A r t i s t r y
F a l l
2 0 1 7
the team president Eric Doroski editor-in-chief Sophie Cannon head of design Cindy Zhao Danny Tran managing editor Gianna Barberia outreach coordinator Laura Martz social media director Carolyn Noyes copy editor Danae Bucci section editor Asia London Palomba Alexandra Kuenning
Photo courtesy of: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
the isabella stewart gardner museum becca pariente
he Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a hallmark spot in Boston. Knowing the museum’s venerable history, I was surprised not only with the modernity, but the liveliness that was felt throughout the whole building. Despite being 176 years old, the museum had a very energetic feel to it. The glass walls, greenery and open spaces provided a contemporary atmosphere. Isabella Stewart Gardner was a Boston socialite during the Victorian era who was recognized for her eccentric and offbeat nature, a reputation that she herself encouraged. At their home on Beacon Street, she and her husband often hosted dinner parties and concerts that were the center of artistic celebration in the city. Evidence of Gardner’s connections are preserved by the 7,000 letters that document the close relationships she had with members of the inner artistic circle. The Gardners were avid travellers of Europe, always in search of new flourishing culture and art. They befriended many of the greatest artists of the time, such as John Singer Sargent and Henry James. One of their favorite destinations, Venice, Italy, would serve as the catalyst and inspiration for what would become the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. While spending their time in Venice, the couple purchased paintings and artwork from artists such as Vermeer and Rembrandt. Gardner created a literary collection consisting of works from writers like Dante.
Once their art collection became too vast to fit inside their home, they built a museum to house their collection. The building was based off of the Venetian palaces they frequented through their travels. Once the museum was established, Gardner continuously expanded their collection and organized it meticulously. The walls are covered in paintings specifically arranged by Gardner herself. She was specific about the placement of every piece and her will requests that the arrangements be preserved. Knowing this makes viewers appreciate the care taken to maintain the galleries.
Despite being 176 years old, the museum had a very energetic feel to it.
Over the span of an hour, 13 pieces of art were stolen. Extensive investigations were carried out to recover the $500 million worth of art. There is a $5 million reward for information leading to its recovery, but to this day, the frames of the stolen paintings remain empty, awaiting their return. The stolen artworks include: The Concert - Vermeer The Storm on the Sea of Galilee - Rembrandt A Lady and Gentleman in Black - Rembrandt Self-Portrait - Rembrandt Landscape with an Obelisk - Govert Flinck Chinese bronze gu from the Shang Dynasty Chez Tortoni - Édouard Manet La Sortie de Pesage - Degas Cortege aux Environs de Florence - Degas Program for an Artistic Soirée 2 - Degas Three Mounted Jockeys - Degas Bronze eagle finial
Unless a piece needed to be restored, none of the artwork left its spot - until the heist in 1990 that left 13 artworks stolen. The biggest property theft in American history, the planned heist went down as if it were the plot of a movie. Two men disguised as police officers entered the museum pretending they were investigating a distress call. Before the museum guards noticed the fake mustaches used as a disguise, they were tied up and cuffed.
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
live & in action
he four British men of the band Bastille took over Agganis Arena at Boston University March 28, transforming the hockey rink into a “Wild Wild World,” the namesake of their 2017 North American Tour. Boston was the first North American city on the nationwide tour after they debuted in Canada the weekend before. The sold out stadium made Bastille’s arrival in the U.S. a night to remember. They chose to open with “Send Them Off,” one of the songs from the new album. Despite being a new song, the audience roared with applause as soon as the first bars were played, immediately recognizing the new hit. This set the tone for the entire concert, as no matter the song or the year it debuted, the crowd knew every lyric and passionately sang along. The upbeat attitude of the concert was balanced by some of the band’s most cherished slower and sadder songs. Recognizing his group’s tendencies to write downright de-
pressing lyrics, Dan Smith, the lead singer, addressed the audience and prepared them for what he coined as one of the saddest selections they have written. “For anyone that’s listened to a lot of our music, you’ve probably realized that we have a lot of depressing songs,” Smith said. “This next one is balls out our most depressing. Hope you enjoy!” That song was “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” and Smith was definitely correct in his preface of the piece. The usually rowdy audience adapted to the somber mood of the song instantly, swaying to the ballad’s steady drum beats and letting the lyrics sink in. The only other moment that paralleled to this was during the song “Oblivion.” Without prompting from the band, one-by-one a chain reaction of cell phone flashlights lit up the entire arena, filling the crowded space with stars. The applause that came after the song had finished was awe-inspiring and prompted Smith to once again thank the
audience. “Thank you so much for your kindness,” Smith said. “We love being back in Boston and it’s an amazing way to start our time in the states.” On a more uplifting note, Bastille also played selections that Smith described as “deceptively happy,” but nonetheless got the crowd dancing in between the more melancholy songs. He made sure to make his rounds through the stadium, high-fiving fans and ultimately ending up on the top of the balcony in section 103. Atop the balcony, Smith and lead guitarist William Farquarson played a stripped-down version of “Two Evils,” a haunting song relying on not much else but strong vocals and powerful lyrics. Bastille’s set concluded with the radio-hit of 2013, “Pompeii.” Before the song, Smith invited the opener, Mondo Cozmo, back onto the stage, asking them to help perform the last song of the night. Graciously thanking the crowd once again, Bastille left the stage and boarded their tour bus to the next location on their long list: New York.
