Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Category — Visual Art

Trip to the Met

Two weeks ago JJ and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been to the Met a couple of times before and going there is always great. The Met is huge so I’m just going to talk about the places where we spent the most time.

The Met is arranged thematically in that different sections are dedicated to art from particular areas, time periods, and in the case of Arms and Armor, function. Each of these sections is set up in a way that enhances the pieces displayed in it. This is done through various ways such as lighting, arrangement, and even architecture. For example, the American Wing had giant marble pillars framing one of its entrances that were reminiscent of those found outside various government buildings.

The first place we visited was the Egyptian Wing. In this section the lighting was dimmed, likely to reduce any harmful effect on the pieces. This also had the effect of helping focus attention back on the pieces. Also the architecture was set up to have an “Egyptian” feel. Its amazing how artwork thats literally thousand of years old is so well preserved. JJ and I noted how some pieces had still retained their color. My favorite part of this section is the Temple of Dendur. Its housed in a huge room thats set up in a way to reflect where the temple once stood in Egypt. The sandstone temple is surrounded by water. The water even has sculptures of Egyptian crocodiles.

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JJ and the temple 🙂

The temple itself has intricate carvings both on its insides and outsides. They depict a variety of things such as the Egyptian gods and figures making sacrifices to them. The story of how they brought the temple to the United States and installed it in the museum is really interesting. I recommend reading it if you find yourself in the Met.

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The Egyptian Wing led us into the American Wing. My favorite piece here was the Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles. I previously mentioned this piece in my first post. It’s funny how I managed to come full circle with my final one :D.

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The piece is on the walls of a large circular room. It has the effect of making the viewer feel as though he’s actually standing in the grounds of the palace. This says a lot about the artists skill in regard to spacial arrangement. I tried to recreate the effect by taking a panoramic picture with my phone, but failed miserably. I couldn’t even fit the entire room in one photo.

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Pedestal in the center of the room with information about the palace.

Pedestal in the center of the room with information about the palace.

We also spent a lot of time in the Arms and Armor Section. It’s interesting to note the creativity that went into tools designed for death. In the center of the section is grand display made out of knights on horseback. The scale gives you an idea of what knights riding into battle might have looked like. Another thing I noticed was the disparity between armor and weapons made for royalty, and that of the common man. The weapons and armor of nobility were extremely intricate and ornate whereas those of the average person was rather simple. An example of this is a gilded bronze sword that was made for a prince.

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While it’s hard to tell in the picture, the hilt of the sword has intricate engravings that depict the Virgin Mary and the Archangel banishing Satan.

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With the exception of the interestingly shaped crossguard, these are swords by comparion are quite plain. Here’s some other things in the section that I found interesting.

The armor in the center was made for a five year old prince.

The armor in the center was made for a five year old prince.

Samurai Armor

Samurai Armor

More Samurai!

More Samurai!

An interesting chart showing European armor development over a thousand years.

An interesting chart showing European armor development over a thousand years.

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An actual catapult projectile used during the crusades.




December 21, 2012   1 Comment

Unique Forms of Art- Basketball

I remember in class we discussed how art can be seen through different forms other than paintings and pictures. One of the forms in which I thought art could be seen would be sports. It’s amazing how athletes train their bodies and form themselves to perform to the best of their abilities. This was proof last night when I  attended the New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets game at Madison Square Garden with Fady and Daniel.

Madison Square Garden itself is break-taking. Seeing the colors of blue and orange throughout the stadium was truly amazing. Not to mention the jerseys hanging from the rafters of some of the most greatest players in the history of the NBA such as Walt Frazier, Willis Reed and Patrick Ewing. The jerseys themselves are a piece of art because they represent the people who support that team. They’re a symbol of hope for the fans that look to them for support.

The game of professional basketball to me is a carefully choreographed masterpiece. The ways the teams develop their own plays to score is nothing short of brilliance. To see it play out in front of your eyes is like witnessing the birth of art. The way players run down the court, spinning and accelerating to avoid defenders while pulling up to take that 10 foot jump-shot or how the team crashes the boards to get a rebound after a missed shot is art at its best.

All in all, it was a fantastic game that ended in a great night. Not to mention the Knicks won as well! I think my belief of basketball being a form of art lies within the fact that my life has been centered around it ever since I was born. Basketball has brought immense hope and support to me which is why I can see the art within it’s works.

It’s like what Michael Jordan said in his Hall of Fame speech,

“The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, place I’ve always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It’s been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the creates respect and love for the game.”

Go Knicks!

