Artful NYC


View Bushwick Art in a larger map

 

 

Bushwick was once upon a time known as one of the rougher neighborhoods in Brooklyn. One only needs to think of the blackout of 1977, when the streets of Bushwick were set ablaze by arsonists and a majority of its buildings were looted and destroyed. Things have changed drastically since then, both in Brooklyn and the greater New York area. Bushwick has been cleaned up to an amazing extent and is quickly becoming the trendy place to live, on par with neighboring Williamsburg. In the past five years or so, galleries owned and run by hip young men and women have been popping up left and right in Bushwick. Many of these galleries are located merely blocks away from each other, near the Morgan Ave stop on the L train. Some specific galleries to look out for are English Kills, SUGAR, The BogArt, and Grace Exhibition Space.

English Kills Gallery
Hours: Sat & Sun 1-7pm
114 Forrest St #1
Brooklyn, NY 11206

englishkillsartgallery.com

Founded in 2007, English Kills gallery is the largest and one of the most financially successful galleries in Bushwick. The gallery represents sixteen specific artists, each of which take turns having solo shows in the space. The space itself has been described by many as feeling very much like a man cave, likely due to the abundance of male, beer-sipping hipsters (a category which the owner, Chris Harding AKA Phoenix Lights, himself seems to fall into) meandering about the premises. Harding rents out many of the extra rooms in warehouse in order to stay financially viable, and this contributes to the many artists roaming around the space. From now until May 19th the gallery is featuring various works by artist Peter Dobill under the name “Open up and Bleed.” This exhibition features many types of media, ranging from video to sculpture. Dobill’s work is largely performance based and centers on bodily “actions” in which he challenges himself physically—for example, having his mouth hooked open while sand is poured in.

SUGAR Gallery
Hours: Sat & Sun 12-5 during exhibition
449 Troutman St. 3rd fl. #3-5, Bell #21 
Brooklyn, NY 11237

sugarbushwick.com                                   

 SUGAR is a gallery run out of its founder, Gwendolyn C Skaggs’ apartment. Boldly claiming to be “the alternative to the alternative,” it is only available to visit via phone appointment (if you are interested, the number is 917-443-1986). The main thing that sets SUGAR apart from other galleries is Skaggs’ approach to placement of the artwork being shown. She will usually have two or three artists showing at the same time, and she will then contribute her own sort of art by arranging the pieces in aesthetically interesting and provocative ways. On her website she explains this by stating, “I imagine it being like an arranged marriage for the art works, and the artists involved. I am not interested in solo exhibitions, nor focusing on one certain medium. SUGAR is about exploring the nature of art and the artist.” The majority of the works presented in SUGAR are installation based. The next exhibition will begin May 11th, and is a collaboration between Skaggs and artist Art Guerra titled Slippery… at Dusk.

The BogArt

Hours: Vary By Gallery (Fuchs Project  FRI - SUN , 1:00 - 6:00 PM)

56 Bogart Street

Brooklyn, NY 11206

56bogartstreet.com

The BogArt, which was converted into an “artist production studio space” in 2005, is an artist’s colony and general meeting place for art in Bushwick. It is located right off of the Morgan Ave stop on the L train in a comfortably safe part of the neighborhood. This space, which was previously just another structure in a neighborhood historically known for manufacturing, is now home to non-profits, galleries, and personal artist lofts. During my visit here (on Friday, May 3rd 2013), I attended the Fuchs Projects’ opening for the photography show “In Rooms” by Brittany Markert. This event showcased a selection of pieces inspired by Markert’s experiences as a photography muse in which she attempted to reveal an “intimate portrait in the context of a private room…a moment of truth between the observer and the observed that is so often lost.” This modern, progressive gallery currently supports 8 artists: 6 photographers, 1 sculptor, 1 mixed media artist, 1 woman, 6 men, and 1 queer. Upon my arrival, I soon realized that the Robert Henry Contemporary Gallery, C.C.C.P. gallery, and an up and coming lending library called Mellow Pages were having events that night as well, and every event had its own particular crowd. This is a very casual, very welcoming space with an average age range of 18-35. What makes this space great is the viewer’s ability to move from room to room and have multiple experiences in one night regardless of how familiar their level of experience with art or Bushwick as a neighborhood.

 

 

Grace Exhibition Space

Hours: Only Open For Shows/See Online Calendar

840 Broadway, 2nd Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11206

grace-exhibition-space.com

This space, which first opened in 2006, is a studio completely devoted to performance art. Events here typically happen 2-3 times a week and feature performance artists of varying capabilities from all over the country and the world. Much like performance art, Grace Exhibition is personal, of the body, and has no set formal definition of what or who qualifies. In short, anyone can perform here and everyone from Matthew Silver, to Eleanor Barba and Kunj Patel of Washington D.C., to students at The New School has performed here. There is no stage or designated stage area, which Terri Ciccoe of the Bushwick Daily (January 2013) describes as a unique experience of “the unknown [which] terrifies you, and yet something, maybe this very feeling, pushes you inside.” Due to the lack of divide between artist and on-looker, this is a very welcoming community where many performers go to support the each other’s work and the scene as a whole. For those who are interested in viewing the real, 21st century derivative of the art form made famous by Yoko Ono, and Marina Abramović, and certainly those who are interested in participating in the development of the scene, this is the place to be.

 

In conclusion, Bushwick is in the middle of a major cultural flip. What was once a rough, industrial neighborhood is very quickly being reclaimed by artists of all ages and inhabited by vibrant, creative youths. Many of the art spaces in the area have made the transformation from ideas in warehouse-style lofts and personal apartments to fixtures of a culture in less than 5-7 years. A lot of the art shown in this neighborhood is made by young up and coming American artists with innovative ideas who are happy just to be showing. In addition to that, the movement to promote and familiarize the common man to the liberating, eccentric style that is performance art is pretty much exclusively based here (as far as New York City is concerned). Although some of the more rough parts of this area surrounding art events have been cleaned up and the community-based farmers markets are popping up, so far this is a cultural area that has not been debauched by commercialism…but not for long. Come to Bushwick and contribute to the beauty that is cheap, creative, community-based art before it becomes as expensive, hollow, and gentrified as Williamsburg. For more information on art in Bushwick and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, check out www.wagmag.org .