No matter the song or the year it debuted, the crowd knew every lyric and passionately sang along.
The applause that came after the song had finished was awe inspiring and prompted Smith to once again thank the audience. Photos by: Sophie Cannon
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Fall 2015 2017 Fall
Photos by: Sophie Cannon
Iron & Wine at Berklee Danae Bucci
oncerts are often synonymous with being hot and crowded, which for many is the great downfall of enjoying live music. That was not the case for Iron & Wine’s sold-out show at the Berklee Performance Center on Nov. 11. Much like his music, the concert was relaxing and homey, perfect for a brisk fall night. The singer-song writer was prefaced by John Moreland, who opened the show. Moreland’s, who hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, music style had very blues and folk inspired vibes, almost venturing into country. The 32-year-old’s melodic and raspy voice was powerful and reverberated throughout the auditorium seating more than 1,200 people. Next came the main attraction, Iron & Wine, led by lead singer Samuel Beam, and accompanied by a keyboardist, drummer, cellist, bass player and a glass of red wine. The South Carolina native was met with huge applause upon walking on stage. The back-and-forth banter between Beam and various audience members made for an intimate experience with the singer. Audi-
ence members called out about loving Beam to which he promptly would answer that he loved them back.
set. The applause, however, would get in the way of the artist tuning his instrument often having to playfully shush the crowd.
Flanked by fake, hanging clouds overhead and a chill in the auditorium, Beam started his set with a popular song “Trapeze Swinger,” from one of his earlier albums, “Around the Well.” Mood lighting on the set established the tone of the evening, ranging in colors from blue to pink. The 42-year-old’s glossy acoustic guitar set a huge contrast between his navy and black ensemble.
After a hour long set, Beam finally made it to the final song of the evening, “About a Bruise” from his most recent album. The disappointment could be felt and heard throughout the crowd as all audience members stood and cheered hoping for an encore performance.
The bass vibrated throughout the auditorium as he went on to sing “Wolves” and then later, songs from his most recent album and namesake of the tour, “Beast Epic.” “Beast Epic” is Beam’s first full album in four years and, according to a 2017 article in the Rolling Stone Magazine, “Beam seems more at peace, musically and otherwise, than he’s been in years.”
After what felt like five minutes of cheering, the group came back out for one final song. They played “Desert Babbler” from their album, “Ghost on Ghost” which was met with a standing ovation at its conclusion. The calm nature of the concert was met with the hard contrast of the harsh lighting of the foyer and the cold temperatures accompanied by Boston fall leaving many wishing the concert could have lasted longer.
The group also performed the popular songs “Sodom, South Georgia” and “Jezebel,” both of which are top hits for Beam. Each song ended with copious amounts of applause as Beam would tune his guitar between each
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
Macklemore the glorious finale
Photos by: Sophie Cannon
rom a thrifted fur coat to an orange hat that even Willy Wonka himself couldn’t pull off, Macklemore, real name Benjamin Hammond Haggerty, was a chameleon of different and exciting personas on stage at the House of Blues Nov. 14. In his last show in the US on his “Gemini” tour, the Seattle native performed his most energetic and longest spectable to date, according to the singer. Performing 16 songs instead of his normal 11-12, he finished with a tribute to his grandmother, the subject of his album’s hit song, “Glorious.” “Normally, when I say peace out, I make a peanut butter and jelly and put on jammies and get in the fetal position,” 34-year-old said to the audience. “But on the last night of the tour, my grandma would cuss my ass out if I didn’t play her song.” As incredible as the end of the show was, complete with confetti and a dance party continuing long after the final song, the entire show from beginning to end was high energy, interactive and even introspective at times. Starting off with “Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight” from the 2017 album, Haggerty performed the first part of his set back-to-back. He then took a moment to talk about his favorite thing in the world — his two-year-old daughter, Sloane. Taking a seat on the edge of the stage, he told the crowd to their delight, that when he told his daughter he was going to Boston to finish out his tour, even she knew of the city and was jealous of her dad. Then, to pay her tribute, he launched into his daughter’s favorite, and a classic, “Thrift Shop,” but not before changing into his signature fur coat.
