This gallery contains 40 photos.
This gallery contains 40 photos.
Being an Art History major, I’m really excited to find out that TUJ’s classes incorporate many field trips into the curriculum. This week my professor brought us to the Setagaya Art Museum to view an exhibit on the avant-garde Japanese art group Jikken Kobo. Since no photos were allowed in the museum, here are a collection of pictures from our pleasant walk to the museum.
Another plus to the field trip was the opportunity to view a new Tokyo neighborhood. Setagaya was lovely on this cloudy day.
The walk to the museum from the train station offered countless views of the area, including this walkway above the highway. These can be seen all over Tokyo. They’re a great use of design to impact the flow of pedestrians.
These passages also offer great views of the sprawling city streets from above.
The layout of Tokyo is always unexpected, offering surprises at every corner.
Even with the massive urban development, there is an attention to nature, especially in the numerous parks around the city. The Setagaya Museum is located in Kinuta Family Park, which was filled with families enjoying the area.
After a 20 minute walk through Setagaya, we approached the museum. The building was surrounded with beautiful sculptures.
While this is hardly representative of the exhibit itself, the photo in the sign offers a hint at the collection of works by Jikken Kobo, which included photos, sculptures, paintings, drawings, film, music, and significant historical documents of the group’s exhibitions during the mid-20th century.
Adding to our enjoyment, our professor decided to bring along his infant to see the art as well. Adorable!
To bring in the Year of the Horse, we headed down to Asia’s largest Chinatown (outside of China, of course): Yokohama, Japan.
Yokohama is riddled with dark side streets lined with great restaurants, constantly surprising us at every turn.
While we missed the majority of the traditional dragon dances, we caught a glimpse at the end. The dance is performed outside of stores and restaurants in hopes of bringing luck for the community.
Chinatown was hypnotizing with endless color and decoration everywhere we looked. It was beautiful and bright, especially after sundown.
After strolling for a while and smelling the amazing aromas wafting out of the countless restaurants, we began to get hungry.
There was an overwhelming amount of choices, most notably was this display of shark-fin soup!
We settled for dumplings instead of mysterious sharkmeat. There was a massive steamer outside of this restaurant that we just couldn’t pass up.
After stuffing ourselves with dumplings, we had to satisfy the sweet tooth. Street food is plentiful, especially for jin deui: a fried Chinese pastry made of rice flour, usually filled with sweet bean paste.
The pastry is covered in sesame seeds for a pleasant crunchiness. It’s delicious when it’s fresh and warm!
Out of all of our experiences during the Chinese New Year, just the slow exploration of the area was the most exciting. Fortune telling was a popular venue in the neighborhood.
And just when we thought we had gotten used to Yokohama, we suddenly were audience to an impressive car show! A happy new year indeed.
Oviedo is home to many great works of art, such as sculptures and statues that can be found in every corner of the city.
This statue, sculpted by Eduardo Úrculo, is commonly known as ‘The Traveler’ but its official title is ‘El Regreso [Return] de Williams B. Arrensberg.’ The story behind the statue is a bit of a mystery because apparently Úlrculo never revealed who exactly Mr. Arrensberg was.
A statue of King Alfonso II stands outside the Cathedral of San Salvador. Alfonso II was the King of Asturias from 791-842.
This sculpture depicts the Asturian custom of el escanciado de la sidra (pouring of the cider). Asturian cider is bottled naturally, so waiters will hold the bottle high above the glass and slowly pour the cider to allow it to aerate.
Dr. Manuel Avello Fernández was a journalist and professor who became the official chronicler of Oviedo. His bust was sculpted by Vicente Menéndez Santarúa.
Officially titled ‘La Maternidad’ (Maternity), this sculpture by Fernando Botero is commonly referred to as ‘La Gorda.’ It’s a great meeting point because it’s easily recognizable, and it’s located at La Plaza de la Escandalera, which is near the center of Oviedo.
This life-sized statue of Woody Allen was sculpted by Vicente Menéndez Santarúa after Allen won the Prince of Asturias award in 2002. Allen spent time in Oviedo during the filming of ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona.’
‘La Bailarina’, by Santiago de Santiago, is a bit more abstract than most of the other sculptures in Oviedo, but no less appealing.
Several sculptures, such as this one, adorn the fields and walkways of the San Francisco Park in Oviedo.
The ‘Culis Monumentalibus,’ commonly referred to as ‘El Culo’ is another sculpture by Eduardo Úrculo.