May 18
Art in Bushwick, BK

                   Central Park is a place where people go to when they want to escape the busy and fast -paced city life that characterizes New York City. It’s the closest thing that someone will get to nature in New York City. As well as fulfilling an area to relax it’s also a place where many take their children to play, where families have picnics, people attend concerts, street performers show their talents, couples go on romantic dates, people play sports, and many more activities. It’s a place where everyone’s needs are taken care of.

Museums are built around the park because they want to attract the same type of audience. The most well-known museums built in this area are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Frick Collection, and the American Museum of Natural History.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is well-known for its large and diverse collection within its two-million-square-foot building. The vast amount of art that it houses and its immense size allows visitors to experiment with the type of art they want to view as well as get lost within the museum. It gives visitors the freedom to stumble upon something they didn’t originally intend to see. It was built on April 13, 1870 in the Dodworth Building and opened to the public at 681 Fifth Avenue. It was later moved to its current location on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street on March 30, 1880. It attracts around 5 million visitors a year. The Guggenheim museum is well-known for its modern architectural design both indoor and outdoor as well as its easy accessibility to the artwork. The Guggenheim was set up where the visitors were put on a path that led them to the top without revisiting the same piece of artwork more than once. Its small and intimate space gave visitors the advantage of never getting lost. It was completed in 1959 by Frank Lloyd Wright. It attracts around 1.3 million visitors per year. The American Museum of Natural History, one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions, was created on April 6, 1869. The Museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world’s cultures and attracts around 5 million visitors a year, The Frick Collection, one of New York City’s preeminent cultural institutions, was built in 1913-1914, and is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. The Frick Collection attracts around 250,000 visitors a year.

 

Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History, established in 1869 and situated on the Upper West Side, houses the world’s greatest natural-science collection in a group of buildings made of towers and turrets, pink granite, and red brick. The diversity of the holdings is astounding: “Some 36 million specimens, ranging from microscopic organisms to the world’s largest cut gem, the Brazilian Princess Topaz (21,005 carats).” The museum also features impressive exhibitions and collections about human cultures, the natural world and the universe. Whether you’re interested in dinosaurs or ecology, Native Americans or cosmic pathways, this museum has something for everyone. In this way, the American Museum of Natural History acts as both an important scientific and cultural institution.

The museum opens to the iconic Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, “a dramatic representation of an imagined prehistoric encounter: a Barosaurus rearing up to protect its young from an attacking Allosaurus. The Barosaurus skeleton, which is the tallest freestanding dinosaur mount in the world” (“Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda”). This grand scale and magnificence of the entrance hall creates a sense of awe in viewers of all ages— a trend that seems to carry throughout the entirety of the museum, every hall and diorama. 

Perhaps the most well known permanent exhibitions with the American Museum of Natural history are the Mammal Halls, which boast some of the finest dioramas in the world. The most famous of these is the Akeley Hall of African Mammals situated directly across the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda from the museum’s Central Park West entrance. When walking in, one is immediately greeted with the sight of, “a freestanding group of eight elephants, poised as if to charge, surrounded by 28 habitat dioramas.” However, the recently restored (as of October 2012) Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals is equally as stunning. As a whole, the American Museum of Natural History comes together as a beautiful cultural and scientific institution— striking the perfect balance between science, history, culture, art, and education.

 

The Frick Collection

The Frick Collection includes some of the best-known paintings by the great European artists, major works of sculpture, superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Oriental rugs, and other works of remarkable quality. Henry Clay Frick could afford to be an avid collector of European art after amassing a fortune as a pioneer in the coke and steel industries at the turn of the 20th century. To house his treasures and himself, he hired architects Carrère & Hastings to build this 18th-century French-style mansion in 1914, one of the most beautiful structures on Fifth Avenue.

The most appealing difference about the Frick, when compared to some of the other museums in the city, is its intimate size and setting. The building itself is a living testament to New York’s vanished Gilded Age—the interior still feels like a private home (or, rather, mansion) graced with beautiful paintings, instead of a museum. And when ornate, gilt-edged frames and heavy marble tables get too weighty to contemplate further, one can step into the lovely, light-infused garden courtyard complete with gently splashing fountains and quiet nooks.

Visit to see the classics by some of the world’s most famous painters: Titian, Bellini, Rembrandt, El Greco, and Goya, to name only a few. While best known for paintings spanning from the Renaissance to the turn of the last century, the holdings also include an impressive sampling of 18th century French furniture, enamels, Oriental tapestries and small bronzes. Indeed, the plentitude of masterpieces is mind-boggling. Two of the Frick’s three Vermeers hang by the front staircase, portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds stare out from the dining room walls, and canvases by Turner and Constable grace the library, a world-class component itself. And the multiple Rococo wall panels by Boucher are unlikely to travel. The Frick Collection plays host to people of all ages often boasting a line outside of their doors during their “pay what you wish hours” on Sunday. Frick left his collection to the public “for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a gallery of art, [and] of encouraging and developing the study of fine arts and of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects,” and this it does as a central cultural institution on the Upper East Side.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If Manhattan held no other museum than the colossal Metropolitan Museum of Art, you could still occupy yourself for days roaming its labyrinthine corridors. . The Metropolitan Museum communicates a certain significance and eloquence reflected in its more than 2 million works of art representing 5,000 years of history. The sum of the museum in both architecture and pieces exhibits a history and in this way the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a celebration of world culture and history through art. This museum is one of the largest in New York City. The large space allows for the masses to attend the museum without it becoming too crowded. Allowing the museum to house more artwork in a highly diversified. This museum is highly child friendly and has child oriented activities scattered throughout the museum such as computer-animated activities in some rooms as well as a map of the museum with pictures associated with its location.

