What We Feel and What We Mean
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Visual Art

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

Snapshot Day

On October 11th, Snapshot Day I took a picture of this head cushion in my friends car shown below. At the moment I just thought the cushion was really cute and it gave me a sense of what everyday life is like. Whenever I think of the comfortable normal days in my life where I’m just talking to my friends in the car.The object of this picture isn’t really what we would call beautiful but the picture has meaning for myself.

On Sunday I went to the Snapshot Gallery and I was surprised by how creative the curators were. I thought they were just going to have pictures put up along the Macaulay building and call it a day. However each area had a deep meaning behind it on how they connected the pictures. I also liked the ones that were along the wall next to the stairs. It made it feel like I was traveling through pictures. Another thing I really enjoyed looking at was the fashion show part of of the exhibit. Although they shredded the pictures which made me unable to really tell what they were, it was still cool to see them come together as a dress. They also had a power point playing in the background of the dress to show us which pictures they shredded.  I enjoyed the event besides the technical difficulties my group had with exporting our video. I could tell the curators put a lot of effort into it. It was also nice to see how everyone sees things so differently. Even though all the pictures were taken in the same day, it felt like we were all living a completely different life and it makes me wonder how some people encounter some things in their life.


December 8, 2011   No Comments

Opera: Faust

I was kind of excited to see the opera when I first heard we were going. I got even more excited after hearing we were seeing Faust, which is a story I enjoy. But after actually going I’m sad to say I was a little disappointed.

I enjoy music and I can appreciate a good orchestra but I think what really threw me off was the language barrier. I thought the sub-titles were a good idea but I definitely lost something from having to look down every couple of seconds in anticipation of the next line. I really couldn’t enjoy the music and I got lost a few times in the story because I couldn’t understand what was going on. I think if we had seen an English opera I would have appreciated it a whole lot more.

I did enjoy the theatrics of the whole performance. The lights being raised before each act, the use of props. I would have liked to see the set have changed more then it was. It always had that laboratory and metallic feel even in the outdoor/street scenes. Maybe thats what they were going for but I would have liked to see more of a distinction of the scenery. I liked how they tried (and succeeded) to make it a very fancy and high class experience. The entrances are very grand and most people get dressed up for it.

The opera was definitely and great experience but I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it were in English so I could understand what the singers are saying in real time without having to look down after a couple of second delay.

December 6, 2011   2 Comments

The Metropolitan Opera: Faust

I want to start off by saying that I expected the opera to be something completely different than what it actually was. Clearly, I never had any kind of exposure to this type of art and I judged it just on what it seemed like. To me, the opera was just a place where people sang things that were completely alien and had nothing that I can relate to. After my first trip to the opera, I realized how mistaken I was.

The opera turned out to be something totally relatable, well, at least Faust did. It was just an amazing story that involved many interesting elements that are normally found in your typical movie. The fact that it was in another language made it even more interesting. People were upset that they had to look at the subtitles in order to understand the plot. I think that this is a unique attribute that makes the opera different from all the other forms of storytelling. I don’t even think you can consider it storytelling. It’s so much more especially with the live orchestra and amazing dance and athletic performances.

For those who were complaining about having to alternate between the performers and subtitles, I don’t really think it was that bad, especially since we were sitting so high up (another thing that many complained about) it meant that the angle our eyes made with the stage was very close to the angle made with the subtitles screen. So instead of having to actually shift the positions of our heads, which is what I’m assuming those sitting closer to the stage had to do, we could’ve just shifted our eyes, a less of a bother! Two negatives make a positive!

Overall, the opera was a great combination of theater and music- one that I would definitely experience again.

December 6, 2011   No Comments

Hiding Place

Here is my Snapshot Day photo:

A beautiful blue sky peeps through the clouds, only to be cleverly captured by the windows below.

A shelter stands somewhere underneath.
The Brooklyn College Library.


