New York, New Color Factory

 

A trip to the latest Color Factory show in NYC calls for digging up my sister’s old Middle School era dress because it is a twirl-able rainbow incarnate. Dressed in the visible color spectrum and fully funded by my gracious department of History of Art & Architecture, I was ready to take in what this new iteration of The Color Factory had to offer - camera and notes in hand.

As I begin to fine tune the scope of my thesis, a project which I have spent years amassing color-related content for, I realize that part of what I want to tap into is the reason behind art’s newfound color craze. Specifically, how intrinsic qualities of color lend themselves to depicting ephemeral experiences in ways that other mediums cannot.

What I found in NYC was just that.

This version of The Color Factory focused on attendee’s relationships to each other and to themselves, using color as the catalyst. After entering through a rainbow tunnel reminiscent of the ribbon wall at Color Factory’s SF show, we were greeted with the most visually pleasing welcome video ever to grace my eyes. Once registering and picking up a sparkling macaron for the road ahead, we all entered through a tunnel boasting walls of buttons that directed us to select the color that most resonated with us. Naturally I chose a dusty rose button and joked that this tunnel visualized what I think my brain looks like.

On the other side, we were split up into two groups and funneled into a parlor room where we were seated across from someone and guided through a series of activities through coordinated audio. The premise of this room was to compliment. Sitting in complementary colors, my partner Alana and I were instructed to select colors that represented each other. We also had to do a contour drawing without breaking eye contact with one another, and then were treated with complementary, complementary candies tastefully chosen to pair well with each other.

Next up was a sound experience room where we each played notes from complimentary keys. Post the twinkling of our eardrums, we entered a room bathed in sunset and filled with balloons with wishes written on them. Trying to snag a photo in this room was like battling with a windstorm, and we ended up getting a handful of Magritte-esque Son of Man portraits. Exiting the sunset room led us to a roadmap of personality questions that ultimately deposited us at the door of our individual, secret color. Each room was grouped by hue, and afterwards we were directed to take a paint-chip style memento of our secret color, complete with a cue for the next room: a disco fever themed dance floor - where we could strike a pose based on the suggestion written on our secret color card.

For an educational interlude, there was a hallway with alphabetically organized vertical drawers that featured pigments and their color histories. Unsurprisingly, this room was created by Kassia St. Clair, author of The Secret Lives of Color - one of the many titles decorating my bookshelf and on the list of potential thesis sources in my never ending bibliography spreadsheet. In a similar vein, the next room presented us with pie charts of NYC stats, displayed in spin-able and boomerang-able benches.

Last up, similar to the SF show, was a wall to wall ball pit filled with the most soothing shade of blue. This was the point where my friends and I paused our analytical note-taking and just felt like kids again. And with that, the magic of The Color Factory was concluded, though the tingling feeling of being surrounded by such a happy collection of hues will provide the joy and motivation to carry me through the monochromatic winter months ahead.

Xx, Maia

 

A Fashion Week First: Ellen Wise

 

To me, senior year of college is all about saying yes. Within reason. So when one of my sister’s college friends, Dani, reached out with the opportunity for me to head to New York for the weekend to photograph a show during New York Fashion Week, I practically purchased my travel fare before I even properly said yes.

The gig was to photograph for the designer Ellen Wise at her debut fashion show on the east coast. The task was simple: get myself to New York by 3pm on Saturday, and photograph the 6pm show - afterparty access graciously included.

Arriving at the venue was a whirlwind, as neither Dani nor I had ever met the designer or her husband, Mike, but proudly marched on up to get our press passes anyway. Once the whole team got acquainted, Dani and I got to see what goes on behind the lights, camera, and action. We were able to visit the models in makeup, chat with show staffers about what they were hoping to get out of it, and even watch other designers send their works down the runway (other designs pictured below).