Every region and era has its own complementary space in which to showcase their strengths—whether it is the recreated rooms in the American Wing and European Decorative Art region, the wall frieze in the Ancient Near Eastern section, the cutting angels and simplicity of the Modern and Contemporary Art Wing, or the marble marvel that has been constructed to encase the Greek and Roman art and sculpture. The least overwhelming way to see the Met on your own is to pick up a map at the round desk in the entry hall and choose to concentrate on what you like, whether it’s 17th-century paintings, American furniture, or the art of the South Pacific. Highlights include the American Wing’s Garden Court, with its 19th-century sculpture; the terrific ground-level Costume Hall; and the Frank Lloyd Wright room. The beautifully renovated Roman and Greek galleries are overwhelming, but in a marvelous way, as are the collections of Byzantine Art and later Chinese art. The highlight of the Egyptian collection is the Temple of Dendur, in a dramatic, purpose-built glass-walled gallery with Central Park views. Because of this the museum has become a piece of art in and of itself, not only architecturally, but also as a sum of its parts.

 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

                  From the outside, the Guggenheim is designed to look like an inverted ziggurat, and from the inside the galleries are divided similar to the membranes of a citrus fruit. The visitors are able to look at the art from different viewpoints and floors of the building. This is possible because of the upward spiral motion of the ramp that leads the visitors to higher levels of the museum.

The current exhibit is the Gutai: Splendid Playground made by 50 different artists but led by Yoshihara Jiro, where, “Color is taking it easy at the…mind-shifting exhibition about Japan’s best-known postwar art movement. From the entrance you can see it almost lolling about overhead in the form of jewel-like dollops of water tinted red, yellow blue or green. Each occupies one of 16 tubes of plastic that stretch across the rotunda like see-through hammocks” (Smith). The viewer is supposed to look at it from anywhere in the museum and get a different experience from one another. Considering this is currently one of the big attractions at the museum, the rest of the museum is made to support it with other pieces of art made from these artists. The goals of the Gutai artists were to “break down the barriers between art, the ordinary public, and the everyday life”. In order to accomplish their goal, they created art that exemplified “using their body in direct action with materials” and challenging time and space, and nature and technology.

On permanent display, the museum’s Thannhauser Collection is made up primarily of works by French impressionists and postimpressionists. Perhaps more than any other 20th-century painter, Wassily Kandinsky, one of the first “pure” abstract artists, has been closely linked to the museum’s history: beginning with the acquisition of his masterpiece Composition 8 in 1930, the collection has grown to encompass more than 150 works.

- Blaze Tiangco Thomas and Miya Thomas

May 16
Art Surrounding Central Park

         Historically, the Upper East Side of Manhattan (apart from being the setting for shows and movies such as Gossip Girl, Sex and The City, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Devil Wears Prada, The Great Gatsby, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Uptown girls) is home to some of the most well known landmarks and cultural institutions in the country. Before becoming home to Woody Allen or the Kennedy’s, it started as the heart of Yorkville in the 1800’s when immigrants flooded the city. Throughout the 17th century, the area gained its reputation as a prime location for investment and development, with business structures that mark the rich architectural style of the elite area. Over time, the wealthy class obtained much of the real estate and the large lots on 5th Ave were born. Park Ave became a prime location for real estate and the UES was praised for its swanky schools, religious institutions, restaurants, social clubs, shops, and last but not least—museums.

The Upper East Side first developed its reputation as a destination for museum collections and fashions. The limited residences in the area contributed to that reputation as the demand for property elicited the development of luxury buildings in the 20th century. The museums along 5th Ave are known as “Museum Mile,” but were once called “Millionaire’s Row,” referring to the area where the prominent upper class of the area enjoyed the benefits of New York City’s culture, provided by the institutions on the row. Just a small selection of these famous destinations in and around Museum Mile include Central Park, the Gagosian Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Neue Galerie, and the Museum of the City of New York. 

Central Park 

14 E. 60th Street

New York, NY, 10022

212-310-6600

http://www.centralparknyc.org/

Though some might not see this famous patch of green as an art space, Central Park is one of the largest free locations in New York City to view public art and the artistically designed natural beauty. Central Park, which is the most visited urban park in the United States, is a work of art in itself. In 1857, two years after the park was opened, Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux developed the Greensward Plan that would later become the layout plan for the park. The park’s design was executed by a number of artists in their respective crafts including Jacod Wrey Mould (architect), Jgnaz Anton Pilat (master gardener), George Waring (engineer), and Andrew Haswell Green (politician).

Since the 1850’s, the Park has been transformed into a hub of creative collaboration. Every summer, the New York Philharmonic gives a free concert on the Great Lawn, Shakespeare in the Park holds its annual festival, Summerstage hosts a dance, art, and film festival, the New York Classical Theatre puts on a series of plays, and up until 2007, the Metropolitan Opera put on 2 performances a year in the park. Central park has been a popular concert venue and has seen performances by Barbra Streisand (1967), The Supremes (1970), Bob Marley & The Wailers (1975), Elton John (1980), Simon and Garfunkel (1981), Diana Ross (1983), Paul Simon (1991), Garth Brooks (1997), the Dave Matthews Band (2003), Bon Jovi (2008), and Andrea Bocelli (2011). In August 1997, Central Park was host to the largest concert in U.S. history, when Garth Brooks performed in front of a crowd of 980,000 people.

