I met up with Maryam and Victoria who have been to the MET several times already. Others also joined us to explore this museum.

The first thing that caught my eye was the size of the museum. It gave a grandeur feeling with the stairs and pillars that surrounded the entrance of the building. It reminded me of my first encounter with the Central Library. The inside of the MET did not disappoint me either, with statues everywhere and huge paintings. It was also the day the roof would be opened so I’m glad I got to experience it.From the roof you could see beyond the horizon and I could see the trees that surrounded the city and the sky even looked more clear. The city seemed so distant compared to when the days when I would be in the middle of it.

One of the exhibits that impressed me the most was the one with Greek and Roman art. I’ve always been a fan of Greek and Roman mythology so it was interesting to see other aspects of their culture. Compared to the other exhibits I saw, it was the one where it seemed most pure. Everything was mostly white and there were pillars everywhere.  Besides the statues, there were a lot of vases. Many of them had similar color and patterns yet all of them were distinctly differently. Each vase gave a unique feel and it was amazing to see how the artist was able to create so many innovative ideas with the same one idea. Below is a picture of how this exhibit looked when I first walked in and you can see how it just blows you away with its beauty and grandeur.

Another exhibit that peaked my attention was the one with all the musical instruments. The gallery brought together instruments from all over the world into one room. As someone who loves music and has played several instruments, I really enjoyed learning about other istruments that existed outside of America. One thing I saw was this instrument called the Koto from Japan. What I found interesting was that to me it looked like a combination of the guitar and piano. It had the shape of a keyboard but there were no keys but strings on top. It would be like played the guitar on your lap. The instrument however compared to the guitar seemed more elegant and classical. Another instrument was the Yangqin from China. It was similar to the Koto but had a lot more strings and it was also weirdly shaped. It makes me wonder how one would play it and what kind of sound would be produced.  Below is a picture of the Yangqin.

Another gallery that blew me away was the Asian Art gallery. I was really impressed with how they created it since I’m Asian myself and it really made me feel like apart of my culture was there. One thing I enjoyed looking at was this piece called Gathering Water Chestnuts. It was a drawing on top of a fan.

It was just different for me to see art on this type of surface. It wasn’t surprising me for me but seeing it up close was just different since I don’t have anything like this at home. All my grandpa collected was usually paintings on scrolls. We can see how delicate the artist worked on this from the small brushstrokes. The scenery seems to come out at you. The brushstrokes are really detailed from the trees to the rocks. I feel like the artist did a good job combining nature with the house. It’s as if they gradually became one. Compare to the other forms of art I saw this one wasn’t as grandeur and gave me a more soothing feeling.

There were a lot of other notable exhibits that I saw that day like the Egyptian and American art. I really enjoyed exploring the museum and I felt like I didn’t have enough time to absorb all the art I encountered. In the future I’ll probably go to the MET again to look at things more clearly.






December 11, 2011   2 Comments

Dia Beacon

I will surprise no one in saying that Dia Beacon was not my cup of tea. My most poignant memory from going to the museum was being told not to leave scuff marks on metal squares protruding from the ground, which were not separated from the viewers by any noticeable means (no little piece of rope or sign). Why have them on the ground and not let us step on them?

What I liked mostly was the lighting in the museum that came from the curiously designed roof. Coupled with the white walls that gave the whole building a very fresh look. I guess that the original warehouse had a different, gloomier look.

The minimalist ballet was something that I could not connect with at all. The weird strangely correlated movements and strange sounds were completely foreign, though at times hilarious (for example, the screaming). In general, as a history major, art without a narrative I is something beyond my scope of comprehension. In a way, this dance was for me symbolic of postmodernism; a rebellion against the rebelling generation. If the postmodern philosopher disbelieves in truth than the postmodern dancer disbelieves in art. Soon they will have nothing to disbelieve in.

December 9, 2011   No Comments

Meet the Artist – Alicia Hall Moran

Meet the Artist with Alicia Hall Moran turned out to be a big learning experience for me. There was much more talking done than singing on her part (we were, in fact, “meeting the artist”). But that turned it into a learning experience instead of just a performance. She gave us advice that applied to everyone regardless of what our interests were. She said that the thing we are desperately seeking for in life can be right in front of us and we won’t have the slightest clue. She believes that we should stop searching and just let it come. It will hit us. And I believe her.

Her singing was very creative and well thought out. Her mix of opera and mow town music seemed really genuine, and there is nothing more that I appreciate than a genuine singer or musician. In terms of technicality, I think that her performance required a ton of practicing, so much that only those who really love singing would commit to. It definitely is not something I would ever listen to on my own time. But, again, I truly appreciate the insight of achievement she gave us, coming from a well-accomplished person like her, and I thank her for teaching me some important life lessons.

December 8, 2011   1 Comment

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

Night at the Opera

I personally walked into the Opera that day with a negative attitude. I had a huge exam early next morning and the last thing I wanted to do was be in the middle in Manhattan until late at night and get home a 1am. Also from all the media that has brainwashed me over the years, I thought the Opera wouldn’t be interesting to me since it’s always portrayed as a “rich” people thing and all I would feel the whole night is the high pitched voices of people.

I however was wrong, and even with the negative attitude I came in, the art of Opera itself proved to me how magnificent it was. I was already speechless as I approached the building. The lights sparkled and the fountains were beautiful. As I walked in elegance just screamed from the place. The stairs were a milky marble white with an elegant red carpet on top. People who came often made their ways up the stairs. I myself had to stop and absorb my surroundings. A huge chandelier hanged from the center and as you got up the stairs you could peer from the balcony the grandeur of the place. After just simply admiring the place, I found my seat. Even though we were pretty high up, I found myself pretty comfortable and it wasn’t hard to see the stage at all. The only thing was that the people were smaller but I could still clearly tell what was going on the whole night.

