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VOLUME 46  |  ISSUE 6 |  MARCH 2014






MARCH 2014




Fernanda DeSouza Editor–in–Chief Dianna Mazzone Hermina Sobhraj Deputy Editors Megan Venere Executive Editor Dara Kenigsberg Christina Macaluso Senior Editors

Letter from the Editor

Dara Kenigsberg Managing Editor Dana Heyward Treasurer

I touched a Picasso painting.

Britt Bivens Copy Editor

At the age of 12, I found myself inside the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. with a friend whose mother decided we were old enough to peruse our nation’s capitol by ourselves. Although I would never let my future 12–year–old run around the power– hungry–political–boiling– pot that is D.C., that art museum changed my life. Needless to say I almost got thrown out of the museum; it marked my first true interaction with art. Mollie Yarsike Community Manager

ADVERTISING Lilian Minchala Advertising Manager

Art Kevin Braine Art Director Kelly Millington Courtney Wall Senior Designers

Because I did not grow up in a city filled with museums and galleries, the closest thing we got to art in my tiny Brazilian town was its name: Mogi Guaçu (pronounced moe–jee guah–su –or something like that). Or the fantastical marker drawings on my grandmother’s walls by yours truly.

Kevin Buitrago Jessica Farkas Photographers Faye Asido Chloe Dewberry Fashion Editors Sonny Noladiv Sara Rabin Illustrations

In D.C. I saw my first Chuck Close: the finger painting masterpiece that is “Fanny.” My first Calder mobile hanging from the glass ceiling. Degas’ ballerina proudly standing in her muslin tutu. It wasn’t until I moved to New York many years later that I began to appreciate art and collecting those colorful buttons from the Metropolitan Museum of Art became a pastime, almost something to brag about. Art has shaped, dictated, influenced and redefined the world as we know it today. It has been a form of expression for centuries and it has been repressed more often than not. But in 2014, art has broken the chains of expectations and taken on a life of its own. Today, a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine is

Contributors Yesica Balderrama Rachel Basel Molly Clarke Ileana De Hoyos Chloe Dewberry Sarah Fielding Pari Heidari Dana Heyward Cassandra Laper Sarah Malmgren Marissa Mule Kristelle Oca Desiree Perez Zachary Rosenbaum Aaron Valentic Karen Wu John Simone Editorial Faculty Advisor Albert Romano Advertising Faculty Advisor


Photographer Kevin Buitrago took to the streets in a modernist nod to New York City’s graffiti movement, with the help of the geometric illustrations by artist Sonny Noladiv (

art, a scroll pulled out of a vagina is art, a photographic collection of the humans of New York on social media is art. The masterpieces are housed in extravagant museums but other thought–provoking works are found on the walls of buildings and subway platforms. It’s unstoppable and continues to please some audiences and stir controversies in others... and I’m glad to live in the mecca of it all and attend a school filled with visionaries and boundary pushers. I recommend everyone to touch a Picasso in their lifetime but if anybody asks, I said nothing.



MARCH 2014

CONTENTS On The Block 4 4 5 6 7 8 10 10

Lights, Camera, Action A Match Made on Seventh Commuter Confessions Future Mode: Jake Szymanski Inside Chelsea’s Art Row Faculty Spotlight: Mari Dumett A Battle of Two Runways What the Health?

Get Involved with W27 Art

Dear Industry 11 12 13 14

W27 is looking for junior designers to contribute to the paper starting with the April 2014 issue. Interested students can contact Art Director Kevin Braine by emailing

The Art of Armory Art For Earth’s Sake Online Outlet Brings New Perks For Fashion Savvy Beauty Buzz: All Eyes On Makeup Artist Tal Peleg

Feature 15 16 18 19 20

Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? Fashion Editorial: Draw The Line Rebels With A Cause: Social Statements in Contemporary Art The Demise of a Graffiti Mecca The Undefined World of Art

Haute Culture 21 22 23 24 25 25 26 27 28

Nothing Was The SAMO: The Commercial Rise of Jean-Michel Basquiat Fantastic Mr. Wes Anderson Celebrities in Art Art After Breast Cancer: Transforming Scars Album Review: Planningtorock Film Review: “Winter’s Tale” Taschen Art Books OYB: Astoria, Queens Month In Review


FIT Speaks 30 31 31

From A to Z: Andy Warhol and Me Nothing Is Original The Importance of Visual Art Education


Style on 27

In the article titled “Reception Honors Scholarship Winners and Thanks Jerome L. Greene Foundation” on page 4 of the February issue of W27 Ms. McInerney’s name was incorrectly spelled as McIrney.

lETTER FROM THE art Director of art being limitless. No one can tell you that your work isn’t art. From literature to painting, art is broad in many senses and essentially made for everyone. One of the most difficult parts of my life as a design student is keeping time for my own expressive art. Whether a collage, sketching, crafting, I think it is important for us all to have a creative release.

Every issue, I try to connect the theme to art… and here I find myself at the Art Issue. What can I say about art? Sometimes it’s hard to talk about things you’re really passionate about because you have trouble truly expressing your emotions. I won’t talk about “the importance of art” because I don’t even know where to begin. I think what’s most important for this issue is the idea

One of the things I struggle with most as a designer is feeling dissatisfied with my work. I constantly find myself thinking, “I know I can do better than this.” But how do you bring yourself to the next level where you know you’ve created great work? There is a quote from Ira Glass that I find very inspiring: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who

do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume

of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” So always remember: keep active artistically. Do the work that you need to do to get by, but also create what makes you happy. Do not limit yourself to projects for other people. Art is expressive. Remember to create things for yourself and keep your mind fresh. Also please enjoy the photo of me as a young, aspiring artist.

ON THE BLOCK Lights, Camera, Action by Ileana De Hoyos

Sparkling apple cider, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Elizabeth Arden lipstick and the red carpet: what more could we have asked of this year’s Oscars viewing party? The third annual FIT + SVCS Oscar viewing event, “Lights, Camera, Action,” was a delight enjoyed by over 300 FIT students. It was a success thanks to the Student Volunteer Community Service and the help of Professor Terance Coffee’s special events planning class. Deborah PaytonJones, Volunteer Coordinator at FIT, was responsible for planning the event and bringing together its volunteers. Students sat in their best attire at white cloth tables decorated with roses and chocolates. They discussed their favorite dresses on the Red Carpet and Hollywood hunks like Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, both of whom would win Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor,

respectively. The room glowed with red lights and tall shadows of the Oscar projected onto the Dining Hall walls. A red carpet was set up for students to pose for pictures and enter a contest for best dressed. Food and drink was catered. “My favorite part of tonight’s event was the goody bags and the red carpet,” said Advertising and Marketing Communications student, Cora Mcclain. As the Oscars began, the bottles popped and the food court was opened to the students with snacks and a variety of desserts and fruits.“Tonight’s highlight was seeing Jennifer Lawrence fall again,” laughed Akram Abdulla, a Fashion Design student. “But in all seriousness, this year they really went all out, the production is amazing and you can see that they went above and beyond to make us a part of the Oscars night experience,” he added.

Throughout E’s Red Carpet coverage and the Oscars, volunteers of SVCS gave away gift bags and contest prizes for best dressed, best Instagram picture with Elizabeth Arden’s lipstick and who predicted the most Oscar wins. The person who was chosen for best dressed even won their own little Oscar. Deborah Payton–Jones explained that she and the SVCS team wanted something different and bigger than in past years. “This year we wanted to do something to get the students to participate in the event,” she said. “I think having the red carpet and giving the students a chance to dress up was a great idea because it lets the students feel involved.” Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what Payton– Jones and her team will come up with next year. But for now, that’s a wrap.

photos courtesy of Ileana De Hoyos

A Match Made On Seventh by Sarah Malmgren

The term “speed dating” often inspires a cringe–worthy mental image of a room crowded with socially awkward people pretending to enjoy making small talk. Walking into the John E. Reeves Great Hall on Thursday, March 6, however, the scene was anything but uncomfortable. “A Match Made On Seventh,” an event that brought over 100 students from schools throughout New York City together to meet and mingle, was the fifth annual speed dating event hosted here at FIT. Organized and staffed by members of the school’s Public Relations Student Society of America, the evening started at 7 p.m. and lasted until 10 p.m., letting sparks fly and encouraging attendees to “Take a Chance on Love” in a casino– themed environment. In typical speed dating fashion, the girls were seated opposite the boys, and every sixty seconds the girls rotated. Live music and food helped build a party–like atmosphere, while periodic “mingling minutes” gave participants the chance to speak with new individuals and reconnect with those with whom they’d already hit it off.

This year, though, there were actually more guys in attendance than girls, an unusual ratio compared to FIT’s usual gender mix. Jessica Katz, head of this year’s Public Relations Speed Dating Committee, was thrilled at the turnout. She emphasized that this event is not only an opportunity for the FIT PRSSA chapter to host an event, but also to work with chapters from other

schools. This year, NYU, Fordham, Baruch, Pace, Stevens and Columbia were all represented. Money raised from tickets, which sold for ten dollars each, will go towards helping club members attend National Assembly and Regional Conference. Sarita Nauth, head of the Ticket Sales Committee for this year’s event, remarked that in the past, finding guys to attend was somewhat challenging. This year, though, there were actually more guys in attendance than girls, an unusual ratio compared to FIT’s usual gender mix. What most excites Nauth about the event is that it encourages interaction amongst members of different student bodies, fields of study and social groups. “It’s also a great chance for girls to have a confidence boost,” she added. Over the years, the annual speed dating event has led to countless friendships, dates and long–term relationships. A success for both the PRSSA and the students that participate, everyone should be encouraged to give this fun event a try in years to come.



MARCH 2014

Commuter Confessions collected by Rachel Basel

Stephanie Ali 4th semester Fashion Design Personally I feel that FIT does not cater to all of the needs of commuter students who participate in the Fashion Design Program. The school provides the students with lockers to place their belongings in which is extremely helpful. Having a locker helps me leave large rulers and pattern paper out of the way. However, students who commute typically still have a large number of pieces to carry to and from home. I personally have a bag that won’t fit in my locker, which prevents me from using facilities like the weight room if I wanted to. The one time I went, I asked to leave my bag on the side or anywhere out of the way and I was not allowed to do so. The woman told me it could not even be outside of the room where I could watch it. I would like to be able to use the facilities at FIT to my advantage and maybe there is a way that FIT can make accommodations in cases like these. Another aspect in which I feel that FIT does not cater to commuting students is just the process of getting to class through use of the elevators or escalators. Many times when I walk into the Feldman Center to use the escalator, it is extremely crowded with students who have supplies that are too large for the space on the escalator. Their bags are dragging across the side and when sets of escalators are broken it is hard to get all of your belongings up the next set of stairs. If you would like to take an elevator, its

kind of out of the way. You need to go up in either the Business & Liberal Arts building or the Pomerantz Center and then walk back to your classroom. It would be nice if FIT would let us use the elevator within the building that has all of our major classes. If not, they need to create a better, more convenient system of getting upstairs for students with these problems. Students on campus will not experience these problems as frequently because they can return their projects to their dorms and continue with whatever else they need do. They also do not need to take supplies for all three of the classes they have for that day at one time. A locker will only hold so much when you are working on multiple different projects. *Ed’s note: this policy has since changed; business students are now allowed to rent lockers.

Alexandra Mauri 4th semester AMC "Should we just turn around?" joked the express bus driver as an attempt to calm the 40 angry white collar passengers, including me. It was the first day back to FIT after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the commute to Manhattan from Staten Island was more of a pain in the ass than it ever was. With the trains and ferry not running, the express bus ($6 each way) was the only available route. After being on the bus for four hours, by the time we arrived in the city, it was

safe to say I missed English class. After explaining to my professor what happened, with clenched teeth and wet snow boots, I walked to the bus stop to go back home. The whole trip was a complete waste. I would love to say that it was only the hurricane's fault that this happened, but unfortunately things like this happen to commuters all the time. Although traveling a minimum of three hours a day is time consuming, tiring and sometimes dangerous, there is one thing that I think students who commute learn. As I look around at all the "grown ups" commuting to work while I travel to school, it makes me realize that I’ve matured because I commute. Given that I will most likely work in Manhattan when I graduate, I will not only be used to traveling, but I’ll be a pro at it. Students who commute and still manage to have a high GPA should be given an extra "pat on the back.” Because at the end of a nine hour day at FIT, and after traveling home in any kind of weather, it is like moving mountains to manage to keep your eyes open to do homework for the next day.