Gagosian Gallery

980 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10075

212-744-2313

http://www.gagosian.com/

This contemporary and modern art gallery is well known as a refreshing change from the atmosphere of a museum. The gallery has several locations, but in New York you can visit at any of three locations from Tuesday to Saturday between 10 AM and 6 PM: West 24th Street, West 21st Street, or the Upper East Side location at Madison Avenue. The Madison Avenue location first opened in 1989, with its first exhibit featuring the work of Jasper Johns. The gallery has shown works by other famed artists such as Warhol, Basquiat, Picasso, Koons, and Murakami, but expanded to showing unknown or upcoming artists in 2007. The gallery is known for featuring multiple exhibitions at a time, giving the feel of a museum, but maintaining its unique atmosphere. Currently, it features exhibits with work by Cecily Brown, a painter, and Dennis Hopper, the late photographer. Some of the art is also available for purchase at the gallery and entrance to the space itself is free, unlike a museum where the works are usually available solely for viewing and have a “suggested price” for entry.  

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028

212-535-7710

http://www.metmuseum.org/

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is by far New York City’s most famous museum and art destination. The Met can be noted as the heart of “Museum Mile,” the steps of which serve as a main tourist photo location (aside from the museum itself,) and a resting, eating, and chatting spot for New Yorkers and visitors alike. The idea for the Metropolitan was first established in Paris in 1886 when a group of young Americans wanted to create a site in which art from around the globe could be displayed and viewed. Upon returning to the U.S. the Met’s first building opened in 1870 on 5th Avenue. After several changes over the years, the museum has grown immensely in size, in its magnitude of collections, and in reputation. The museum is currently home to over 2 million works of art, over a stretch of 2 million square feet of beautiful architecture and gardens. The museum is currently under the supervision of its ninth director, Thomas P. Campbell. The Met has stayed true to its roots in striving to provide the public with an artistic experience that brings them around the world and through numerous periods of style. The official mission statement of the Metropolitan reads: “The mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards.” 

Neue Galerie

1048 5th Avenue

New York, NY 10028

212-628-6200

http://www.neuegalerie.org/

Although the Neue Galeria, a space for early 20th century German and Austrian art, might not necessarily be a common stop on everyone’s art exploring route, it is worth the trip. The gallery currently displays an exhibit of work by Gustav Klimt, a well-known symbolist painter. The museum is known for capturing the relationship between fine arts, such as that of Klimt, and decorative arts, such as that of architect Adolf Loos. The museums name translates directly to “ New Gallery,” as it seeks to explore the modernity of work from the turn of the 20th century. With that, the gallery serves to reintroduce the cultural spirit of the region and period as well as make it accessible to the American public. The space is noted as providing a great intellectually, culturally, and aesthetically intriguing visit. Not only is it rich in art, but also the spaces contain and relay scholarly information on the period and the art, and the gallery is well known for its atmospheric interior that has been featured as the backdrop for magazine fashion editorials, like one in Harper’s Bazaar 2011. From Thursday to Monday between 11 AM to 6 PM, with artwork and an interior that transports you to a different time and place, visiting the Neue Galerie is well worth the $20 entry ($10 if you’re a student!).  

Museum of The City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029

212-534-1672

http://www.mcny.org/

With the city in its name, how can this museum not be a must-see for a New York and art enthusiast? The museum is the only one that has the city in its name, and it explores all the fascinating aspects of it. The exhibits are constantly addressing both New Yorks past, present and future, as the museum seeks to portray how beautiful and important NYC really is. The museum, which is referred to as an art gallery as well as a history museum, is a great place to be any day of the week between 10 AM and 6 PM at the small cost of $10 ($6 for students). The museum currently features an exhibit about fashion of the 70’s as well as one that explores social activism in the city from the 17th century, and how that remains present today. The museum screens a multimedia film that serves as a portrait of New York, and has collaborated with the South Street Seaport. The museum features a multitude of artists, with photographs, art, film, and more. Whether you love history, art, or just New York, this museum has something for everyone, even free wi-fi!

Whether you are spending the day in the Upper East Side as a tourist or have a half hour to spare on your lunch break, be sure to stop by any and all of these art destinations on Museum Mile. These unique art spaces show five different facets to one of the greatest cultural meccas in the world—a true New York experience awaits you in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

-Annie Mcloughlin & Melanie Nakhman

May 15
An Art Guide to The Upper East Side


View Lower East Side Art Destinations in a larger map

Here is a map of our Lower East Side (and a little SoHo and a little East Village) art destination walking tour, curated by the members of Artful NYC!

Apr 29
Lower East Side Art Walking Tour

Every first Saturday of each month, the Brooklyn Museum has free entrance to their exhibits and special local music performances, all night long sponsored by Target Company. This March, I went to the museum for the first time. It was so easy to arrive to the museum; I just took the 2 train and got of the Eastern Parkway Brooklyn Museum Station on the subway. It’s very hart to miss the huge building fill with the second largest art collection in New York City roughly 1.5 million works. The architecture of the building definitely separates this landmark with other museums from the area; it has a combination of the traditional historic pillar architecture with the twist at the entrance in the bottom center of the building of modern glass, which makes it. My first impression of the building was the combination of the Metropolitan Museum (MET) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) combined into one building a sort of best of both worlds museum. The Brooklyn Museum has a wide variety of permanent exhibitions ranging from Egyptian art all the way to American contemporary art. 

When I first walked in to the museum, I was caught off guard of the abstract way the exhibitions were presented especially in the first floor. The exhibition, “Connecting Cultures: A World In Brooklyn” was the first room I entered and I was just slammed!! The diversity of all the different art forms from all the cultures in Brooklyn in just one big room it had European paintings in one wall, opposite to the big Aztec calendar made of corn grains and one big sneaker just sitting in the middle of the room. I definitely felt the representation of all different cultures were bing presented and somehow it all connected with each other, like it does in the bureau itself. 