Another personal moment for the singer came just before he sang his popular song “Same Love,” when he again took a moment to address the crowd and the current political climate in America. The song has since become an anthem for the LGBTQA+ community, preaching tolerance and acceptance for all sexual orientations. “In my 34 years, it feels like we are the most divided as a country,” he said. “We feel divided, but regardless of your color of skin, sexual orientation, the bathroom you choose to use, your religion, you are welcome here tonight. There is so much fear and hatred being pushed out of the White House. But we will not be divided. When we show up, leave our houses and see diversity, that is what makes America amazing. Fear and hatred cannot overpower love.”
give it up for the unsung heroes After another quick change, Haggerty, now clad in an orange top hat and purple suit jacket, sang “Willy Wonka” from his new album “Gemini”. Also from that album was “Corner Store,” in which Travis Thompson, one of two opening acts of the evening, rejoined Haggerty on stage to sing the hook he wrote for the track. This was Thompson’s first time on a nationwide tour, and he has Haggerty to thank for that, he said after his set.
The first opening act, Xperience, also made a reappearance, during the show. He cowrote, “Church,” a song on “Gemini,” and helped Haggerty in making of the other tracks on albums. “Me and Mac have been friends for about 14 years now, and so we work on his albums together,” Xperience said in an interview with Artistry after the show. “I wrote a couple hooks on this last album and he considers me a very good opener. Other than a friend, he knows I get the crowd pretty hyped.” This “hyped” energy was kept alive and more-than-well not only by the headliner himself, but by the two “Macklerettes,” a nickname he gave to his backup dancers, and the other musicians on stage. As many artists do near the end of the show, Haggerty thanked his opening acts as well as the rest of the performers he shared the stage with during his tour. However, in his graceful way, he took extra time to thank the production crew that works just as hard as the performers and usually with little appreciation. “There are a lot of moving parts to a show; I see you,” he said. He then called for everyone backstage to come out to the front and take a bow, including stage managers, audio and video workers and the rest of his large crew. “Give it up for the unsung heros.”
“I was just a kid making music in Seattle and playing shows,” Thompson said. “My producer also produced half of “Gemini” and so he put my music in Ben’s ear and two months ago I got a call.”
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
O B BSO BRINGS DEVIL THE TO
eginning in the 19th century, the legend of Faust, as written by Goethe, inspired a number of orchestral compositions, including Wagner’s “Faust Overture”, Liszt’s “FaustSymphony”, and Schumann’s “Scenes from Goethe’s Faust.” Today, one of the most well-known is Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust (English: The Damnation of Faust) On Oct. 28, the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the piece under the leadership of Charles Dutoit.
The epitome of confidence and charm, Relyea portrayed the Devil as someone who knows he is going to win and so has fun along the way In Berlioz’s telling, Faust, an aging scholar, finds himself apathetic towards the joys of life and decides to commit suicide. Just as he chooses not to go through with this decision, however, a mysterious man known as Méphistophélès appears, offering everything imaginable to Faust, including granting him the gift of youth. The two travel throughout Europe, first to a cellar in Leipzig where they carouse with students, and later to the banks of the Elbe, where Faust dreams of a beautiful woman, Marguerite. Méphistophélès arranges a meeting with Marguerite, but Faust is forced to abandon her soon after. He forgets this encounter until Méphistophélès reveals she has been sentenced to death due to the accidental murder of her
mother. Faust pleads with Méphistophélès to save her life and the latter agrees, but it costs Faust his soul and he is led to Hell by Méphistophélès, revealed to be a devil, while the innocent Marguerite is welcomed into Heaven. An equal mix of opera, symphony and oratorio, Berlioz used the term “dramatic legend” to describe the composition. A melodramatic piece, it features a rather lackluster plot that, while it has its witty moments, overly simplifies the tale of Faust, making the story in some ways more a moralistic tale than a poetic drama. Musically though there are the standard clichés, such as harp strings denoting Heaven, it is overall much more imaginative. His orchestration ranges from the grandiosity of the “Hungarian March,” to the more somber and intimate “Loves Fiery Flames,” to the absolute pandemonium heard during the “Ride to the Abyss.” The cast of vocal soloists was strong, though perhaps not as robust as one would have hoped. According to a press release by a BSO spokesperson, tenor Paul Groves, who sang the titular role of Faust, was “suffering a throat condition, which became apparent to him during the first half of the concert.” This led to bass-baritone John Relyea stealing the limelight as the slick, moustache-twirling, Méphistophélès. The epitome of confidence and charm, Relyea portrayed the Devil as someone who knows he is going to win and so has fun along the way. He created interesting dynamics with the other soloists to bring his character to life. This was unfortunately not the case for mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, playing the part of Marguerite, who seemed unable to forge a genuine connection with Groves. Without vocal accompaniment, however, she shone, particularly when supported by the haunting sounds created by violist Steven Ansell in “The King of Thule.” Finally, though a smaller role, baritone David Kravitz was wonderful as the student Brander.
The Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the children’s choir of St. Paul’s were also superb, the latter ideal for creating the angelic voices heard in the last minutes of the composition as Marguerite ascends to Heaven. Though at times tedious, this was more due to the simplicities of the plot and the few musical clichés than the performance itself. Overall, it was an enjoyable night of devilish fun.
