Showing posts with label modern. Show all posts
Showing posts with label modern. Show all posts

6.11.21

Fall Teaching Diary: After a Quarter of the Year Teaching (On the Hinge of the Covid-19 Pandemic)

I am a high school English teacher. But, in this post, I don't talk at all about teaching. But if you want to check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers — it's lit! I took a selfie while waiting for a burger at the Five Guys on Fifty-Something street in Manhattan. Then I went to see a French film at the Museum of Modern Art — L'amour Fou, directed by Jacques Rivette. I knew nothing of the movie, except that it was an artifact of the Nouveau Vague — and its running time was well-over four hours. The movie's images and set-up captivated my imagination. I only once became anxious about sitting in the theater for that long. The movie is about the break-up of a theater director guy and his girlfriend, an actor (performed by by Jean-Pierre Kalfon and Bulle Ogier). The film cuts between life in their Parisian apartment, scenes from rehearsal of the play Andromaque, and a documentary film crew filming the director's rehearsals. Lots of talking. And improvisation. So it feels natural. Something that a long-run movie does for the viewer. And the scene where the couple has a Dionysian tear-up of their apartment was fantastic. And then the moments when the guy was a total masculine unsympathetic man — I didn't care for that much. The focus on the female character was my go-to source of enjoyment. Hooray! I watched that long French movie. And then I went home and became anxious because I was looking to move to a new place. I move on December First, and I have no idea where I will end up or with who. Long story short — I decided (and my current roommate) agreed that our time was up. We divorced. Amicably. Kind of like in the French movie — except my roommate is not my lover. *Laughing out loud* I plan to move to another place in the neighborhood — in Jackson Heights, Queens. I like the environs even though it is a tad boring. So wish me luck and let me know in the comments if you have ever seen a French film that you liked and why.
Film Still from Jacques Rivette's 4-hour long film L'amour Fou

3.9.20

Aesthetic Thursday: First Time Back at the Museum of Modern Art Since Covid

That time I stepped into the Museum of Modern Art since it had closed (like all cultural institutions) its doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Greig Roselli visits the Museum of Modern Art in New York City shortly after it reopened at the end of August 2020.
MoMA normally has massive crowds. Not today.

Judd's series of parallelograms
A series of five parallelograms on view
in a special exhibition on the artist Judd.


"On my way to the Museum of Modern Art," I told my roommate. "Oh?" she said. As if I had just admitted to a felony. "Oh. It's cool. The museum is open now. Since yesterday. But they are only letting in a certain amount of people — and there are mad temperature checks at the front door." I went on and on, basically convincing myself it was OK to look at art during a global pandemic.

MoMA sits on a nice piece of real estate on 53rd Street in Manhattan between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Over the years, the museum has expanded significantly — and now, in 2020 — going there is like going to a museum version of a theme park. You can do a lot in one space — see a movie, grab a bite to eat but not now, because of restrictions still in place. You can see a mega-ton of artwork. It's incredible. And with the limited tickets doled out daily for admittance, it feels like the museum is all yours to cherish and to keep.

Museum-goers look aglow. In the elevator, the museum's design people have created beautiful markings on the door to denote physical distance. There is cute "modern art" style signage to don a mask and to take a helping of hand sanitizer. The greeters and guest attendants are happy to be back at work — you cannot work from home if you work in guest services. 

The top floor houses a temporary exhibit on the sculpture-cum-concept artist named Judd. I liked his parallelograms — only because I like saying that word. Makes me feel smart.

After lingering with old favorites, like Rousseau's "The Dream" and Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," I sat outside in the sculpture garden. It was a beautiful day. People lingered too—everyone in masks or gaiters. The sun bright, but it did not feel hot. I read on my phone. Watched people — and I noticed that MoMA was devoid of tourists, of Europeans, of people from all over who flock to see its collections. It was mostly — if not at — a bunch of us locals — those cats who live here.

"I'm back from MoMA —" I told my roommate, but she listlessly nodded — she was engrossed in a television show — and had forgotten that I had done such a momentous thing. Going to a museum. Finally. But it was an interior triumph — a return to a routine that I had missed during quarantine. 

Coincidentally, I was tapped to teach a high school art history class to tenth and eleventh graders. So all my museum visits will have been worth it. Here's to me about to make that lesson plan. I will definitely tell the kids about my trip back to the museum.

2.1.12

What Happens When I Read Novels (Inspired by Reading and Proust and Freud)

When I read novels I do not see images when I read. 
I may see an image emerge in my mind’s eye after the reading has been done, but during the reading itself, I read in black and white without images. I've been reading selections from Proust's Swann's Way. What I conjure in my mind's eye of Marcel dipping a madeleine cake into a cup of tea anticipate images. Novels do not generate images. They anticipate.

Reading Novels is a Similar Cognitive Experience to What We do When Dream
What we do when we read novels is similar to what happens to us when we dream. Freud calls the dream image a rebus (p. 276); in this way, I think he is correct. If there is an image in the novel it is more akin to a rebus, a hallucination of loosely strung together spectral thoughts. 

Free Association of the Imagination When Reading Novels
We free associate when we read a novel; what comes before our mind’s eye are parts and pieces that do not form an entirely thought together whole. In the novel's image, like the dream, parts stand for wholes. Novels are constituted by their love for particularities. Epics and grand eloquent drama are the stuff of another art form; they form archetypical images. Novels are a unique art form in that they work similarly to the way our minds work. 

In the Novel-form the Individual is Privileged 
Novels arose as the predominant art form because they privilege individual experience over grand narrative; the mundane and the banal are championed in the novel over the hero trope and archetype. It is not the photographic image that is desired in the novel, but rather, what we see in the novel is the recognition that the mirror is broken; we see in the novel a skewed mirror and we call it real.

17.3.11

Book Review - Pursuits of Happiness: A Short Response

Stanley Cavell in his book Pursuits of Happiness writes about remarriage comedies in movies made after the advent of talkies (1934-1949). Cavell's list is as follows: The Lady Eve (1941), It Happened One Night (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), Adam’s Rib (1949), and The Awful Truth (1937).