Prelude to Changes

I’m like an anthropologist with the mind of an architectural historian. As a wannabe anthropologist, I unscrupulously stare at people strolling down the streets, selecting out the banal from the fresh (style wise I mean) and arriving at conclusions about their cultural backgrounds, profession and even interests simply by gazing at them. As an individual who looks at buildings as part of my work in preservation and as a student, I find myself sometimes in awe and others in disgust at the sight of a building or a landscape.

Trees, flowers, the weather, colors, music, and people have been inspiring me lately. I’ve decided that instead of writing about architecture and the arts in Boston, I will also explore other facets of Boston’s “culture,” namely its street style. I want to explore my anthropological side by highlighting every so often people I come across in my daily life who to me appear to have a story to tell through the clothes they wear.  People’s style, like buildings also tell a story.  So let the adventures begin!

Review: Roni Horn AKA Roni Horn

You’ve seen a ton of traffic. Now come see a ton of pink.

The tag line for Roni Horn AKA Roni Horn (February 19 – June 13) at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, attempts at drawing in the crowds through the artist’s play on the color pink.  As human beings, we tend pre-judge many things that cross our path and through Horn’s exploration of identity, perception and place, her sculptures and photographs challenge the viewer to look twice before judging.

And yes, if you’re wondering about the marketing tag line for Horn’s show, expect to see pink all around you.  As a color, pink has often been associated with feminine qualities, yet Horn allow us to see beyond it and into the androgynous world she dwells in further inciting thoughts within her audience.

In today’s technologically overloaded world, we seldom stop to look at a painting or a photograph, let alone discuss their formal qualities and meanings. Roni Horn as an artist has no other option than to force her audience to stop, take a second look and create a direct connection between her “art and our sense of discovery.”

Horn’s thirty year retrospective at the ICA plays with our memory and sense of perception, challenging us the moment one steps inside the museum. One of the most popular pieces in the exhibition is Pink Tons, a five ton pink glass cube situated in a corner at the entrance of the ICA. As one peers over the cube, Horn reminds us that things are not always what they appear to be. Naturally, our mind leads us to think that the cube is solid, but Horn distorts this reality by making the center seem “molten.”  Emphasizing one’s individuality is at the center of Horn’s works. Roni Horn’s art treats issues like age, gender, sexual orientation and even mood as things that are “never fixed but always shifting.”

Horn employs a vocabulary that is not only thought provoking, but also inspiring. Her work deals with the poetry of Emily Dickinson and other famous authors. The artist has long been fascinated by the 19th century poet who used language to “defy restrictions of place, society and identity.”

However, Horn only uses small fragments of Dickinson’s poems, thereby forcing her audience to invent and make assumptions of what is to come. Roni Horn AKA Roni Horn is full of contradictions and this is one of them.

In questioning identity and gender, Horn poses several questions to her audience by means of photography and sculptures in the exhibition. As part of the ICA’s “Collection in the Making” program, curators have exhibited the works of groundbreaking artists like Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin in other galleries further complementing Horn’s exhibition. Sherman as an artist is known for calling attention to the stereotyping of women in film, magazines and television. Goldin on the other hand, is known for her intense, highly personal and at times sexually charged photography of drag queens, friends, drug addicts and other subjects close and dear to her heart. Both Sherman and Goldin have posed the same questions Horn has to her audience.

For some critics, the Roni Horn exhibition at the ICA has proven to be disengaging for not suggesting real risk, real audacity and real creative compassion. Horn as an artist does a tremendous job at engaging her audience in a conversation that deal with identity, age, gender, and even sexual orientation. Her sculpture more than her photography remind us that life is full of fleeting moments and in order to savor them, one must stop,  take a second look before imposing our judgments upon others.

Change, Change, Change

Change is all over. The weather is changing. The cherry trees are blooming and people are out of hibernation. I love change especially if it involves shedding one’s skin and channeling positive inner thoughts. Everyone needs change and moments of self-reflection and this is exactly what I have done for the past two months. It has been a while since I last looked at this blog, but it will not be long before I start posting again. Exciting things are happening all over Boston and I am ready to immerse myself in the city.

The Portland Building by Michael Graves!

Exciting, best describes the things that have been blossoming in my life for the past two months. For Spring Break, I went on a weeklong trip to Portland, Oregon to visit great friends I had met while studying abroad five years ago in Valparaiso, Chile.  We reminisced of happy and crazy times traveling through the beautiful and inspiring country of Chile, meeting its people and learning of its culture. We ate delicious, organic food (very typical of Portland); drank some Chilean wine (Concha y Toro and Gato Negro) and made Jote, a Chilean concoction made with Coca Cola and wine. I was introduced to the Portland microbreweries and savored some delicious lavender ice cream and sinful chocolate desserts at Pix. Oh wait, before I forget, I had the best Venezuelan breakfast EVER, courtesy of my friend’s dad who is an excellent cook! Portland rocked my world!

Me inside one of Portland's amazing fountains. This one is the Ira Keller Fountain.

I went to my first ever Zumba class with an amazing instructor and let me tell you, I rocked it out! Well, not really, more like shaking my hips like Shakira! My friend says that Zumba teaches you to dance with your soul and it surely taught me to dance with mine! If anything, what I learned from this Zumba class is how tightly knit Portland as a community is!  I also attended my first hot yoga class. What an amazing experience. I loved it so much I signed up for a hot yoga class in Cambridge last week! I think I am addicted to hot yoga!

I was mesmerized with Portland the moment I stepped out of the airport and inhaled its fresh cool air!

One of Portland's many fountains, this one by Lawrence Halprin

I fell in love with the city just as Romeo fell in love with Juliet. Portland’s street style, attitude and way of life re-energized my senses and brought new perspectives into my life! I saw some excellent architecture, urban parks designed by internationally renowned landscape architects and also great contemporary art at the Portland Museum of Art. I also indulged in some great vintage shopping (I was in heaven) and brought home two pairs of sneakers (one can never have enough kicks), two awesome t-shirts at Ray’s Ragtime, a black and white knitted tie from the 1960’s at Magpie and an awesome leather jacket at the House of Vintage! I’m telling you, it was AWESOME!

Coming back to Boston felt strange, some things fell apart and others emerged in their place. I am in the process of moving to a beautiful neighborhood in Dorchester! It’s a perfect location, the perfect apartment and the perfect size closet! I know, what you are thinking, every boy NEEDS the perfect size closet!  

Finally, I will start a new blog which will focus on the people of Boston! Yes, I will keep this one, but the other blog will be a photo-documentary style blog. Want to know more? Well, you will have to stay tuned!

Auf Wiedersehe!

Oh yeah, I’m all caught up with Project Runway Season 7! Go Seth Aaron!!!!!

umm, Yeah!