Photos by: Hilary Scott
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
The Nutcracker a timeless tr adition
Photos courtesy of: Boston Ballet
ugar plum fairies prance across the stage, the Mouse King battles the Nutcracker Prince to the death, and Snowflakes flutter through the falling snow; The Nutcracker has returned to Boston. A timeless holiday tradition, Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker is back at the Boston Ballet for the sixth consecutive year since Nissenen’s interpretation’s world premiere at The Boston Opera House in 2012. The ballet originally premiered in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, but it is Nissinen’s breathtaking adaptation that has stolen the hearts of so many Boston Christmas lovers. Audience members young and old eagerly swarmed the theater to experience a performance that the Boston Ballet described in an online statement as one that “captures your imagination and transport you to a magical world of brave toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes.” The performance follows Clara, played by dancer Elise Beauchemin, as she embarks on an enchanting journey one can only dream of. Her journey begins on Christmas
Eve at a celebration during which Clara receives her uncle’s favorite creation, the Nutcracker. After falling asleep on the sofa, with the Nutcracker at her side, Clara wakes to her living room filled with life-sized mice. After meeting her Nutcracker Prince, Clara follows him through the Magical Forest to his kingdom, meeting various characters along the way. Her journey concludes after she wakes up, dazed and confused, in her living room, wondering if the events of her night were truly just a dream. The opening scene of the first act featured solos by Patric Palkens, as the Harlequin Doll, Hannah Bettes, as the Ballerina Doll and Lawrence Rines as the Bear, a crowd favorite because of his oversized bear head costume and quirky dancing. As the music intensified, the audience was captivated by the suspense between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker Prince, performed respectively by Matthew Slattery and Paulo Arrais, as they battled, the scene ending with the Prince’s victory. To conclude the first act, the audience was transported into a winter wonderland as snowflakes flittered around the beautiful solos of the Snow Queen and King, played by Anaïs Chalendard and John Lam.
As the second act commenced, Clara experienced the magic of the Nutcracker Prince’s Kingdom with solos by dancers illuminating the beauty of “Spanish,” “Arabian,” “Chinese,” “Pastorale,” “Mother Ginger” and “Russian” dances. In the “Waltz of the Flowers,” Seo Hye Han entranced the audience as Dew Drop, accompanied by dancers Lauren Herfindahl and Addie Tapp as the Lead Flowers. As the performance came to an end in the final scene, the audience witnessed Clara’s return from her magical adventure, but not before Misa Kuranaga and Paulo Arrais captivated the audience with their solos as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince. After a two-hour excursion into a magical world where dreams do come true, the audience left hypnotized by the beauty of the cast’s performance and with hearts bursting with Christmas spirit. Both young and old loved the show, such as a grandfather who hummed along with the orchestra to his granddaughter seated next to him. The Nutcracker will run at The Boston Opera House until the end of December. Nissinen’s astonishing production is one that everyone should experience at least once in their life.
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Fall 2015 2017 Fall
at the Boston Opera House
Photos courtesy of: Broadway in Boston
he national tour of “Fun Home,” 2015 Tony-winner for Best Musical, came to Boston on Oct. 17 to tell the story of Alison Bechdel’s journey from childhood to working as a prolific cartoonist and activist for the LGBTQA+ community. Family, identity, truth and change are all explored in the musical, as the audience looks back through the eyes of adult Alison, played by Kate Shindle, as she reflects on her youth and relationships which creates the graphic novel upon which this show is based. Despite the fact that “Fun Home” covers three separate periods in time, the storyline remains cohesive. The show runs straight through without an intermission, alternating between scenes from Small Alison’s childhood and Medium Alison’s college years. The audience sees the first signs of Alison’s lesbian identity as Small Alison pleads with her parents to wear boys’ clothes and get a short haircut. Her lesbian identity solidifies as Medium Alison finally accepts her sexuality, with excitement and confusion, at Oberlin College. Seeing Medium Alison come out and accept herself is especially heartwarming when the audience has just seen Small Alison struggling with her feelings about women and femininity.
On the topic of “Fun Home”’s young characters, all of elementary school age, the actors who portrayed them deserve special praise for tackling the show’s serious subject matter in a very experienced way. Henry Boshart and Noelle Hogan were both excellent as Alison’s brothers John and Christian, but Carly Gold deserves special praise for her captivating professional debut as Small Alison. Gold expressed remarkable innocence
Gold\ Expressed remarkable innocence and vulnerability in this role, creating some of the best moments in the show.
and vulnerability in this role, creating some of the best moments in the show. “Fun Home” parallels Alison’s journey out of the closet with her father’s own journey in his sexuality. Bruce, played by Robert Petkoff, has secret affairs with men, hiding his homosexuality. Petkoff gave a dynamic performance, highlighting Bruce’s complex personality and mood swings, from loving father to frustrated authoritarian to ashamed gay man. This performance, in turn, pushed his surrounding cast members to match his energy, crafting a breathtaking story. Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, the composer and lyricist of “Fun Home” respectively, crafted a simple but engaging score that relies on dreamy guitar and piano melodies that frame Alison’s flashbacks in the show. The soft music provided a stark contrast to the show’s serious subject matter, and this dichotomy kept audience members on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The show accomplishes the daunting task of warming your heart, and then shattering it, in a loop that continues throughout the show. “Fun Home” lets the audience know that even in the face of tragedy, loss and loneliness, memories can keep people, and experiences, very much alive and present.