As the lights dimmed, this anticipation grew in me even though I came in with no anticipating at all. The atmosphere of sitting in there was completely different from sitting in a movie theater. Everyone expected total respect from everyone else and it was a no nonsense atmosphere. When the lights finally turned off I could see on the curtains of the stage a woman. It was somewhat eerie in the  beginning to see this woman’s face projected on the curtain. It was also interesting how they did this whenever it was intermission. Natasha who sat next to me was especially disturbed by the projection of the woman.

My favorite part of the opera was the orchestra. I have a great appreciation for music since I used to be a musician myself. The orchestra was simply beautiful. I could close my eyes and hear the sounds coming together. From the orchestra itself you can tell what’s happening with the actors because it’s the orchestra that sets the mood. Another thing that impressed me was the scene changes. I’ve never been to an opera before so I was really surprised when they just moved the furniture and placed new things right in front of us. Usually in school plays and stuff they would close the curtain or make it completely dark for a minute to change the set. What impressed me even more was how natural the scene change was. It took them like 20 seconds as all the actors on stage would simply just take a piece of the set with them like it was nothing. The way they set the subtitles in the Opera was also really interesting. In the very beginning I kept thinking to myself, why I was the only one reading the subtitles? My friend however told me she was reading it too and I was like how is that possible your screen is completely dark. I however looked over and saw in fact the subtitles were on. It showed me how much consideration the people made in order to make everyone’s opera experience great. They didn’t want the light from the subtitles to interfere with everyone’s experience.

Last but not least are the amazing voices of those who were a part of the opera. I have never been so impressed with people I don’t really understand. I didn’t really read the subtitles that much because I already knew the plot and only looked at them once in awhile when I truly didn’t get what was happening. The whole time I was just listening to people sing in French and it felt like I understood it in a way. The voices they have just wrap around you. It wasn’t hard to hear them at all even though we were so far away. When Marina Poplavskaya who played Marguerite hit her high notes I was stunned yet scared for her voice. It was amazing to listen to these people sing without losing their breath or falling out of tempo.

All in all I had a great time at the Opera and enjoyed Faust immensely. I remember not wanting to stay in the Opera for about 4 hours but when I was actually there I was surprised each time intermission came in because time passed by so fast. Having this experience gave me a new found appreciation of a different type of art. I would go to the Opera again if given the chance to in the future.

December 6, 2011   No Comments

The International Center of Photography/ 9-11 Exhibit

What an amazing exhibit! I could not imagine photos that spoke the full 1000 words until I entered this exhibit. Such heart-wrenching photographs filled with strong raw emotion. It was truly an experience.

As I went through the exhibit, one thing kept popping up in my mind: We should’ve visited this exhibit right after the 9/11 Memorial Visit. It complemented the memorial in every way possible. The exhibit seemed to give off a sense of time and place in between the past and present, where 9/11 has happened, but we haven’t just yet moved to the next chapter. I cannot remember the exact quote, but one of the curators and photographers had said just that, and they were so right. The sadness and pain felt through the photographs were truly overwhelming. One photograph was of a uniformed man holding back tears. It brought on such feelings inside of me. I was ready to cry right then and there. I had to force myself to move on, only to find yet another uniformed person holding back tears. This woman had been leaning on someone else (possibly her daughter? they had similar features) and it was just heart-breaking.

But I also saw the videos, oh what videos! To see a person’s belongings is to see what characterizes them, and I saw a whole bunch of personalities in those piles of rubble. In those piles of rubble, I saw among other things, a baby’s rattle, a child’s alphabet stencil, a student’s backpack, a college student’s Biology homework, a parent’s wallet-sized pictures of his/her children, a grandparent’s recent family reunion photo and so much sadness. What really broke the camel’s back, however, was the small boat in the middle of the wreckage exhibit. It was a small paper boat, not unlike the ones I am very accustomed to making. It reminded me of a recent time when, while on the bus, I saw a small child who was very bored and was annoying his mother. I put down my stuff, took out a paper, made a small paper boat, and gave it to his mother to give to him. He loved it, but he was unaware that anything was wrong. That experience helped me understand this paper boat in the middle of the exhibit. This boat resembles more than just boredom; it resembles a sort of family experience that was created in that train, and even larger, within our city. Yes, 9/11 has taken a bite out of us, but united we stand, even in the face of terrorism.


Joey Kabariti

December 4, 2011   No Comments

Gazing and Soaring.

On October 11, I went to the Tennis Courts at Kelly Park on Ave. S and E 14th in Brooklyn. Originally, I was going to just take a picture of my friends playing tennis, but something caught my eye. In the sky, there were these birds flying together in a diagonal line formation. I know birds usually fly in a “V” formation when they migrate to the south, but I’ve never seen it before. This was the first time I’ve seen birds fly in such a pattern. So, I needed to take a picture of it not only because of its beauty but because it has always been a childhood dream of mine to soar above the earth and gaze at all beneath me. Luckily, I had my camera already around my neck so that I could capture this moment. It honestly was just a moment because as soon as I took the picture, the birds flew too far away for me to even see them. So, this picture is my Snapshot photo for it only took a moment to experience such beauty.

December 2, 2011   No Comments