Art History 101: Frida

By Austin Bowes

via Vintage Marketplace

Frida Kahlo was born in the summer of 1907 in Mexico City, a short three years before the Mexican Revolution began in 1910. When she was older, she would tell people she was born in 1910 so that her birth coincided with a revolution that resulted in the beginnings of modern Mexico. I feel as though this is a very descriptive trait of Frida, who early on had very forward ideas of the world. She lived a life with many challenges and pains. Her paintings have inspired the world.

Frida was born with spina bifida, which affects spinal and leg developments. At the age of six, she contracted polio, which made her right leg very thin (reportedly the reason why she wore long skirts later in life). If these problems weren’t enough, in 1925, Frida was riding a bus that collided with a trolley car, which resulted in a broken spinal column, among multiple other injuries. She was bedridden for months in a full body cast. Although she regained the ability to walk, she suffered from pain most of her life and was unable to have children.

While she was in bed, she became bored. She started to draw and to paint, an endeavor promoted by her parents, especially by her father, an artist himself. She painted constantly, including frequent self-portraits, aided by the mirror she would hang above her bed. She said, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”

Once she had regained the ability to walk, she wanted to pursue art as a career, but needed to know for sure because she did not want to waste time and money on something that could not help her or her family. So, she went to an artist who was working on a mural in town — Diego Rivera.

Diego Rivera was a well-known. Mexican painter. After Frida had him look at her work, he believed her to be very talented and they became close friends. Soon enough, that friendship became love and they got married. While they were both very inspiring to each other, their marriage was not exactly perfect. Diego was a frequent cheater — even sleeping with Frida’s sister –which caused a lot of tension between friends and family, but he was still at her side on her death bed. Further than inspiration for painting, Diego also shared similar political views as Frida. The two were active Communists and partook in political demonstrations fairly often. Much of Diego’s and some of Frida’s work is politically-charged. Diego once had a commission for a mural inside Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, but he was let go and his worked destroyed when he refused to cover the image of Vladimir Lenin in his work. Frida and Diego housed Leon Trotsky and his wife for many years during his exile from Russia. During this time, Frida and Trotsky reportedly had an affair.

This article is mostly about Frida’s life because I became so interested in her as a person once I started to research her (…and once I watched the 200 biopic on Netflix). But what of her paintings? As I have said, much of her work is self-portraiture, which isn’t as simple as one would think.

In one painting, there are two versions of Frida connected by the heart. In another, she is depicted with her head atop a deer who has been shot with arrows. In another, she is sitting in a chair with her chopped hair strewn about the floor. In another she is in a full body brace, her spine represented as a Greek Ionic column breaking into pieces while tears roll down her face. Her self-portraits alone make her an amazing artist with an amazing representation of human emotion and pain.

Her work was often considered surrealist, even though that she completely disagreed with that assumption. She said, “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”

Frida Kahlo’s works are oftentimes reflections of her own life — or as some would say, the human spirit. She truly was a woman of modern Mexico. More importantly, she was her own woman. Frida has been hailed as an essentially feminist artist because she presented the world with an uncompromised version of the female experience and body. She is also remembered as a traditional and national figure of Mexican painting, something she would be proud of today.

Frida is a new inspiration for me, and I hope you as well.

“I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.” – Frida Kahlo

Austin Bowes is a contributing writer. Email him at entertainment@nyunews.com.

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Pages with Patel: bookbook

By Nishtha Patel

via bookbook

bookbook (Bleecker and Morton Street) is a small, cozy bookstore located in the West Village. It lures passersby in with the table outside displaying many bargain books. You can find anything from “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri to children’s books, such as “Curious George.” It’s hard to tear yourself away — but once you step inside, there is so much more to discover.

Wall-to-wall wooden shelves have anything from art books, acting technique, literature, and books about New York. Upon entering, the first thing one sees is the bargain bestseller’s shelf where you can find popular books anywhere from $6 to $8. The new release table is in front of it; behind that, there is a huge shelf of nonfiction and fiction bargain books. New and bargain priced books…what more could you ask for?

There is plenty more to see in the back. An entire wall of children’s books is displayed next to the literature. And then an entire back area is dedicated to fantasy and mystery. Along the way, there is a stand selling 20% off Moleskine notebooks, as well as artsy composition notebooks, sketchbooks, and journals. There are New York postcards and cute cards for any occasion. They even sell literary t-shirts, baby clothes, and tote bags. In the back, there is a small shelf in the back carrying used books. With such a vast collection, it is difficult not to get lost in the store.

This bookstore seems to have everything from fresh new hardcovers (20% off original price) to bargain books, used books, and literary merchandise. It is truly a book lover’s paradise as apparent from the impressive, eclectic selection. What may have started out as a quick trip to the bookstore might result in hours lost in the wonder of bookbook.