Janice Tran 4th semester FMM I really think that commuters at this school don't get enough attention from the FIT Administration, specifically regarding lockers. It's my 4th semester

commuting from an hour away in Brooklyn, and even while roaming through administrative offices for the past two years, everyone keeps saying, "No, lockers are not for business students." I lug so many books around and it'd be really convenient and nice if I was able to rent a locker. Other than that, I don't mind commuting at all since I am given the opportunity to save towards other things. I think that every college experience is what you make of it. Although, it's not convenient to make it to all of these events that are later in the evening, if I wanted to participate, I can. But most of the time, I choose to skip out on them because I usually have AM classes, and to just wait around all day after classes end is way too tiring if you have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class. The commute, I'm used to, but it sucks. So ultimately I opt to go home to go to sleep. Also, clubs meet during "common hour," but the reality is that it is not so "common" for me...I end up having only a little time after trying to eat my breakfast and lunch at one sitting since I usually run late because it's pretty difficult (for me) to wake up at the break of dawn when the sun isn't even out yet. But besides that I really love the fitness classes that FIT offers that no one seems to really know about. Warren Smart's FIT is Fit and Cardio Nation classes are the best! #SpringBreakBody. Everyone should definitely take advantage of them!




Future Mode:

Jake Szymanski by Marissa Mule

Mark Twain once said, “explore, dream, discover,” and that's exactly what an optimistic mind in the art world does. This month, I sat down with 8th semester interior design student, Jake Szymanski, as we discussed his love for travel and architecture along with his take on designing an urban lifestyle. Szymanski is currently the president of the Interior Design Club and working in–depth on his thesis project designing a 200,000 square foot living space. As such, he’s learning to balance the working world with his personal life. Born in Nepal and raised in Colorado, Szymanski's first design inspiration came as a result of travel. While his father runs a leprosy village in Nepal, Szymanski has dedicated his time to “seeing the world” – literally – and designs upon his experiences. “My inspirations come as a result of my evolution of travel. I design based on the quality of urban life. I've always had a fascination with cities because of my travel experiences,” he said. Szymanski created his

photos courtesy of

own Brooklyn–based design enterprise, Shape Creative Studio, after gaining retail and commercial experience working for William Sofield. Szymanski produces raw, textural, modernist furniture and design. While working for Studio Sofield in SoHo, he contributed to projects designing Harry Winston stores, and is currently involved in an ongoing “David Burton Residential Project,” in which he has previously designed gym interiors in Los Angeles and Miami.

after moved to Spain. In between teaching English in Barcelona and having had the opportunity to view original Gaudí architecture, he then decided to relocate to New York.

“Believe it or not, there is a lot of architect–ural significance in the buildings at FIT”

Szymanski moved to Idaho with his parents, completed high school and shortly

Although the Spanish Catalan architect known for his organic, nature–inspired style was one of Szymanski's many travel inspirations, he also enjoys looking at Venetian architecture – like that of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa – and modernist works from the French architect, Jean Nouvel. Szymanski also explained that one of his main sources of inspiration comes from right here at FIT. “Believe it or not, there is a lot of architectural significance in the buildings at FIT. I think everyone

should give these buildings a second look,” he says. Szymanski explained that his projects aren't only about the design aspect. In fact, he believes the materials and media which he uses to produce a concept are the most important. “The materials you use reflect your thesis,” he said. “For me, it's about the use or raw materials like iron, woods and stones. And although they may patina, they still age beautifully.” And, for Szymanski, that's a time– tested fact. In his thesis, “joinery” is his key concept – the idea of using old school joinery and exaggerated raw architecture that will result in the spaces working together to become one unified space. In three words, Szymanski sums up his aesthetic as “clean, streamlined and unique.” After graduation, he plans to run his own design studio, while hoping to design the interior of a yacht for a potential client.



MARCH 2014

Inside Chelsea’s Art Row by Hermina Sobhraj

Art has set up its workstation in this foundry of self–expression we call New York City. Manhattan alone contains over 500 private art galleries. Lucky for us, some of the best can be found right in our backyard. And if you take the time to stroll down Tenth Avenue (especially on Thursday opening nights), you may just discover some of Chelsea’s most prized gallery gems.

Sean Kelly Gallery 475 Tenth Ave The Sean Kelly Gallery has always been on the cutting edge of an established art world. Founded by Sean Kelly in 1991, the gallery began its operations in SoHo in 1995 but has since moved to a historic 1914 building in Chelsea. With ceilings that rise as high as two floors, overlooking a vast space of 22,000 square feet, it’s no wonder that this venue stands its ground as an artistic powerhouse of Chelsea. The gallery has never strayed from its commitment to “exhibiting important, challenging contemporary art.” Its white walls have been home to collections of many avant–garde mavens including Marina Abramović, whose gutsy work established her as the “grandmother of performance art,” and Mariko Mori, a contemporary video and photographic artist regarded as one of the most influential to emerge from Japan. As evident from its noteworthy exhibits, the gallery tends to curate works from mid–career, successfully established artists, setting the standard for its contemporary gallery counterparts.

Current Exhibition: Frank Thiel– Nowhere is a Place Jan. 31 – March 22, 2014

Andrea Rosen Gallery 525 West 24 Street Opened in January 1990, the Andrea Rosen Gallery is best known for its devotion to revolutionary contemporary artist, Félix González–Torres. González–Torres captured attention with the use of household items, such as dried candy and light bulbs in his installations to express his experiences with AIDS. As the gallery’s very first exhibit, this collection would set the stage for many more contemporary, socio–political displays to come. Andrea Rosen’s goal as a gallery has always been to retain a specific territory for each artist they represent, according to a New York Magazine editor. It describes a territory in which each artist is “fully aware of the responsibility of putting one’s subjectivity in the public realm and unafraid of actually being beautiful.” Alongside González–Torres, Turner prizewinner Wolfgang Tillmans, internationally recognized David Altmejd and British painter Nigel Cooke, have all also been on display. Its eye for rising artists and dedication to preserving an artist’s freedom has made it a home for cutting– edge visual art displays.

Current Exhibition: David Altmejd– Juices Feb. 1 – March 8, 2014

303 Gallery 507 West 24th Street Established by Lisa Spellman, a photography student at the School of Visual Arts, the 303 Gallery saw its first exhibition in 1984. Spellman realized that she was more interested in other people’s art rather than her own, which pushed her to seek out some of the more underground, less conspicuous artists. With a handful of savings, she and a few friends rented out a small fifth–floor loft on Park Avenue to set up their provisional gallery that also served as their living space. The 303 Gallery, now located in Chelsea, has been home to many collections by artists who reached fame nearly a decade later, including Jeff Koons, Laurie Simmons and Andreas Gursky. Spellman’s eye for rising talent resulted in great praise for the gallery in 2010; not only was the gallery landing celebrity clients, it was also receiving publicity by New York Magazine and others. Today many collections of this airy, single–roomed gallery are by strong, avant– garde female artists, like Collier Schorr. This is mostly due to Spellman’s feminist ideals, proving that her influence still runs deep at the gallery. The 303 Gallery however still remains eminent for its ability to develop the careers of arguably some of the 21st century’s most powerful artists.

Current Exhibition: Collier Schorr– 8 Women Feb. 27 – April 12, 2014

Photos courtesy of Hermina Sobhraj

Many of Chelsea’s galleries are located in the West 20’s between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.The galleries are best known for housing avant–garde exhibitions by contemporary masters in contrast to its SoHo counterparts which are better known for photorealism (an art form where paintings appear photographic) collections.




Faculty Spotlight:

A Foot in Both Worlds: Mari Dumett Brings Together Student Artists and Student Curators by Zachary Rosenbaum

Within all of the fields of study at FIT, be it fine arts, international trade and marketing or textile surface design, there are rich opportunities for student collaboration. Dr. Mari Dumett, a professor in the FIT’s Art History and Museum Profession’s bachelor program, seeks to tap into this potential and uses all of her resources to provide her students with a collaborative, immersive and fulfilling experience. In addition to her teaching duties, she is also a part of ARTSpeak, an interdisciplinary faculty group that focuses on diversity and art in our community. The group features guest lecturers, artist visits, studio projects, discussion panels and exhibitions of works by FIT student artists. Under Dumett’s guidance, her art history and museum professions students are paired up with fine arts students and, in accordance with the theme chosen by ARTSpeak, they work together to curate a thoughtful exhibition from start to finish. W27 sat down with Dr. Dumett to talk art, museum professions, and ARTSpeak.

Zachary Rosenbaum: What were you doing in the industry upon your arrival at FIT? Mari Dumett: I have a Ph.D in art history, so that’s my field. I’ve written essays for museum exhibition catalogues and journals, and I’ve done some freelance curating. I feel closest to the writing side of things, and am an advocate of strong writing skills for my students. I’m finishing up a book about the art group Fluxus, which is an international artist collective from the 60s and 70s, so my research is mostly around that right now. They were pioneers in New Media, so they did performances and were some of the first video artists. ZR: Have you curated anything that you’re particularly proud of? MD: A highlight was when I was brought onboard to co–curate an exhibition in Lithuania. Two of the major artists in Fluxus were Lithuanian—the founder George Maciunas, and the famous pioneering, avant–garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas. Certain political and cultural figures were opening an art center in Vilnius in Mekas’ honor, so I helped curate the inaugural exhibition there. It was a great experience. Also, a couple of years ago I guest–curated a smaller show on George Maciunas at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. Both of those things were in my area of research, so it was nice to do something public while you’re doing such an isolated creative activity such as writing. ZR: What is your favorite kind of art? MD: My favorite is contemporary art. I did my master’s degree on the German artist Joseph Beuys, who did performance art. I’ve always had an interest in more avant–garde, socially engaging artists. For me, the best art is work that has elements of thoughtfulness, conceptuality, beauty,

social engagement and humor. If you have all of that in that in your artwork, I might like it… (just kidding!) I mean, I love socially engaging art, but I don’t like art that just hits you on the head with a very didactic message. I also love things that are aesthetically beautiful, but also that on its own isn’t enough for me. I want art that makes me question things or know more about myself, people, and the world. To find that balance for me signifies a brilliant artist. Those are things that really move me. ZR: Can you tell us a little about the Art History and Museum Professions major? DM: It’s a unique 2–year B.A. degree that enrolled its first students in 2005. Anna Blume is the director, who brings a lot of focus, organization and a hands– on approach to it. She’s great and really dedicated. We get some students who transfer out of other programs, so it can be a good reorientation for students who decide they want to work in the art world. There are quite a few professions that it would be good preparation for: working in various departments of museums, including education, communication, etc., the gallery world, working in the art market (think auction houses like Christie’s), or being on the business of art side. It can also be a valuable gateway to graduate school, if students are interested in curating or other realms of museum work that require advanced training. ZR: What do students learn in your Senior Seminar: Museum Exhibition class? MD: This class happens in the student’s final semester of their two years in the program. It’s really all about producing an exhibition. We’ve been able to organize our own exhibition alongs with ARTSpeak [an interdisciplinary faculty group that fosters a connection between the art history and fine arts departments, as well as artists outside of FIT and the

general public]. The fact that I have a foot in both camps has made it ideal for my students in this class to participate in the ARTSpeak exhibitions. We transform the project and bring in work done by B.F.A. students at FIT and organize our own exhibition around that, which we show in the library. Last year the exhibition was called Open Book: Conversations on Art and the Book. For ARTSpeak we brought in book artists. For the Museum Exhibition course the B.F.A. students made book art, my students curated it and we made a catalogue to go along with it. We’ve also got students from photography involved in documenting the entire process. It’s great hands–on practice. We’re still ironing out the wrinkles in coordinating all the students involved, but it’s great because it’s interdisciplinary between four different departments that otherwise wouldn’t have this contact. I love seeing the students talk with one another and learn more about each other and their work. This year, we’re bringing in graphic design students who are taking charge of the catalogue design. ZR: What has been your involvement with ARTSpeak? MD: This is my second year involved in ARTSpeak. There are fine art and art history faculty members who have been involved longer and are really dedicated to it, who give it a lot of time and energy. This year the fine art faculty are doing a lot of work organizing artist studio visits and making sure we are funded and ready to go next year. John Allen in particular does a great job with the administration of the group, but there are others and I don’t want to leave anyone out. Every year we pick a theme and try to incorporate events where the fine arts and AHMP students work together collaboratively. I love the niche that I have at FIT to help make these connections and expand the creative and educational process beyond the classroom.



ZR: What is this year’s theme for ARTSpeak? MD: This year the theme is “Illuminating Process.” It’s all about the creative process, life in the artist’s studio and what people’s practices are for making their art. The exhibition that my students are now curating is called “Making the Artist: Studio Practice,” which incorporates the same theme that is being produced under the auspice of ARTSpeak, but with our own title and with student work. ZR: What is it about synergy of students that interests you? MD: I like the process of students working together. Even the frustrations that are coming out around that—the communication and organizing and just getting a hold of people. But I keep reminding my students that even though they are in a special set of circumstances, working in a short time frame on this show at FIT, a lot of this is also outside–of–school stuff that happens when you’re curating—stuff has to be done on the fly, you end up having responsibility for way more than you anticipated, and so a huge part of it is having to be flexible. ZR: What are some other classes that you teach? MD: I teach a contemporary art seminar in the art market graduate program. I’m also teaching Business of Art/Museum Management (VA 431). The core is museum administration and practices. We learn how a museum operates. We look at different facets, departments and the structure of a museum. We look at mission statements, the museum visitor experience, the relationship between an Executive Director and a Board of Directors, or the role of a Board Directors versus an Advisory Board. In addition, we look at things like grant writing and developing skills to be successful in the field.