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
BODEGA the rise of
rtistry magazine had the pleasure of sitting down with Oliver Mak, one of the founding partners of Bodega, a local shoe store known for its street fashion. Bodega sells upmarket sneakers and menswear, many of which are designed in-house. Their designs have been showcased in Paris and New York Fashion Weeks and across mainstream media. Even though the bulk of their revenue stems from online purchases, they have previously opened a successful pop-up shop in Shibuya, Tokyo, and plan on opening a second location in Los Angeles this February. In 2006, Mak founded Bodega with Jay Gordon, a recent college graduate, and Dan Natola, a well-known street artist. Mak has a background in graphic design, and was working as a bouncer at The Middle East, a punk rock club, when he came up with the idea. He then started getting involved in projects related to local fashion, art, and music. There, Mak met Jay and Dan, and has been involved in the fashion and art community since. As a team, they have created an award-winning art gallery, as well as pop up stores around the city for product launches. Just entering Bodega, the experience is different from that of a traditional shoe store. The outside resembles an actual bodega, a small corner store. Behind the façade of fake cans and fridges filled with soda is a large room lined with rare sneakers and inhouse designed clothing. Bodega’s inventory differs from that of a traditional store, focusing instead on specific brands and style designs. “We try to focus because we can’t go into a price war with everyone else like Amazon.com. So, what separates us is we curated a higher tier of products from brands,” said Mak. Inspiration for Bodega’s products comes primarily from Japan, a country the founders view as leaders in street fashion. Additionally, their products typically have a keen attention to detail and are made from more advanced materials than most American fashion labels. When designing printables, large logos on clothes, they focus on legacy brands like Stussy or cult of personality brands like Pelvis. Cult of personality brands are blown to huge popularity on social media, using unique but instantly recognizable designs. When asked about whether he sees a cyclical pattern in fashion, Mak believes there is a defined pattern with noticeable causes. “I definitely see a cycle, and it’s usually fifteen or twenty years,” said Mak. “When you think about that, it’s all the nostalgia of people my
age designing stuff that they had when they were college age, or a little bit younger.” This means 2018 is headed back towards the style of the early 90s, with Nirvana, ripped jeans, and plaid. Similarly, the fashion from the late 60s and early 70s is headed for its third reemergence. Psychedelic influences, along with embroidered or appliqué patterns are back, as seen by Gucci’s PreFall collection.
what separates us is we curated a higher tier of products from brands. Meanwhile, Mak sees brand, logo, and graphic heavy designs as remaining trendy, and delights in recontextualizing classic design and patterns in new ways. He personally enjoys the novelty of designing apparel with this signature style. Even though it is easy to appear fashionable wearing current trends, Mak believes that fashion and curating a wardrobe should be drawn from individual tastes. The products that are worth more money secondhand often become popular because of the exposure, but that is only a small part of the market. “If there’s something that really resonates with you, you should think about getting that,” said Mak. He also recommends Vans, who have many artist and musician editions, but typically aren’t ever resold. Additionally, for someone who doesn’t know where to look for inspiration, the internet and social media are very valuable resources. Mak notices that there is much more interest in fashion in general, partially because the amount of fashion imagery one sees daily is magnitudes higher than that of any previous generation. This can be attributed to the rise of social media and mass-market fast fashion.
While it is easy to find mainstream fashion from a well-known influence like Kendall Jenner, it takes skill to trace her stylists’ influences to try to find up-and-coming trends. Thanks to social media, those down-the-road influencers who are not yet mainstream, have had much more exposure than they have in generations past. With the advent of modern technology, it is also easy to find what people are wearing in more fashion-forward cities such as Tokyo, Stockholm, and London. Those cities signal what is coming and going to be picked up by the mass markets elsewhere in the world. “When it gets filtered down to [the mainstream social media] level, on more mass consumers, it’s already been out in Japan for two years,” said Mak. Yet, at that point the style will become mainstream, and be ready to be bought and worn by the masses. For any last advice for a fashion savvy college student, Mak recommends investing in great quality classic wardrobe essentials. Those will be key staples to any outfit, and can stay with one through every trend. While it certainly may be tempting to opt for mass produced disposable fashion from brands like H&M, in the long run, quality products will pay off.
Colors seemed to play a significant role throughout the show, as each color symbolized an emotion.