Nishtha Patel is a contributing writer. Email her at books@nyunews.com.

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“Broadchurch”: Season 2, Episode 6

By Nivea Serrao

via The Telegraph

As this week’s hour of “Broadchurch” progressed, there wasn’t a dry eye left. Prolonged court cases can do that to you. Luckily for our characters, the end is in sight (although it really did seem like it would be sooner than later for a minute there).

The top of the hour features the teenaged Tom testifying in court. This serves as a powerful reminder of not just what a big loss Danny is to his friends and family, but how much more he’d have grown had he lived. It’s also the first time we really get to explore what an impact this whole trial is having on the young boy.

The first thing that comes from Tom’s testimony is that Mark takes to the stand to defend himself. Unfortunately, maintaining his innocence comes at the cost of his marriage. The only silver lining in Beth’s heartbroken sobs is that she allows Ellie to comfort her. This is a relief because I’ve been silently rooting for these two to patch things up for a while now. (The only thing that could have made this episode any better would have been Hardy interacting with Fred. But I can’t always have what I want.) However, watching Beth and Ellie sitting there in the stairwell is a sad reminder that both women were betrayed by the men they loved.

The second development comes straight on the heels of the first. Having witnessed her friend’s breakdown, Ellie decides that she’s had enough of Joe hurting the people around her. So she goes into fierce mom mode and berates Tom (in front of everyone), not just ordering him to move back home with her, but also declaring that she is taking back her life. (You do you, Ellie.)

As much I celebrate Olivia Colman’s performance on a weekly basis, this episode’s MVPs were undoubtedly Andrew Buchan and Jodie Whittaker, who painfully put Mark and Beth through the ringer, not once but twice: first, as he broke her heart in court and later, as they raged against one another. Looks like despite her abundant cuteness, Baby Lizzie will not be able to fix the rift in their marriage. Perhaps justice for Danny won’t be able to either. (Side note: Where is Chloe? What does she have to say about all this?)

Amid the bigger revelations of the episode, we also see Jocelyn finally tell her Ben about her slowly fading eyesight. No doubt this is will probably come into play at some inopportune time while court is in session over the next two episodes, although I suspect telling Ben gives the prosecution a fighting chance to recover. The only big secret left on the show is whatever Abby found in Olly’s house. At this point, his terrible taste in women is a running gag on the series, but Lucy’s completely on-point reaction is priceless.

Stray Observations:
* As much as I like Ellie and Hardy forcing Claire’s hand, I still don’t know what to make of her reactions or her relationship with Lee. While I’m pretty sure she’s guilty (and that last flashback all but screams it), I have no guesses as to what Lee might be trying to cover up. But I am slowly being convinced that he’s innocent.
* After Claire’s epic cereal-tossing breakdown, I really hope Hardy didn’t find that house on Airbnb.
* For a guy who carries a flask to a wedding, Ricky Gillespie’s judgmental attitude towards his wife’s drinking is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.
* Hardy would simply text Ellie about his surgery. And of course he also requests a ride almost immediately after.
* Fierce Ellie is my favorite shade of Ellie.
* I am currently having a hard time reconciling James D’Arcy’s performance as Edwin Jarvis (“Agent Carter”) with that of his role as Lee Ashworth. How are they both played by the same man? (Also, #RenewAgentCarter)
* David Tennant’s uttering, “No more broken heart.” broke my heart. Hardy really does need to spend more time with his daughter.
* HARDY MADE A JOKE.
* I really appreciate that neither Ellie nor Tess are being catty and jealous with one another.

Nivea Serrao is a staff writer. Contact her at entertainment@nyunews.com

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Hump Day Update: April 29, 2015

By Rachel A.G. Gilman

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Welcome to Hump Day Update, the place to find out everything you need to know about what’s been going on in the entertainment world for the week. I’m Rachel A.G. Gilman. But enough about me, let’s get to the news.

Nathan Sykes of The Wanted announced his plans to go solo this week, saying he’s been working on a pop-soul album, which will feature a break-up song about his ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande. In other words, the best way to start your career is to promote yourself with music about your far more successful ex.

The world sobbed and screamed Thursday night with the loss of the dreamiest character on “Grey’s Anatomy.” If you were DVR-ing it, I hope you didn’t watch TV or get on the Internet before and have the episode ruined (aw, the pitfalls of technology). Okay, Shonda, I get it, you aren’t afraid to kill people; but didn’t you think this was a little heartless and unreasonable? I don’t care if Dempsey has decided he wants to race cars and hide his gorgeous face from the world under a helmet — this was uncalled for! The power has gone to your head, my dear.