One thing I try to do in my classes is really utilize my contacts here in the New York museum world. Really, you couldn’t be in a better city for this program. There’s no question about that. I bring in guest speakers (I once brought in curator’s/collection managers from the Whitney, who were great in their presentation and passion) and plan museum visits (I took my students to the “Ink Art: Past As Present in Contemporary China” exhibit at the Met and toured with one of the organizers of the exhibition to teach the students about the exhibition process, from conception to the way works are hung in the space). For them to get firsthand experience and hear from someone who’s spending every day in that industry is so valuable. ZR: Do you have any advice for young professionals who are trying to make it in the art market or museum world? MD: It depends what area of the field you want to get into. Museum roles are changing rapidly, and I think there will be different job titles within museums in the coming years. If you know you want to be a curator, you probably should still get an

MARCH 2014

art history graduate degree. You can make it other ways, artists themselves are doing more curating now, but this would be the most solid route. We try to be upfront with students about this—this program just isn’t something that could take the place of that. The AHMP program can be a gateway to a master’s degree. I think with graduate school you really want to make sure that’s what you want to do because it is a lot of time and energy, not to mention money. Like so many programs at FIT, AHMP students do internships, and for many this is a great route into the industry. I’m a huge proponent of learning through first–hand experience, in life and work. A lot of students stay on at the museum or organization after the internship is over. I always say, stick with your principles and your ideas that really matter to you, but around that, be flexible, try to be gracious, and never lose your sense of humor—and you’ll go far! With all that, again, it doesn’t mean that you’re just amenable and it is very much about being strong in yourself and having a vision and good ideas, but just not in an arrogant, abrasive or inflexible way. This is a world that is collaborative, so that’s part of what we’re learning. In some sense, when thinking about exhibitions specifically, it’s important to believe that it will all work out in the end—it just does. We’ve all been on projects like that, or with our school assignments or making art. At an early point, you’re thinking “I have no idea how this is going to get done,” but somehow you just tell yourself that it will. There’s a lot of that in exhibition making and creative work. It comes with experience—the more you do, the more you trust that it will turn out alright.




A Battle of Two Runways by Christina Macaluso On March 8 and 9, the 15th Fusion Fashion Show took place at a brand new location at Parsons The New School for Design’s Union Square campus. The theme of the show was “15 Years of Innovation” and showcased designers from the top two fashion schools in the country--the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons The New School For Design. Each school’s team comprised of 15 designers, all of whom were freshmen or sophomores, and each showcasing five outfits for the audience and judges. The 2014 judges for Fusion included Peter Davis, editor-in-chief of Scene; MaryKate Steinmiller, senior fashion market editor of Teen Vogue; Regina Rourke, artist and art director of Style. com; Richard Lowe, international creative director of Spiegel and Joe Zee, creative director of Elle and an FIT alum. With FIT coming into the competition as reigning champions from 2013, the high energy and talent was evident in both the designer’s work and the support from the FIT crowd. The show debuted with FIT’s Best Designer from 2013, K’ Luu, presenting five pieces from last year’s winning collection as well as some from his current collection. The 2014 FIT team followed, taking the floor first and setting the bar high, displaying technically sound and beautifully designed pieces to represent themselves as well as the school. The first designer for FIT, Seoin Jeong, opened the show strong with loud cheers from the crowd as her black cocktail dress strutted down the runway. Designers Jungjin Kim and Eunbee Kim,

showcased their talents in menswear as their models were greeted with loud applause from beginning to end. Gabriela Ostolaza took a futuristic approach with her “Generation 3000” collection including a Furby jacket-literally, a colorful jacket made up of dozens of stuffed Furby toys! The FIT team ended with Joshua Homic and his dark, yet incredibly elegant “Monolia” collection. Fusion was created 15 years ago by Parsons student, James Ramey, who is now the director of the event each year. His once distant dream for a friendly design competition between neighboring design schools has now transformed into an annual showcase of young talent and the opportunity to claim “best school” amongst the top two in the country. Ramey described the 2014 talent and competition in its entirety as “simply amazing” and expressed that many of the attendees commented that this year’s show was “the best caliber of clothing they’ve ever seen at the show. Months of hard work ultimately led to a gifted group of young designers presenting an impressive showcase of designs. Both schools came to the competition strong and clearly made a statement that new talent is in the future for the fashion industry. Although winners will be announced after W27 goes to press, FIT is proud with the proven ability of its students and would like to congratulate the 2014 designers, staff, models and volunteers for another successful Fusion Fashion Show .

photos courtesy of Fusion Fashion Show

What the Health?

Art Saves by Desiree Perez

Art Saves. It sounds cliché, but there’s a reason behind that statement. The arts are not just forms of communicating internal desires and fears, they are forms of cleansing the spirit and the body. It may sound crazy when you hear that arts can cleanse your body, but it’s true; art has come a long way in saving lives and maintaining mental as well as physical health and well–being. A study conducted by Heather L. Stuckey, D.Ed. and Jeremy Nobel, M.D. and published in the American Journal of Health reported that the creative arts, including dancing, writing, pottery and textiles, improved the well–being of a person with chronic illnesses. But one doesn’t have to be suffering from a chronic disease to experience stress, and even then, the arts come to the rescue.

Decrease in Negativity A study conducted by Heather L. Stuckey, D.Ed. and Jeremy Nobel, M.D. and published in the American Journal of Health reported that the creative arts, including dancing, writing, pottery and textiles, improved the well–being of a person with chronic illnesses. But one doesn’t have

to be suffering from a chronic disease to experience stress, and even then, the arts come to the rescue.

Physical Benefits A study conducted by Heather L. Stuckey, D.Ed. and Jeremy Nobel, M.D. and published in the American Journal of Health reported that the creative arts, including dancing, writing, pottery and textiles, improved the well–being of a person with chronic illnesses. But one doesn’t have to be suffering from a chronic disease to experience stress, and even then, the arts come to the rescue.

Improves Memory How many times have you heard of Mozart influencing your ability to retain information? Plenty, I’m sure. But it’s true. Music does stimulate the brain. A study conducted at UC Irvine demonstrated that Alzheimer patients’ memory tests improved after listening to classical music. Mozart, eh? “Students of all ages generally find that music helps them focus more clearly on

the task at hand and puts them in a better mood for learning,” said Chris Brewer, author of Soundtracks for Learning. A letter published in 1993 also revealed that college students who listened to classical music saw an improvement in their spatial reasoning skills linked to math and science.

Improvement in Social Networking In 2004, E. Glenn Schellenberg of the University of Toronto at Mississauga conducted a random and controlled study between children who were exposed to music training programs and those exposed to drama lessons. It was found that the social skills of those involved in drama lessons improved significantly.

Metropolitan Museum of Art You don’t just have to observe the art at the museum: try creating some of your own for a change. The museum offers various programs ranging from painting to clay sculpting. Some sessions require a fee but there are always student discounts.

New York Public Library Remember the library? There are plenty of free events that take place there. Many of them have to do with the arts including Zumba and crocheting. Sometimes you may be asked to take a toddler with you in order to paint, but it’s still worth a shot.

Fashion Institute of Technology

(SIDEPIECE) Get Artsy Assuming the creative person in you came out after reading this article, why not get involved in an extracurricular to get your mind off of the stress midterms will bring? Here are some programs that can help you get started on your artistic journey.

Get creative with your dancing or your painting through Student Life at FIT. Whether it’s learning your rhythm at the Salsa club or figuring out your new design for a tote bag, Student Life is filled with artistic opportunities.

dear industry The Art of Armory by Aaron Valentic

Photo credit of

Winter in New York City this year has been –let’s face it – bitterly cold. With high winds, mountains of ice and snow and not enough layers for one person to ward off the elements, it is impossible to imagine New York with any color during these months of white and grey. Despite the snowfalls and icy pavements making walking a hazard, The Armory Show is bringing life back to the city just in time for spring. One of the largest art shows in the world, The Armory Art Show brings together some of the most incredible (and most wanted) works of art available for sale for the public. Held from March 6–9 on the West Side of

falls into that theme. This year, the focus was on China. Included within this theme was the artist by the name of Xu Zhen, who is known for his “Under Heaven” series, and is a noted figure within the art community, winning many awards and having some of his artworks showcased in some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including The Museum of Modern Art here in New York City. As one of the most highly anticipated cultural events within the world of high art, The Armory Art Show was founded in 1994 by dealers Colin de Land, Pat Hearn,

Photo credit of

Manhattan on Piers 92 and 94, hundreds of art galleries descended upon New York City to showcase to the public the best of 20th and 21st century art. Artists ranging from Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Irving Penn were among the select few featured at the show this year, with prices that would make any college student cry (try starting prices at $75,000, and only going upwards from there). Each year, The Armory Art Show showcases the best of the best in terms of artwork, hand picked by the most prestigious galleries in the world. However, each year The Armory Art Show focuses on a specific theme, showcasing artwork that

Matthew Marks and Paul Morris, and was referred to as the Gramercy International Art Fair. Originally held in the Gramercy Park Hotel, it then moved to the 69th Regiment Armory and is now held at the piers on the West Side of Manhattan, allowing galleries to bring all types of artwork under one roof to be showcased. Inside the Armory Show, the piers house two separate categories of art – Pier 92 for the Modern collections, while Pier 94 houses the Contemporary pieces of artwork. Among the many collections of prized artwork were beautiful architectural designs from Bade Stageberg Cox. Even when it came down to the design of the architectural space, Bade Stageberg Cox

played with the idea of thresholds, since it’s a “place of entering or beginning… highlighting the spatial thresholds in the fair draws attention to one’s physical and mental transport,” stated the Armory Show’s website. With much of the attention placed on the overall design aesthetic of the venues, attention was also placed on keeping the guests of the fair fed while spending countless hours gallivanting through gallery after gallery. Some of the better– known eateries and cafes in the city came together to help cater the food for the event including Boqueria, Breads Bakery and Laudrée.

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For some, the idea of housing countless, expensive works of art that only a select few within this world have the privilege of owning remains an exclusive, even possibly elitist event. Even though the prices are steep, The Armory Art Show allows the general public to peruse the galleries and take in the world of art. Instead of being a high–culture event only meant for a few eyes to see, The Armory Art Show brings people (as well as galleries and artists, from hundred of countries and cities from all over the world) together and allow the public to experience the beauty and the immense creativity of artwork. Making a purchase may be out of the question but taking advantage of the opportunity to sharpen one’s taste level is not.




ART FOR EARTH’S SAKE by Britt Bivens

Lisa Lebofsky began her career as an artist at age six painting Chinese watercolors. Years later, as a professional artist, she travels to the ends of the Earth (literally!) and captures bold landscapes that also record the increasing impact of climate change. Her singular technique of painting on sanded aluminum plates, allows the lightness of the oil paint to capture light in a way that gives the viewer changing images depending on where they are in relation to the piece. W27 spoke to Lisa about her path, and more importantly, her vision.

My technique involves using the metal as a base and letting the color peek through. I use very transparent colors in layers that I build up. The light then shifts the colors, depending on the angles from which the viewer is seeing it; for example, a white may read very light or it may come across dark. There are also sections with no paint at all. It’s a minimalistic style that works like a dot–to–dot painting. With the small amount of paint I’m using, I’m giving just enough information that the brain is able to fill in the rest. BB: Your paintings seem expansive even though they are often on small pieces of metal. How do you approach this? LL: I was a figurative artist for many years. Over time, my figures became more simplistic and eventually I took them out. I became interested in the separation of mind and body and find nature to be the point at which it happens. To me, the landscape is a metaphor for the transcendental psyche, where we get lost in our thoughts and we get lost in our own remote landscape. I’m attracted to landscapes that are unusual and untraditional, even sparse and obscure. BB: Speaking of remote, you travelled to Antarctica and then to Greenland and remote Canada? LL: I travel a lot for my work. I got a grant that allowed me to travel to Antarctica, a place I really wanted to visit. I take my aluminum sheets with me so that I can work on site. I take lots and lots of photos and then work through them, looking for composition and lighting that is really interesting. I usually work “en plein air” which is a French expression for working outside, using the natural light.