For two months, I worked on curating the Snapshot Day event along with ten other students from different Macaulay campuses. Long nights, long days, countless hours spent working and reworking the exhibition. It was a lot of work and pressure trying to think of creative ideas and to actually carry them out before the deadline. But the hard work paid off. It was wonderful to see the curation that my fellow curators and I  had worked on. It was a success. And I am really glad that I took part in this a experience. It opened my mind to more creative ideas. The actual Snapshot Day event was also a mind-opening experience. Before the event, I could not wrap my mind around the idea of a “re-curation.” But after seeing some of the videos fellow students created, I felt enlightened. Some were quite creative.

December 6, 2011   No Comments

Brooklyn Museum/Dinner Party Response

My first response to “The Dinner Party,” was confusion. Personally, I thought the work would feature all prominent women from all times, not just female artists. To be completely honest, however, I did not like the work as a whole. Although I recognize that featuring the female organs will elicit a strong response from the viewers, I believe that this was the artist’s intention. Feminist art is ultimately intended to shock and surprise and I feel like “The Dinner Party” did this well. I feel like the artist did this in an ironic, tongue-in-cheek way.

Apart from “The Dinner Party,” I really enjoyed Brooklyn Museum. By far, my favorite exhibit was the Period Rooms. To be able to see through a window to the past is extraordinary. I felt like I was in “The Age of Innocence” as a young socialite in New York. It is extraordinary that you can completely restore a room in the style of what it was like 100 years ago.

I also really enjoyed the great hall with all of the white structures. Architecture is not a medium of art that I know very much about, but I really liked the exhibit nonetheless. The use of space and the lighting really made the viewing experience better. The architecture seems very modern and the color of the structures brought to mind innocence and purity, something I think was intended by the artist.

Lastly, I was surprised at how I had never heard of how beautiful the Brooklyn Museum is. I feel like the museum flies off the radar and only by going to it can you see how extraordinary the exhibits are.

December 6, 2011   1 Comment


I visited the MoMa today with an Arts in NYC class from Queens. We specifically viewed DeKooning’s works. Firstly, it was interesting to see how the art was displayed, especially since I came right after the Photo Day at the Macaulay building. It was arranged in sequential order, from the still-life he painted as a teenager to the large, abstract paintings for which he is famous today. I’d like to say I loved his work but I didn’t. The professor of the class I was with said that the still-life was put in to show how DeKooning could have painted like that had he chosen. It was meant to prove that he wasn’t just scribbling and flinging paint. He was a talented painter who decided to express himself in a different way. The professor continued that anyone can paint a still-life but it takes a talented person to paint the works that DeKooning did later in his life.

I heartily disagree with this. I don’t contest that DeKooning has a right to express himself in any way he chooses and that many others find the product of this creative expression appealing. My response, however, to the professor’s latter comment was that any three year old could have done what DeKooning did. Not in the literal sense, but in theory. One could argue DeKooning has a distinctive style. He has a color tone he uses often, an angle, a brush stroke, the texture…. but everyone has a particular style, including the three year old who prefers bright colors to pastels and circles to squares. Conversely, a three year old, or even someone who fashions himself an artist cannot draw a beautiful still-life unless he is actually good at what he does. Obviously, something about DeKooning’s work is beautiful to many people who chose to celebrate his pieces as opposed to others of his time. That’s why he’s famous. That’s why he’s in the MoMa.

This wasn’t supposed to be a rant on modern art, but there you have it.

December 5, 2011   1 Comment

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

“We met at the MET.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is undoubtedly the most famous museum in the city. Firstly, it’s huge. It’s incredible. Nobody can explore every crevice and cellar in one day; it could take a lifetime. What other institution in the city would have a reed river, a zen garden, a room designed by Marie Antoinette, a roman viewing room or a roof with a breathtaking view? That’s an easy question: no other institution but the MET.

Victoria, Connie and a few friends of mine went to the MET together on October 28, and it was a magnificent day. It was also the last day the roof was open to the public. So, of course, we needed to go visit that stunning exhibit.

We started the adventure roaming through Egyptian hieroglyphics and sarcophagi. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Egyptian art. Ever since I watched Prince of Egypt, I have been uneasy around hieroglyphics. Their like my magic finger. To end our Egyptian segment, we stopped by the reed river near the pyramid’s ruins and took a breather.

