Contemporary art class hits up NYC galleries

Today my Contemporary art class went to NYC to visit 6 galleries. After having taken about half a semester of contemporary art and learned about a vast number of artistic movements (including Pop Art, Minimalism/Postmodernism, Conceptualism, Environmental Art, Political Art, Feminist Art, Appropriation), my peers and I should all be able to walk into a gallery and say something insightful about the exhibited art, whether or not we are familiar with the artist. And that’s exactly what we did!

Our class was split up into 6 teams, and we each chose a particular gallery and did some background research in order to better understand the artist’s background and artistic intentions. However we had little information about the size of the pieces, presentation, and number of works in each gallery, so we had to be quick on our toes and improvise!

Here’s a list of some of the galleries we visited:
AC Institute
Chiem & Reid

Everyone in my class agreed that it was very informative to see the works in person, especially in regards to contemporary art. A number of the galleries featured installations which is impossible to properly visualize on a screen, and we were all thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with monumental works in person. For example, the Gagosian had a number of Richard Serra monolithic sculptures composed out of weatherproof steel. At one point, the zig-zag sculpture reached 10 feet tall which created a daunting and somewhat claustrophobic feeling. Viewers are even allowed to interact and touch the cold, oxidizing metal, which also points to the participatory nature of minimalist art. (

In all, our class was thrilled with the discussion about each gallery and students utilized class material to better understand the meaning and intention behind these works. I can’t wait to go back to the Chelsea galleries with my family to show off my knowledge of contemporary art on the fly!

And for some reason, I didn’t manage to get a picture of the galleries. However while we were walking around the streets of Chelsea, we ran into this brand new outdoor installation of bronze sheep under a gas station! What do you think it means?



Saratoga Springs has the most beautiful sunsets (in addition to foliage) during the fall. It seems crazy, but I used my bad phone camera and didn’t photoshop this image! I promise there were no alterations. I’ve heard people saying this all throughout September and October, but this is the best fall Saratoga has seen in years. Enjoy!

Outside my house in Northwoods

Outside my house in Northwoods

Celebration Weekend: Brunch & Jazz

Want to eat at Skidmore’s delicious dining hall and listen to jazz? Go for it! Each year during Celebration Weekend for parents and alumni, Skidmore hires a fantastic student jazz ensemble to play in the dining hall. Parents and students alike are always so impressed by the talent at Skidmore, and this just verifies how right they are!

Robin Shore (guitar), Ryan Ahern (keyboard), Will Kencel (bass), Jeremy Rosen (drums)

Robin Shore (guitar), Ryan Ahern (keyboard), Will Kencel (bass), Jeremy Rosen (drums)

While I am no jazz expert, I can say that the ensemble plays a wide range of jazz standards with their own innovative twist. Shore, Ahern, Kencel and Rosen play solos during each song, giving themselves the opportunity to feature their own talent before smoothly transitioning back to the melody. Parents and students choose brunch options from eight different food stations (including international cuisine and brick oven pizza!), and then sit down for some easy Sunday jazz before saying their goodbyes and heading back on the road.

If you missed out this year, not to worry! This jazz ensemble plays at events throughout both semesters, so you have plenty of opportunities to see them before the next Celebration Weekend.

ACJW Performance, Skidmore College

The ACJW performance this past Friday, October 18th, marked the end of the program’s semi-annual residency at Skidmore. The ensemble performed for nearly two hours in the grand Zankel auditorium. Nearly all 600 seats were filled, which was understandable given the talent of these musicians. Coming from the top music schools in the nation, including The Julliard School, Carnegie Hall, and The Weill Music Institute, the musicians showed their diverse talent in both classical and contemporary compositions. Overall the experience was unforgettable, and I felt like I had briefly transported to a fairy tale.


The range of instruments, including two violins, one viola, one bass, one cello, two trumpets, one trombone, a toy piano and range of percussion instruments, together created a complex interplay of tone and range. The first half of the performance featured a composition by Andy Akiho, the musician who specializes in steel drumming but astonishingly composes music for string and horn instruments too. I had goose bumps on my arms throughout the performance, and was in complete awe that humans can produce, for lack of a better word, such heavenly sounds. Not only was the music innovative, captivating, and inspiring, but the beauty and set of the auditorium itself added such pleasure to the experience. The wall-to-wall glass window, with exterior lights that illuminate the autumn colored trees, provided an all natural and breathtaking atmosphere.

Andy Akiho, the featured composer, in fact lectured my arts administration during his five day residency. Akiho spoke about his experience as a young musician working in New York, his international travels to Jamaica and Japan for steel pan drumming, and both the triumphs and difficulties of being a professional musician. Akiho’s complex compositions come as a surprise, given his young age of 33 and sincere humility. Having heard Akiho’s personal, and very modest, background, then seeing his work realized in person was completely transformative.

Currently, Akiho has 17 commissions from esteemed institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, so expect a grand preview of Akiho’s latest compositions this coming spring!

Here’s a link to the concert at Skidmore:

The Big Show: Danny Brown & Action Bronson

Skidmore’s Big Fall Show was held on Friday, October 4th on Skidmore Campus featuring Danny Brown and Action Bronson. The two artists are currently on tour together and stopped by Skidmore to show off their latest work.

To be honest, I know very little to nothing about rap, but their songs definitely had a hint of old-school rap…and made everyone dance until their feet started to hurt. The gym was packed to the brim with students, especially considering the fact that tickets only cost $5!

Danny Brown & Action Bronson performing together

Danny Brown & Action Bronson performing together

Brown has received accolades for his recent work, including:
– a review by Spin claiming Brown’s 2011 III album as best hip-hop album of the year
– Woodie Award (hosted by MTV) for best music video of the year, 2013.