December 21, 2012   2 Comments

Final Project JJ and Muhammad

Sorry the file was too big to be uploaded as a whole 🙁

Part 1

Part 2

December 21, 2012   1 Comment

The Guggenheim Museum

So for our individual trip, I decided to go the Guggenheim Museum.



Even before entering the museum, I noticed it was strikingly different from all the other museums I’ve been to. The shape of the museum was an interesting form of art and architecture, with multiple spirals outlining the museum. The inside of the museum was very unique as well – the spirals helped us get to the top of the building without the use of any stairs.



At the museum I saw the Picasso exhibit and looked through many of his paintings. I noticed that he focused largely on abstract art, rarely painting a person or object exactly as they appeared. Early on, I noticed that his art used many curved shapes. Later on however, he focused more on straight lines in his paintings. For a large portion of the exhibit, he tried to depict the beauty of females. He never drew them exactly as they appeared, but he constructed his paintings based on how he found beauty in females. After his focus on women, Picasso painted other types of subjects. One painting I found interesting was The Charnel House, which resembled Guernica. It was painted after the Holocaust, to show the devastation that occurred in concentration camps. They didn’t allow me to take pictures of the artwork, but here’s an image of the painting –


Overall, I really enjoyed my tour at the museum, especially since it was so different. Even though I loved the paintings by Picasso, the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum was what stood out to me. I loved the prevalent theme of circles and spirals, and going up the museum as though it were only a single floor was pretty cool. I highly recommend the Guggenheim to anyone who’s interested.


December 21, 2012   No Comments

“1945-1998” by Isao Hashimoto- Macaulay Final Project

Watch it again! We changed some things.

Project by: Maheen Athonu, Mohammad Aziz, Artur Brodskiy 

December 20, 2012   No Comments

My Visit to the Guggenheim Museum

After our last test, Maheen and I decided to go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. We read about this museum earlier in the term because of its unique architecture. This visit reminded me of the movie Inception; similar to the concept of dream within a dream, the Guggenheim is basically art within art because the building itself is art. From the outside, the building looks like rings stacked on top of each other. When you go in the building, you could see a ramp spiraling all the way to the top. I found it interesting how the building contained many circles and curves: the passage through the museum was a spiral, the floor contained circular patterns, the building itself was spherical, the pillars were cylindrical, the entrance had a revolving door, and so on.

When I visited, the main exhibit was called Picasso Black and White, which focused on Picasso’s black and white paintings. His paintings lined the walls of the building. They were mainly abstract portraits of women in Picasso’s life, or reactions to war and tragedy. The unique design of the building enhanced this exhibit in many ways. The paintings were put up chronologically, so going up the spiral ramp made it feel like I was travelling through Picasso’s life. The ramp in the museum, as opposed to stairs or a flat floor, made this feeling possible. Ramps are a gradual method of going up, while stairs feel disjointed and uneven.  Therefore, the structure of the ramp allowed this connection to Picasso’s life to occur. Also, many of Picasso’s abstract portraits of women were filled with curves and circles. This matched well with the building’s architecture, which as I mentioned before, also contains many circles and curves.

There were other exhibits too, which were not about Picasso. One, for example, was about the abstract artwork of Vasily Kandinsky. These separate exhibits were displayed in different rooms beyond the main spherical structure. As you go up the ramp, you could choose whether to keep walking through the Picasso exhibit, or go to a different room to see another exhibit. When you go into a different exhibit, you sort of forget about the Picasso exhibit because the setting changes. You are no longer walking on a ramp and you are in a much more enclosed area. Then, once you leave the room, you are back to where you left off on the Picasso exhibit.

I really enjoyed this visit, but more because of the building rather than the art inside it. The building is what distinguishes this museum from any other museum in the world.


December 20, 2012   No Comments

Hitchcock and Standup

The film was amazing! There were many conflicts in the film that kept the audience attention. In the beginning when the guy hit his brother with the shovel made me jump from my seat. I thought the acting was great, especially Scarlet Johansson. I did not realize Hitchcock past away before I saw this film so I thought the actor playing Hitchcock was really Hitchcock. I think in a way that made the film more entertaining because I believe the actor was Hitchcock 100% so he acted perfectly. I noticed a lot of Hitchcock type scenes. One was when the camera pointed to Mrs. Hitchcock’s neck for a brief moment when she was bringing meat to her husband. It was like the episode we saw in class. Also, the scene where Hitchcock repeatedly stabbed Scarlet Johansson, that was similar to the scene of The Psycho. When Scarlet gave Hitchcock the candy corn, I thought of the scene of the husband carrying glowing milk to his wife. It was great learning about Hitchcock’s works before watching this film. There was the bird movie reference, North by Northwest reference, and many more.

