Founded in 1973 in memory of benefactor and Cornell Trustee Herbert F. Johnson (Class of 1922), the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is home to over 35,000 permanent works of art. Its diverse collections span six millennia and a wide spectrum of cultural origins. Because of the university’s Land Grant status, the Johnson offers exhibitions, programs, and events for all without charge, seeking to “serve the students of Cornell, present and future, … enabling them to add broader dimension to their lives no matter what their field of study may be” (Johnson, 1973). The wide range of permanent collections and rotation of new exhibitions, trafficking over 80,000 visitors each year, might be overwhelming, but I narrowed down some of my favorites from their newest exhibit How the Light Gets In. On view from September 7th to December 8th, the exhibit addresses issues of immigration, mobility, displacement, and exile through an expansive collection from 58 artists and collective groups.
As a college student, it’s important to be aware and take advantage of the student discounts that places like clothing companies, restaurants and especially museums offer, because it’s going to be more than forty years until you can get a senior discount…forty-plus years of dreary adulthood in which you are expected to pay full price for everything—the horror! Seriously though, it’s always nice to save some money, so I whenever I go to a museum, I have my Cornell ID ready. During Spring Break I visited three museums, all of which offered student discounts, but I will only relate my experiences at two of them—the Museum of Sex and the Guggenheim.
MUSEUM OF SEX
233 5th Avenue, NY, NY 10016
5 / 5 stars
On Saturday, after brunching at Friedman’s, James and I decided to walk to the Museum of Sex, which is a great place to visit if you don’t find the other huge art museums in town as appealing, hate the crowds that typically occupy spaces in such museums or just want to explore the history of sex. The first floor of the museum currently has an exhibition called “Night Fever,” which is about the disco scene in the United States, especially New York City, during the 1960s.
We all have the painful awareness that, during our lifetime, we will not have time to read every book worth reading, to visit every place that fascinates us, to learn what we’ve always dreamed of doing, to play musical instruments and knit scarves. In response to this anxiety, we make lists; bucket lists. Things to do, things you must see, 100 movies to watch at least once. They help us keep track of the meaningful time, of the time that does not dissolve between library hours and scheduled meetings and meals and sleep, the time that crystallizes in scrapbooks and gleaming pictures, in timeless anecdotes and stories repeated over and over. Cornell has its own bucket list, 161 things to do.
To let go is to be free. It is to completely detach from societal expectations and latch onto what you expect for yourself. It is the ability to separate the things that matter and the things that do not. The art of letting go is allowing yourself to figure out who you really are, what your voice and true calling are in this short life that we all lead. How often do you feel at peace?
I was in New York City for the sole purpose of visiting some indie second-hand bookstores so I could get some best deal in town to justify spending a hundred dollars traveling here from Ithaca. I got a tote that says “If you go home with somebody & they don’t have books, don’t f**k ‘em” and loaded it with as many books as it would fit. L let out a loud breath and asked if I wanted a photo of myself since I looked ridiculous with all these books and I probably would want this on my Instagram; hence I handed over my brand new camera and smiled hysterically at the ground to follow the rubrics of a candid photo—I also defended that I was currently on a spiritual journey of searching for inspirations. L proposed that inspirations would come through if we could go eat sashimi right now. The sashimi were aligned according to their color schemes and the mystical glow diffused by their texture had transformed them into iridescent exotic gems. L started explaining which ones are so highly regarded in Japan that they used to be served only to the royals, and which ones have to be prepared at a certain temperature to preserve texture—perfectly-pronounced Japanese words and gastronomic terms flowed from his lips.
Toward the end of last semester, and leading into the summer, I began to dabble in the hobby of poetry writing. The works I produced, while some of them are so atrocious that they will never see the light of publishing, were often very cathartic to write. I’ve found that poetry is a form of relaxation and internal note-taking. With it, I can spew out my conscience, feelings, thoughts and queries. I can then bend these rudimentary words in interesting ways: playing with sentence structures, grammar or even language itself, until I have made something that captures the essence of the subject matter at hand.
“If you can bring this to the States…” He kept his voice low, trying not to make a fuss, but he could not dim the shine in his eyes. Four weeks ago, I probed into the underground art market in China, where insiders trade information with hungry artists trying to exhibit their pieces abroad. The market was lively: drunk art dealers from Europe were laughing hysterically and handing each other different flavors of vapor cig, girls wearing night-club mini skirts were ordering cocktails with incomprehensible names that sounded like the Chinese translation of random German words, and a kid was screaming an “F” word embroidered on a shirt and asked his mom what it means. It was loud and dreamy, and the air was infused with everything that was supposed and not supposed to be there. So when he kept his voice low, I could barely hear what he said.
The most visited art museum in the world is the Louvre; it amassed 9.3 million visitors in 2014. Among other European museums, such as the Orsay, Prado, British museums and even the Vatican, it is best known as a center of Western art and culture. These museums are often seen as emblems of European identity, central to defining art as a part of culture in Europe. Of course, most of these museums house art from around the world, which, especially with concerns about repatriation, becomes a complicated issue. Just a couple of days ago, Spain and Argentina agreed to give Ecuador hundreds of works from colonial and indigenous periods.