Jay-Z continues to defend his streaming service Tidal, saying it is more than just a way for already wealthy artists to increase their cash flow. However, this could just be because he’s worried his investment in the already floundering company could disqualify him from said wealthy artist club and doesn’t want to lose all his friends.

Former MTV hit and brainchild of Ashton Kutcher, “Punk’d,” is making a comeback on BET. Chances are Kutcher won’t be hosting the show on the Black Entertainment Television network, but I’m curious on who will be pranked this season. I’m hoping they include some Tyler Perry’s Madea surprises throughout.

Jimmy Fallon and Chris Pratt ignored critics of Fallon’s game playing and participated in a few round of Nonsense Karaoke on “The Tonight Show” this week. Pratt performed a mixed up version of “Uptown Funk,” not that anyone noticed because no one knows the actual lyrics, anyway.

In other late night news, in his “Lie Witness News” segment, Jimmy Kimmel managed to convince people the government actually schedules earthquakes. Can I get a sarcastic “hooray” for the American education system followed by a palm to the face?

Evan Peters announced he will return for season five of “American Horror Story,” which will apparently take place in a hotel. Just when you thought Ryan Murphy had done enough by making you hate high school students who sing pop songs, creepy old houses, and the circus, now you can thank him for your fears during your next hotel stay.

There is the possibility of John Mayer and The Grateful Dead going on tour together in the fall, and the two acts have already begun jamming out in preparation. One Deadhead fan reportedly said, “It sounds like Ratdog, the sequel,” referring to Grateful Dead member Bob Weir’s less-successful side project. Ironically, “Ratdog” is among the nicer nicknames Mayer’s exes have for him.

And finally, in the weirdest news of the week, physicist Stephen Hawking, who recently released his own music, announced at a lecture he did via hologram that he believes, “It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe. And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.” If this does not prove 1D has completed world domination, I’m not sure what else will.

Hope you enjoyed this week! See you back here next Wednesday.

Rachel A.G. Gilman is a staff writer. Email her at music@nyunews.com.

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Rendez-Vous with Art: The Art of the Mannequin

By Dakshayani Shankar

via the Museum of Arts and Design

Ralph Pucci has outdone himself with his beautiful exhibit, “The Art of The Mannequin.” In collaboration with the Museum of Art and Design, New York based designer, Pucci has sculpted 30 different mannequins that embody the slow evolution of fashion from the dusky 1950s to today’s Zen-like yoga society. Each mannequin embodies the quintessential features of a specific fashion period but also contains a hint of a viral fashion element that can be expected within the period following it.

Set against a crimson-hued wall, the rows of mannequins mark Pucci’s inherent determination to alter the fashion industry’s stereotype of a supermodel. Lined with thick, charcoal eyebrows and pouty blood-red lips, Ada, the mannequin reveals the 1990s slow acceptance of the supermodel with bright red lips and thickly lined eyes and eyebrows. Ada’s whimsical cartoon-like figure, a stark contrast to the hourglass figure of its time, characterizes Pucci’s vision: to always stay one step ahead of the fashion game.

Pucci has always desired to counter against the norms. If the trend is skinny, he prefers slender. If the supermodel has a stony expression, he tries to create mannequins with child-like expressions. Pucci likes the scandalous ideas of the future and always collaborates with designers who possess visions that transcend their eras.

“I like those whom step out of the vanilla box of fashion. When I grew up in the 1950s, it was perfectly acceptable to sculpt perfect male action mannequins but not female action mannequins. That was highly abhorrent,” said Pucci, with a slight crinkle in his eyes. “With the female surrogate movement and all, why wouldn’t we be ready for female mannequins with expression, color, and diversity? After all, fashion is to embrace the future! And gender equality is rising!”

If you’re still contemplating whether you should experience this surreal and complimentary exhibition, the addition of Pucci’s Sculpting Studio may change your mind.

The Museum of Art and Design has recreated Pucci’s Sculpting Studio to allow viewers to glimpse the thought processes of the sculptor himself and the many different facets and methods of mannequin construction. Two huge plasma TVs on the left side of the room contain time-lapse videos that take viewers through the step-by-step motion of creating a Pucci mannequin. It may sound easy, but believe me: once you’ve watched the video, you might realize how simple a Writing The Essay paper is in comparison to a Pucci mannequin.

The Museum is also offering sculpting sessions with Pucci’s head sculptor, Michael Evert, where viewers are given an inside-look into how a mannequin is sketched, wired, and transformed into its final pose. Every Sunday between May 2nd and August 2nd, viewers can also collaborate with artist educators Jano Cortijo and Temar Francis to wire mannequin models themselves and understand how wires represent the veins of a mannequin.