In the third floor, there are several exhibitions of Egyptian art like “The Mummy Chamber,” “Body Parts: Ancient Egyptian Fragments and Amulets,” and “Egypt Reborn: Art of Eternity.” Aside from seeing the usual mummies being preserved and thinking of potentially having a body inside of it, right before your eyes…is very creepy. Their collection has the Book of the Dead in display and translates excerpts into plain English, it’s pretty amazing. Regardless from the scary death traditions from the Egyptians, we also saw some of the daily ornaments used in the royal lives of the pharaohs. My favorite room was the “Egypt Reborn: Art of Eternity” and least favorite room was “The Mummy Chamber,” for obvious reasons. 

My favorite collection from the Brooklyn Museum was the fifth floor collection, “American identities: A New Look.” The installation has rooms full of American art, dating since the colonial period to present times. The galleries are divided into eight innovative themes like “From Colony to Nation,” “Expanding Horizons,” “Modern Life,” etc. I was able to see two of the pieces that we have discussed in class. “A Storm in the Rocky Mountains” by Albert Bierstadt was much better to see the canvas in person. The painting has a whole wall t itself because of the large dimensions and makes it makes a statement, the opportunity of the horizon, the West. Seeing the actual painting, you are able to see very single little detail and get rally up close and personal with the landscape. Now I definitely understand the kind of attraction that it created when it was first showcased back in the 1800’s, as an almost tourist attraction in the United States. In the projector screen from class. We weren’t able to admire the details from the landscape of the Native American village, the horses, turkey, deer, water streams and every single little plant in the valley. In class the painting intrigued me and it’s background story but after actually seeing it in the Brooklyn Museum personally, it definitely is my favorite piece from the whole museum. 

After a couple of hours roaming the halls, I was exhausted of walking so much in the museum. The Brooklyn Museum is far from being boring because all the people walking around, colorful walls and abstract way of presenting the exhibits; from the traditional way of placing the piece around the big white room with an empty middle. I think it’s safe to say that The Brooklyn Museum is my favorite museum form new York City because they literally have a little of everything just under one rook. I will definitely be coming back to see more. 

Visit: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/ for more information. 

Apr 28
The Brooklyn Museum

Although I’ve lived in New York for all of my life I have no recollection of ever going to the MoMA. When I think of artwork, the classics come to mind. I associate art with names such as, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Rodin, Rousseau, etc. I’ve learned about modern art and have seen some, but not as much as I would like. I took the opportunity to visit the MoMA in order to broaden my knowledge on Modern Art. I was pleasantly surprised and slightly overwhelmed to see a wide range of different modern art mediums in one place. Photographs, paintings and the architecture attracted me.image

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             I was drawn to the photographs “Study of Perspective-White House” and “Study of Perspective-Tiananmen Square” by Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei is an artist that dabbles with many different art mediums such as sculptures, architecture, photography and film. He’s a political activist and his views are translated through his pieces. His work translates how he disagrees with the Chinese government’s views on democracy and human rights. At first glance I was shocked by the image because it sent such a strong and direct message. It definitely is a controversial piece. The reason that these pieces were so controversial was because they are two very well-known landmarks that identify the country that they’re in. The White House is the President of the United States’ headquarters and residence during his term, and the Tiananmen Square is where the student riots in China took place, where the government forcibly removed them using the military and their artillery. I thought that it was very clever that Ai Weiwei decided to take a photo of him flipping the White House and the Tiananmen Square off. The message that I got from his artwork was that although these two places are located in two different countries and have two different types of governments, there are still flaws with both countries. The overall message is that there is no such thing as a perfect government or a perfect country. The photographs are clear and portrayed the message perfectly. Other photographs that were displayed seemed to have too much which was distracting or didn’t have in my opinion as strong of a message.

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            I found it was interesting that furniture and appliances were considered modern art. When I think of furniture and appliances, I think of how they’re practical and make everyone’s lives easier not a form of art. My perspective on art is that they are appreciated, used and put on display. After reading the descriptions of the artwork, I’m still unable to grasp how people consider it to be a form of art. “Endless Flow Rocking Chair” by Dirk Vander Kooij and “Piana Alessi Chair” by David Chipperfield, are two chairs that are similar in color and in the fact that they are chairs. They differ in the material that they are made out of and their design. After finding out the material they’re made out of and how they were made, I unfortunately still couldn’t find the artist aspect of it. This might’ve also been because I was exhausted from walking around the rest of the museum and I desperately was seeking a chair, and in a way these chairs seemed to be mocking me. They might’ve been chair and its purpose is to sit on them but the museum aspect of it made it inappropriate and unable to sit on it. I find that the design aspect of this artwork can be considered modern art, but it raises the question of whether it belongs in a museum. There are many similar chairs like the ones found in the MoMA being sold in places such as Ikea. After reading “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger and going to this museum, I was able to understand the idea that seeing an original piece of artwork is a completely different experience than a replica, and what makes the original so desirable are the uniqueness and the fact that no other artwork can be exactly replicated.

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            Andy Warhol’s “Rorschach” was a piece of artwork that I found very intriguing. My first impression of it was that it reminded me of the “inkblot” that psychiatrists use in order to test their patients. With this observation, I tried to put myself in a patient’s shoes, and tried to decipher it. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the description and found out that Andy Warhol invented his own “inkblot” based on Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach’s “inkblot” test. The funny part of this artwork was that Warhol believed that the way this test was made was by patients creating these blots and the doctors interpreting it, when in actuality it’s the reverse. I was drawn to it because of the size of the artwork, how it was based on the “inkblot”, and how it gave the viewer freedom to interpret it however they wanted to. I didn’t know until after reading the description that it was by Andy Warhol. I’m not sure if everyone had the same reaction to the piece as me, but it attracted a lot of attention. I think the reason was because it was very unique and Andy Warhol is well known in the modern art world.

