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

Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil

To get an idea of what the circus performance is like, you should first watch this trailer, although keep in mind that it doesn’t do the show any justice:

Now to the actual review. I saw this circus performance early during the semester, and it was AMAZING. I’d gladly go watch it again several times. It took place in Radio City Music Hall. The auditorium is gigantic, with seats several stories high, similar to the Metropolitan Opera.

Sitting in one of the front rows, I took a look behind me and saw how the walls are decorated with images of people sitting to watch a show. It gives the illusion that there are way more people than there really are. This was a clever trick done by whoever designed the place.

When the show began, we were introduced to a mad scientist who made strange creations. Among the first of his creations was the people in first act of the show, which were a group of dancers. This and other methods were used to transition between the acts, making them seem like a story line. Similarly, the whole show had a very gothic theme. The show also felt bad-ass and nothing else in the world seemed to matter. This wasn’t your typical tent circus with cute animals; this was a hardcore show.

The acts themselves were mesmerizing and unique. All of the dancers were very skilled. The music made you gawk at what was being presented. Gymnasts did feats that you would never see anywhere else. In one act, they stood inside human-sized hula hoops, holding on to the the edges, looking like the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Within these hula hoops, they would roll across the stage into various formations pleasing to the eye.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

In one act, an artist made images with sand. Using sand on top of a plate of glass, the woman would draw images in the sand with her hands. Light is projected through the glass so we can all see what she is drawing. At the end of her act, she drew an intricate spiderweb. Then, bam! The curtains open up and we see the same spider web constructed out of rope, with gymnasts dressed as spiders crawling all over it.

Intermissions between acts showed clowns who enacted very funny scenes. They picked on audience members, and used a very classic “Charlie Chaplin” style of comedy.

There were many other acts involving dangerous stunts, too many of which to describe in detail. All of the acts transitioned into each other, with a clown intermission in between. A viewer would never be bored. The main reason I enjoyed the show so much is because of the emotion it gave me. The show just burns with passion, confidence, and fierceness. It’s always very difficult to convey those emotions in a work of art. The creators deserve much honor for what they’ve accomplished. When the show ended, I felt like I was only there for an hour, although I’m sure it went on for longer. I wanted to see more. “Epic” is an overused word, and many things that are described as “epic,” don’t deserve that adjective tied to them. However, this show could definitely be categorized as epic. It’s a must-see.

December 20, 2012   No Comments



I like the idea of a movie about making a movie. It makes me think about the effort made to make the “outer” movie, and what that looked like. Hitchcock was an entertaining biographical film, showing the life of Alfred Hitchcock as he directed Psycho. I’m always interested in seeing behind the scenes work, because many of us don’t know what really goes into film-making.

The movie showed the drama between Alfred, his agents, and his wife. His agents kept demanding different content than what Alfred provided, always wanting to revise what Hitchcock wanted to produce. Hitchcock’s wife was supportive of him, but often got tired of him, wanting to deviate and what her heart desired. These dynamics made an interesting plot line, keeping the viewer wondering how things would finally unravel.

In the dramatic scenes, close-ups on Hitchcock’s face were made, showing how disturbed he is. It’s always easy to make a distressed face, and a close-up of it really does the job of showing how grimy it looks. As viewers, we wanted Hitchcock to be successful, and for other people to understand him and be more supportive of him. The movie does a good job at evoking our compassion for him.

There were a few comedic scenes dotted throughout the movie, which I feel is necessary for any drama. These include the one where he orchestrates the screams of the movie-watchers, and the ending where a bird lands on Hitchcock’s shoulder. I’m sure there were several more of these “insider” jokes, which require the viewer to have already seen some of Hitchcock’s previous work.

I can’t say that this movie is one of the greatest ever produced, or that I’d love watching it many times. However, it was entertaining nevertheless. I learned more about Hitchcock’s life, while at the same time feeling a tie to the characters.

December 20, 2012   No Comments


The setup of this play was interesting. The background had stacks of boxes and a mess of papers. When asked why it was made this way, the playwright answered that it’s to symbolize the nasty actions made by people and the polluted environment we’re creating. On the left side were an assortment of file boxes. This setup took place for the whole play.

Even though the scenery never changed much, that never got into the way of my imagining what the environment of the play would look and sound like. Part of this is because of the skilled lighting. The file boxes were lit up during the formal meetings with the lawyer, Alexandra, and during the court case. In scenes taking place on the streets, the mess of papers in the background was lit up. the rest was left to my imagination, which compensated pretty well.

Going into the play, I was apprehensive that I wouldn’t understand the plot. Plays are usually not my preferred style of art to enjoy, and in the past I haven’t been able to follow them (The Tempest Opera proved me wrong, however). I was able to follow the first few scenes, where Oliver and a fellow businessman argue over the environmental harm caused by the firms Oliver represents. These early scenes also had my favorite actors of the play. Their argument was funny, and realistic. I could see one of the actors, Steven Rishard, being in a sitcom like Seinfeld or Friends. He fits the role perfectly. The other actors and actresses, with the exception of Julissa Roman, who played Luz, sometimes exaggerated their speech, and the emotion on their face and in their tone didn’t sound real.

The play is filled with symoblism, especially in puppet scenes. A vulture is often used to give Luz premonitions and guidance. A puppet haunts Oliver, perhaps as punishment for harming the environment and indirectly hurting the lives of Luz, Helene, and Zia. The voices of the characters echo during these scenes, and I wondered how this effect was made without microphones.

It was difficult for me to understand what was happening in the following scenes, although I understood the general theme of the play. It was meant to show an example of the hardship involving citizenship and violence faced by women. Acquiring citizenship is hard nowadays in America, especially when coupled with finding a job, supporting oneself, and handling emotional stress. The file boxes and papers in the set function to illustrate how everything is formalized with courts and legal papers nowadays. They almost look like litter, which functions well to show the slums of Guatemala City, tent cities in Haiti, and toxic, polluted neighborhoods. People aren’t given the chance to freely be heard, and receive fairness. This seen in court, when Luz snaps, and yells at the lawyer, “Look at me!” The play juxtaposes the easy life of businessmen, and how their actions affect the lives of other people without their knowing.

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