If mannequins still don’t exactly excite you, Pucci’s additional supernatural-themed jewelry exhibition with Ralph and Isabel Toledo will certainly entice you. Featuring a moonscape entwined with undulating hills and half-bird/half-female mannequins, the jewelry exhibition represents the collection of jewelry across 30 years and the long-standing friendship between Pucci and the Toledos.

“The wires in each half-bird/half-female mannequin were the same wires that were used to join the body parts of Pucci’s 30 mannequins,” said Glenn Adamson, Director of MAD. “It symbolizes the ingrained connection between the Toledos and Pucci as well as their joint desire to seek out and capture the new.”

With 30 mannequins, a sculpting studio, and a jewelry exhibition, Pucci’s exhibition seems to be serving an air of freshness to everyone. The exhibition runs from March 31st until August 30th.

Specific dates for the Sculpting Sessions: April 23, May 7, May 21, June 11, June 25, July 2, July 23, August 6, August 27 from 6-8 p.m.

 Dakshayani Shankar is a contributing writer. Email her at entertainment@nyunews.com.

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Highlighter Playlist (No. 4)

By Michael Waller

Check out what WSN’s Music Desk is listening to this week.

It’s Sunday afternoon and you haven’t slept since ditching your 9:30 lecture Thursday morning. You’re still wired from all of the uppers, downers, and in-between-ers coursing through your veins, but brunch registers itself as an imperative in your barely functioning brain. Stumbling and staggering towards French Roast, Washington Square Park is your catwalk. Artfully ripped designer jeans cling to your toothpick legs culminating in tall, black leather boots as you duck and dodge between tourists, toddlers on leashes, and dudes muttering, “Sour diesel” under their breath. This is rock and roll.

Michael Waller is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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Last Resort: “Raditude” – Weezer

By Kieran Graulich

via Amazon

This one is going to hurt. Not just for the readers, but for me. I’ve attacked some of my childhood heroes before – Metallica, Megadeth; but today, I’m going for the big one. I can go on for a while about why Weezer is one of my favorite bands ever and why I will defend them to the death. They’re such a misunderstood band. They have such a tragic story. As hard as Rivers Cuomo tries, he just can’t be enough for his fans!

It’s okay Rivers, you’ll always be more than enough for me.

Regardless of how much of a Weezer fanboy I am, even I can’t deny that Weezer has had some bad albums. “Make Believe,” “The Red Album,” – even “The Green Album” had its moments. However, none of Weezer’s albums from their Dark Age cause me as much pain as 2009’s “Raditude.” Largely accepted to be their worst album (and the one that spelt the end of their mainstream relevance), “Raditude” is a display of a band desperately grasping at straws, trying to find a place both in their fans’ hearts and on the radio. The album falls flat not because it goes to far in a pop/radio direction, but rather because it’s so painfully middle of the road that it becomes an offensively unremarkable experience. In trying to appeal to everyone, Weezer only ends up satisfying no one and alienating everybody.

On first glance, the album seems harmless. Look at that album cover. Look at that dog. That dog is great! That dog belongs on the cover of a great album! Then you turn on the first track, the lead single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You to) I Want You to,” and it’s great! Although many describe it as almost too sweet, and I definitely understand that sentiment, “I Want You to” is an incredibly fun and endearing song. While I never thought the lyric “The rest of the summer was the best we ever had/We watched Titanic and it didn’t make us sad/I took you to Best Buy/You took me home to meet your mom and dad” was that stunning, the stupidity and lightheartedness of the song gave it a certain charm.

That’s when the rest of the album comes in. If titles like “I’m Your Daddy” or “In the Mall” don’t turn you off, then you’ll just have to listen. The limp, barely alive riffs, the cheesy, lyrics that force a façade of youth upon the listener, and completely unforgettable melodies render the remainder of “Raditude” almost unlistenable. There’s “The Girl Got Hot,”  a story about Rivers meeting a girl at a show who used to be ugly in middle school, but now she’s hot. And that’s pretty much it, adding to the ever-growing list of songs that Rivers, as a middle-aged married man, should not be writing. There’s the lyrical genius of “In the mall/in the fell/we’re sneaking into the emergency hall”, and then the crown jewel of this record: “Can’t Stop Partying” featuring Lil Wayne.

Featuring Lil Wayne.

It’s a shame just how hard this album tries to appeal to a young crowd while trying to keep that classic Weezer sound. As a result, no one is pleased. The sound is sterile, while the lyrics are cringe-worthy. The songs are forgettable; the song topics are laughable. As much as I love and will defend Weezer to the death, “Raditude” is a struggle for any fan. Perhaps it was the string of failures that led up to the album or the two pretty great albums that followed it; but as far as bad albums go, “Raditude” is a standout.

Kieran Graulich is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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