            My experience at the MoMa was enjoyable and informative. Although the experience didn’t sway my preference from Classical Art, I was able to gain a greater appreciation of Modern Art. I will definitely revisit the MoMa. My next visit there I will probably gravitate towards the photographs and try to gain a better understanding of how architecture is considered Modern Art. I will try to revisit with a Modern Art enthusiast whom can hopefully give me a better understanding of the concepts that I found foreign during this first visit.   

-Miya Thomas            

Apr 25
MoMA

Today, for the first time ever, I entered the Museum of Modern Art. Knowing pretty nothing about it (besides the fact that it presumably has modern art); I entered this humungous building in the hopes of finding a neat exhibit to write on. Shortly after I entered, I found a pamphlet that described what was on each floor. I was shocked and amazed to see the names of so many famous painters/artists, many of whom I would not (personally) consider to be all that “modern.” I noticed that the fifth floor had Dali paintings, and because he is one of my favorites, I knew that that was where I needed to go.

I hopped in an elevator and headed up. On the way somebody else pressed the fourth floor button and I figured it might be nice to look around there quickly before heading up to the next floor. I saw that this had the “Pop Art” section, and as that is something that tickles my fancy I was quite excited. I walked into the first room and was not terribly intrigued by anything that I saw. I continued on my way, and continued feeling a sense of befuddlement. This floor was a lot more modern, and I have to admit that a lot of it just did not make any sort of sense to me. For example there were three panels that were completely white except for a tiny ring of color along the edges (I’m pretty positive I’ve seen this as a gag on some television series so it was pretty hilarious to see in person. I’m sure it has some deeper meaning that I’m just too ignorant to understand, but I certainly got a kick out of it!). I think it would help if I were able to research a bit of background of the artist, and what their intention with the work had been. I eventually managed to get to the Pop Art section, where I was fortunate enough to see a print of Andy Warhol’s, as well as a Lichtenstein. I then proceeded up to the fifth floor. 

The fifth floor was comprised of various rooms, each dealing with a different movement or, if they were a big enough deal, a specific artist. I was most concerned with the Surrealist section. In this room, I had my first ever encounters with a proper work by Picasso, Magritte, and various other artists whose paintings I had previously only seen reproductions of. I walked up to one of the Picasso pieces (I realize now that I should have written down the name, but it was similar in style to his work “Maya in a Sailor Suit”), and was suddenly overcome with emotion. I had gotten extremely close and being able to see the brushstrokes and the bumps on the canvas and knowing what incredible talent this man had and that he had touched it… It was just too much for me. I had to pull myself away in order to not start bawling my eyes out in front of the world. This experience really said a lot to me about the difference between experiencing art in person versus reproductions. I have likely seen many similarly styled Picasso paintings in books or online, and in viewing those had remained completely unaffected. Yet, when I was able to actually see the work up close something really clicked in my mind and I connected it with the artist as a real person who actually physically created this work, and it was far more moving in that light. 

            I continued to explore this room, as well as the rest of the rooms on the floor. Going in, I had absolutely no idea that this museum had such famous works. I was able to get up close and personal with Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” a series of giant Monet water lilies, and various others that I never expected to encounter in person. Although look as I may; I was unable to find anything by Dali! I eventually sucked it up and decided to ask one of the guards, who told me that all the Dali works had been temporarily loaned to an exhibition in Spain. I was sad, but it was hard to be that sad when there was so much other amazing artwork around.

Unfortunately I was only able to stay for about an hour due to having class afterwards, but it was an amazing experience to be able to see many paintings in person that I had previously only seen reproductions of. I hope to return soon, perhaps with a bit more background information on some of the artists whose works I didn’t “understand.” It also made me realize that I may be a bit more close-minded than I previously thought, as I seemed to gravitate towards the works I was already familiar with rather than expanding my horizons and trying out new things. All in all it was a very insightful experience!

- Devan Daly

Apr 24
First Trip to the MoMa

“Centering on 1993, the exhibition is conceived as a time capsule, an experiment in collective memory that attempts to capture a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics. The social and economic landscape of the early ’90s was a cultural turning point both nationally and globally. Conflict in Europe, attempts at peace in the Middle East, the AIDS crisis, national debates on health care, gun control, and gay rights, and caustic partisan politics were both the background and source material for a number of younger artists who first came to prominence in 1993. This exhibition brings together a range of iconic and lesser-known artworks that serve as both artifacts from a pivotal moment in the New York art world and as key markers in the cultural history of the city” (The New Museum).

 I recently went to The New Museum to view “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star”.  The exhibit serves as a gateway back to New York City in 1993, Including pieces of art that help create the time. The installations include such topics as politics and pop culture to sex and the AIDS epidemic.

            To my surprise this exhibit held no taboos. Each piece felt extremely experimental and controversial in its own way. What spoke out to me most were the pieces that commented on sexuality. In particular, the Birth of Venus by Frank Moore.Venus is an allegorized portrait of New York drag queen Lady Bunny portrayed as a mermaid lounging languorously on the beach, her erotic gaze designed to meet and challenge the viewers.  Littered on the sand around her we find used condoms, hypodermic needles, pill bottles, and evidence of sperm swimming ashore.  Bunny’s penis is featured front and center in the work, for which Moore insists he used himself as a model, painting with his pants down to get the perfect view.  Moore is equally interested in issues of sexuality as he is in topics as wide ranging as genetic engineering, addiction, and the sublimity of nature” ( artcritical.com).  I was not as aware of the impact aids had on the city of New York as I once thought. Almost every artist who had work on display, like Frank Moore, had either died of aids or had their partner pass a way due to it. One piece in particular, by Nan Goldin titled “Gilles and Gotscha, Paris” showed a couples struggle with aids over a prolonged period of time. It was divided into four different pictures. The first of the couple embracing, lively and healthy. The second of the couple in hospital, drinking coffee together, one of them men seemed to be consoling the other. The third pictures was of one of the men kissing his partners head as he lies in bed, frail and sickly, his face is gaunt and emotionless. The fourth picture was of the same man on his death bed. The fourth picture focuses more so on his limp, pale, terribly skinny arm.  This piece spoke out to me for multiple reasons. I think it shares a point of view on homosexuality which was not seen much leading up to 1993. It shows the struggle and pain one goes through when facing such a devastating event as losing someone you care for. For the most part, all people can relate to the feeling of losing someone they care about whether it be a lover, friend, or family member. It humanizes a sexuality most of our country did not think was human. It shows the couple drinking coffee together, an act every one can relate to. This piece shows there are no differences between sexual preferences.  

