Tag Archives: Art

Did I go to the Vincent Van Gogh museum to see art? No, I met Van Gogh.

It was a crisp August afternoon in Amsterdam. Summer hadn’t completely left Holland, but the brisk air justified a light jacket and a cup of hot chocolate. Like many of the tourists waiting outside the Van Gogh museum, I thought I knew the Dutch artist. I’ve seen Starry Night a multitude of times at the MoMA in New York, his self portraits at the Chicago Art Institute, and have studied his artwork in classes. This wasn’t an introduction, it was a reunion.

Little did I know, I had only scratched the surface of one of the most famous artists to have ever lived. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam takes the visitor through the painter’s heart, mind, and soul and does so in such a compelling way. When you enter the building, you are introduced to Vincent in the best way possible- through his self portraits. It is here where I learned that much of what was going on in his mind was never truly reflected on the canvas. Behind each painting, the viewer gains a more comprehensive glimpse into the life of this incredibly complex man.

On the first floor, we see Vincent’s first stabs at creating art. These are not the Van Goghs we’re used to. Idyllic landscapes and vibrant colors are replaced by bleak, somber tones depicting impoverished life in the most honest way possible. The Potato Eaters stands out from the crowd. The audience becomes a fly on the wall of a destitute family in the Dutch countryside. In the next few rooms, we are allowed to witness Van Gogh’s evolution, which was inspired by Impressionists like Monet and Renoir. His view of the world dramatically shifted. His new mission was to capture nature’s beauty and vibrancy through elegant strokes of the paintbrush. His mantra: a study in color.

As you ascend the galleries, you begin to know the real Van Gogh. Despite the stunning artwork that adorns the wall, his emotional and psychological baggage clings on to you. When you learn about his eventual suicide, you can’t help but cry. Someone so brilliant and passionate was suddenly ripped out of my life.

I entered the museum that chilly August day hoping to see Van Gogh. Instead, I met Vincent.

The Book of Mormon: A Filthy Piece of Satire that We Can’t Help But Love

By Rohan:

The Book of Mormon is consistently sold out at the Eugene O’Neill Theater in New York City, and for good reason. Packing witty satire, great tunes, and the sharp (and filthy) writing from South Park ​creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, this musical has been able to fill seats better than any of its competitors in New York’s theater district. ​But is it worth the hype? Is it deserving of becoming part of the cultural zeitgeist? Is it worth the absurd ticket prices?

Hell yes.

Jon Stewart put it best. It’s a musical that’s so good, it’ll make you angry. As a college student, I was not inclined to dish out $200 for tickets to the Broadway production, but I did see it on tour when it came to the Landmark Theater in Syracuse (which I highly recommend if you’re on a budget). The touring cast was incredible, with amazing vocal talent and unparalleled comedic timing.

The play centers around a group of happy-go-lucky Mormons who are each sent to various locations to recruit more members to the Church of Latter Day Saints. Elder Price, an ambitious missionary, is disappointed at first when God sends him to a desolate village in Uganda rather than his ideal destination of Orlando, Florida. Joining Price is Elder Cunningham, a dimwitted companion who is easily the star of the production, with plenty of pop culture references and sharp satirical dialogue.

When they arrive in Uganda, they realize that the village is in danger after a military general has threatened to, well, we’ll spare you the details. Just keep in mind this is coming from the minds of South Park writers, so the play does get raunchier as it goes on. The soundtrack is incredible, straying away from the typical Broadway sounds and entering the realms of traditional African music, barbershop quartet, a cappella, and even heavy metal. It’ll keep your shoes tapping and your gut roaring to the amazing writing.

Overall, we could not recommend Book of Mormon more. Beneath its crass and filth, it has a charming story with a good lesson, however be warned that Trey Parker and Matt Stone do not hold anything back, and in doing so, allow for the musical to be an absolute triumph. We would say go see it while it lasts, but Mormon ​will not be leaving the stage anytime soon. 

Five Ways In Which A Visit To Tate Modern Makes For A Memorable Birthday

By Lakshmi:

I made a birthday resolution several years ago…to always take the day off from work and fill “my” 24 hours  with the things that give me tremendous joy!  So, given our proximity to London this year, I decided that I wanted to make a pilgrimage to Tate Modern.  On a beautiful, crisp summer day, we disembarked off the tube at St. Paul’s to make our way across the Millenium Bridge to our destination.

It was simply an idyllic way to spend the morning and here are five reasons why the visit to Tate Modern will always hold a special place in my heart.

1. The bright blue color painted on the tree trunks en route from St. Paul’s to the Millenieum Bridge.

Ok, I did not expect artistic creations to greet me on my walk.  We had just visited St. Paul’s two months ago and did not notice the bright, playful blue of the tree trunks along the way.  That playful, fun, unexpected visual just put me in a happier mood.  I later realized that the blue trunks are the work of Konstantin Dimopoulos, an Australian artist who is using this medium to highlight deforestation in the World.

Blue tree trunks

The bright blue tree trunks
The bright blue tree trunks

2.  The beautiful views of St. Paul’s that you turn back to upon your walk across the Millenium Bridge.  St. Paul’s is beautiful and this walk provided an additional vantage point.

St. Paul's as seen from the Millenium Bridge
St. Paul’s as seen from the Millenium Bridge

3. The beautiful views of London that greet you on either side of the bridge.  The views are pretty spectacular and spread out into the distance.

A view from the Millenium  Bridge
A view from the Millenium Bridge

4. The spectacular building that houses Tate Modern and its amazing art collection.  You could get lost here for days and in a span of several hours we were exposed to a variety of art forms, some famous and some completely anew.

Views from the Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art
Views from the Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art
Yet another piece from the same collection
Yet another piece from the same collection
More from Meschac Gaba
More from Meschac Gaba
An interesting composition from recycled materials
An interesting composition from recycled materials

5. The views from Tate Modern across the Thames.  If you ever end up at Tate, do make it to the gallery to get some of the most spectacular views that London has to offer.

The view from the balcony at Tate Modern
The view from the balcony at Tate Modern