Written by Jose Garcia, NWSA Visual Arts BFA 2014, College Class Valedictorian
Looking back on Paris, I can only think of how splendid the experience was. Paris has a historic presence from every angle of the city. With museums housed in opulent palaces and lush gardens located in the middle of chaotic urban life, Paris did not have a corner that did not have a rich history attached to it. Monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Trompe, adorn the city and appear right as one dissolves into the cityscape. Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, La Madeine, Basilica of the Scare Coeur, and the Cathedral of Chartes are churches and cathedrals that all resonant with you regardless of your religious position. Opulence is taken into a whole other form at Versailles. Versailles at times feltcomical with it's over the to grandeur and its gold-leafed gates and outrageous paintings in every inch of the wall, not to mention the hall of mirrors. As you would leave one room, the other would leave you just as astonished as the next. The skill and dedication used to create these cathedrals, churches, and chateaus are astonishing. Similar to the city themselves, these monuments have no corner that hasn't be skillfully and artfully rendered. The artful detailing illustrated, so beautifully, throughout Paris is only a foreshadowing of the exhibitions this marvelous city has to offer.
The prospect of seeing art in Paris was unbelievable. Paris has such a great repertoire when it comes to the museums and caliber of art. The Louvre Museum, which happens to be world's largest museum, had an impressive art collection that included works from pre-historic, byzantine, and renaissance periods. Musee de l'Orangerieincluded impressionist and post-impressionist painting. The Musee d'Orsay expanded on impressionist works while including other periods from 1848 to 1914. The Rodin Museum, which was the site former home of the Auguste Rofin, included the largest collection of Rodin's sculptures. Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville featured a retrospective on Lucio Fontana, a modern artist that worked in painting and sculpture. The Petit Palais housed an exhibit on the history of paris that included costume, jewelry, posters, and vintage film.
We also had the opportunity to see contemporary works of art. The Jue de Paume consisted ofcontemporary photography and video art. The Pompidou showcased 'Time Clock' by Christian Marclay. The video piece is a 24-hour montage from various films in real time. Adjacent to the Pompidou was the Constantin Brancusi Studio, a reproduction of exact layout of Brancusi's studio that also included works. The Palais de Tokyo was an anti-museum that had an eccentric collection of works. Ultimately, it was the Grand Palais that resonated most with me. The Grand Palais had multiple exhibits with massive quantities of work. Monumenta featured imaginative installations from Ilya & Emilia Kabakov. Monumenta is an annual project that allows established artists to create large-scale site-specific projects. The Grand Palais also included a retrospective fromboth Robert Mapplethorpe and Bill Viola. Mapplethorpe's beautiful black andwhite photographs depicted the human figure and nature while dealing with themes of sexuality. Viola, a pioneer of video art, deal with spirituality in his videos. He often uses the natural elements to symbolize life, death, and transfiguration.
New World School of the Arts' Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates had the opportunity to participate in a two-week travel program to Paris, France this summer thanks to the generous support of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, and the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation.