I’ve always appreciated music, but for most of my life, I never listened to it. I consumed what my parents and friends listened to, there were songs I liked, and artists I didn’t, but never did I voyage to discover “new” music. Even in high school, I was the kid who said “oh I don’t really listen to music”, then, one day, something changed. It came in leu of befriending Adam who I greatly looked up to, he, like the others who have surrounded me, changed me through pointed jokes towards my seemingly ever-lacking personality. The first songs I listened to I played relentlessly and then disposed of when they no longer brought me joy, were decades-old pop songs such as 99 Luftballoons, You Spin Me Right Around, and Kiss. I liked these songs and still do, but they still didn’t feel right for me. These songs have millions of plays on Spotify and thousands may consider them the best of all time—at least in their respective genres—but I still couldn’t connect to them in a way I now knew possible as a result of the passion I saw in Adam for excellent music. I didn’t know it yet but I was in search of the perfect song (something I likely will never find). After old pop, I moved into rap, not the good kind, honestly like bad music, although I do appreciate them for what they are artist like bbno$ and Young Gravy has no place in the search for the best song of all time. It’s not to diss them but they create music not for the soul but for the pleasure of the masses. Now, I think I know what you’re thinking, “this kid just said popular songs can’t be good, twice.” While I do think there is a correlation between production for mass markets and production for emotional expression, many popular songs are that way because they truly tap into a deep human feeling that people can’t turn away from. Latino artists do this incredibly well. I recently played mi gente in the car with Logan and he called it “cringy” still, that song, despite its incredible popularity infuses you with energy in a way most songs could never do. Is Mi Gente the perfect song? No. Is it worth listening to? Absolutely. Another artsiest who accomplishes this emotional feat is Lauryn Hill. I know I’ve already talked about her but she has the infusion into her music that grabs your soul and holds it right in the rhythm and beat of the music. I think this is the beginning of a formula for a perfect song. Though like John Keating with poems, I really don’t think there can be a “formula” to a perfect song, rather, qualitative aspects add up to create something perfect.
Judy Chicago is a feminist artist, whose work, although initially rejected, pushed the art world to accept feminism and has defined feminist art to this day.
Judy Chicago was born in 1939 in Chicago (initially with the last name Cohen). She was raised in a wealthy Jewish family who supported her career in the arts, this support allowed her to begin pursuing art from the age of 5. As a result of this early start, each of Chicago’s later pieces is defined by her adept artist skills and technical feats. Being a woman in the art world hegemonized by men pushed her towards her radicalized artwork. In 1965, Chicago released a modern art piece of a series of rainbow beams leaning against a wall, when art critic Walter Hopps saw the piece he largely ignored it and talked to the other male artists in the room. Years after, Chicago and Hopps met again and he told her, that his ignorance was a result of surprise at the high level of her work. Sexism from the world and critics was and continues to be, the major inspiration for her work. The most famous of these pieces is “The Dinner Party”
In 1979 Chicago revealed an enormous project that covered over 1,100 square feet and marks her most influential piece. The piece consisted of a tile floor, three 48-foot-long tables which created the perimeter, and 39 ceramic plates which gave a spot to an influential woman in history. This piece required years of work to complete and the help of over 400 volunteers. In order to complete this feat, Chicago and her team threw, handbuilt, slab built, and slip-cast the pieces. They also employed painting, sewing, and building skills. Inscribed on the tile floor were the names of 999 influential women whose names were largely unknown or forgotten. The piece is both a respectful homage to the powerful women who came before her and a satirical understanding of the nonsensical notion of man’s power. Each of the 39 plates took a vulvaic form, this, although initially thought of as pornographic and unnecessary, defined the piece as a straightforward and “audacious” piece of art that holds a firm grip on what it means to be a feminist in art. The New York Times described the piece in 2018 writing on Judy Chicago as “a repository of women’s history” and remarked on the assumed humor of the piece had it been released in the modern world: “The audacity of “The Dinner Party,” its rhetorical energy, its humor (the vulva plates are, among other things, a play on what it might be like if women took as much pride in their anatomy as men did)”.
Despite its initial rejection from the art world Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” has been tremendously influential to art in its category and marked the first of its kind of feminist art piece. Chicago trailblazed as a leader in the largely male art world of the time and continued to this day as a radical artist and strong feminist. “The Dinner Party” is now a permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and continues to inspire the feminist movement and female artists and non-artist alike. Judy Chicago and “The Dinner Party” remain the unambiguous “Godmother” of feminism in the arts.
Do ya’ll ever feel talentless? Like there’s no special skill you have thats like unique to you? Because I feel like that all the damn time, and have been felling it even more recently. Like I’m a solid writer, I get A’s and B’s on my english papers, and somewhat similar grades on my journalism stories (so long as I remember to submit art). But like I don’t really have something special. Like I’m not artsy at all, I can’t draw or paint for shit, partially because I don’t know how but also my hands are so damn shaky I always mess it up. I can run like ok, I’m not like Ben running 18 minute 3-mile races, but I can run. I’m not crazy good at soccer or volleyball, I’d say I’m pretty average at both. I managed to make starting squad for volleyball but it’s also the first year we’ve had a boys team since like forever. I’m not especially gifted in terms of smarts. Not like Sarita who is somehow naturally good at every subject, she always sets the curve in AP Chem which lowkey pisses me off because it means she gets a 100 or close to it and I get like a B or an A- at best. I can like build shit, but I’m not the only one who can. There’s Caleb and Ben and Emanuel who are all pretty good at Robotics, though Ben and Emanuel don’t really like it all that much. I can’t play music, I mean I can kinda play the drums, not like Sully but I can play. It’s not like I’m crazy good at piano or guitar or something which are instruments that people actually can listen to alone like on a camping trip or something. I can’t sing at all, like at all, It’s pretty rough when I try. I dunno it just feels shitty sometimes you know? Like I wish I had something that set me apart like that, like in a positive way because believe me there are plenty of things that make me different in a negative way. I dunno maybe I haven’t found what makes me different yet, but I have a feeling that I won’t find it anytime soon, if it exists at all.
I feel guilty for the grades I get in art class. I feel the pieces I do shouldn’t be called art, they are just drawings, sketches, and paintings. In other words, they are not artistic.
But what is considered artistic? Is there a standard to measure how artistic art is?
If we evaluate art on its aesthetics, many pieces will be disqualified. Because for pieces like Duchamp’s toilet and Maurizio Cattelan’s banana duct-taped to a wall, you can’t really tell if it’s atheistic. Especially in modern art, a lot of artworks don’t even have a concrete representation. With these cases, the value of art can’t be determined by if it looks pretty. Many artists also purposefully create art that is “disturbing” or “unpleasant” to the public, which is not “pretty” in the eyes of most viewers. But they are considered art.
As I joined the workforce over summer I found an underlying passion for making smoothies. From the outside smoothies seem basic and boring; but once I was introduced into the world of smoothie making my eyes were opened for the first time in my life. A good smoothie is defined by a smooth texture and an even yet diverse flavor profile. I mastered my techniques while working full time at a deli, juggling responsibilities and multiple orders at a time, while still sanctioning my control over every ingredient and the overall texture of the cool beverage. In the end, smoothie making taught me to keep a level head through adversity.