“NYC 1993” gives an interesting insight into New York City in the 90’s and the problems which revolutionized the city and turned in into the diverse city it is today. It allows the viewer to see first hand the impact of this pivotal moment in American culture. The exhibit allows the viewer to see into the personal, and emotional, experiences of the AIDS disease, removing it from the social and cultural level through which it is usually viewed. By doing this, it enables one to see why these social and cultural changes became so important, and why it was convenient  for the personal level to be erased. Re-establishing this personal connection with the victims of the disease not only creates a relatable connection to the victims, but puts one in the shoes of losing someone they love. The exhibit allows for the more abstract pieces to comment on the more realistic pieces, giving an all around portrait of the city in a different time and era.

 The last photo from Nan Goldin’s pieceimageThe second photo from Nan Goldin’s pieceimage

image"The Birth of Venus" by Frank Moore

- Jai Moseley

Apr 24
The New Museum
Solange at Webster Hall
2/25/2013
Finally – I was successful in obtaining tickets to a Solange concert in New York. Since the release of her True EP, it has been a mission to have these tickets in my hand since they would sell out in mere minutes. Trying to define who Solange is to others seems to always find itself around “Beyonce’s sister;” a stamp that seems hard to wash off for the younger Knowles. Alas, Solange has made quite the name for herself in the music business and her constantly sold out shows are only proof of this. I arrived around 9 p.m. hoping to save a spot close enough to the stage, but I had underestimated the fans’ commitment and walked in to a venue packed and overflowing with people. As I stood there, anxiously waiting for Solange, the lights dimmed and the crowd gradually cheered together to welcome her to the stage.
 Solange stepped out decked in a three piece suit and heels that seemed impossible to move in, but she seems to defy the odds  and without breaking a sweat, literally moves in to the first song of the night, “Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work.” The stage was visually striking – it resembled Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night for the technological age. The stars twinkled in motion with Solange and never skipped a beat. As the set progressed, the dance choreography seemed to chronologically tell a story for each song. Without a doubt her latest single “Losing You" was one of the best of night, Solange effortlessly recreated the dance choreography from the music video along with most of the crowd, including my friend David who had been practicing those moves for weeks. “Shine the light out to the audience, I wanna see their faces,” a smiling Solange said into the microphone. It was easy to tell that she was grateful for tonight and every other night. 
Aside from the casual picture I took on my phone and the always-in-the-way man with an iPad, people kept their phones away and dedicated their night to dancing and having fun with Solange. This night at Webster Hall was dedicated to hardcore Solange fans belting out every word from 2010’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams to her latest True EP, my personal favorite. Before I could take a breath in between songs, she would start a new one, ready to keep going full of energy. The crowd was already getting too wild, which almost caused me to get into a fight with a woman who would not stop shoving me. She stuttered over her words and said to me, “YO, hav-e you never been to a… ROCK SHOW before?”  Almost immediately I regretted saying anything to this person, throughout the show I had to deal with her side comments about my dancing, purposeful shoves and passive aggressive wave goodbye after the show was done. Surprisingly enough, Solange’s good energy missed out on her that night. 
By far my favorite song of the night was her song “Don’t Let Me Down” from her True EP. After hearing and seeing that song live it made me hope that a quick search on YouTube for a dance tutorial would help me imitate what Solange did on stage. Her swift, but almost swaggering dance moves made for the perfect balance of confidence. During this song, the background singers take the lead and Solange grooves across the stage, enticing the crowd to follow in her footsteps. If only I had as much swag as Solange. 
Solange picked a song cover that not only resonates to my cultural background, but a song that I have never heard someone cover so beautifully since Jennifer Lopez did it herself in the movie. Her cover of Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love” took me by surprise and it is easy to say that she owned it. For a moment, the band was silenced and the only people that could be heard were Solange and about 2,500 of her fans. It was truly a spine chilling performance that celebrated women in music. 
To close the night, Solange chose to perform her single “Sandcastle Disco” which made Webster Hall shake with the echo of the audience singing the words back to the stage. As soon as it started, it ended. Everyone cleared out faster than they came in. Webster Hall was nobody’s but Solange’s that night. 
—-
Solange recently collaborated with New York artist Mickalene Thomas to reimagine her True EP album cover. The limited edition album is available at Opening Ceremony stores and online. 

- Stephanie Orentas
Apr 23

Solange at Webster Hall

2/25/2013

Finally – I was successful in obtaining tickets to a Solange concert in New York. Since the release of her True EP, it has been a mission to have these tickets in my hand since they would sell out in mere minutes. Trying to define who Solange is to others seems to always find itself around “Beyonce’s sister;” a stamp that seems hard to wash off for the younger Knowles. Alas, Solange has made quite the name for herself in the music business and her constantly sold out shows are only proof of this. I arrived around 9 p.m. hoping to save a spot close enough to the stage, but I had underestimated the fans’ commitment and walked in to a venue packed and overflowing with people. As I stood there, anxiously waiting for Solange, the lights dimmed and the crowd gradually cheered together to welcome her to the stage.