Britt Bivens: You graduated with a BFA with a focus on metalsmithing but ended up painting on the metal rather than sculpting with it. How did that come about? Lisa Lebofsky: While I was studying at SUNY New Paltz, I took classes in different mediums: photography, sculpture, painting and even graphic design. I fell in love with metal. Later, I had found some aluminum lithograph plates at a scrap yard and felt bad about beating into them with a hammer. I had also come to the realization that my heart was still in painting and I began to think about the two coming together.

trip. Interestingly, around the same time we launched our “Chasing the Light” exhibition of the photos, photographer James Balog’s documentary “Chasing Ice” came out which confused some people but helped bring extra awareness to the effects of climate change. After Greenland, Zaria and I went on a trip by boat to Labrador, Newfoundland to follow the story of melting ice, then over to the Maldives. The Maldives are the first nation (as a group of islands) that would be submerged as the result of rising seawaters due to climate change. While we were in the Maldives, we met with scientists as well as locals and wanted to hear their thoughts. We discovered that there is a huge waste management issue on the islands. Along with being the most densely populated nation on the planet, the solution to getting rid of garbage is to ship it to another island and burn it, resulting in a constant smoke stream into the city. Obviously this is not an ideal solution and it inspired me to think about my next piece. I’ve become really interested in the Maldives and have been in contact with some of the people I met there, trying to get them to ship me a box of garbage so I can make art with it. BB: Do you feel that climate change is becoming an underlying theme in your work? It’s such a topic of discussion at the moment that to see it visualized in fine art is really interesting

Antarctica, Greenland and Canada, and the trash–filled beaches of the Maldives, we have fracking and land preservation issues right here in New York. Lately, I’ve been working on becoming a more informed about the environment. In fact, one of my newer concerns is around using aluminum. While doing research, I discovered that the mining process to get the metal is horrific and that the recycling of aluminum actually has a pretty low carbon footprint, so I’m going to be checking with my metal dealer to make sure that what I’m buying is recycled. Otherwise, I may have to think about changing materials. Ultimately, I see my art as being a collaboration with nature, so that will continue. One of my techniques involves putting the aluminum outside in the elements– the rain or snow, and using the story that nature has told as the basis for the piece. I then paint on top using the pattern that was created by nature in an abstract way, adding to the story. Interestingly, the two landscapes that I’ve been most influenced by– the icebergs of Antarctica and Greenland and the beaches of Maldives– share a similar color palette, one of turquoise shades of blue. This is something else I’m thinking about how I can use. Lebofsky shows her work in galleries in Maine and NYC, and will be featured in the upcoming documentary based on the Greenland and Maldives trips, entitled “Goodbye Ice, Goodbye Island.”

LL: I do, and I think that there are many more topics to be explored. As much as I was inspired by the melting ice of

It’s hard to paint in a place like that and not think about climate change. The Antarctica trip led into the Greenland trip in terms of theme. Artist Rena Bass Forman wanted to recreate the path of the painter William Bradford but wanted to reinterpret it with a modern visual vocabulary. She wanted an artist from each genre to be part of the trip so I did a Kickstarter to raise the funds to go along. Before we left, Rena passed away but her daughter Zaria continued on and spread her mother’s ashes on the trip to honor her. It was clear to the team how the environment had changed since Bradford’s 1869 Photos courtesy of Lisa Lebofsky



MARCH 2014

Online Outlet Brings New Perks For Fashion Savvy by Aaron Valentic

As fashion students, we are constantly and sadly reminded that things in the fashion industry cost a lot of money. We’ve all been there, trying to obtain the season’s latest “it” item, while our bank account crumbles after only one purchase (sigh). From time–to–time, it wouldn’t hurt to be rewarded for shopping, right? That said, the fashion gods bestowed upon us; an online website that rewards customers for shopping with partnered retailers by giving them cash back on their purchases. Amit Khera, founder of Fashionism, first became fascinated with this as a business concept while working at Ralph Lauren. “I became intrigued with this idea of ‘brands giving back’ and sustainable business models. I created a marketplace that connects brands with shoppers and enables brands to give back,” she said. With this in mind, Khera began connecting with over 150 online

retailers, including Theory, Free People, Anthropologie, ASOS and Nordstrom as online portals for Fashionism members.

Generally, people tend to think that, even if they are a part of a loyalty program, they will only receive a small percentage back on their purchases. However, Fashionism follows a different tack. “I knew first–hand how loyal shoppers are to rewards programs. In order to give shoppers a compelling reason to shop through our marketplace, we pay our members up to 20% cashback on each

purchase. Members also receive access to other exclusive offers and products,” said Khera. Once a person becomes a member of Fashionism, they are directed to offers presented by the companies featured on the website. After accepting the offer and making the first purchase, Fashionism will track it and within three business days, the cash earned back from the purchase is available within that member’s account. Members can even choose to have money transferred to PayPal or can request payment by check. As for the site’s founder, Khera wants it to be a shopper’s paradise, saying, “Fashionism services those looking to stay on top of the trends – many of our members are highly educated shoppers, and already know where/what they are going to purchase. When they’ve made that decision, they come to Fashionism.”

Live and Learn on Campus

It’s not too early to think about fall housing. • You can apply no matter where you live • Residents of New York City are eligible • Open to all degree and non-degree students with 12 or more credit hours

Applications available March 18. For details and application:


Beauty Buzz:



All Eyes On Makeup Artist Tal Peleg by Dianna Mazzone

Photo courtesy of Tal Peleg

Sorry, nail art: There’s a new kind of cosmetic creation in town. Consider this your formal introduction to eye–art, as pioneered by Israeli makeup artist and blogger Tal Peleg. Treating her eyelids as her canvas, Peleg creates stunning, incredibly detailed designs inspired by everything from sushi to storybooks. But, don’t let her whimsical approach fool you – each look takes time, patience and of course, serious talent. We’re not the only ones in awe of this out of the box approach to eyeshadow: Peleg has amassed a fan base hailing from around the globe, boasting 43 thousand likes on Facebook alone. It’s a testament to her skill, creativity and the appeal of makeup masquerading as art. We caught up with Peleg to learn more about her the origins of her one–of–a–kind artwork. Dianna Mazzone: When did your interest in makeup first begin? Did you attend school for makeup artistry? Tal Peleg: I started to play with makeup when I was only a child. I loved to do makeup and “photoshoots” with my little sister as the model. When I was in high school, I participated in acting classes (since I wished to be an actress at that time), and I did the makeup looks for the other actors in the shows we did. That was one of my first experiences with professional makeup. I went to makeup school, and a few years later, studied four years of visual communication. I had a hard time choosing my path – should I become a makeup artist or a designer/illustrator? In my makeup looks I try to combine my love of art, design and makeup. DM: When did you first begin creating your signature eye–art? TP: I was painting ever since I can remember myself and my family and friends always encouraged me to do what I love. Makeup, for me, is art just like painting on canvas or a piece of paper. It began when I started to push the limits between makeup and art/illustrations. I’ve tried to use the makeup as something more than a tool to make girls look pretty, as a way to express feelings, to tell a story...I’ve started a blog and share my makeup looks with my followers, who supported me so much and gave me the inspiration to keep on challenging myself

with more and more complicated and detailed eye–art.

with makeup... so that eye–art is definitely one of my favorites.

DM: What’s next for you in terms of your career?

DM: You have so many fans online! How have you felt about the response to your work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

DM: What are your most–loved eye products or makeup products in general?

TP: I want to keep doing what I love and enjoy it, and get recognition for it... and just be happy with my work and wake up with a smile in the morning. I think I’m on the right path. I have some things that I plan to do in my career but they will have to remain a secret for the moment!

TP: This actually makes me really happy and excited to know that so many people from all around the globe are following me and waiting for my next makeup looks! My followers and fans are really amazing and supportive, and it’s nice to know that so many people can see what I publish and react to it. DM: Could you describe your preparation process before creating a look? Where do you find inspiration? TP: Usually the idea just pops into my head. Inspiration is everywhere. It can be things that I like – a fairytale, movie, book, favorite food or such, or even things that I find interesting and challenging to turn into makeup – like my grandmother’s dementia or an illness like depression. When I have the time, I choose from my “idea bank” and start to create the makeup look. I sit by my makeup table, with all the relevant makeup products in front of me, and a magnifying mirror. And music, of course, can’t do it without music! It takes time and patience, but I really enjoy every second of it... and it is fulfilling to see people reacting to the final result. DM: How long does it typically take you to create one of the eye looks? TP: Between an hour to four hours... it depends on how complicated the design is. DM: Which look would you consider your favorite or most memorable? TP: It’s really hard for me to choose... I gave my heart to all of them. But if I have to, my favorite ones are probably the ones that are personal and express emotions. For example, I’ve created a look in an effort to raise awareness to anti–bullying, and I was really happy with the result, since it turned out quite powerful, I believe. I’ve gotten many comments and private messages from people who told me that this piece touched them deeply and even made them cry. So I was proud of myself for touching people so much

TP: High–pigmented eyeshadows and aqua–colors are probably my favorite... but my real obsession is with brushes. I own more than 350 makeup brushes, and keep growing my collection every day. About 120 of them are eyeliner brushes and are really thin and precise for details. I use makeup brushes, but also painting brushes from art supply stores.

To view more of Tal Peleg’s work, follow her on Instagram @tal_peleg, Facebook, /TalPelegMakeUp, and Twitter @ Tal__Peleg.

FEATURE Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? by Pari Heidari

Like you, I am an admirer of art. However, I must confess, contemporary art can make me feel just about every shade of stupid. In their quest for originality and innovation, artists have taken art to places that can seem inaccessible and esoteric; an elitist world preserved for art historians, critics and bourgeois intellectuals alone. With the sunny fields and portraits of Monet and Van Gogh long gone, the means to appreciate art is proving more and more difficult. Why can’t trees just be trees, rivers be rivers and fields be fields? Our own unique mix of opinions and preferences aside, we privately wonder why must art be so...nonrepresentational? And so it seems there’s a certain kind of pressure that comes with a museum or gallery visit now. A duty to be “drawn” to the “palpable tension of the piece” and if you’ve gone with a friend, an obligation to say something clever. Words like “energetic,” “organic” and “juxtaposition” get thrown around without anyone really knowing what they mean. Appreciating art no longer implies simply enjoying it; it means you must get it, whatever “it” implies. Privately we struggle, what does this piece mean? What is the artist trying to tell me?

So just how should we approach an abstract work, anyway? According to Andrew Weinstein, professor of art history at FIT, abstract art must be taken on its own terms. Simply put, painting should be about painting. Representational art can be, well, distracting; it is essentially color on a canvas creating an illusion, thus attempting to be something it’s not. “Trying to interpret the narrative behind this illusion,” said Weinstein, “often distracts us from things such as the paint, color, shape, lines and canvas; that is, the very language of art.” What abstract art does on the other hand is ask us to concentrate all our attention on the actual work, on the true materials of art. You notice color, shape, lines and the effects these have on you, the feelings they might produce. Abstract art is an “exploration of the properties of material,” said Weinstein. If you look at works by Jackson Pollock for instance, you see it’s all about the properties of paint. You are aesthetically captivated by the work itself, not by the illusion. Therefore, in a sense, abstract art is easier to comprehend. It is what it is, nothing more, nothing less. Representational art on the other hand, tries to mirror the world around it, instead of being true to its own internal logic.

To better understand art, Weinstein refers us to Kant’s aesthetic theory. Immanuel Kant, recognized as the father of modern philosophy, pioneered the idea that we never experience things directly; that what we experience is our interpretations shaped by the mind. Kant’s theory argues that beauty is an experience within ourselves, dealing solely with our response to the artwork and not the properties of the work itself. Quaid Kocur, the director of the Imaging Production department at ARTstor, (a non–profit organization offering online resources with over 1.5 million

communication between the artist and the viewer. This message might be a narrative or commentary, but in the case of abstract art it is most likely conveying emotion. It is therefore a highly subjective interaction, an interaction where you might even learn something about yourself. In this sense, the relationship between the viewer, the work and subsequently, the artist, becomes an exchange, and not strictly an imparting of ideas or emotions.

images in the arts, architecture, humanities and sciences) moreover, argues that we create our own experiences. Our reactions are subjective and our experience is the only reality. The actual artwork has no more meaning past our perception of it.

open mind, a good bit of what art is is open to interpretation, and this goes especially for abstract art. “This is an underlying theme within abstract art, the ability to open interpretations of a world that is often too literal,” said Kocur. “[Abstract art] is created with the intent of bending perspective, it’s designed for you to explore and to reflect, not necessarily to understand. The only advice that anyone really needs to know when confronted with such a work is to let it speak to you and see what happens; you can only be right.”

