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:

three-flags

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.
Continue Reading


Student Exhibition 2015 opens in the Bell Gallery

SE15_Exhibition_01

The annual Brown Student Exhibition, now in its 35th year, opened Saturday at the David Winton Bell Gallery in List Art Building, featuring works from 44 Brown students, both VISA and non-VISA concentrators.

The juried exhibition, organized by Zachary Korol-Gold ’15 and Andrew Alexander ’15, held an open call for submissions earlier this month for student creative work in any medium. The 2015 exhibit was juried by Judith Tolnick Champa, an independent curator and critic, and Jerry Mischak, a senior painting critic at RISD. Pieces selected for the exhibit present the range of media and subject matter Brown students are exploring within the realm of the creative arts, including painting, drawing, book arts, sculpture, video, web, and performance.

Rory Macfarlane’s Cumulus welcomes visitors into the gallery. Inflated translucent trash bags form a looming, yet graceful cloud-like spheroid in the front corner of the exhibit. The piece is easily displaced by the movement of people through the gallery, gently rotating as one walks by it.

DSC_1794

Continue Reading


What to do this week: March 30 – April 5

what-to-do-this-week1

Monday, March 30:

Event: Sarah Koenig: Women in Radio
Time: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Upper Salomon

As one of the final events in celebration of Women’s History Month, the Sarah Doyle Center brings you Sarah Koenig, of recent Serial fame. If you haven’t heard of/binge listened to/had an obsessive phase with Koenig’s podcast Serial yet, you need to re-prioritize your life.  Koenig’s lecture will focus not only on the hit podcast, but her overall career in journalism, including her work at This American Life and The New York Times. No tickets needed, but you should probably get there a little early.

Tuesday, March 31:

Event: GCB Challenge Senior Night
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Location: Grad Center Bar

The Senior Class Board is awarding any senior who manages to stick out the full nine hours in the GCB. If you want to participate but don’t want to subsist on popcorn the whole night, don’t worry: there’ll be free food.

Wednesday, April 1:

Event: Fashion, Art and Activism: A Conversation with Cameron Russell
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Hillel

Cameron Russell is a model, writer, and activist, who gave this pretty great TED talk on how looks aren’t everything. All are welcome to this informal conversation and Q&A.

Continue Reading


A recap of cyborg artist Neil Harbisson’s lecture

harbisson adLast night, artist Neil Harbisson visited Brown as the latest featured speaker in the Student Creative Arts Council’s lecture series. Sharing his unique perspectives on sensation, perception, art, and cyborgism, the artist delivered an inspiring and thought-provoking speech.

Harbisson began with an autography of his life and transformation into a cyborg artist. He was born with achromatopsia, a form of colorblindness, meaning he could only see in grayscale. After years of being barred from, but constantly reminded of, the world of color, he began to explore possible solutions. Finally, after deeply researching the relationships between sound and color, he developed his first prototype: an antenna with a sensor that would transduce light wavelengths into sonic frequencies that would be played into headphones. The model and hardware were cumbersome, and the adjustment was difficult for Harbisson; however, after some revision and expansion of the sensor’s library of color-pitch relationships, he began to hear more and more of the distinct colors that others see every day.

In 2004, the artist decided it was time to make his development permanent; after numerous design refinements and a controversial surgery, an antenna was implanted into his skull. Equipped with his new appendage (which came complete with WiFi connection), the artist began life as a cyborg. From there, Harbisson began creating art centered on his deep, personal, and sensory understanding of the relationships between sound and color. His work took the form of “sound portraits,” “color scores” (pictured below), “color concerts,” an exploration of the dominant colors of various capital cities in Europe, and even a “human color wheel,” in which he compiled his list of all of the possible human skin colors.

Continue Reading


What to do this week: March 9 – March 15

what-to-do-this-week1

Monday, March 9:

Event: The Lecture Series: Neil Harbisson
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Granoff Center for the Arts

Student Creative Arts Council is hosting this lecture with Harbisson, a British contemporary artist and the first person to have an antenna implanted in his skull. Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, meaning he was only able to see the world in grayscale; the antenna translates color into sound, allowing him experience the colors of the world. He’s also a cyborg activist. Even if you can’t get into this lecture, it’s definitely worth reading up on.

Event: Free Community College for All?
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: Salomon 203

Brown Political Forum is hosting this event to debate the recent announcement by President Obama to make higher education more available to the public by providing free community college. BPF, for their part, is providing attendees with free pizza.

Tuesday, March, 10:

Event: Berlin: Art and Memory, an evening with Stih & Schnock
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: John Nicolas Brown Center, 357 Benefit St

Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock are Berlin-based artists who have collaborated on work that focuses on the history of Berlin, Holocaust imagery, and collective memory.

Continue Reading


A Cool Thing You Probably Missed: Axolotl Day

IMG_4839

One of the “Axolotl Art Contest” submissions.

Although I was already planning on attending Axolotl Day when one of my editors pressured politely asked me to cover the event, I had not the slightest clue what an axolotl was. But as I exited the Sci-Li elevator and entered the Science Center, I knew I was in my element.

The atmosphere was like that of a second grade birthday party. There were balloons, a face painting station, free pizza, and a raffle to win a real live axolotl (which I later learned was a critically endangered type of salamander). I entered my name into the axolotl lottery and sat down to listen to a short talk about the creatures.

Continue Reading