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This past Saturday, April 21st, the Student Art League sponsored a trip to Pittsburg during which we visited the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. I found the museums to be extremely interesting and educational, with their vast range of items from modern art to dinosaur displays. Among the various exhibitions, one I particularly enjoyed was Maya Lin’s architectural display in which she abstractly recreated natural forms in order to express her own personal experience with nature, as well as to encourage viewers to reflect on their surroundings. Also on display in the museum was the exhibition Past Meets Present: Decorative Arts and Design, which featured a large installation of chairs  as a unique way to show visitors how design has evolved into the early 21st century.

Last Wednesday, I attended a lecture given by the New Yorker’s art editor for the past 19 years, Francoise Mouly. I found this lecture to be both extremely entertaining as well as educational, as she took us from her beginning in the publishing world, through the many famous covers of the magazine as well as the artists who created them, and finally to how things are going currently. Mouly began in New York City with a magazine called Raw Graphix Magazine, which she showed several covers as well as their innovate construction. I think it was very interesting to see how she took her experience and approach to magazine publishing from working at Raw, to her new position as editor. Francoise said that she found it refreshing that when putting together covers for the magazine, she didn’t have to worry about the covering them with obnoxious text to catch attention of buyers, due to the fact that many readers are subscribed, the magazine sells itself. She began her time at the New Yorker by referencing earlier covers from the 1930’s and 1940’s in order to get a full feel for what the magazine was originally trying to accomplish and how she could expand on that idea in today’s context. She would also bring cover artists to view these examples as well, telling them to keep these directions in mind when developing concepts and sketching. One statement I found very intriguing was her view that the magazine does not tell viewers what to think, but rather tells you to think, something that I personally believe many other publications lack. As for the relevance of this lecture to web design and the development of the web over all in the past few years, Francoise stated the web is convenient in the speed of communication it allows as well as the broader range of artists it opens the magazine up to. In regards to people’s need to comment on everything they see online, often negatively, the editor said she doesn’t read too much into feedback from readers, for she doesn’t want to be bullied into making decisions about the New Yorker.

When visting the collider 4 show in our gallery, one piece which really drew my attention was the Versus (vs.) Series, VS:: 0.01(eight ball).  This pool table sonically interprets movement of the billiard balls while two players are facing off. I found it very interesting that the music slows as the pace of the balls rolling across the table decreases as well as how the pitch differs depending on the location. For example, when rolling from the left end the pitch decreases, and rolling from the right it increases. I think the addition of these sounds makes the players more attentive to the action occurring on the table. When reading the information about this particular installation, I noticed the description said this is the first in a series of projects dealing with sonically interpreted sports events, so I’m very interested to see what the other installations will be.