I did not like the first two standup comedians. They were not funny and relied on sexual remarks for a quick laugh. The second comedian I hated the most. He talked fifteen minutes about a lemon. Who cares!! The host was okay. He was enthusiastic at least. Muhammad and I even had a simple conversation with him before the show. Unfortunately, I did not stay for the rest of the comedians. But the first two were not funny. The only reason why I laugh was because I was standing in front of a big metal garagelike door and everyone who stood in front of me was asked to move. But since there were no signs, the workers had to come every 5 minutes. Also, there was this lady who keep taking pictures with flash, when were we explicitly asked not to. It was funny watching people glare at her when she took pictures.

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Stand-up Comedy and Hitchcock- comments

I stayed for three of the performances (the host and the first two comedians). Out of those three, I thought the host was the best. I found it interesting how most of their jokes were quite vulgar. I believe a good comedian should be able to make people laugh without talking about such topics. It’s almost as if talking about vulgar topics is the easy way out for a comedian. Perhaps making ordinary topics funny is harder. I’ve heard that the performances later on were much better, so I wish I stayed a bit longer.

Coming into BAM, I had higher expectations for the stand-up comedy than for the Hitchcock film. However, I was surprised at how good the Hitchcock film was; I ended up enjoying the movie much more than the comedy. My low expectations for the film were caused by my lack of knowledge of the film. I actually thought it was a going to be a documentary, so I wasn’t really excited about it. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the movie turned out to be more of a drama than a documentary. I wouldn’t have enjoyed this movie as much if we didn’t have a lesson on Hitchcock in class. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to people who don’t know about Alfred Hitchcock because they wouldn’t be able to catch various references about his life and movies. However, anyone who knows the slightest about Hitchcock should watch the film because I thought it was really entertaining and informative for something that’s supposed to be like a biography (which tend to be boring normally).

December 15, 2012   No Comments

Met Museum

Muhammad and I went to the Met Museum today! After waiting ten minutes in line to get a shiny metal badge we were finally able to see art. We went to the ancient Egypt exhibition first.

What surprised me was that although the sculptures and paintings on the wall were more than three thousand years old, they colors were still there. Also the sculptures were  really well crafted considering the time period. Also, there were many intriate designs on everything. The tombs, wall, sculptures, etc.

Next, we saw the panoramic of the palace and the garden of Versailles. It was amazing. I felt like I was actually there! Although the painting was two dimensional, it had a 3D effect that amazed me.

We visited the weapons and armors section after. Every armor and weapon had amazing designs on them. It was if the armor and weapons were not crafted for fighting, but rather for beauty. I can imagine the armored warriors fighting, and suddenly stop to gaze at each other’s armor in awe. I was also very impressed by the smoothness and roundness of the helmets. Since the technology in the past was very poor, I wonder how do they make it so smooth and round. The metals used were perfect, there were so cracks, bumps, etc on it.

I was really impressed by this rock used in catapults because this rock may look simple but probably took a long time to make. Rocks are not circular, so the craftsman probably spent a lot of time making this rock circular. Also, he/she has to do this for every single rock!

I had a great time in the Met and I took a lot of pictures. I noticed that many people just stroll through the museum like a walk in the park. If they took their time to scrutinize each art, they would know why is it called art. Furthermore, the lighting in the museum plays a major role in presenting the art. If there was only one shade of light throughout the museum, the exhibitions will not look as great. However, with a bright light shining on the art and a dim light as a background, it really augments the viewers’ interest.

December 9, 2012   No Comments

Tatzu Nishi: Columbus’ Living Room

I, too, had the great pleasure of going up inside Tatzu Nishi’s installment in Columbus Circle, Columbus’ Living Room. The artist, Tatzu Nishi, worked with the Public Art Fund to build scaffolding around the 7 story high statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle. The idea behind it was creating a situation or scenario in which you would stand in C’s living room, experiencing a closeness to a statue you would never otherwise experience. Although we were close enough to reach out and touch it, the guards wouldn’t let us. The view, however, was unbelievable. You enter through the door and see that every little detail has been attended to. The TV is playing CNN, couches surround coffee tables full of art books and history novels, and lamps fill the corners with light. Hardwood floors are below you and windows looking out onto central park surround you.

The creativity of this art installation and the experience going up to it was remarkable. How often do you get the opportunity to stand so close to a legendary statue? A great idea and a great experience. Remarkable and breathtaking.

They do need to get up there and clean up the bird crap, though. Next time.


December 8, 2012   No Comments