Event Critiques

Art Event #1

I attended the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on November 8, 2013. The museum had a very different type of art than what I am used to seeing. Past art museums or exhibits I have gone to have relied on traditional paintings or sculptures to comprise their collection. The artists of these pieces relied mainly on sound design and structure.

The first piece I encountered entitled Road Trip was behind a door that opened into a room. The room contained a slide projector that was showing pictures from a road trip. There were also speakers where the projector was that had dialogue as if two people were actually in the room presenting the slides. These two people speaking were Janet Cardiff and James Burges Miller, the artist of this piece as well as many other pieces that I saw in the rest of the museum. The slide show showed photos that Miller’s grandfather had taken on a road trip from across Canada to New York in search of a specialist for his cancer. We slowly discover this as the presentation progresses. We also find out that he never actually knew his grandfather.

The second piece I really enjoyed was a piece called The Killing Machine by the same artists as the last piece. This piece was set up as an operating chair with maniacal robotic arms with sharp tips floating around the chair. There was a sound board that was controlling all the sound being played while the arms moved around in a very graceful and hypnotic fashion. Some of the sound was actually produced by instruments that were being struck by the machine during the ‘performance.’ For example, there was an electric guitar lying down on the side of the structure, connected to an amplifier while a drumstick connected to a robotic mechanism struck the strings. This produced a thunderous sound that added to the eeriness of the piece.

My third favorite piece was entitled The Muriel Lake Incident by Cardiff and Miller, once again (they had an exhibit of their work displayed at the museum). This piece was a large wooden box that had a side missing so that the inside could be seen. The inside was decorated as a movie theater which had a real television running a movie and acting as the big screen. There were two sets of headphones that allowed the viewer to hear panned audio conversations of people in the theater while the movie was playing. I was focused on the movie, trying to figure out if there was a meaning, but it made no sense. Then, out of nowhere, a loud gunshot could be heard and a bunch of people started screaming. Then a very devious laughter could be heard. This was a very sad yet relevant piece as there have been recent theater shootings. I enjoyed all the audio design because I got the sense that I was actually in the theater.

All in all, the museum was very interesting and enlightening. The pieces opened my eyes up to a whole new style of artwork. I definitely would like to visit more museums like this one because I find that they are a lot more interesting when sound design is incorporated. I came away with new ideas I will be incorporating into my final art project for one of my classes. I really liked the use of sound design to give space and totally consume the audience. A lot of pieces used small household items to comprise their pieces so I think I took away the idea that any object can be used to create something, even if it looks like trash. I never really had an interest in contemporary art, but it really fascinated me. I felt the only thing I did not like about the museum was that the curators did not seem to want to talk to us, but rather older visitors. I feel respect for the artists because the complexity of their pieces with engineering and sound takes much time, patience, and creativity.

 Art Event #2

On September 24, 2013 I attended a concert at a venue called the Epicentre in Mira Mesa. The band I was going to see is called Title Fight and they’re from Pennsylvania. The reason why I like seeing this band is because they all started the band when they were thirteen and now they’re 21 and already have amazing albums under their belts. For being as young as they are, they have major talent for songwriting as well as musicianship.

I would consider the Epicentre a small venue, but I have definitely been to smaller. The venue caters to many mid-level touring acts and serves as a stepping stone venue for many local bands to get their first gigs. This show, however, had the entire lineup in one big tour which is unusual as the first band to play at most shows is a local one.

The style of music on this lineup was very diverse as one band was very melodic pop punk, one was intense and in your face hardcore punk, another was melodic punk, and Title Fight, the headliner, was a good mixture of all the opening acts. They said on stage that every band may sound the same, but that does not mean everyone was not like-minded. I really enjoy when bands do this because it makes the concert more diverse and therefore exposes the audience to something they would have never made an effort to listen to. I believe that is important for people to be more musically diverse as opposed to being narrow-minded, much like it is important to be well-rounded in school subjects.

The actual performance of all the bands was both amazing and horrible. The bands all played amazingly but the monitors and the microphones that the Epicentre provided were all going out at random points for Title Fight and I could tell the band was getting frustrated on stage. I feel like a lot of venues do not really invest in good and reliable equipment which will cause bands to not want to play there anymore, which would not be a good thing because the Epicentre is one of the only “all ages” venues in San Diego County. Also, the sound guy had bad sound levels as the vocals and bass for the opening bands were drowning out everything else. All in all, it was a great performance but bad sound engineering on the venue’s part.

