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Art and Becoming a Walker!

The MoMA Fantasy

Yangnan (Paul) Liu ‘12 – As an Art major, I understand the huge difference between paintings reprinted on our textbook and the actual work. Since I came to New York, I have been dreaming to visit Museum of Modern Art also famously known as “MoMA” to see some of my favorite artworks in person.

Sitting five minutes’ walk from my workplace, I have anxiously awaited my first Friday afternoon to go and check it out. The museum is free to public on Fridays from 4pm-8pm. This becomes a valuable opportunity for Contemporary Art fans like me to experience the stunning masterpieces after a long week’s work.

Despite the confusing building structure inside, I was really impressed and surprised with every collection the museum owns, especially when Van Gogh’s legendary “Starry Night” was displayed just one foot from where I stood.  I suddenly could not breath but looking The collection of abstract expressionism represents some of the most well-known and valuable paintings and sculptures that frequently appeared on our Art textbooks. 

Next to “Starry Night”, I found my favorite “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” by Pablo Picasso. I was amazed by the actual enormous scale and beautiful color of the paining. It was so flat when I glanced at it far away yet it became dramatically dimensional when I walked towards it. The longer I stared at the painting, the more I got myself into the strange-look women with their monster-like faces. Looking at this work closely, I can almost feel the braveness of the artist that took him to breakthrough limits of traditions and redefine the beauty and purity in the art world. Everything I learned and discussed in class suddenly made sense and now I appreciated the work even more.

Walking into a different gallery, I was amazed again by one very familiar work “Vir Heroicus Sublimis” by Barnett Newman. On our textbook, this overly simplified painting looked like another crazy artist’s monotonous invention of a new style. Faced with this huge bright, orange-red canvas with only one single line casually painted on the right end, I immediately became speechless. One may disregard the artist’s pioneering vision in this piece, however he cannot deny the unique visual stimulation that brings the viewer’s inner emotions and enables people to completely lose themselves in their deep thinking. I sit in front of the painting for a long time and went back again afterwards.

With its precious art collection, MoMA has become a frequent place I visit in the city. I am inspired not only by their new exhibitions, but also by their permanent collections. They give me new thoughts and reflections every time I visit.  

The New York Walker

Yangnan (Paul) Liu ‘12 – I was really surprised that things were so spread out in Crawfordsville when I first came to Wabash. I was not able to go anywhere without a car, not even a fast-food restaurant. There was no public transportation whatsoever. Fortunately I could always ask my fraternity brothers at FIJI for rides. Here at New York City, everything is located within a walkable distance like the city I come from and it is way more interesting to walk than take subway or a taxi to nearby places. I found myself in love with the walking lifestyle.

I take the subway in the morning only because I have to rush to work but when I get off in the afternoon with more spare time, I just walk back to the apartment.  It’s not a long walk but I tend not to take the same route every time in order to explore different parts of the city. When it gets dark, I intentionally go through the major commercial intersection – Times Square to see the giant screens repeatedly displaying ads of thousands of brands. Standing there makes me feel that I am in the center of the world. The seasonal window decorations of department store like Saks Fifth Avenue also draw my attention. One has to be so talented to build such eye-catching window settings while incorporating the unique essence of one specific fashion brand into the consistent ongoing element of the department store. This effective marketing tool represents the top fashion trend and design. It inspires me of the fashion that gets into business.

Walking down on Broadway is also fun. Famous Musicals I only heard from TVs are now opening to me respectively. Although the tickets are ridiculously expensive for some popular musicals and plays, some of us in this program have already planned to see one of the hottest plays “How to Succeed in Business without really trying”.

And of course, walking additionally saves me some dollars for transpiration but I got more valuable time to actually discover the city and see the people. I will continue to walk and more inspirations are yet to come.