As to the appreciation of beauty, Kant says we appreciate it for the pleasure of it, not to find some use for it. With judgment unaffected by self–interest, our responses to aesthetics apply universally. The aesthetic pleasure we derive from art comes from a union between imagination and understanding. But how do we start? How do we tackle the world of abstract art? According to Kocur, the first question to ask when viewing an artwork is purely instinctual. How does this piece make me feel? Happy, overwhelmed, annoyed, claustrophobic? Art is ultimately a form of

Although both Weinstein and Kocur agree it is important to approach all art with an

So in fact, when viewing and reflecting on abstract art, the journey might well be the destination. The only ticket you need is an open mind and a willingness to go where it takes you. Photos courtesy of,,



DRAW THE LINE Models: Angela Fu Rainer Peralta Clothing: Opening Ceremony Makeup artist: Jonnell Laprince Shoes: Opening Ceremony Jewelry: Fashion Craze Boutique

In the midst of a busy New York City street, we rediscovered art in its most simple, purest form– lines, shapes, and colors. Found in modern graffiti and even the city’s grid itself, this minimalist approach to art yields maximum– impact results.




MARCH 2014




Rebels With a Cause: Social Statements in Contemporary Art by Karen Wu

Photo ccourtesy of

Ai Weiwei is the most powerful artist in the world according to Art Review magazine. He is a humble artist that shook the Chinese communist government to the core and touched millions of Chinese citizens still live under the authoritarian system. “If there is no free speech, every single life has lived in vain,” he said about his discontent over Chinese authorities and the lack of freedom of speech in his documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” is a new documentary that tells his story as he struggles against the government domination and its ever vigilant attempts at censorship. Always audacious, he creates controversial art pieces, often working with photography and sculptures created from random materials and which come with a provocative message. Some depict his middle finger pointing at historical Chinese buildings while in another series of pictures he destroys ancient Han Dynasty vases. Such relics were painted, crashed and destroyed. The metaphorical and literal destruction of these symbols of Chinese history and culture portray his thirst for change and desire for revolution. Weiwei combines everything in such a clear and distinct way that his efforts reach beyond the Chinese borders, resulting in him being seen as an important artist in the contemporary art world.

The power of his art has been so influential that many Chinese citizens have gone up against the system to support the artist. Many of Weiwei’s followers and supporters participated in a barbecue in his Shanghai studio in order to save it from demolition from the same political establishment that helped build it. In addition, supporters collaborated on his Sichuan earthquake project, compiling a list with over 5,000 names of the students that

“Ai Weiwei is the most powerful artist in the world” died in the natural disaster because of the poor construction of the public schools. Other contemporary artists chose to use art as a vehicle to protest against injustice and society as a whole. Notable artist Nancy Spero used her paintings to depict the violence of the Vietnam War and its atrocities in her famed “The War” series. Heavy brush strokes with a spirit of disorganization and ugliness combine beautifully to transmit a rush of feelings

to the viewer. She represents violence by innuendo–without utilizing body shapes and landscape. Banksy, the recognized graffiti artist and prankster, continues to criticize society through his irreverent stenciled images around the world, gaining respect of worldwide art critics and fellow street artists alike. He continues to expand his work throughout cities and has risen to fame because of the artwork’s integration into local neighborhoods and the clarity and provocation of his messages. There is little doubt of the impact of art on the public. It is an effective and expressive way to emit a message to mass audiences. Ideas and feelings are materialized into sculptures, paintings and photographs; it is one world within a piece, created by the artist and shared with the rest. Contemporary art’s unusual forms and unconventional materials transmit meanings to a 21st century world. Art has superseded the merely decorative and instead has morphed into a tool to change viewer’s perspectives. As Ai Weiwei said, “The so called contemporary art is not a form but a philosophy of society.”

Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of



MARCH 2014

The Demise of a Graffiti Mecca by Yesica Balderrama

The 5Pointz building, a graffiti salad of colors and shapes, contrasted starkly against a background of muted neighboring buildings in Long Island City, Queens. A shot of revitalization to the eye, it could be seen from the 7 train before entering the dark tunnel into Manhattan, until last November when the walls of 5Pointz were whitewashed overnight. The site is set for demolition by the end of this year to be replaced by new high–rise apartment buildings. Both Long Island City residents and art enthusiasts were devastated after losing the four–year battle. For over a decade the location served as a hub for graffiti artists. The five–floor factory space of the 5Pointz building, also known as The Institute of Higher Burnin’ and the 5Pointz Aerosol Center, was purchased by the Wolkoff family owned company G&M Realty in 1971 for one million dollars. Jerry Wolkoff originally planned to develop the building. He rented the 200,000 square feet of space to companies until the 1990s when artists started to move in. Two hundred artists in the fields of photography, fine arts, video, design and crafts rented the studio spaces for several hundred dollars a month, a bargain compared to the prices of surrounding areas. Wolkoff gave graffiti artists permission in the 1990s during the rise of street art

to use the 2,000 square feet of the outer building as a blank canvas. The subject matter was left to the artists’ interpretations, exceptions being political or profane messages. For over a decade, graffiti artists used the 5Pointz walls to make work in the light of day, without getting arrested or fined. The duration of the graffiti depended on the quality; the better the work the longer it stayed. Each work had an average life span of six months. A notable section was a realistic black and white portrait of the rapper Notorious B.I.G. by New Zealand artist OD. About 350 murals covered 5Pointz and annually attracted an estimated 1,000 artists. Jonathan Cohen, an artist from Flushing, was the curator and managed the spaces to artists. Artists from places such as Australia, Japan, Brazil and France have left their mark. Kurtis Blow, Boot Camp Clik, Cope 2, Tats Cru, Tracy 168 and Joan Jett, artists on and off the field have visited the location. The building has also been used as a background for video and photography projects such as Jadakiss’ “Hold You Down.” The 5Pointz building closed its working spaces in 2009 after Nicole Gagne, a 37– year–old city jeweler, was injured when the concrete stairs she was descending collapsed. Gagne did not recuperate and died. The city ordered Wolkoff to close

the studios and to pay fines for a series of violations, which included lacking proper permits and unsafe conditions. Reparations were made but 5Pointz was not reoccupied. The decision to demolish 5Pointz was finalized in October 2013 by the New York City Council. The Wolkoff families and Queens democrat Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer proposed two $400 million towers with 1,000 apartments to replace 5Pointz. One building will be 47 stories high, and the other 41 stories with 210 affordable apartments and 12,000 square feet of studio space. The one–fifth ratio of affordable apartments qualifies the Wolkoffs for tax–free financing. Earlier in August supporters tried to acquire landmark status for 5Pointz from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Their request was turned down when 5Pointz did not meet requirements because it is less than 30–years old and does not have architectural distinction. In August, seventeen graffiti artists filed a lawsuit in the Brooklyn Federal Court citing a law that would save 5Pointz for the cause of “public interest.” Petitions were distributed and rallies were held on site. Spectators and passersby were greeted by the white painted walls of 5Pointz in the early hours of Nov. 19, 2013. Word spread

quickly as the colors that once distinguished 5Pointz were barely visible. In the evening, a group of artists and supporters gathered on site for a candlelight vigil. Marie Flaguel, an ardent participant in the effort to save 5Pointz said, “What’s ironic is we’re supposed to be the vandals and we did everything by the book, and that he’s the biggest vandal of all. He disrespected everything we’ve done for this community in a lawful manner.” Wolkoff had the 5Pointz building painted with whitewash during the hours of 3 a.m to 7 a.m. He sought the least confrontational and quickest solution. Wolkoff told The Wall Street Journal, “This is why I did it: it was torture for them and for me. They couldn’t paint anymore and they loved to paint. Let me just get it over with and as I knock it down they’re not watching their piece of art going down.” He has promised graffiti artists 10,000 square feet of wall space in the new buildings. The whitewashed walls of 5Pointz have left a gaping hole in the culture of Long Island City, Queens. Graffiti artists and enthusiasts have lost a gathering space but the impact of The Aerosol Center will not be forgotten. The location played a pivotal role in the development and cultivation of street art, and has left a its mark in the history of NYC arts.

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The Undefined World of Art by Rachel Basel & Dana Heyward

Contemporary art can be seen as raw and thought– provoking or bewildering and gimmicky. It’s the public, the scholars and the artists themselves who determine the value of these ideas behind art. While the traditional boundaries of art have faded, the lines between the ridiculous or the authentic are blurred; as pop artist Andy Warhol once said, “Art is what you can get away with.” Collage Known as the original “Anti–Art” since the early 20th century, the medium–or lack thereof– collage was one of the first mediums to pose the question, “What is and what is not art?” Whether it’s Picasso pasting newspaper and trash onto his paintings or Robert Rauschenberg propping up his paint–smeared bed, these artists make works with found materials and images out of the already created. “Art isn’t supposed to be about finding objects, it’s supposed to make objects,” said Professor Rachel Baum, who teaches a collage–heavy Art in New York course. The very creation of this art form takes the traditional formation of art and reverses it. She explains that by using actual objects from advertising, mass media and more, collage makes a commentary of the world we live in and our contemporary society. Rather than making art something nice to look at, collage artists “embrace mess and trash–literally,” said Baum. In doing so, it’s also a critique of fine art and classic influential establishments such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Professor Baum believes, “It’s art if someone buys it,” which has very much always been the standard for artistic property. If

anyone were to compile a heap of garbage and paint, it wouldn’t be considered art and yet Picasso’s collage works have sold for millions of dollars because they have context and gallery representation. Legitimate collage work is valuable because of its innovative construction and what it says about the present. “It takes images from the world, not of the world” and, “It’s taking things that aren’t art and making them art,” which Baum argues could be the most amazing art form of all time.

Photography In our modern society, to say we are drowning in images is an understatement. Most would agree that we take or look at photos throughout the day just as frequently as we eat, drink or walk down the street, especially living in New York. So as an activity that’s become so incredibly routine and customary, how does authentic photography maintain its significance in the art world now? In the 1800s, artists and scientists disputed whether photography was a scientific discovery or a revelation in the art world until it was dubbed an official art form around 1900. From the start, there were questions about its artistic contributions, but having the ability to freeze and

capture a “real”present moment proved to be a unique fine art. Professor Richard Turnbull of the History of Art department discussed the idea that photographers and painters have had a similar relationship when it comes to reinvention and are always, “going elsewhere for their subject matter.” Because anyone can call themselves a photographer, a real artist’s responsibility is to look for a new, innovative context. Thousands of people have Instagram accounts and photography blogs, but it can be said that most of these images lack depth and artistic thought. What’s important is, “mastering the expressive language, rather than making something public that used to be kept private”, said Turnbull. He believes that it’s still possible to be authentic, but that it’s rare in today’s society. And in regards to development he believes, “If the content is not interesting, what is the point of having a perfect print?” While some may argue that photographic innovation lies in Photoshop and other photo manipulation programs, Professor Turnbull said, “The challenge is what you can do with photo manipulation software that no one else is doing.” With photography evolving as an artform, and becoming increasingly involved with technology, it’s still important to keep in mind artistic vision and originality. This is what differentiates an average photo from a genuine piece of art.

Interactive and Performance Art In New York City, where contemporary art can really cultivate and thrive, there has been a recent surge of exhibits dedicated to interactive art. In 2011 there was the Carsten Holler Experience at the New Museum in which pretty much every part of the museum–spanning exhibit involved human interaction: from the slide that transected three floors of the building to the “Psycho Tank” in which attendees are encouraged to take a dip in a salt–water tank in the nude. Social media is often the driving force and influence behind many of these exhibits. Just a few months ago it was rare to see social media accounts that weren’t flooded with “selfies” as in Yayoi Kusama’s “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven” exhibit at the David Zwirner gallery. The trending exhibit was met with three hour waits by camera–ready art enthusiasts. Photography by Rachel Basel and Dana Heyward

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“There has definitely been a growing interest and awareness of interactive art due to social media and it’s definitely empowering. People from all over, some of whom have never been to contemporary galleries were coming to ours because they saw Kusama on social media,” said Veronique Ansorge, associate director at the David Zwirner Gallery. But does this kind of popularity distract from the actual art behind it all? Ansorge admits that the outside interest in Kusama only went as far as the two interactive installations. “[In addition to the interactive installations] we had over 24 paintings from Kusama. However, it was interesting to see that a lot of people had no interest in the paintings.” Art history Professor Andrew Weinstein believes that maybe this growing attraction to interactive and performance art exhibits is because they’re much more stimulating. In a “want it now” society where people are prone to distractions (mostly due to technology), anything that can hold our attention is sure to garner a response. One exhibition that grabbed the attention of the world was the Marina Abramović “The Artist Is Present” performance at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. The performance was simply Abramović sitting immobile in a chair while visitors sat opposite her in silence. It was the museum’s best attended performance art installation, attracting crowds from all over the country and resulting in an HBO documentary. While it certainly challenged the forefronts of contemporary art it was the concept behind it all that made it one of the most talked about movements of the decade. “Art is about ideas and can be solely conceptual,” said Weinstein, “Otherwise, art needs to be visually engaging one way or another.” Taking all of these endeavors into consideration, contemporary art has challenged what art experts, clients and the general public consider to be artistic. For some, it may be difficult to understand, but it’s still a commodity for art enthusiasts and is taken seriously by galleries and critics.