 

Event Critique 3

This critique will be about Mindy’s class’s puppet performance. Personally, I felt that they did better than our class as far as puppetry goes. Every single group had very interesting creative ideas when it came to developing their puppets. A few of the groups used objects I would not have thought of using to make their puppets. The stories they performed ranged from California gold miners to an oceanic story, similar to that of Finding Nemo.

The oceanic story was definitely my favorite as far as storyline and puppet designs go. They also had great interaction with the kids when they asked for the fourth graders to call out “splish splash” and random parts of the performance. The turtle they used was made out of an aluminum baking pan and felt which really made a great looking puppet. The ridges on the pan looked similar to the ridges in a turtle’s shell. The next puppets that appeared were the crabs which again were very well designed. The main body was a red, see-through bowl. Attached to the bowl by some strings were silver forks that gave them a shining presence. The angler fish actually had a light at the top of its head that shined as the lights went down in the room. The background design was also very creative and also very visually satisfying because of the colors and designs they used to comprise it.

Moreover, the other things I liked in the other stories were the mixed medium that the groups used. For example, one group used puppets but then used a background that used shadows. Another group used puppets and then used the projector to make the background throughout the story. I think that after seeing all of these pieces again, I would have definitely liked to have added some more creative design to my group’s performance.  

Event Critique 4

I attended one of my classmate’s art gallery at the CSUSM art room that they have in Restaurant Row in San Marcos. Although the space is very small, he was able to cram a lot of his pieces within the gallery. All of his pieces were canvas based and I believe they were painted with both acrylic and oil paints, but I will have to ask him to confirm that.

His paintings used very vibrant colors that really made them pop out. I noticed that he used a lot of this neon yellow/green color that gave a lot of his pieces that vibrant aspect. He also used a lot of other bright colors such as red and white that stood out in otherwise dark paintings. While some artists rely on monochrome painting, it looked as though he used every type of paint he had to comprise his pieces.

I would classify the style of his work as being abstract street art. On many of the paintings, the paint could be seen running down the canvas, giving it that running dripping effect. This dripping effect gave me the feeling as if I was looking at spray painted street art in which the paint sometimes begins to drip down the wall. The abstract aspect of his art came from subtle or not so subtle designs that came out in his pieces. One of his paintings involved a painted background with photographs that he took to make up a person’s body. He said that he had no meaning as to what the photographs represented or what the person represented, but it was just an idea that came to him.

All in all, I really enjoyed looking at his pieces and I am interested to see what other artistic ideas he comes up with in the future. It was very interesting to see the blend of street and abstract art with street being a very new, but very prominent art form at this time.

 

Event Critique 5

This is part one of a two part event write up. I went to the same concert at two different venues so I thought I would compare how the two were conducted based on the setting. The first one, which I will talk about in this critique, took place in Corona, CA on December 5, 2013. The headlining band, The Flatliners from Toronto, Canada, are a current favorite of mine so this is why I made the trek for two of their shows.

The venue, Maya’s Cafe, is a small “cafe” located in a very underdeveloped area of Corona. I had performed there in a previous band a couple years back so I knew what I was getting into. The place calls itself a cafe but they sell tacos that I would be hesitant on trying and a huge selection of beer including Tecate and Bud Light…and nothing else. I mention this to reinforce how much of a dump the place was.

The bands played their sets through a set backline of amplifiers that they all shared in order to shorten breakdown/setup time. In total, there were six bands that played that night, but there was no a problem until the fourth band played. Halfway through their set, the PA system for vocals blew so they had to cut the set short. Luckily, they were able to get ahold of another PA monitor by the time the next band was up. The next band, Living with Lions, also from Canada, played a great set. They had a very melodic punk sound that I personally enjoyed. The Flatliners took the stage (a section of the floor; there was no stage) after, but I noticed they had one of the drummers from another band behind their kit when they were setting up who looked really nervous. I talked with one of the band members and they said the drummer was in the van vomiting, most likely from something he ate because he seemed completely fine when I was talking to him earlier on in the night. The band pushed on with the show and used the first drummer I previously mentioned to played four songs, the drummer from Living with Lions to play another three songs, and a random guy from the crowd who played spot on. They slowed down the rest of their set and played with just guitars on a clean setting to give a somewhat acoustic performance. The set was very weird because of all the changes, but also a lot of fun because it is not every day you get to see your favorite band wing their set and basically just have fun with it.

I came away with the idea that there’s always a solution to a problem. The Flatliners made it work and had fun with it when they could have just decided not to play at all. Every time I see them I always watch their guitar playing or how they carry themselves in their performances in order to better my skills. I learned about some of the different effects pedals the singer uses which I hope to dabble with in the future. The fact that the band played on and made it fun gives me full respect for who they are as people. They hung out in the crowd and showed no sense of being prima donnas.

