My last blog post in which I discussed my bouts of summertime depression was actually pretty therapeutic to get out in the open. It helped me to figure out how to plan things for myself over the past few weeks to stay out of weird ruts. So what have I been up to?
Annual Mother-Daughter trip- Marblehead and Salem, MA
For the 4th of July, I went with my mom to visit my aunt in Westford, MA and then we spent some time in Rockport, Marblehead and Salem! First time visiting Rockport and Marblehead. You definitely don't need a ton of time in either place if you're looking for a little day trip. We walked around and checked out the local shops, had the best fish and chips for lunch at the Red Skiff and some awesome ice cream at Molly's. In Marblehead we stayed at the Marblehead Hotel, a refurbished mansion. This inn was perfect for our stay; it was super close to town and the beach. We spent a few hours at Devereaux beach (that New England water was ice cold!) and then went to dinner at 5 Corners Kitchen and stuffed our faces. I've seriously never been so full in my life. I highly recommend this place, we loved everything we ordered. The few days we were in the Marblehead area coincided with their arts festival, there were artists displaying their wares in tents near the historic district. The old colonial homes dating back to the late 1600-early 1700's gave off the perfect Fourth of July, Americana vibes. The evening of July 4th was spent in Salem, which is always a favorite of mine to visit any time of year. We stopped at all my favorite spots, including Hauswitch so I could pick up a fresh candle (their candle collaboration with Soy Much Brighter produced my favorite scent ever- "The Furies" and close second, "The Sirens"), and I had to get a black Salem sweatshirt-The Trolley Depot has my favorite sweatshirt in all of Salem- $24.99 and its the softest hoodie you can find. Don't waste your time in other shops, seriously. I also had to go visit the Salem Witch House, which is one of the only legit properties in Salem that actually has a real connection to the Salem Witch Trials. Later on we took a charter boat on the Mahi Mahi cruise line to sail around Marblehead harbor to see the fireworks. This was a super legit boat ride, and we got the best views of fireworks!
Upon returning from the trip, I had the opportunity to work with kids at the Wantagh Library to create photos using only their iPhones. I brought my Amir lens for them to try out too (it does macro, and wide angle). They had a blast roaming the library, focusing on light and shadow, positive and negative space and abstractions. I'll be teaching part 2, where we manipulate their photos using photo apps and collage.
So far this summer I've visited The Met, The Met Breuer, and MoMA. There's still a bunch of exhibits on my list that I want to get to while I have plenty of time to bum around NYC. I spent one epic friday afternoon bouncing from the Met to the Breuer to the MoMA and it was super fun (and exhausting). I went in knowing NOTHING about any of the exhibits. I love doing this because then I feel like I'm really engaging with the exhibit and learning something totally new. There were a bunch of shows on the cusp of closing, so I'm glad I got to see what I did. I always have to stop at the ancient Egyptian wing first to get my fill of hieroglyphics and mummies. I've been reading David Wilcox's Source Field investigations, so this has brought a new perspective to how I look at art (I keep looking for pinecones in everything). Had to see the Heavenly Bodies exhibit, which was an interesting juxtaposition between medieval and renaissance art, with contemporary fashion design inspired by Catholicism. I also enjoyed seeing work by Thorton Dial, specifically his piece "Powder Plant (2013)", through its heavily textured surface, evoked "the dangers of industrial advancement and the possibility of rebirth out of destruction." The rooftop exhibit "We Come in Peace" by Huma Bhabha was also a highlight to see, this sort of grotesque anomaly sitting atop the Met, surrounded by all this beauty, it starkly contrasted its surroundings and truly looked other-worldly.
The Met Breuer had an amazing sculpture show entitled "Life Like: Sculpture, Color and the Body (1300-now) in which contemporary sculptures were contrasted with older works from within their collection, and it made you question materials, form and content such as race and gender identity. Bringing together for example, Degas' The Little Fourteen Year old Dancer with Girl Ballerina by Yinka Shonibare MBE to create a discussion about West African identity and a larger critique on anti-colonialism. The other show was a collection of work by Picasso, Schiele and Klimpt that dove into their obsession with expressing sensuality in their nude drawings. While I'm a fan of all three artists, this exhibit made me question my place in this work as a female. I don't know how I feel about it, but while I wanted to appreciate Schiele's confidently awkward contour line drawings, I couldn't get passed that he may have been unable to detach from his models and it sort of made me feel creeped out. Was he exploring the sexuality of his subjects and letting women be seen as their own sexual beings, or was this coming from his own sexual desires? Not sure. On to MoMA!
I loved the Adrian Piper show at MoMA because I knew absolutely nothing about her prior to the show and it lead me to want to learn more about her. Adrian Piper is an American conceptual artist and philosopher and this was the first time MoMA ever devoted an entire floor to a living artist. A lot of her work explores what it is like for a black female living in America, the racism that is experienced on a daily basis, and her ongoing efforts to express these feelings through conceptual works. As a white female viewing this show, I was reminded of my white privilege and I left with a greater understanding of the struggles my black peers still experience today. I think Adrian Piper's work is a wake up call to all Americans and we should all be engaging with it and talking about it.
The next museum I'm interested in going to is the Rubin Museum of Art because they have a show about Tibetan Buddhist astrology that I would love to learn more about.
Ending the Month on a Lunar Eclipse
As I come to the end of this Blog post, I am looking back at the past months adventures and my heart and soul are full! I'm grateful for these opportunities to spend time enriching my mind and soul with travel and art. Today is a lunar eclipse, and sometimes these things can drudge up a lot of emotions. The days before a full moon are the days I find myself most restless and anxious. I'm looking to spending the next few weeks finding my balance again, and not getting hung up on events from the past. I'm going to continue to use the rest of my summer break to recharge and keep moving forward. Thanks for reading!