HAUTE CULTURE Nothing Was the SAMO: The Commercial Rise of Jean–Michel Basquiat by Chloe Dewberry

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The average person may assume that they’re not familiar with legendary Neo–Expressionist artist Jean–Michel Basquiat and his work. But they’ve probably unknowingly glanced at clothing adorned with his art and carbon copies of his old graffiti tags on the streets of New York within the past few months. In the same way those who aren’t technically familiar with pop artist Andy Warhol can identify his iconic Campbell’s soup can art on a tote bag a mile away, they can also now recognize Basquiat’s artwork on art gallery walls and Urban Outfitters t–shirt racks alike. Recently, we’ve seen an influx of Basquiat–inspired clothing lines and collaborations along with a major increase in auction prices for sales of his works. From Macklemore lyrics to Chelsea exhibitions, Basquiat was the artist that was on everyone’s minds, tongues, walls and clothing this past year. In the 1980s, Basquiat was the hottest New York City artist (and guy to be friends with). He first gained notoriety

as part of SAMO (Same Old Shit), a graffiti artist collective that covered downtown New York City buildings with their inscribed messages and artwork. The collective eventually dissolved and Basquiat rose to prominence shortly after, exhibiting one–man shows while rubbing elbows with famous pals such as Andy Warhol and Madonna. Basquiat shot to international art world fame in the mid 1980s with his aggressive street–inspired art and soon made a name for himself. But life in the limelight and growing pressures soon took a hold on the tortured artist and at the height of his career in 1988, he died of a heroin overdose. It’s been more than 25 years since Basquiat’s death and yet his fame and influence is at a cultural high, in painting sales and also commercial brand merchandise and collaborations. Basquiat’s painting “Dustheads” sold for a record $48.8 million in May at the famed Christie’s Auction and an untitled 1982 painting was sold to an unidentified telephone bidder for $29 million during another auction in June. This was a dramatic increase compared to the $1.6 million that the painting had brought in back in 2002. In recent months, clothing brands such as Neff and Rocksmith have jumped on the bandwagon and have each released limited collections of Basquiat– inspired pieces. High–end streetwear brand Supreme launched their own limited edition Supreme x Jean–Michel Basquiat collection in September which sold out in a matter of days, however, trendy hypebeasts can get their hands on the sold–out collection through and other resale options. Note, though, that resale prices have inflated from their retail origins and range from $275 for a hoodie sweatshirt to $210 for a button– down shirt. Even Uniqlo, everyone’s favorite Heattech haven, sold a line of graphic t–shirts featuring the artist’s work. Commercial corporations have made it virtually impossible to walk the streets of SoHo without seeing a Basquiat phone case

or mothers carrying babies wearing Basquiat–printed onesies. One reason behind the Basquiat renaissance is due to the ever–growing influence of the music industry. Hip–hop artists such as Lil Wayne and Rick Ross have recently paid homage to the artist through lyrics in their songs and producer Swizz Beatz, who regularly shows appreciation to the late artist with his music and personal art projects, collaborated with Reebok in 2010 to create a collection of Basquiat–inspired sneakers. Even Jay Z, named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2013, spent this past year buying Basquiat artwork to adorn his home and gave shout–outs to the artist during his entire “Magna Carta Holy Grail” album. With lyrics like “I’m the new Jean–Michel” and “Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner/ Go ahead lean on that Blue, you own it” peppering the album, Basquiat’s influence on Jay Z is clear. With famous musicians and industry– leading fashion designers dictating what’s cool, it’s impossible to resist Basquiat’s influence. As a modern–day society, “what’s cool” is constantly being shoved down our throats, what with social media, the news and real–life experiences, but Basquiat’s timeless pieces have managed to captivate a nation of influencers being influenced. In our generation of liking it “before it was cool,”one must remember that it is still important to know the history and meaning behind the clothes we wear, art we buy, and people we choose to emulate. There is no problem with wearing that Basquiat t–shirt from PacSun; you just know a little bit about the artist before Jay Z tells you to wear it. Photos courtesy of,,,




Fantastic Mr. Wes Anderson by Lilian Minchala

Wes Anderson’s films often create the impression of entering a different universe, one filled with bright colors and surreal characters. He has a unique way of creating magical worlds where events of colossal importance occur. Anderson has directed a handful of films including “Rushmore,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and his latest, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the eighth feature in his career. Anderson shows the world in vivid colors with a tint of nostalgia. One of the few directors to accomplish such compelling features, Wes Anderson’s films are easily recognized by their whimsical enchantment, a characteristic not often present in modern cinema. Far from your regular, quirky director, Anderson takes each film to a different place in time. In a recent interview for, he discussed the process behind his work. “Usually I’m thinking of some kind of atmosphere to go with where the story is taking place. It’s sort of a vague concept, a feeling. The process is actually pinning down and gathering the details it’s going to be built from,” he said. “Somewhere it shifts from being inspiration to a kind of research.” These

techniques help set himself apart from the potential monotony of blockbuster movies. In “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson transports audiences to a 1960s realm, Rococo–like fantasy of adolescent love, filled with a New England summer camp, a sultry Françoise Hardy song and capped with a yellow–tint filter. It may not suit everyone’s taste, but Anderson helps us experience love for the first time through an odd, pubescent camp scout.

In his latest film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Anderson creates, in his authentic style, a film straight out of his colorful imagination only to end up leaving you wanting more. He does this with a blend of an exuberant color palette, idiosyncratic characters and never–ending chaos. In his interview with Daily Beast, Anderson says that the film was inspired by Billy Wilder and the Ernst Lubitsch films, “To Be or Not to Be” and “The Shop Around the Corner,” as well as some of Stefan Zweig’s works. He continued, “I was in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, and was walking around the park and saw this statue of Zweig. I must have walked by it a million times before and never noticed it, but this time I happened to be reading his book, ‘Beware of Pity’,” he said. “We actually stole the movie’s intro from ‘Beware of Pity’. It’s a format Zweig uses in a lot of his stories where someone meets somebody else and they tell him or her a story.” Adhering to his stylistic ways, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” illustrates Anderson’s distinctive narrative and visual style, drawing viewers into a fantastical world of beauty, humor and authenticity. Wes Anderson’s films are bright yet wry studies of people and the relationship between them, infused with small doses of hilarity, melancholy and eccentricity. While his films may remind us of the crude reality of the world, they are vibrant and unique in their own way, earning the attention of many moviegoers. No one can make a replica of a Wes Anderson film; he stands out from the traditional Hollywood movies, infusing the industry with a new, artistic interpretation of storytelling.



MARCH 2014

Celebrities in Art by Molly Clarke

It is not uncommon for celebrities to be featured in works of art, even further displaying their talents. Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton and Jay Z have all dabbled into the art world. You may remember Shia LaBeouf as the troublemaker, Louis, in “Even Stevens,” and even as a real–life Hollywood bad boy. But what you may not know is that he’s now considers himself an artist. LaBeouf recently held an exhibit in Los Angeles called “#Iamsorry.” The exhibit was LaBeouf’s way of apologizing for his recent eye–raising antics and involved choosing an item that relates to films he’d done in the past. The items included everything from a Transformer action figure to a bottle of whiskey. Once an item is chosen, the participant was taken into a room with LaBeouf sitting at an empty table, paper bag over his head. He remained silent the entire time. Those visiting the exhibit were allowed to speak to him; they could touch and hug him, too. In pictures emerging from the exhibit, LaBeouf cried for a good part of the exhibit. Online reports have been quick to draw a parallel of LaBeouf’s exhibit to a piece done by contemporary art maven, Marina Abramović. Abramović’s piece was titled “Rhythm 0” and attendees could do whatever they wanted to her. Upon entering viewers saw a table holding 72 items, ranging from knives to a loaded gun. Abramović sat quietly as total strangers could point a loaded gun at her head. Abramović remained silent, and endured this torture for a grueling six hours. LaBeouf’s exhibit was not as extreme, but it is clear why the parallels surfaced. Conversely, Tilda Swinton’s starring role in art was dramatically different. She took place in a centerpiece of a work entitled “The Maybe,” featured at the MoMA. Swinton was encased in a glass box with cushions and a gallon of water while onlookers gawked and took photos as she slept silently. This piece originated in 1995 in London and was a collaboration with artist Cornelia Parker. Last

year, Swinton randomly chose dates that she would appear in the exhibit, the dates being unannounced to the public. Swinton has not spoken publicly about the exhibit, leaving gawkers and art lovers alike scratching their heads adding to the mystique of “The Maybe.” Jay Z is known for his rhymes and his marriage to Beyoncé. As part of the promotion for his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,”he performed the single “Picasso Baby” for six continuous hours at Chelsea’s Pace Gallery. Jay Z, like Shia Labeouf, took inspiration from Marina Abramović’s “The Artist is Present” for his piece. A packed space at Pace comprised of excited fans, celebrities and media, unaware of the art they were about to experience. Jay Z would choose random audience members to “face off” with as he performed “Picasso Baby,” to the delight of the audience. Abramović , herself, was in attendance and the artist had a face–off in the performance. The event “performance art

film” as it is titled, was filmed by HBO for an eleven minute documentary that premiered last summer and if your interest lies in the contemporary art world, or you bow down to Jay Z, this documentary is definitely worth checking out. In the celebrity–obsessed culture we live in, we often follow celebrities’ lives to a tee.. And sometimes this includes a step into the art world, a world we as fans may be unfamiliar with. This gives the art world more exposure as well as an opportunity to gain a new following. Marina Abramović praised Jay Z’s venture into the world of contemporary art saying, “For me it’s very important that the rapper community and the Twitter community actually start Googling to understand what performance art is,” in an interview with New York Magazine. Celebrities take the chance to dip into the art world to show just how versatile they are as a performer. As long as Tilda Swinton will sleep in a glass box, we will eagerly watch for her (for whatever may come next).




Art After Breast Cancer:

Transforming Scars by Cassandra Laper

Whenever someone asks me, “What’s your tattoo about?” I always feel as if I’m letting that person get a glimpse into my life. These feelings come from the belief that tattoos are stories permanently inscribed onto our bodies. The founders of P.INK (Personal INK) would surely agree. P.INK helps women who are breast cancer survivors redesign their nipples or both breasts with tattoos. The goal is to create a connection with the survivors and the tattoo artists, who transform a survivor’s scars into artwork. Breast cancer leaves scars–emotional, mental and physical, but not many people would think of tattoos as a form of art therapy treatment. In traditional breast cancer cases, a mastectomy usually results in the removal of all the breast tissue in the area. A growing number of patients decide to have a double mastectomy as a preventive measure, think Angelina Jolie. Although treating

photos courtesy of P.INK

breast cancer may involve several other surgeries, it was the resulting double mastectomy scars that inspired P.INK. Founder Molly Ortwein planned to deal with cancer on her own terms. After a double mastectomy in 2010, Ortwein decided to get creative with her coping process. The idea came from talking to her doctor about her nipples before the surgery. The doctor referred to the design of her nipples after the surgery as “circles – pretty much a tattoo.” Ortwein took the idea that her nipples would be tattooed and ran with it. She wanted to open a conversation about breast cancer and the healing process. Thinking through her decision to redesign her breasts and take back her femininity, Ortwein found Colby Butler of Unfamous Tattoos in Miami. While filming the experience, Butler said,

“Putting a tattoo in that spot can help you move forward, to either forget or to make it a more beautiful thing.” Jessica Russell, a survivor who utilized the services of P.INK for her tattoo, agreed. She said, “I got a tattoo because I wanted to make something beautiful out of what I saw as no longer beautiful.” This organization has given these women a form of empowerment. They have scars but that doesn’t mean that the scars are in charge of their body after they’ve had their life–altering surgery. These women are coming together and connecting with tattoo artists to choose their revamped body, on their terms. The concept is gracious and conforms to a notion where survivors are channeling their energy as an art form. As Russell said, “Fuck off cancer; you’re not welcome here.”