‘La Lechera’ by Manuel Garcia Linares depicts a milk maid in traditional garb.
Teatro Arniches is a small theater to the left of downtown (if you’re going up the hill). The Flamenco performed was a modern expression of the traditional art form. The small stage was lit by a number of simple spot lights that cast faint squares, or shone into men’s faces laying out their bare shadows on the wall behind them. There is a dumpy man sitting on a chair in the back with a cello between his legs. There are no women in this performance, only two male dancers to march and flourish across the stage in varying displays of manhood. They wear tight black, with their chins pointed down from straight necks over their turtlenecks. When they roll their sleeves up in the second act it is as striking as the sudden snaps of castanets.
This is Flamenco in it’s modern, artistic form. The first time I saw flamenco was on a terrace at a cafe tucked into the hill in Granada. The situation was a casual, although no less talented. The stage tended to be occupied by pairs or just a single musician. Flamenco is an art form rooted in the tradition of participation. Every dancer is a musician, and every musician sits on stage with the dancers, as much a part of the visual as the bright skirts or rolled up sleeves. The dancers clap as they dance, and many of their steps are loud stops that clatter rhythm into the guitar strings. But most strikingly, the audience members are part of the performance as well. Audience members clap out their own flamenco rhythms from their seats, right into the music of the performers. Flamenco doesn’t bother with the space between performer and audience so strictly respected in traditional American performances. It retains some of the feel of gathering around a camp fire, while the young dance and the elderly clap and strum.
Classical music is struggling to survive in the 21st century. Symphonies spend enormous effort striving to appeal to the new generation, who have lost interest in sitting and listening for two hours. But Flamenco continues.
Dancing in a Spanish night club, away from the bustle of the tourists, somebody starts clapping out a Flamenco pattern. His claps find the hidden rhythm in the techno, and people drift towards him. Others join into the clapping, and there’s a circle of Spaniards stomping in place, their hips a controlled sway of energy. A girl swirls into the circle, and even though she wears a tight black skirt I can see the bright colors of a gypsy flash about her ankles.
A Couple Links:
Every time I speak to one of my friends from home, someone asks how many times I have gone to the beach. I remind everyone that Brazil has more to offer than the beach and I am luck that I get to live in a city that has is known for being a cultured city with a passion for all forms of art. While art has many forms, in São Paulo, some these expressions take form in graffiti and tattoos.
The graffiti isn’t something that one can ignore in São Paulo because it is literally everywhere. From the moment I got off my plane on July 1st, a sea of graffiti beautifying the would-be bland painted buildings. Although one can’t ignore the art, it is very possible to not truly see the beauty of it. There is a famous alley in the hipster district, Vila Madelena, called Batman Alley that completely covered with graffiti. That isn’t the only place where you’ll pass this free expression. I’ve walked down Avenida Paulista a million times, but last week was the first time that I’ve noticed this artwork. You’re probably thinking, “how did you miss it, it’s so big.” Well, last week was the first time that I happened to look up. It was so pretty that I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture. For those who don’t know, Avenida Paulista on a warm day is like Wal-Mart on Black Friday, packed. You can imagine the irritated people behind me, but I think they are so used to seeing this form of art that they don’t fully appreciate it.
That being said, I was never a fan of people defacing buildings because it seemed like a form of disrespect. The city of São Paulo would agree with my previous thoughts because it is still illegal to deface public and private property. In some cases I do agree with the city, like the case of people painting a statue as a form of protest and the city spent thousands of dollars cleaning the mess. Yet, in other cases, I think the graffiti adds to the culture and interest of the city. There are very few places in the world that have the same rhythm as Sao Paulo, but the graffiti is truly unique. If you want to know more about the personalities of the people of Sampa (nickname for São Paulo), then just look to the sides of buildings.
Other popular canvases in this city are bodies. Of course tattoos are popular in many large cities, but I was surprised at how many people actually have tattoos. Walking into a college classroom here, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t have tattoo. I guess that is why they have the Sao Paulo Tattoo Week, one of the largest tattoo weeks in Latin America, where tattoo artists from all over Brazil and the world come together and showcase their talent.
I thought most Latin American cities were pretty conservative, but Sao Paulo proved me wrong. One of my fellow study abroaders described São Paulo as having a very gritty vibe with natural landscape in the background. You can’t put a culture of a country in a box and expect that every city will act the same. I didn’t appreciate the different sorts of people in São Paulo until I started to appreciate the amount of time that this city dedicates to art and self-expression.