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
Takashi Murakami Synthes i z es O l d a nd Ne w at t h e M FA
Photo by: Alexandra Kuenning
t first glance, Takashi Murakami’s newest exhibition, “Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics,” at the Museum of Fine Arts seems, like many of today’s arts exhibitions, intended for the Instagram age. Full of floor-to-ceiling, brightly-colored paintings, the exhibit is irresistible to any phone-carrying visitor. Even before entering the museum, visitors are greeted by a photo opportunity with a field of smiling flowers that capture the playfulness of Murakami’s work. However, as a collaboration with the Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji, the art’s significance runs deeper than the silliness seen upon first glance. The title, “Lineage of Eccentrics,” comes from one of Tsuji’s books, a work that influenced Murakami when he was first breaking into the art industry. The eccentrics, or kisō in Japanese, mentioned in the book has long appeared in Japanese art work, yet, according to Tsuji in a video produced by the MFA, this is the first time it has been truly recognized and appreciated, Murakami’s work acting to revive the topic.
“Neither Japanese or American people have seen the connection between traditional Japanese art and contemporary art until now,” Tsuji said. Murakami, in the same video, followed this with his own statement about his work “to make a bridge with completely traditional, big-history things, and postwar Japanese subculture things to export to the Western world.”
Full of floorto-ceiling, brightly-colored paintings, the exhibit is irresistable to any phone-carrying visitor
traditional Japanese art that Murakami used to influence his own modern work. Some of Murakami’s work was simply inspired by thematic elements found in this traditional art, such as that of monsters. In the large painting “Lots, Lots of Kaikai and Kiki,” Murakami applied a cartoon look of cuteness to his two monsters to create a playful mural of overlapping characters. In other cases, Murakami effectively copied a particular piece of traditional art, such as with “Dragon in Clouds – Red Mutation.” Murakami created this piece, based on one of a similar name dating from 1763, in a dayand-a-half, after Tsuji challenged Murakami to create his own painting rather than relying on his studio to do the work. The real delight of this exhibit comes from Murakami’s ability to make traditional art more approachable to an everyday audience. Though people may come for the pop art and Instagram pictures, they will leave with a greater understanding of Japanese art, both old and new.
To make these connections apparent, Tsuji and Anne Nishimura Morse, the William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art at the MFA, pulled together a collection of
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
Anime Films Michelle Weth
hanks to the popularity of streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, we can watch shows and films whenever we want, even those from other countries. Many Japanese films are considered weird to the average American viewer, but when given a chance, beautiful imagery and symbolism can captivate viewers from any country. Although there are many more, here are six of the films that stood out as a starter kit into the world of Japanese film.
“Paprika” is a gorgeous animated film under the artistic vision of director Satoshi Kon and based on a book by Yasutaka Tsutsui. At its base, the movie is about a device called the DC Mini, which can be used to record dreams in order to help patients with psychological problems. This device, however, was stolen from the company that produced it. This is imperative because in the wrong hands, personal dreams can be accessed by a remote stranger. Rather than being solely about chasing down the culprit, the plot examines the importance of dreams and its tenuous relationship with reality. A major aspect of the movie is how perception is different in dreams than reality, and presentation of self can be more truthful in the dream world than in reality. Many of the dreams in this movie borrow cliche scenes from movies themselves, demonstrating the similarity between films and dreams that people have. In all honesty, some movies have been created from dreams. There are various match cuts present throughout the movie, which is when
a director cuts from one scene to another but keeps objects from the two scenes graphically paired. These cuts and Kon’s fast editing accomplishes what the movie “Inception” could not, allowing additional layers to the dreams themselves and creating a multifaceted world.This amazing movie is originally in Japanese, and you can rent it on Netflix DVD or you can find it on campus at Snell Library.
No list about Japanese animated films would be complete without a Studio Ghibli film. Directed by visionary Hayao Miyazaki, “Spirited Away” is perhaps one of the most famous Studio Ghibli films, aside from “My Neighbor Totoro.” It follows a young girl named Chihiro and her parents, and is incredibly narrative-heavy. The movie starts off with Chihiro sulking about having to move homes and leave behind all of her friends. Within the first couple minutes of the film, her parents stop at a village and proceed to eat food laid out on a large banquet table while Chihiro explores instead. She makes a new spirit friend called Haku, who tells her to return home before sunset. Before she can do so, her parents turn into pigs for mistakenly eating offerings for spirits. Chihiro makes a deal to work for a bathhouse owned by the witch Yubaba, in order to get her parents back. The main condition to working there is that Chihiro forfeit her name. Throughout Chihiro’s journey, she gains independence while separated from her parents and develops her own identity. While overcoming the many challenges that arise from working at
Yubaba’s bathhouse, she becomes friends with a variety of spirits, and those strong bonds, in addition to her own wits, help her conquer these obstacles. Not to mention, her whole adventure is to save her parents, which shows the depths of familial love and responsibility despite fighting and differences in opinion. A beautiful story of growing up and the strengths of relationships, this is a must-see movie. This film is available on XfinityStream, Netflix DVD, and a physical copy is available in Snell Library.