MARCH 2014

Album Review:

Planningtorock by Zachary Rosenbaum

as an artist has always reflected upon her questioning of identity and people as individuals. For her sophomore album, 2011’s “W,” Rostron donned a stark, prosthetic nose piece and lowered the pitch of her voice, emulating masculinity. Before releasing “All Love’s Legal,” Rostron changed her first name from Janine to Jam to have Photo credit of less association with gender identity. In an age where A danceable bass line has you nodding homophobic and especially transphobic your head to its rhythm when suddenly behavior is prevalent in our mainstream the song erupts into a pan–flute raver: culture, “All Love’s Legal” shouts for a a cacophony of wind and string instrunew age of gender freedom. ments, nearly indescribable vocals and a synthetic beat. It’s unnerving and bizarre, “All Love’s Legal” doesn’t question genbut demands that you sit up and listen. der norms so much as it makes them The track is titled “Misogyny Drop Dead,” obsolete. The first track, “Welcome,” is and it’s just one of the triumphant proclamations Planningtorock, the musical alias a dreamy, twinkly introduction where Rostron sings hopefully: “Fall in love of Jam Rostron, declares on her latest with whoever you want to.” The title album “All Love’s Legal,” out on Rostron’s track expands on the mantra of the intro, own label, Human Level. riffing on the melody while expanding on the idea of a love that is free of An electronic musician and multi– political constraints. The first single, instrumentalist with a strong visual “Human Drama,” is an irresistibly catchy, approach to her work, Rostron’s image

mid–tempo dance track that sets the groove for the rest of the album with the lyrics “the personal is so political/give me a human drama/gender’s just a lie.” Tracks like “Beyond Binary Binds” and “Public Love” combine fun electro–dancehall beats with complex digital composition. The album’s heavier moments are the blues–tinted “Answerland” and the visceral, moving standout “Steps.” Lyrically, the most vehement song on the album is “Patriarchy Over & Out,” a drum and bass banger that you’d likely hear in a darkened nightclub in Berlin.

“All Love’s Legal” shouts for a new age of gender freedom.” The music of “All Love’s Legal” matches the aesthetic of the album cover: polychromatic, gender fluid and psychedelic. Rostron poses in a puffy bomber and an oversized polo, holding a spade in front of her face. “All Love’s Legal” is a colorful trip, and if the meat of the message sometimes feels a little thin, Rostron reminds us on the gorgeous instrumental interlude that “Words Are Glass” and transcendence is the key.

Film Review:

Winter’s Tale by Sarah Fielding

“Winter’s Tale” is the classic telling of good versus evil, with a mythical interpretation of New York City as a backdrop. The seemingly ageless Colin Farrell stars as Peter Lake. Peter is a robber who is on the run from Russell Crowe’s Pearly Soames. He came to America as a baby with his parents in the late 1800s. When his parents are refused entry, they send little Peter in a makeshift boat to shore as they are forced to return to Europe. Flash forward to when we can see an adult Peter: living above Grand Central Station hiding from his former employer, Pearly. Pearly’s job is to stop miracles and destiny from happening–the typical Hollywood

bad guy. A magical, flying horse finds him and saves him for the time being. We soon realize that this is not the Manhattan we know, but instead a mystical one filled with angels and demons. Nevertheless, most people living there are completely unaware. Peter is about to leave the city with a trove of stolen goods, when the horse motions for him to steal once more from the beautiful house in front of them. The house belongs to a girl named Beverly Penn and it is destiny for Peter and her to meet and fall in love. Beverly catches him in the act trying to steal from her house and, unafraid,

invites him to have tea. She is dying from tuberculosis. She tells him this is the reason he does not scare her as she is already staring death in the face. Beverly and Peter have a supernatural, dramatic love affair. There are many twists and turns, the biggest of which is when Peter ends up in present day Manhattan by Pearly’s doing. Parts of the movie are hard to follow for sure. Will Smith’s amazing performance as Lucifer is a great contribution to the movie. If you are interested in seeing a movie about love, destiny, miracles and what people will do for each other, then this is the movie for you.




Taschen Art Books by Yesica Balderrama

It’s evident: digital publishing is here. Electronic devices have increasingly replaced print. Why purchase a tangible copy when it is readily available online? One can easily access a copy of the latest Stephen King novel online, even at 3 a.m. on a Sunday night, barefoot, in pajamas and with an ice cream bowl in hand. Although the number of bookstores has decreased, publishing niches continue to cater to bibliophiles alike. One of these publishers is Taschen, whose well–crafted, coffee table art books have earned them a strong reputation over their 30 years in business. After previewing the books online, I looked forward to seeing them in person at the Taschen store in SoHo. Perks of digital media aside, I still enjoy the sensation of holding a book. I’m no stranger to cracking open a paperback and burrowing my nose between the pages to catch a whiff of that new book smell, or running my fingers over embossed letters, die–cut typography or deckle edged text blocks. Upon entering the warmly lit Taschen store, I was greeted by rows of glossy spines and hardcover bound books. One of Taschen’s specialties is collector’s edition books, which range from $2,500 to $15,000, and I was especially interested in seeing those. An open photography book of black and white aerial city views rested on a coffee table about three feet wide and two feet in length. I was immersed in the photographs, edges do not exist at that size. The book was hefty, true to its value and purpose; it was made to be looked at and preserved, and not discarded or even picked up. Collector’s editions come with stands and are

made from specially selected materials. Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis, enclosed in a glass case, is made from art paper, leather and comes with a cherry wood veneer, as well as the author’s signature. The prints are so detailed they appear to be three– dimensional, and separate details take on abstract forms. Taschen’s catalogue not only includes books in the field of art and design, but also controversial subjects, and almost every well–known artist, designer, or work. Taschen is known for publishing books in racy subjects such as fetishism, nudity, pornography and pin–ups. Their best sellers range from “The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm” to “The Little Book of Big Butts.” Prices start at $10, and include soft covers, coffee table editions, and (as well as special editions like the super–sized titles) special editions. Full–page glossy photographs fill books in a multitude of sizes. Taschen books are clearly aimed at an audience that enjoys looking at images and wants little to do with words so text is kept to a minimum. The artistry of Taschen books lies in displaying and bringing out the beauty of images, and includes every art form possible. A sense of bravado that other publishers may find risky at the cost of losing money, yet Taschen manages to get away with it tastefully. Taschen proves the art of book–making is still alive, attests to the irreplaceable qualities of print and proves that there is still a reason to put on real clothes, get off the computer and go outside to visit a real–life bookstore.

Photography by Yesica Balderrama



MARCH 2014

OYB: Astoria, Queens by Dana Heyward

Food is always the first thing on my mind when I travel to a new place so naturally, finding some in Astoria was my first inclination. Trying something from one of the Greek restaurants seemed appropriate, however it was a little pizza shop called Grand Avenue Pizzeria that ended up drawing me in as I could smell their food from across the street. It’s definitely an old school kind of shop but their selection was something you don’t see in most pizza shops; they even had authentic pepperoni bites, something I thought was a lost art. I ended up having a delicious Sicilian slice and was served by some of the nicest staff I’ve ever come across in my foodie life.

For some people (like me), Queens can seem like a distant land in comparison to the other four boroughs. It was just some place I always thought of as a whole small–ish neighborhood rather than an entire borough. But Queens is in fact the second–largest borough of New York City and has a LOT to offer. This was my first time ever venturing into the area so I thought I’d check out Astoria, one of the larger neighborhoods in Queens. Hopping off the N train at the 30th Ave stop, to my surprise, felt like I could be somewhere in the Bronx. From the corner bodegas, array of pizza shops and mix

of ethnic restaurants, it was almost a replica. Yet, I still felt there was something different about the neighborhood so I continued to explore. Astoria is considered one of the many “ethnic enclaves” of the city due to its large Greek population. Back in the 70s, the streets would be lined with Greek owned delis, restaurants and businesses. While Astoria remains Queen’s “Little Greece,” it has become much more diverse and now includes Italian, Mexican, Pakistani and American businesses.

Just like pizza shops, bakeries seem to be a running theme throughout the neighborhood so don’t be afraid to try a number of them. Frank’s Bakery caught my attention because I could also smell it from down the block. Instead of my usual request for cannolis, which I get whenever I visit Italian bakeries, I decided to go for a half pound of apricot–filled cookies, rainbow cookies and a pecan Danish– all of which were random choices that turned out to be a great decision. Astoria is also home to one of the oldest and last remaining biergartens in NYC, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. The spot offers 23 different beers on tap and a variety of traditional Czech dishes and is ideal for long summer days due to it’s sprawling outdoors seating area. Keep it

in mind when we finally get some decent, non–lip chapping, weather in NYC. Something I’ve never seen before was a 24–hour fruit market. So, when I came across the United Brother Fruit Market, I started to question if it was even legal (or sanitary for some reason) to have an open–air fruit market open that long. But the market assures a fresh selection of produce at all times. So if you’re in the area at 3 a.m. and hankering for a peach, you know where to go. Astoria isn’t exactly known as a shopping spot but if you’re looking for a relatively cheap and cute boutique, stop by Hanger on Steinway Street. The small shop offers a unique color–coordinated (yes color– coordinated!) selection of clothes in the vein of H&M or Brandy Melville. Plus the staff is super–friendly. I still stand by my initial opinion that Astoria is a lot like parts of the Bronx appearance–wise, but there’s certainly a different personality one gets from the locals and the neighborhood spots alike. There’s a peaceful balance between the old Astoria of Greek owned businesses, with the new influx of young creatives who seem to have had their influence on the neighborhood. Its cultural diversity is something you can really embrace and end up loving.

Photography by Dana Heyward




Month in Review by Dara Kenigsberg

Photo courtesy of

Most Wanted Drug Lord, Arrested Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, was arrested on Feb. 22 after eluding authorities for 12 years. The drug kingpin escaped from a maximum–security prison in 2001 via a laundry cart. He was apprehended again this February by a surprise raid on the Miramar condominium building where he was staying, located in the Mexican beach town of Mazatlan. He was found in bed, curled up with his beauty queen–wife and an assault rifle at his side, but did not attempt to use it. Guzmán is considered by many to be more powerful than Mexican President Pena Nieto. The Sinaloa cartel has been deemed one of the world’s most powerful and deadliest drug trafficking organizations. According to, “Guzmán apparently moved around several homes in Culiacan, Sinaloa, connected by an elaborate network of tunnels also linked to the city’s sewer system,” the report read. “The entrances to the seven homes were reinforced with steel, which enabled Guzmán to escape via tunnel before marines could break down the doors. On other occasions, authorities decided against attempting to apprehend Guzmán in public places.” His capture was the result of a joint operation by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agents and Mexican Marines that was in the works for about five weeks. The key

information leading to his arrest came from cell phones and other data that helped authorities track Guzmán down. 97 large guns, 36 handguns, 2 grenade launchers and a rocket launcher were also seized with Guzmán. John Torres, a former Immigrations and Customs agent, told CNN that “information leading to Guzmán’s capture actually started to develop about five years ago after the Arizona arrests of several people connected to the drug cartel. ICE and Homeland Security were the lead agencies in that investigation.” Last February, Chicago’s city crime commission named Guzmán it’s Public Enemy No. 1. The city was one of the major destinations for the cartel’s illegal drugs. Guzmán and his lieutenants are named in indictments there and in New York, Texas and San Diego for marijuana, cocaine and heroin trafficking. He is also indicted for racketeering, money laundering, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder. He is wanted on multiple federal drug trafficking and organized crime charges in both Mexico and the United States. The Sinaloa Cartel has enterprises around the world, reaching across the United States, parts of Europe and Australia. Guzmán has been included in Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful People list since

2009, and his fortune has been estimated at over one billion dollars. Although Guzmán’s arrest represents a massive blow to the Sinaloa Cartel, if he is not extradited to the United States, he will be free to go. Furthermore, many people are asking how his arrest will impact the operational capacity of the cartel. According to, “The cartel is well–organized and has experienced lieutenants in place in all of the major areas where it conducts its business. The supposed successor to Guzmán, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, is a seasoned veteran of the cartel and has already been handling many of the duties of running business in the organization. The cartel has enough resilience to withstand the removal of its top figure; this is what makes it imperative for the Mexican government to carry out a sustained assault on the cartel if it intends to disrupt the organization’s activities,” reported So what does this mean? As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will always be another El Chapo and more violence could ensue. Unfortunately, while this high profile arrest was a pivotal moment, major changes are not expected to necessarily result from it.