 Solange stepped out decked in a three piece suit and heels that seemed impossible to move in, but she seems to defy the odds  and without breaking a sweat, literally moves in to the first song of the night, “Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work.” The stage was visually striking – it resembled Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night for the technological age. The stars twinkled in motion with Solange and never skipped a beat. As the set progressed, the dance choreography seemed to chronologically tell a story for each song. Without a doubt her latest single “Losing You" was one of the best of night, Solange effortlessly recreated the dance choreography from the music video along with most of the crowd, including my friend David who had been practicing those moves for weeks. “Shine the light out to the audience, I wanna see their faces,” a smiling Solange said into the microphone. It was easy to tell that she was grateful for tonight and every other night.

Aside from the casual picture I took on my phone and the always-in-the-way man with an iPad, people kept their phones away and dedicated their night to dancing and having fun with Solange. This night at Webster Hall was dedicated to hardcore Solange fans belting out every word from 2010’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams to her latest True EP, my personal favorite. Before I could take a breath in between songs, she would start a new one, ready to keep going full of energy. The crowd was already getting too wild, which almost caused me to get into a fight with a woman who would not stop shoving me. She stuttered over her words and said to me, “YO, hav-e you never been to a… ROCK SHOW before?”  Almost immediately I regretted saying anything to this person, throughout the show I had to deal with her side comments about my dancing, purposeful shoves and passive aggressive wave goodbye after the show was done. Surprisingly enough, Solange’s good energy missed out on her that night.

By far my favorite song of the night was her song “Don’t Let Me Down” from her True EP. After hearing and seeing that song live it made me hope that a quick search on YouTube for a dance tutorial would help me imitate what Solange did on stage. Her swift, but almost swaggering dance moves made for the perfect balance of confidence. During this song, the background singers take the lead and Solange grooves across the stage, enticing the crowd to follow in her footsteps. If only I had as much swag as Solange.

Solange picked a song cover that not only resonates to my cultural background, but a song that I have never heard someone cover so beautifully since Jennifer Lopez did it herself in the movie. Her cover of Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love” took me by surprise and it is easy to say that she owned it. For a moment, the band was silenced and the only people that could be heard were Solange and about 2,500 of her fans. It was truly a spine chilling performance that celebrated women in music.

To close the night, Solange chose to perform her single “Sandcastle Disco” which made Webster Hall shake with the echo of the audience singing the words back to the stage. As soon as it started, it ended. Everyone cleared out faster than they came in. Webster Hall was nobody’s but Solange’s that night. 

—-

Solange recently collaborated with New York artist Mickalene Thomas to reimagine her True EP album cover. The limited edition album is available at Opening Ceremony stores and online

- Stephanie Orentas

I had only seen one piece by El Anatsui in person at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston before going to the Brooklyn Museum. El Anatsui’s exhibition, “Gravity and Grace” is comprised of over 30 pieces: large scale sculptures and sculptural wall hangings hand crafted from aluminum and copper wire. All the materials used to make his art are found items, namely bottle caps from his home in Nsukka, Nigeria. Anastsui studied art at the College of Art and the University of Science and Technology in Ghana, and has become globally recognized, showing his work around the world at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of African Art, Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, and the National Museum of African Art to name a few.

This was one of my favorite exhibitions I have seen in a long time. Each individual piece is stunning, shining like precious metals from afar. Up close, the viewer is able to connect with the work on a personal level, because they are able to see the bottle caps, recognizing the personal significance in homage to the artist’s home. My favorite piece in the exhibit was the inspiration for the collection titled “Gravity and Grace”(2010). The piece hangs on the wall with reds, golds, yellows, silvers, and coppers melding together in such a way it looks like draped fabric or dripping liquid metal. The movement Anatsui is able to convey in his work is breathtaking and is testament to his craft and ability.

All of Anatsui’s work strikes me as very urban. It is clear his technique is innovative, but what gives him an urban feel is his use of recycled materials. His work is reminiscent of someone I would imagine as an advanced student artist, focusing on urban sculpture and who is limited in resources, such as money, because he is a student and an artist. Some of the most impactful urban work is created from recycled or re-used items. I think what makes this style of art form so appealing, at least to me, is its history—the notion that the final piece, or items in the final piece, were in existence before the piece was put together and completed gives the final artwork a sense of age, a sense of past. I think, as passionate artists and admirers of art, there is a great lure represented in that history, an element of unknown. In Anatsui’s case, each bottle cap has a story of its own, before the piece was created and collaboration with the piece that helps the viewer develop a relationship with the piece. The art becomes humanized and makes it relatable to us as people who also have a story and a past.

Part of what makes Anatsui’s art so appealing is its originality. There are several urban and non-urban artists who make art from recycled materials, but few transform it in such a way that makes it look like something new while keeping the old materials exposed. The trick in the dual nature of his art lies in distance- the distance of the viewer from the artwork. From afar, the pieces look expensive and gilded in precisely cast metals, while up close, the individual wires and bottle caps are highlighted. The illusion, or lack of illusion, Anatsui has created by simultaneously showcasing his materials for what they are and making them look like something new entirely gives his work the originality and praise it deserves.

A close second favorite to “Gravity and Grace”(2010) is “Gli (Wall)” (2010). This work hangs from the ceiling by a series of slender cables, and cascades walls of copper wire mesh and bottle cap sheets. The piece is dramatic, multi-dimensional, and intriguing. It encourages the onlooker to walk around and explore its many facets in an interactive way that gives the piece its movement. The piece looks rich and embellished, while using ordinary, unglamorous materials. Anatsui is able to transform the wire and bottle caps into something grander, while highlighting the significance of the old, the used, and thrown away. Anatsui created a magical nostalgia in the space at the Brooklyn Museum, a must see exhibit open until August 2013.

-Annie McLoughlin

Apr 23
"Gravity and Grace"