Cat Soup (NekojirouSou)
An absurd yet beautiful short film (about 35 minutes long), “Cat Soup” is based off the works of the manga artist Nekojiru and was adapted by director Tatsuo Satō. Despite being a quick watch, there is so much going on in this world. “Cat Soup” follows Nyatta, an anthropomorphic kitten, as he travels to the land of the dead and back in an effort to save his sister Nyako’s soul. The movie’s visuals are delightfully simplistic in comparison to other anime films, but there are still many fantastical and bizarre scenes throughout the short film. There is barely any dialogue in the movie — all of the information is included in speech bubbles on screen..and soyou watch “Cat Soup” without English subtitles, you aren’t missing very much. What is important, however, is to pay important to the speech bubbles, as pictures inside these bubbles turn out to be narratively important. In addition to Nyatta’s journey to the land of the dead, the film features some heavy existentialist themes such as what constitutes living and whether actions are meaningful in the eyes of fate. Technically a surrealist black comedy, only watch this movie if darker scenes and themes don’t bother you. You can watch this movie on Vimeo.
Beautiful imagery and symbolism can captivate viewers from any country Akira
“Akira” is a landmark anime film, and its distinctive visual style has created some memorable images. Based off a manga and then directed by Katushiro Otomo, the screenplay differs from the book. Set in a dystopian, cyber-punk themed “Neo Tokyo” in 2019, the film follows the leader of a local biker gang named Shōtarō Kaneda and his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima, also a member of the gang. Within the first couple minutes there is tangible tension between Kaneda and Tetsuo as Tetsuo struggles to grow independently from Kaneda’s influ-
ence. Within their interactions, it is apparent that Tetsuo feels powerless, especially considering Kaneda’s leadership role in their gang. After a motorcycle accident, Tetsuo acquires telekinetic abilities, which eventually threatens the military in a time of chaos and rebellion. Kaneda also joins forces with an activist group, which includes a cute girl, to try and save his friend Tetsuo. If the motorcycles and telekinesis don’t win you over, this film is a great examination of self-discovery in the 1980s, and explores the power of friendship and forgiveness. Admittedly rather violent, as is the case with almost all the films on this list, “Akira” has undoubtedly influenced many creative works such as Kanye West’s music video for “Stronger” and even “Stranger Things.” A live-action film is reportedly in the works, and hopefully avoids the whitewashing controversy. This film is available to stream on Hulu.
weapon slung over his shoulder, and she fearfully runs away. The two have a strange relationship as he saves her in one or two instances, yet they butt heads over what to do with the egg. The boy wants to break the egg, while the girl wants to hatch it. The movie follows the two and the ultimate fate of the egg, while exploring the odd landscape and why these characters are there. There is a lot of religious imagery present in the movie, due to reports that the director lost faith in Christianity as he was working on this film, and these views are reflected in this movie. There is also a major existentialist theme present throughout, and there is not much dialogue.. Unlike “Cat Soup,” it is necessary to watch this movie with subtitles or dubbed. This film is one of the hardest to find, only available on anime streaming sites or for purchase on Amazon for $70.
A major science-fiction film based on manga by Masamune Shiow, the film adaptation was directed by Mamoru Oshii. It was a Japanese-British co-production, and has recently been adapted into a live action film (with a huge whitewashing controversy). The 1995 animated film version of “Ghost in the Shell” has great visuals, due to the combination of traditional hand-drawn animation and CGI. The movie follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a female public-security agent. The film focuses on the Major hunting a hacker called the “Puppetmaster” as per the request of the Section 6 leader. The Puppetmaster is the most dangerous hacker in this world, and the Major spends a lot of time with her team trying to track the Puppetmaster down.In this world, the human body can be augmented or completely replaced with cybernetic parts. A “ghost” is a cyberbrain, which is the mechanical casing of the human brain and allows humans to access the Internet and other networks. In the film, this “ghost” is equated to the idea of a “soul” or “consciousness,” and the “shell” is the human body. “Ghost in the Shell” explores the idea of self-identity in a technologically advanced world, as well as what it means to be human and what constitutes humanity. This movie is available to be streamed on Hulu, for rent on Netflix DVD and a physical copy is available in Snell Library.