Event Critique 6

This critique will be about the Flatliners concert I went to on the second night in Fullerton, CA at the Slidebar Cafe. Unlike Maya’s Cafe, the Slidebar is a very modern bar/restaurant that is decorated like a Hard Rock Cafe, but geared towards a younger generation. They have a very appetizing menu, great music, and a good bar. The Slidebar is actually my favorite bar because of the atmosphere, food, and the fact that they bring pretty big bands to play at no cost ever for admission.

Unlike the last show, this one sold out right away. Their tickets are on a first come first serve basis, but I made sure to make a reservation at the restaurant which guaranteed me and my group tickets. All the bands, except the first one, had played the previous night, but it was good to hear them on a professional PA system as opposed to the unreliable one Maya’s Cafe had. Each band played a great set, including the band that had the PA blow on their set the previous night, whom were able to play a complete set.

The Flatliners took the stage and played an awesome set to a packed house. Unlike the last night, they had their full lineup playing and therefore played a complete set. The crowd at Maya’s Cafe was only about a third of the size of the Slidebar’s crowd, which I think can be a good or bad thing. The one thing I liked about a smaller crowd at Maya’s Cafe was the fact that the show seemed very intimate, especially since the band was playing on the floor with the crowd. However, it’s great to see a band I like get the recognition they deserve from the hard work they put on the road. One of these struggles is actually getting paid to play. After talking to one of the guitarists from the Flatliners after the show, I found out that the promoter for their show at Maya’s Cafe left the venue before the show was over, taking the money all the money made that night with him.

I came away with the idea that there’s always a solution to a problem. The Flatliners made it work and had fun with it when they could have just decided not to play at all. Every time I see them I always watch their guitar playing or how they carry themselves in their performances in order to better my skills. I learned about some of the different effects pedals the singer uses which I hope to dabble with in the future. The fact that the band played on and made it fun gives me full respect for who they are as people. They hung out in the crowd and showed no sense of being prima donnas.

I came away with the same ideas as the night before. I noticed that despite having a bigger show with better sound equipment, they still played great sets at both. Seeing them hang out and talk to their fans reaffirmed why I think they’re stand up guys. I want to take away the idea that if I ever make it big, I would want to hang out with people that listen to me and not lock myself up in a green room all night which big bands tend to do.

Event Critique 7

I went to the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles on November 22nd. I had been to this museum before, but I was only about eight at the time and I had a vague memory of it. Now that I am older and pursuing a major in art, the museum holds a lot more value and interest to me than it did fifteen years ago. In this day and age, we’re able to search and view scanned pieces of art from around the world, but these images do not give the paintings/statues justice. To be up close and see all the fine details that go into things such as the fine detail in sculpting, the brush strokes of the artists, or the way paint lies on a canvas is very remarkable and a great experience.

Walking around inside, I saw a vast array of different types of art movements. Abstract, Renaissance, Impressionism, etc. filled the halls with great pieces. What was also amazing was seeing one of Van Gough’s paintings of flowers that was on display. As stated before, being able to see the marks of the artist, especially Van Gough, is very exciting. The statues that I liked the most were from ancient Greece. These statues stood tall and held great history. To think of how long ago they were crafted is amazing because the artists are long gone.

The museum also had a great exhibit on display of English Medieval art consisting of stained glass windows from a cathedral. The colors that went into making these religious stained glass windows are very vibrant and detailed. Different windows on display looked like masterpiece paintings because of the detail that went into make them. There was also a manuscript that had pages of art similar to the style of the stained glass windows, but on pages instead. These illustrations in the manuscript used very vibrant colors as well. The illustrations were all very detailed and abstract in style. All in all, the museum was a great experience that reaffirmed my passion for art as well as my appreciation for the effort that went into making all the pieces found within the exhibit.

I came away with a rekindled fascination with classical art style. I took painting this semester so being able to see all of the famous paintings was pretty awesome and I definitely want to try some color blending I saw in some pieces. My trip there ran smoothly and the facility seems very peaceful because of the beautiful architecture and vegetation on the landscape. After being in that painting class I can honestly say I have much more respect for the painters whose works I saw.

Event Critique 8

I went to the Huntington Library in San Marino on November 1st. The Huntington Library is set on a beautiful landscape filled with beautiful flowers that comprise lush gardens. I had not been here since I was younger so I wanted to recapture the museum. The building onsite had many paintings and sculptures inside, some of which are world famous.