In all, the show was full of energy and students were looking forward to the show all week long. I think we’re all excited to see which artist is coming next!

Fun fact: Bronson was previously a chef, so if you notice that his music videos feature lots of food or that his music involves food references, that explains why!


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This past weekend I visited the Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, an artists retreat located just 10 minutes away from Skidmore. Fortunately the weather was spectacular and there were even two weddings at Yaddo that day, so my friends and I knew we had discovered something special. The estate includes 400 acres, most of which are private, but parts are still available for the public. A private chateau resides near the entrance where artists can stay for 1 month if they are accepted into the program. (Here’s more information about the site if you’re interested:

You should definitely visit Yaddo if you want a quick, but very serene, retreat. First you’ll encounter a beautiful fountain just across from the chateau that’s filled with Grecian marble statues.

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Just beyond this fountain lies the famous rose garden. Fuschsia, soft pink, red, and cream roses were blooming, and it just took our breath away. We even found these colorful (and seemingly hungry) fish in a second fountain.

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Just behind the shaded stoa lies a Japanese-inspired fountain that’s made out of moss covered rocks. Even though seconds before we were strolling through a Greco-Roman inspired garden, we suddenly found ourselves walking through a forest of pine trees amongst a spurting fountain. We couldn’t resist throwing in a penny and making a quick wish before returning back to campus.

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We were amazed by the variety of flowers, design, architecture, and statues that we found at Yaddo, and I highly recommend going while the roses are still in bloom!

Hudson River

The Hudson River

The Hudson River

Yesterday I went to a rope swing by the Hudson River to try and soak in the last sunshine of the summer. The location is only about 20 minutes away from Skidmore, and it turned out to be the most scenic location I’ve been to during my 4 years at Skidmore. After classes finished on Friday, we quickly hurried to the river to sun bathed, swing on the rope, and enjoy the relatively warm water (especially considering how far north we are!)

About to jump off!

About to jump off!

Even though it’s not necessary to have a car at Skidmore since it’s centrally located to Saratoga Springs, everyone should take advantage of friends who have cars and go explore the surrounding area. I’ve now swam in the Hudson, hiked to the top of the highest point at Lake George, and rock climbed with the outing club. Up next: ski with our Skidmore team once the snow comes!

Robin & Patrick soaking up the sun..

Robin & Patrick soaking up the sun..

Folk Concert

Last night I went to Lively Lucy’s event at Fallstaffs that featured four student musicians who played folk songs. Fallstaffs was packed to the back with students who were ready to hear the incredible lineup of musicians! I wish I could have stayed for longer, but I still fortunately saw Matt Gaydar and Melissa Chilinski play their sets.

Matt Gaydar playing his folk  set. (Apologies for the poor quality.)

Matt Gaydar playing his folk set. (Apologies for the poor quality.)

One reason why I love going to live concerts is because I get the change to hear the artist’s thoughts, inspiration, and brief insight into the composition of their songs. One of Melissa’s songs was written for her mother, and I couldn’t help but imagine how proud and touched her mother was when she heard it. (Her lyrics also made me homesick for a second!)

Events like these always make me appreciate how much talent the students at Skidmore have to offer, and I feel so lucky that they are always so willing and enthusiastic to share their work with us. I couldn’t help but lean over to my friend during Matt’s set and whisper, “I just love this school!”

Schick Gallery- new exhibition

Skidmore’s Schick Gallery, located inside the art building, just opened a new exhibition last week that features art faculty work. I have gone to the art faculty exhibition each year because it’s so incredible to see what our professors have been working on in their spare time! My friend and I stopped by the opening after class last Thursday, and we were really impressed by the quality (of course) and range of styles.

The selected faculty includes Terry Conrad, John Cunningham, Fabian Lopez, and Paul Sattler. Their work represents a variety of figurative and abstract oil paintings, mixed media sculptures, watercolor paintings, and oxidized ink pieces. It was so interesting to see what subject matter our professors find most inspiring, as well as get insight into their personal expression!

Personally, my favorite compositions were by Conrad and Sattler. In order to create his pieces, Conrad first constructed these massive metal, wood, and cardboard sculptures (among other materials). Then he placed paper inside the sculpture and poured ink into various crevices which then settled in colorful shapes onto the paper. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and seems to be an innovative method that creates two pieces in one. Sattler painted these whimsical oil paintings that reminded me of a dream sequence from Alice and Wonderland. The hazy style and colorful subject matter caught my eye the second we walked into the gallery.

Here’s the link to the Schick if you want to check it out:

French Club

Skidmore’s French club (called French Connection) had a get together last Friday in the brand new Scribner homes, and it involved crepes, Nutella, macaroons from Mrs. Londons and plenty of café! Could it get any better?

About half of the students who studied abroad in Paris last semester stopped by, and it was so great to reminisce about the last, and best, six months of our lives. Freshmen in the club were thrilled to hear about our Parisian escapades, while everyone else was able to meet and mingle with other lovers of French culture.

Ready to hear the craziest part? We actually spoke French for (almost) the entire time! I couldn’t believe it. We were really good about speaking French in the beginning, but understandably snuck in some of our native tongue by the end of the little fête.

The company, food, and atmosphere made it so welcoming, and everyone was comfortable to speak regardless of their proficiency. So voilà- if you’re interested in speaking French and eating de-licious sweets, come to the next French Connection meeting!

Mrs. London's pastries

Mrs. London’s pastries

(Side note: The New York Times review for Mrs. London’s claimed that it made the best croissants outside of Paris. Whenever our study abroad group goes through Paris withdrawal, at least we know where to get the best croissants outside of France. We’re so lucky to be in Saratoga!)