Midnight Mass with St. John the Divine

December 29th, 2009 § 0 comments

Generally speaking I admittedly don’t know very much about religion. I have not been inside very many American churches and have sat through even fewer services, but I do know something about European cathedrals. What religion I have studied came through art history where not only did we briefly study the most famous European basilicas, cathedrals, and churches, but by now I have also been inside most of them. While looking at biblical paintings can sometimes turn into a passive activity of visual monotony, something about the physical experience of being within a Gothic cathedral leaves a deeply unforgettable impression. Notre Dame, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s, San Marco, all have that same transcendent feeling you get from natural wonders, but impressively these are places we built. It is the overwhelming sense of human touch that the great cathedrals have that give them their feeling if divinity, or at least a sense of eternity.


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The World’s Oldest Subway Tunnel

December 9th, 2009 § 0 comments

Atlantic Ave Tunnel

Squeezing into a manhole, climbing down a shaky ladder and through a claustrophobic vertical tunnel was all much less disorienting than the first footstep down onto muddy dirt at the bottom. Actually only five or six feet below the street surface—I was half expecting to climb down into a dark, expansive, and slightly fantastic underground world—I was still amazed how a few feet had left Atlantic Ave, busy with traffic, pedestrians, storefronts, and a Trader Joe’s, so distant above. Picking my way carefully through a standing pool of water in a hallway leading toward the main cavern, heightened the bizarre feeling of being underground. The drastic climate change from a crisp, cold, and sunny afternoon to the dank, humid heaviness underground made it seem like you had to gasp for air. Underground it seemed humidity had replaced the cold, as my camera fogged up and dripped with condensation.

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The Broad: An Aesthetic Display of Wealth

July 4th, 2008 § 0 comments

“In the state ranking for per capita arts spending, California currently stands last. The local budget for arts spending in Los Angeles is abysmally low. Exhibitions in the city’s public spaces all vie for funding from the same pool of five or six private benefactors (A in A).”


Well, they could have fooled me. Not knowing the funding behind to our county museums (LACMA) new expansion plans, I heard a great deal about the now open new wing—the new museum is fittingly named Broad Contemporary Art Museum after Eli Broad who’s collection it was (stressing was) supposed to house. My initial thoughts on the new addition and pending changes after my recent visit was, impressive; meaning not that I myself was impressed, but that I was meant to feel how impressive the changes really are.

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June 14th, 2008 § 0 comments

They don’t recommend bringing children under 11 to the Holocaust museum in the National Mall, and I can understand why. I have wanted to visit for quite some time, a desire left over from my days of unhealthy indulgence in death, memorials, and monuments commemorating memorialized events. My initial response to the museum was a slew of questions concerning the artistic decisions of the architect, James Freed, and the curators of the main exhibition. I was surprised to learn the museum opened in 1993, it seemed such a landmark of respect in Europe that I assumed it was much older. The building was perhaps most interesting to me because I have seen most of the “exhibition” content before. Its design was inspired by, but apparently not meant to reference, camps, historical sites, etc. found in Europe, and I was surprised it was so similar to the museums in Berlin. Light was controlled, leading from darkness and claustrophobic spaces into hallways of bright, natural light. The exhibition began on the forth floor and spiraled downward with the chronology of the war. I was interested in skylights, triangular windows, and the use of glass. Transition spaces broke the mood, and corporate looking carpet led to the next floor.

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