I was feeling hungry on the drive over there so I decided to grab something to eat at their cafe inside. I ate outside the cafe where I had a beautiful view of the green lawn and flowers around me, all on a perfect sunny day. Once I was done with my meal, I proceeded to walk towards the gardens in the facility. Each garden had specific themes they were going for. One had a lot of desert plants while another presented a more tranquil theme, consisting of a pond with lily pads and flowers that fit the scene. My favorite garden, which I remember being my favorite when I was younger, was the Chinese garden. I loved it because of the Chinese gazebo structures that were built around a big pond. The flowers and the rest of the landscape gave me the feeling as if I was actually in a traditional Chinese garden in China.

The art in the buildings was very classical and traditional. The buildings, to me, are a work of art themselves because of their colonial architecture. The art galleries have pieces from as early as the 1600s, being primarily American and European traditional art. The most well known piece in the museum has to be Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, which was painted in the 1700s. I do not know where, but I remember seeing this painting online or in print somewhere, so it was awesome actually getting to see it up close. The galleries on the premises are not the largest, but the beauty of the museum and its landscape is why I love visiting the Huntington Library.

I took away a new fascination for landscaping. It is a beautiful art and I always seemed to look past it, but the gardens at the facility were extremely beautiful and well planned out. I do not think I would get into landscaping gardens, but I might use some ideas of what I saw in future illustrations.

Event Critique #9

The event I attended on October 17th was a movie called Gravity, a film that stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. I heard from many people that it was a must-see movie in theaters because of the cinematography and sound effects used. I decided to make the trek out to Irvine’s IMAX in order to watch the movie at its best in 3D.

The things I did not like about the movie was that it costed me $20 for admission which is the price of a DVD and the fact that the rows of seats inside the theater had very little leg room, causing me to awkwardly consistently bump my knee into the guy that was sitting in front of me while having my seat kicked from behind.

I’m going to write this report without saying what happened because I do not want to ruin the movie for anyone that has not seen it yet, therefore I will talk about the cinematography and the score. I am really in to editing videos, so all of the special effects of space that were used were outstanding. I really liked how at times when suspense would build, the sound would complete cut out, giving an eerie feeling of desolation or the loss of breath.

I usually hate #D because I feel like it strains my eyes, but I decided to take the plunge and went through with the 3D IMAX. I was glad that I did because I do not think I would have had the same experience in a normal theater. While the astronauts were floating in space, they or a piece of equipment would come floating towards the crowd, which gives the audience a feeling of being in the movie. Surprisingly, my eyes got used to the 3D for once and I was able to concentrate fully on the movie.

I really recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys suspense, space movies, or a movie with great effects. I believe this movie has great ability to win awards next year. Sandra Bullock has not really appealed to me in her recent movies, but her acting was definitely superb in Gravity. I think the only other movie I will take the chance with 3D glasses again will be the rest of the Hobbit series.

Event Critique #10

This is another movie critique. The movie I saw was Carrie which is a remake of the 1976 film. I have a pass I pay for every month that allows me to see every movie out in theaters once, so I decided to watch this movie despite being skeptical about it based off of the trailer. The trailer made it look decent, but it was too revealing because it gave away key parts that were going to happen. I had never watched the original, but I could figure out what was going to happen, which I did somewhat.

I went to see the movie on October 23rd at Edwards in San Marcos. Our theater was packed with a bunch of teenagers who talked the whole movie, attempted to be funny, were on their phone, and ultimately annoying the hell out of us. I remember being that bad when I was younger.

Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore were both the leading actors in the movie and did well capturing the creepiness of Carrie and her mother. However, the movie was definitely geared towards a teen crowd, which means the qualities of acting and script writing were not the best. I did enjoy the special effects of the movie because there was a lot of demonic hovering and fire breathing that looked pretty cool cinematically.

The movie was very predictable, but I enjoy movies with overdone plots as long as there’s something charming about it. I definitely want to try out special effects after seeing this movie and a lot of other movies doing awesome things with them. I think my favorite actor was Julianne Moore because of how psychotic she came off. If an actor can legitimately creep me out, then I applaud their acting because thriller/horror movies do not really get to me.

The only thing I would change would be the time of day or the date I went to the movie. Teen movies always have a bad crowd on opening night or movies that have recently been released. Also, the theater we watched the movie had something wrong with their speakers that give a lot of mids in the frequency so it gave me the feeling as if I was listening to the movie through as telephone. All in all, I feel like I would have enjoyed the movie a bit more had it not been for all the teenagers and the busted speakers.

 

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