MARCH 2014

Rioting in Ukraine Ends in Lethal Day of Violence Viktor Yanukovych, former President of Ukraine, fled his country by helicopter towards the end of February as the last of his allies deserted him. Yanukovych’s decision to abandon ties with Europe in favor of a financial bailout from Russia set off three months of protests that ended in bloodshed. Feb. 20 marked the most lethal day of violence in Ukraine since Soviet times. According to The New York Times, “The opposition said that at least 70 and as many as 100 people had been killed, while municipal authorities put the day’s death toll at 39.” While irate protesters began marching detained police officers through Kiev’s central square, security forces began firing on the masses of anti–government

demonstrators despite signs of negotiations. Later that night, Yanukovych expressed a willingness to hold presidential and parliamentary elections this year, as demanded by the opposition. However, due to the mistrust and antagonism on both sides, the hope of actually reaching an agreement seemed remote, especially because many of his rivals decided that they would not settle for anything less than Yanukovych’s resignation. By dawn the following day, war had basically broken out. The police were authorized to use live ammunition while, according to The New York Times, “young men in ski masks opened a breach in the police barricade near the stage on Independence Square, ran across a

hundred yards of smoldering debris from what had been called a protective ring of fire and then confronted riot police officers who were firing at them with shotguns. Snipers also opened fire, but it was unclear which side they were on.” On Feb. 28, as Yanukovych was said to be staying in a luxury government retreat, masked gunmen stormed parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea region as Russian fighter jets rushed to guard the borders. The Denver Post reported that “Russia granted shelter to Ukraine’s fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, while pledging to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” This conflict only made Ukraine’s financial problems worse, prompting Western leaders to prepare an emergency financial

Judging Scandal at the Olympics? The Olympics is the world’s foremost sports competition, with more than 200 nations competing. This year, Sochi, Russia provided a beautiful backdrop for the winter games, and despite threats of terrorism and judging mishaps, Team USA was able to bring home a total of 28 medals (9 of which were gold). It does seem odd though that Russia won the most medals, with a staggering total of 33 medals (13 of which were gold). In fact, when Adelina Sotnikova became the first Russian to ever win gold for figure skating, many questioned if the judging was rigged. Some believe that it was the skate of her life while others felt it dubious judges inflated her score, but whatever the opinion, this controversy has taken on a life of its own. So many people are upset about this that they have come together to protest a change and over 1.6 million fans signed a petition on the website in the hopes of opening

an official inquiry. The petition is called, “Open Investigation into Judging Decisions of Women’s Figure Skating and Demand Rejudgement at the Sochi Olympics.” Sotnikova, 17, finished with a score of 224.59 points, ousting Yuna Kim of Korea whose score totaled 219.11 after the free skate program. Sotnikova’s free skate had one more triple jump than Kim so there is some merit to the score, although countless numbers of loyal fans see it differently. According to CNN, “Some pointed out that she had stepped out after landing a triple combination and others raised questions about the anonymous judging system. It didn’t help that one of the judges had been suspended for a year for trying to fix an event at the Winter Olympics 16 years ago. Or that another is married to the head of the Russian figure skating federation.” Furthermore, American figure skater

Ashley Wagner told Yahoo! that she felt “gypped.” Wagner did not fall once, yet she finished 7th, behind other skaters who had fallen multiple times, such as Russian skater Julia Lipnitskaia. Sports journalists and figure skating experts are split on the decision. Chris Chase of USA Today wrote, “It’s debatable, but not a robbery. Sotnikova skated well enough to win gold,” while Kurt Browning, a four– time world champion, told The New York Times, “I was shocked…I’m still trying to figure it out.” Unfortunately for Kim, the petition will probably never actualize any change. According to Yahoo!, “the ISU made it very clear that they have no problem courting accusations of corruption — they might even welcome them. A very popular petition containing the names of skating fans is unlikely to change their minds.”

package. However, Russia is determined not to lose Ukraine to the West, as, according to The Denver Post, Vladimir Putin “has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine — a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization — closer into Moscow’s orbit.” These events presented a challenge to Ukraine’s new authorities as they established an interim government for the divided country. Central banker Arseniy Yatsenyuk, appointed as the new Prime Minister on Thursday, is tasked with restoring stability in a country that has a massive political divide and is on the brink of a financial breakdown.

List of Gold Medals America Took Home: Sage Kotsenburg Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Jamie Anderson Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Kaitlyn Farrington Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe Joss Christensen Men’s Skiing Slopestyle Charlie White and Meryl Davis Olympic Ice Dancing David Wise Men’s Ski Halfpipe Ted Ligety Men’s Giant Slalom Maddie Bowman Women’s Halfpipe Skiing Mikaela Shiffrin Women’s Slalom

FIT SPEAKS From A to Z: Andy Warhol and Me by Fernanda DeSouza

I met Andy Warhol on Myspace in 2006. I can’t recall what it was but we clicked instantaneously–so much so he graced my top 10 friend list within the first week of our newly established friendship. His hair was so eye catching. I admired him for wearing sunglasses at night and he was the only man I knew who kept a diary. I was drawn (in? captivated?). I didn’t have much to talk about with him, he was the shy boy from the Steel City. So our conversations were pretty monotonous at first, but he finally warmed up to me. It all started with soup.

“Oh. I mean I like drinking Shirley Temples, I’ve never seen any of her movies...” I immediately regretted leaving that comment on his wall. It made me seem so un–American and as if I never lived a normal, American childhood. He didn’t write me back for weeks. I was so depressed, I made my mother drive to the closest Barnes & Noble and I bought every

“You know they call you the Girl on Fire, right? They must really like you then!”

“Soup? I guess, when it’s cold out. But not necessarily my favorite dish.”

“Yes, but it’s a very lonely way to live, you know?” I didn’t. Despite Edie’s loneliness, I made it my goal to become her. One year later, I began to wear heavy eyeliner (much to my mother’s dismay) and black tights. Two years later, I started dancing like her, a drug– infused dance to Nico & The Velvet Underground blasting from my archaic Hewlett Packard desktop. Three years later, I chopped my hair off and tried a cigarette for the first time (the worst experience during my metamorphosis). And then I moved to New York.

“Try Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.” I made my mother drive out to the grocery store the following day and I stocked up on the “Mmm, mmm, good– ness.” I was afraid to tell Andy how much I hated it. The last thing I wanted was for Andy to exclude me from the lunch table, in a (a la ? or something like that?)Regina George “You can’t sit with us.”


book I could find on my new, possible that he was no longer my friend. I took notes, I absorbed. I researched every painting and drawing the man ever did.

“Yeah...” “Do you like movie stars?” “Sure do! I just saw that new Superman Returns–”

“Why did you use sandpaper on your nose? Is it really that big?” “I don’t like to talk about it.” “But...”

“Shirley Temple was my aaabsolute favorite when I was a kid.”

“Edie, when did you cut your hair?” “When I moved to New York, you know I–I just needed a new look. I couldn’t drag that WASP into a place like New York, then my escape would’ve meant nothing– haha!” I imagined her speaking in her airy voice, cigarette at hand.

“Do you like soup?” he wrote on my comments page.

“My mom’s soup is better but I mean, it’s palatable enough...a little salty.”

smoking. martini–sipping, leotard–wearing old money nonsense that dripped so elegantly from her tortured soul. She really was a b–e–a–u–t–y. And she was the first woman I fell in love with. I wanted to be her, minus the drugs.

“I’ve a new friend in town, she’s a b–e– a–u–t–y.” Then I met Edie Sedgwick. She came out–of–left field, with her chain

In New York, I became a Chelsea Girl: I lead (led?) flocks to art gallery openings, giggled while sipping glass after glass of wine, discussed the composition of the paintings and photographs. And I danced like Edie in Greenwich Village dugouts. I met Warhol wannabes trying to break into the East Village scene. In my mind, I recreated Warhol’s era and I was his superstar. Although we’ve gone our separate ways on Myspace (he’s an Instagram guy, I’m a Twitter gal, Edie’s smoking inside a deteriorating Chelsea Hotel room), he’s left his mark on me, and because of him, I’ll never look at art the same way...what do you think about silver as a new hair color?



MARCH 2014

Nothing Is Original by Kristelle Oca

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” – Salvador Dali Art is many things. Art is expression. Art is creation Art is inspiration. Art is merely one word that embodies the infinite possibilities of being– be it music, literature, dance, painting, design, etc. However, in this day and age, can art, in all its forms, ever be original? We live in the 21st century, an era of widespread knowledge and inspiration. An era where you may see a dress you like but would never be able to afford.Luckily, there’s

usually a knock–off webstore that has something that looks just like that dress in a, let’s face it, probably lower quality but still wearable condition. The ironic thing about these two examples is that, what you may have considered the “original and copied” work within the two, were probably derived and influenced by someone else’s work as well. This idea applies to all art– whether it’s in a form inspired by others but not appropriated all of the time. So let’s say that in 2014, a painter goes on a morning walk, spots a beautiful black dog, and rushes home to impress what he has just seen onto canvas with watercolors. Is the painting he had just finished (which is an exact portrait of the dog he had seen), original? In my eyes? No. He was inspired by something that already existed, and to be quite honest, it’s not possible for him to have been the first person to paint a dog. What if he makes the dog green? Or what if he chops up his painting and glues it together in a chaotic ensemble on, let’s say, a purple illustration board? Is it not original then? You tell me.

Chances are your little sibling has colored a dog green before with their crayons, and chances are you’ve had to do a cut–and– paste project before. None of these ideas are new or innovative– they’ve all been done before. Even this article I’m writing, which is art in the sense of written word, is not original. Many people have written about this topic before me, and many people will continue to write about this topic after me. The upside of it all is that no two people are ever the same. What does this mean? Well, each time a picture of a dog is made, artists add their own interpretation, their own view and their own details. The shade of green one person uses could be different from the next. The place they paste the dog’s ear on the illustration board could be different from the place the other person pastes it on. That’s why, even though everything in the current world of art is derived or inspired by something already out there, it’s never actually the same—and it is why art continues to be a beloved form of expression. Photo courtesy of

The Importance of Visual Art Education by Yesica Balderrama

Oscar Wilde declared in “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “All art is quite useless.” There is truth to this statement, even though I’m visualizing using a painting as an umbrella in the rain, hoisting it on four wooden legs to make a table, or perhaps stripping off the canvas to use as a curtain. In the most direct and banal definition of “use,” art is useless. Funding for visual arts education is reduced yearly, and is clearly undervalued in the education system. However, the educational value of art lies not in the end product, but in the skills learned through the making of art and consequently, the crucial role it plays in the advancement of civilization.

trends. Art serves as a cultural lens into previous generations, and will continue to serve this purpose. Art documents and in this sense, makes artists documentarians.

What roles does art play then, one might ask? Thousands of people visit the cavernous mammoth structures of the Met, the MoMa, and the Guggenheim Museum every year to look at work in the fields of architecture, fine art, design, music, digital media and performance art. Visitors see what previous generations produced, and can deduce information about lifestyles, philosophies, values, beliefs and

What art does is bring ideas into being, whether visual, auditory, technological, political or social. Ideas carry one generation to next, and without ideas there would be no progress. For example, Da Vinci sketched some of the first airplane prototypes, not invented by the Wright brothers until centuries later. Science fiction writers from the 50s and 60s dreamed up robots and gadgets, both of

But what are artists really doing? Regardless of the fluid elements of art, such as medium and style, the foundation of art lies in an idea. Ideas stem from the need to search, explore find, and create. Ideas stem from the need to communicate, and that can also mean having nothing to say. An idea can be a feeling, a vision, a revelation, a desire, a need, or an impulse. An idea not brought to fruition only exists in theory and is not usable.

which exist now, and continue to be developed. Before these feats and inventions became a reality, they were imagined. The practice of art not only involves the ability to see what is in front of us, or the creation of pretty pictures and objects, but the ability to seek alternatives and possibilities, and to change “what is” into “what could be.” What needs to be changed? What can be improved? By cutting funding in the visual arts, students are not merely being deprived from learning how to draw the human body or how to shade, but the skills of practicing how to think on their own, and the use of their imagination, in other words, the ability to envision the future. Technological and medicinal advancements were achieved because someone saw a problem and asked, “How can this be solved?” Someone stopped to imagine a different reality, experimented and created a solution. What is really being taught when students are asked to regurgitate information yearly in standardized

tests? There is no original or creative thinking involved in memorizing facts. What is being taught when grades are based on how well rules are followed without question? Social and political progress happened because someone imagined change, had the nerve to stand up against the status quo, say, “I disagree,” and stood by their opinion regardless of the consequences. What would have happened if leaders of social and political uprisings had kept quiet and followed obediently? There would have been no change, and the world would not be as it is today. Oscar Wilde may be right in saying art is ultimately useless, but the skills of thinking for one’s self and practicing the use of imagination are not. Art not only teaches students how to see what is here, but also encourages the exploration of possibilities, which lead to innovation and change, and move civilization forward.

An Sung | Accessories Design | Christian Louboutin

Annya Grant | Illustration | Dan Luvisi

Kelsey Watson | FMM | Christian Louboutin

style on 27 Photography by Jessica Farkas

For FIT–goers, getting dressed is an art all it’s own. That said, consider these nine students the masters: They nailed subzero–degree style to a T. And, in honor of our annual Art Issue, we asked them: who’s your favorite artist? Jienn So | ITM | Opening Ceremony

Katherine Stalling | FMM | Alice and Olivia

Sophia Greene | FMM | Petra Colins

Imani Jones | AMC | Daughter

Peter Do | Fashion Design | Benjamin Carbonne

March 2014: The Art Issue  
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