Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College

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The Tempest

Going to the Opera to watch the Tempest was a very extraordinary experience. Knowing the about William Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest and having read it as well, I was interested to see how they would present the play as an Opera.

While watching The Tempest, I was really impressed with the set design and concept of the Opera in an Opera house. However, at the same time I was confused to how the set had to do with the play. What really impressed me was Adriel’s singing and her flexibility on stage. I also enjoyed the acting and the costumes of the actors. I felt that they added a nice touch to the performance.

Overall, I thought that it was a really interesting as to how they converted the play into an Opera. However, I would have liked if the opera was broken up into five parts just like the acts in the play. This would have made the story line much easier to follow. Other than that I enjoyed watching the Opera.



December 22, 2012   No Comments

The Art of Dancing

A few weeks ago I was able to attend a cultural show filled with music and dancing. I got to experience Indian dancing at its finest. Since I believe art to be a form of expression, I believe that dancing can be considered a form of art. Also dancing can fall under the concept of “something hard done well” and made to look easy. Dancing requires skill and practice and even talent. However dancers make it seem really easy to glide across the stage.

While watching the performances at Brooklyn College’s Desi Club Night I was able to recognize the art of Indian dancing. Indian dancing is a lot of hand movement and eye movement. Wherever the hand goes, the eye follows. While dancing, the dancers have expressions that portray the feeling of the music that they are dancing to. This I believe is true art in that even the audience can feel the happiness or even sadness of the singer through the dancers move. It truly inspires me to get out there and try. The body movements seem so effortless and are done with such precision that I consider this to be art. Since we were unable to see a dance performance this year as a class trip I’m glad I was able to still visit one.


December 21, 2012   No Comments

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

NETS VS. KNICKS – A trip to remember

Last night, at the Nets and Knicks game, I started to realize many things that I wouldn’t have otherwise realized about Madison Square Garden. Because I’m the least interested in basketball in our trio (Me, Ronny, and Danny), I was able to just look around and enjoy the scenery while the game was going on and not feel bad about missing out. I’d like to first start with the jerseys which i think are one of the most interesting things about basketball. Each team gets a specific jersey so it is kind of interesting to me to see what each team has on their jersey. I really like the Nets Logo, even though its simply just a picture of a bridge with the word BROOKLYN written on it. I feel like even though it is plain and simple it gives people a sense of pride in their borough. Almost half the stadium donned a Brooklyn Nets jersey or Hat and I started to realize how Flashy and Artistic Jersey designers have to make their jerseys. People who watch the sport are going to want to buy the jersey of their favorite player but they wouldn’t want to if the jersey looked ugly. There is some sort of artistic element in the way jerseys are made so that it can appeal to the masses.

The other thing I noticed was the way the game was played kind of reminded me of a nicely choreographed performance. When you think about it, each team has their own set of plays that they have practiced and are now performing for us the people to watch and enjoy. Sounds kind of similar to a theatrical event if you ask me. Not only that, but some of these players are so nimble on their feet that it is just amazing to see. Some of them are so light on their feet that if they weren’t so tall, I swear they would make great Ballet dancers.

Finally, Madison Square Garden itself is just beautiful. You got the Large pictures of the knicks players on the walls. The mass of people wearing blue and orange just adds a nice tone to the garden. Even the court has like a nice glow to it. Whoever designed this building made sure that even though it is a sports arena, it had to be aesthetically pleasing to people

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

Hitchcock and Stand-up

I had a blast at BAM. Hitchcock was great but the stand-up left me a little disappointed.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren did a great job portraying Hitchcock and Alma. Hopkins walks and talks in the same style that Hitchcock is famous for. I think the film’s strength lies in the fact that it focuses on the complex relationship between the two. I liked the fact that the film chose to highlight Alma’s importance rather than just focus on Hitchcock. I’m glad that I read up about Hitchcock before seeing the film because I was able to catch a lot of the details that the filmakers included both about the way he worked and the way he acted.


The  second floor of BAM was gorgeous. The lights and holiday decorations made it even better. It even had a map of the US made out of different pieces of cloth.


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Not sure why the host’s eyes are glowing


The stand-up performances left a a lot to be desired. The host was alright. He did a pretty good job warming up the audience. The guy after him wasn’t so great. The second guy made me laugh a little but that was mostly due to the way he said Frank Langella.  The woman after them was pretty funny. I heard that the last performer was amazing. I wish I could have stayed to see him but my lab Professor decided right then and there to demand that everyone in the class upload their presentations by 11:00 that night :/.

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

Hitchcock and BAM performance

Hey guys, so my experiences at the Hitchcock film and the stand-up comedy were pretty different. Going in, I expected the film to be uninteresting and the comedy to be really entertaining – but it ended up being just the opposite.


I found the Hitchcock film surprisingly good. I didn’t know too much about Hitchcock and I expected the film to be very documentary-like. Instead, it turned out to be a very interesting movie with well-developed characters and a very good plot. It was both informative and entertaining. Even though I didn’t understand some of the parts that related to Hitchcock’s actual life, I learned a lot about him and enjoyed the show.


The stand-up comedy, however, wasn’t as strong as the Hitchcock film. I didn’t stay for the end of the show, but the beginning of the comedy show wasn’t too entertaining. I didn’t find the jokes as creative as I thought they would be. A lot of their jokes were vulgar, which I’ve heard are easy to make and not as creative as non-vulgar ones. Instead, I enjoyed the Hanukah vs Christmas debate much more. Even though the BAM performance was the standard format (with comedians coming up and performing one by one), I enjoyed the format of the comedic debate far more, where both of the two groups tried to argue their points and make jokes along the way. I found this performance less creative and not too enjoyable.

December 21, 2012   No Comments

New York Knicks VS Brooklyn Nets

Wednesday night, in celebration of the completion of our first semester of college, Ronny, Fady, and myself went to the Knicks VS. Nets game. It was quite an enjoyable experience for me. I was able to see how the body can really be a form of art. The point guard, Raymond Felton, threw the center, Tyson Chandler many alley-oop passes and one one of them, Chandler even finished it without looking at the hoop. It was truly a sight to behold. The game and the atmosphere were very exciting, as the Knicks won by a comfortable margin, much to our delight. It was especially fun watching the battle between Knicks and Nets fans and how the arena was split between each team. I would definitely consider basketball an art, especially the way Chandler and Felton worked together so nicely. A perfect example of our definition of “something difficult done well.”

Here is the video of Chandler’s alley oop dunk that I mentioned.

December 21, 2012   2 Comments