More of animated art than a narrative film, “Angel’s Egg” is a collaboration between artist Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii. This film follows an unnamed girl wearing a baggy dress in a Neo-Gothic landscape. She carries around a large egg underneath her dress everywhere she goes, and it is implied that she has somehow taken it upon herself to protect and take care of the egg on her own. She scavenges daily, finding food and filling glass bottles with water. She meets a boy with a cross-shaped
Photo courtesy of: Creative Commons
Ghost in the Shell
Issue 22 Issue
Fall 2015 2017 Fall
t was 7 p.m. at Sonia in Cambridge, and rapper and musician Mod Sun was pregaming for his sold-out performance. Even though he was just hanging out in his small dressing room with some friends, his energy was contagious. A smile never left his face, which was mostly covered by Gucci clout goggles and a series of small tattoos. Later on, he would entertain a sold-out crowd with opening acts Call Me Karizma, Forget Brennan, and Austin Cain. But, for now, he laughed and poured himself a drink. Artistry Magazine sat down with Mod Sun before his set to discuss college, his career, and his inspirations. Artistry Magazine: So, first things first, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl this Sunday? Mod Sun: No one! It’s in Minnesota, and Minnesota should’ve won and gone to it. I’m from Minnesota, so I can’t even believe it. AM: You’re not rooting for the Pats? MS: NO! No! Never. I’m sorry; I’m not a sports guy, but I feel like they always win. I don’t like teams that always win. AM: Are you excited that it’s in Minnesota? MS: I know it’s a good thing for the city, but I’m not there though. I wish I was there; that would be so fun. But I’m playing in Philly on the night of it. So it’s going to be madness no matter who wins. But if Philly wins...actually, I don’t know what would be worse — if they win or if they lose. AM: What’s your favorite part about performing in Boston? MS: I played at The Middle East many times before. I played there with bands long ago, and I’ve played there as Mod Sun a couple of times, and stuff has always been pretty good for me here. I love that I’ve done pretty well here because it hasn’t been that way everywhere. But, more importantly, the architecture. I f*cking love it. I’m 100 percent, absolutely [an architecture fan]. But I’m not a new architecture fan, like modern architecture. I like going overseas a lot — I spend a lot of time in Paris — because all the architecture is the same as it’s ever been. I can’t stand how in America, the whole basis of America is like tear down and rebuild, you know? I love places like Boston that don’t have that whole aesthetic. They keep it how it was, so you can feel like you’re in the old times. I like to pretend that I’m living in the past. AM: We’re a college publication. Do you ever regret not going to college and having that experience, or are you happy that you didn’t go to college?
MS: Well, the type of person I am, if I went to college, my experience would be like raging and all that. In school, I was Mr. Have Fun, you know? I didn’t get good grades. I was like the dude who when I walked in the class, the teacher got happy. She would give me a horrible grade, but she got happy when I was there. I know that if I went to college, it would’ve been a mess. But, that being said, if I did go to college, I would’ve gone to an art school or film school.
I have always thought that the best thing you can try to do is inspire your inspirations AM: Your mantra and a large theme of your latest album “BB” is happiness and being happy. How do you personally keep yourself happy? What are some simple things people can do to be happy? MS: The most basic way to start is to think: if you go to a funeral and you walk in, you can either be very sad that the person died, or you can celebrate the fact that you knew that person, and you have to know that you wouldn’t trade not knowing that person to not feel the sadness. That’s how I look at things. I look at life as a celebration. That being said, I also look at things as a process, and your worst mistake could be your best advice. The worst thing that ever happened to you a year from now could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. None of this is coincidence; the stars align for you and all of this is like pieces of a puzzle. For me specifically, last year of my life was the hardest year I ever had. It was challenging. And this year of my life is the best year I ever had so far. So, time works; it’s on your side. Don’t give up. AM: Which song from “BB” is your personal favorite? MS: The last song of the album is called “train hopping in hippyland,” and the message of that one is something that I’ve kept a consistent key in my music, which is speaking about the past and talking about my idols. My idols I have tattooed on my arm right here, and all of these people were dead before I was alive — almost every single one.
These are not Katy Perry and f*cking Justin Timberlake, no offense, no disrespect. But my idols, to me, did something in history, did something historical. So, I like to do songs that are like homages to the people who came before me, and I think that’s very important. I have always thought that the best thing you can try to do is inspire your inspirations. Inspire your inspirations is something I keep kind of consistent with me. I came from the crowd, so when I look out into the crowd, [people shouldn’t look] at me like I’m doing something they can’t do. When I was in the crowd, I hated being called a fan because I never looked at those people onstage like they were doing something I wasn’t going to do. And [“train hopping in hippyland”] just touches on all of that for me. AM: And which one of your tattoos is your favorite? MS: Probably this tattoo I have on my leg right here that my girlfriend [Bella Thorne] just did on me the other night. She’s going to tattoo my whole entire leg. [The tattoo] is a to-do list that says “Love Bella” and then she’s [tattooing] all of these flowers. She just got me a [tattoo] machine for Christmas. I don’t have any tattoos on my leg, and we were starting on the most f*cking painful spot in the inside of your leg. She did really great, but I was freaking her out because she was trying so hard to do it good and she’d look up at me and I was like [grimace] and she was like “I can’t do this! I can’t do this!” AM: Have you given [Bella Thorne] any tattoos? MS: No, not yet. She wants me to, and I’m just like “Bella…” She’s on TV shows and sh*t right now. She can’t just come to work the next day with more tattoos. So I was like “Okay, just wait, your season’s almost up.” AM: How would you describe yourself in three words? MS: Energetic, motivated, and warm.
MOD sun an exclusive chat
Photo by: Sophie Cannon