Playing at the Cable Car Cinema: Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict


Perhaps you’re acquainted with Blog’s column, This Week at the Avon. Meet the Avon’s sulky, redheaded step-sister: the hip, closer-to-sea-level competitor, Cable Car Cinema and Cafe. Cable Car, located on seabreezy South Main Street, has recently been deemed “Best Art House Cinema in New England” by Yankee Magazine.

Last we spoke about the Cable Car, the year was 2014 and the theatre had extended Finding Vivian Maier’s run on their silver screen. This week, Cable Car has resurrected Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict in response to the wildly popular screening on opening night of the First Annual Providence Art & Design Film Festival, hosted by the RISD Museum. (As noted in Harper’s Bazaar, Guggenheim gave the RISD Museum one of her first Pollock drip paintings and one of her Jéan Helions, too.)

The film is directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who gave us the exceptional movie The Eye Has To Travel about her grandmother-in-law, legendary Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland. (My grandfather recently watched the Vreeland documentary on Netflix and revered the “entertaining and informative” film for its “fantastic editing job.” Though our opinions may vary when discussing the filmic merits of Napoleon Dynamite, we both recommend that you add The Eye Has To Travel to your queue.) With her second film Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Lisa I. Vreeland has established that powerful women with cultural capital are her beat.

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Off (Other Side of) the Hill: Taking a RISD class

Part of the charm of College Hill comes from the long-standing relationship between Brown and RISD students; Providence is the creative capital after all, and we’ve got the two artsiest (and apparently one of the douchiest, according to GQ) schools right at our fingertips. The opportunity for Brown students to take RISD classes, and vice versa, fosters a really unique dynamic that you should definitely take advantage of, if scheduling and coursework permits.

As one can see from RISD’s unofficial mascot, they go pretty hard in the paint, and you’ll have to invest hours on hours for the final critique. But by the end, you’ll have gained knowledge of a niche skill, made enough friends to be personally invited to a warehouse party (brownie points if you get an invitation to Artist’s Ball), and have something tangible to show for your efforts.

If those reasons have peaked your curiosity about shopping for a RISD studio, you might be asking: “Where do I even begin?” I was in the same boat a couple weeks ago, and I’m still learning to navigate the waters. Luckily, sending an excessive number of e-mails and asking around yielded a list of helpful tips and interesting classes to check out, some of which you might remember from RISD Wintersession 2016 Course Superlatives.

The process of registering goes a little something like this:

Step 1: Go to JWW and obtain a cross-registration form from the 3rd floor.

Step 2: Get the instructor to sign it.

Step 3: Get the RISD registrar to sign it.

Step 4: Get the Brown registrar to sign it.

A more detailed description can be found here, a website about cross-registration created by Patchi Dranoff, RISD ’15.


  • E-mail the department head or the department administrative coordinator. Professors may be slow to respond, and before you know it, all of the coveted studios will be full.
  • Jump on this earlier than later because professors may let people in based on the order in which they e-mailed.
  • WebAdvisor has about the same user-friendliness as Banner, but it’s not hard to learn. Each class has a Status column that communicates the probability of you weaseling your way in.
  • If the class is open, go for it. If you’re waitlisted, you may get in if you show up on the first day of class, but no guarantees, so keep looking around. If it’s closed, move on.
  • It is not an automatic deal breaker when a class specifies that it’s designated for ____ Majors only. Brown students have taken Majors Only studios before.
  • Be prepared to drop some bank on supplies, tools, and a fee as a non-major. WebAdvisor (RISD’s version of Banner) includes the price of materials in the class descriptions.
  • TAKE VISA0100. You can’t take a RISD course without it. If you don’t get a spot via the VISA lottery, don’t be discouraged. Show up to all the sections that work with your schedule and don’t stop attending until the professor physically pushes you out of the room.
  • You might be intimidated by the thought of seeming like a complete amateur in class, but we’ve heard more stories of a Brown student feeling welcomed by a class at RISD than alienated.
  • Industrial design, furniture, and textiles classes typically have high barriers to entry due to their popularity, especially during Wintersession.
  • You can never go wrong with a ceramics studio.

And last, but certainly not the least:

What can I take at RISD?

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Adventures at RISD: Open Studios (Part Two)

Armed with my map/sticker sheet as well as Blog buddy, Sarah Campbell ’19, I was ready to continue the RISD Open Studios adventure on Friday which showcased nine different majors. Although we originally went for the art, there were a lot non-art related things that kept us there.

Furniture at Metcalf:


While not necessarily functional, the furniture at open studios was gravity defying, thought provoking, and really freaking cool. After a solid 10 minutes of art appreciating, we continued to stay for the party in the studio loft, complete with twinkle lights, and a pancake bar. Yes, that’s right, a fully stocked pancake bar with fruit, Nutella, whipped cream, and nuts. Furniture pulled out all the stops to woo people to their department. Also, let’s not forget the sticker. The sticker was a naked human body, but instead of a head, a chair. Odd, yes. But definitely dope.

Sculpture at Metcalf:


These seniors were shameless in promotion. They rode down the halls of the other studios in Metcalf on a rolling cart decked out in metallic welding suits (and not much else) shouting at everyone to come to their party. And that was no lie. To entice prospective RISD freshmen, Sculpture straight up threw a party, complete with a DJ, two people commissioned to dance on a table permanently, and flashing lights. Your very own Blog ambassadors joined in on the fun, and wished deep down we went there. We also definitively appreciated the rather provocative dancing to “Who Let the Dogs Out” while an actual dog walked through the studio club.

Ceramics at Metcalf:

While we are plenty sure the art was amazing, to be honest, we don’t remember anything except for the fact that there was kiln pizza. Now, what is kiln pizza? It is exactly what it sounds like. Seniors created pizza (and not just boring old pizza, but fancy pizza with prosciutto and arugula) that was fired in their kiln. To top it off, marshmallows were roasted in a mini-kiln as a quick dessert.   

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Here be dragons: RISD’s Nature Lab


(Pictures taken in RISD’s Nature Lab)

Here’s a riddle for you: where can you find a dragon, a preserved dog fetus, and a whale vertebra, all in one place? The answer is 13 Waterman St, a spot that is incredibly close to Brown’s campus and is home to RISD’s Nature Lab. Having heard of it last summer, I made the not-so-long trek over to the building last Thursday, unsure of what to expect; would I find one small room with a couple of fish tanks?

This was most certainly NOT the case.

Walking into the main room of the Nature Lab can be overwhelming. Not because it is disorganized or crowded, but because there is so much to explore. Cabinets and drawers line the walls, filled with specimens of all kinds, from butterflies to minerals. There are all types of plants, and multiple tanks and cages, homes to turtles and other living animals. Larger preserved animals occupy space outside the cabinets: you might notice a bear, a deer, or the puffer fish hanging from the ceiling.

What’s really cool is that you can take out, handle, and study most of these specimens. Basically, you feel like a kid in a candy shop and keep asking, “What’s that? And that??!” At least that’s what I did, to some extraordinarily helpful Nature Lab staff, including Lab Coordinator Betsy Ruppa, who answered many of my questions about what the different specimens were.

Ruppa said the facility ends up functioning as a library. Students often use the Nature Lab as a resource for various projects and are even allowed to check out many of the objects. Entire classes, many from RISD but also other schools, will come in to use the space. The lab additionally helps students out in a myriad of ways beyond providing them with draw-able subjects. Students of everything from apparel to architecture come in to investigate the forms, shapes and textures of natural objects. Ruppa explained that students use the lab to study “anything that relates to nature and how nature solves its problems of design.” For example, she explained that an architecture student might want to examine the structure of a bird’s nest. Clothing designers might need inspiration for prints. The way bones connect can give insight into how hinges work; the way certain insects’ wings unfurl and then return to their resting position mirrors the way the top to a convertible opens and closes.

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RISD Craft 2015: A few of my favorite things

This past Saturday, Benefit Street hosted RISD Craft 2015, an exhibition of both alumni and current students’ work. It was cool, artsy, and well attended by cute dogs, making the terrible walk back uphill worth it. There were over 100 artists at the fair, so in case you didn’t make it, or in case you did but were overwhelmed by the cute dogs, here are a few artists not to be missed.



Tyler the Creator has a pair of these amazing kicks and you can get them too! Vaughan Carman, a sophomore double majoring in apparel and print making, takes plain white shoes and then draws repetitive patterns on them, giving them an aesthetic that echoes Keith Haring and Zio Ziegler’s. Distinctively colorful, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the pattern’s lively movement despite them being unmoving 2D designs on canvas shoes. Where can you find him? Check out his Instagram: Vaughan_Carman or his behanceWhat’s next for him? He will be working on a London O’Connor music video as well as continuing work on murals.


On the complete opposite side of the artistic spectrum is M.Benjamin Herndon, a student working towards his MFA in printmaking. Self described in one word as “quiet,” Herndon’s art is breathtaking. The prints draw their influence from a variety of sources– German Romanticism, the minimalism of the 60’s and 70’s, and traditional Japanese art– yet they share a kind of cohesion. They’re haunting, smoky, and hard to turn away from. The juxtaposition of airiness and shadows culminates in an etherial and hypnotic way. In the end, the prints are just really cool. Where can you find him? His website! What’s next for him?  Look forward to some upcoming exhibitions this spring.

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What the famous painting in your dorm room says about you

Your dorm room wall: the spot on which you can tell the entire universe just what you’re ABOUT without uttering a single word. There are as many ways to go about this as there are people, as no two dorm walls look exactly the same. Even the basic building blocks of the exercise (that poster from your favorite movie or TV show plus those Polaroids of your friends minus that fire-hazard tapestry) are individualized through the prism of our own unique experiences. Her Breaking Bad poster was picked for a different reason than his Mad Men poster, even if they both just remind us of the days AMC had non-zombie shows worth watching.

For artsy pricks like me who put a print of a famous painting up, it’s as much about personal motive as the aesthetic of the painting itself. Of course, when you see Klimt’s The Kiss on someone’s wall, your first reaction is either an appreciative nod to their good taste or a cynical shake of the head at such a blatant display of Culturedness. But someone doesn’t turn their dorm into the MoMA solely to show off how cultured they are — though it doesn’t hurt. Dorm-room museum curation comes from a deliberate attempt at self-expression by a college kid’s raging id, albeit through images and connotations more abstract than the ol’ Blutarsky above the bed. Here are some examples of what famous painting you chose to plaster over the cracks in your wall and what it says about you:


YOU CHOSE: Jasper Johns’ Three Flags

WHAT IT SAYS: You are the quintessential college student on a budget. Sure, you technically only need one American flag, but three-for-one is such a steal, and who are you to deny it? Those modern artists weren’t all raking in the dough in their primes. They understood the struggle. There’s a reason Johns debuted Flag in 1954, took a step back, and decided it was two flags too few. It’s the same reason your laptop of choice is still the Acer Perspire you’ve had since sophomore year.
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