We continued by browsing the American Art, the Roman Art, the French period rooms and the gothic cathedral. We were in a rush to make it to the roof where we were greeted by the unbelievable skyline of New York City. The pieces were gorgeous, too, but the real work of art was the city’s buildings and its general splendor. The sun hit every single skyscraper at the perfect angle. We would have stayed outside longer if the weather would have been more obliging.

When we returned inside, we went to the French art: the incredible art by van Gogh, Manet and Monet. Each of us interpreted a piece of impressionist art just because the brushstrokes made the paintings all seem a bit blurry and interpretational. But, my favorite painting ever is Le Printemps by Pierre Auguste-Cot. It’s so romantic. When I was a little girl, I used to always stop by that portrait and let my mind wander to the past and imagine how love really was like. Love, not like it is today with all its superficiality and material means. To me, that painting illustrates how love truly should be and feel like. Pure innocence and admiration in her eyes. The way their bodies curve to one another. That is something beautiful.

To end our cultural adventure, we went outside and enjoyed the bonne nuit with a bit of a wacky photoshoot. After looking and admiring paintings for a few hours, I think we deserved the chance to be the work of art.

December 1, 2011   1 Comment

The Brooklyn Museum

Hey Guys,

This past visit to the Brooklyn Museum was particularly interesting. There were some exhibits which I absolutely loved, and others which I absolutely hated.

We first visited the Dinner Party, which really represented something really special for me. As a big advocate of Women’s rights, partly because of my growing with three sisters, I really appreciate when someone goes out of their way to appreciate what they have done, as the famous quote proves, “Behind every great man there is a woman.” It was also very informative. I did not recognize many of the women there, and so, when I saw Judith, the Jewish representative for Women who slaughtered Holofernes and rescued her people, I felt proud. I barely knew the story and she is part of my history, so the fact that they were hosting a dinner party to congratulate all these women on their fine accomplishments truly meant a lot to me.

And then we visited the period rooms, which were absolutely marvelous. Those rooms gave us the feel of those times, and there a hint of fear and awkwardness in each new room. We observed that there must have been nothing to do if not for work. There were no TVs, no radios, nothing to keep them from becoming bored. Their living rooms were the emptiest parts of their houses. But the fear stemmed from the darkness that lurked around each and every house that was alone for miles around them. Some of the houses were the only ones for miles on end. How could they have lived in such a distant, quiet and unsafe place? Anyone could just break into their house and kill everybody and no one would know who it was, how they did it, or even when. They could be dead for weeks before anyone would realize their absence. That point struck me the hardest. But all in all, it was an amazing experience; the rooms were absolutely delightful to visit.

And the last exhibit on the fourth floor, which resembled the Sistine Chapel in many ways, was interesting yet I could not connect to it. The art was beautiful but I could not feel an emotion broadcast. It was interesting because of its resemblance, but other than that, it was just paint on wall.

We then moved to the fifth floor, where we visited the piano and the tree, which was very cool, yet weird and eerie. I liked it because it showed that art does not have to be beautiful; it could also be scary and eerie and have a different effect, yet still be art. The fact that the piano was playing itself was also a nice trick, and added substantially to that eerie yet pleasant feeling.

And then we moved on to the Youth and Beauty Exhibit.

Unfortunately, we didn’t save the best for last. I hated it. The only thing the exhibit accomplished, in my eyes, was to make that line between pornography and nude art all the more murky. It seemed to me to be just another way to portray nude bodies, and not at all a way to portray art. Granted, it was nice to see the exhibit that we mentioned about in class, the young man pushing the wrench which turned the gear and moved the machine. That was an appealing photograph, because it portrayed the young man as a strong attractive individual, and made him seem reliable.

However, that was one of the couple of pieces of art which I enjoyed in that exhibit.

I did feel the need to continue exploring, but time waits for no one.

I do plan on returning in the near future to complete my Brooklyn Museum experience.

Joey Kabariti

November 22, 2011   2 Comments