Though I had been to Fashion Week shows before (think back to the sophomore year trip to NYFW 2016), I had never been granted the opportunity to photograph for one designer in particular. Getting to know Ellen behind the scenes gave a whole new dimension to her garments as I learned they’re each one of a kind and custom made for the client. Ellen has even gone so far as to design her daughter’s wedding dress - and Mike even made the wedding cake!

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All in all, the photographing of the show was easy. It was the saying yes to a spur of the moment opportunity that put me out of my comfort zone - letting me learn that it’s not so bad, and you can even score a fashion week after party ticket!

So thank you, Dani, for thinking of me for the job, and to Ellen Wise for fashionably fueling my year of saying yes!

Xx, Maia

 

An Aussie Tour of Miami

 

In thinking about showing my hometown off to someone who A.) is very important to me, B.) has never seen Miami, and C.) probably thinks everyone in the 305 goes to school in their bathing suits... I had to concoct the perfect 7 day storm to express how much I love my home. And a storm indeed was a-brewin'. Upon arrival (post the 1.5 hour long driving detour my dad took us on to show Curtis, the resident Aussie, a thumbnail survey of the city from the airport), we were greeted by one of Florida's classic flash downpours - one which quickly dampened the day's beach prospects.

Sunday then turned out to be a day of culinary cultural consumption as we stuffed our visitor's stomach with a hearty Jewish breakfast and again with a full on Cuban dinner (luckily, we napped through lunch). Little did I know that my Aussie would take the bait and fall in love, stomach first, with my funky heritage. 

  @fiftshades.ofbeige  on instagram

@fiftshades.ofbeige on instagram

On Monday, a light rain kept enough Miamians inside their houses and allowed us to explore Fairchild Botanical Garden all to ourselves! We happily frolicked (read: sweated buckets) through the garden grounds, hung out with some fluttering butterflies, and felt one with nature. Fairchild is truly the perfect spot to show someone the lushness/swampiness of Miami. And it was quite the sight for sore eyes post a concrete summer in New York City. 

Tuesday's travels took us to the beach where we baked our skin while eating some baked, Cuban pastelitos. And Wednesday we slept our work-long summers away. 

Thursday was more of the same plus an afternoon trip to the famed Wynwood Walls. 10/10 recommend taking a boy toy to this art district as it forces them to take pictures for the 'gram given that you can't NOT stop and pose amidst the murals! 

Friday and Saturday were days of exploration for both of us, given my recent induction to the 21 Club and thus new accessibility to Miami's well known nightlife. If being 21 means getting to salsa dance in the rain at my dad's 65 birthday party, then that's what I'll be using my license for from here on out! And no night out would be complete without an uncomfortably posed photo with a feathered dancer on Calle Ocho. 

All in all, in trying to visually/culinarily express to Curtis why Miami makes me smile, I think this 7 day stint pretty much captured it: It's a lush, sweltering land full of nature when you need it, and AC when you don't. It has a burgeoning art scene (more on that in a PAMM post to follow), locally sourced mangoes aplenty, and above all, it is home.

Come back and visit soon! I'll have bagels & croquetas waiting for you <3

Xx, Maia 
 

If I Were a New York City Storefront

 

I often dream about owning my own little one room shop when I grow up.

It'd be filled with one stock items so that everyone who came through and shopped would know that what they found was uniquely theirs. Maybe I'd sell objects of one color, and change that color every month. Whatever the concept, I know that finally financing a purpose for all the quirky tchotchkes and eclectic tastes I have will make me smile. 

Trotting around NYC this summer, I'm often looking for those little, eye-lifting moments that make me smile. It's curious what I'm drawn to, and because of it's aesthetic inconsistency, I can't help but wonder: what would I look like if I were a New York City Storefront?

Someday's I'd be all dolled up, really feeling my look, and not so subtly strutting through the SoHo streets:

On days that are way too hot, I'd long for a breezy and verdant escape:

A handful of days I'd lean into the art scene and wear a mashup of a minimalist concert t-shirt paired with slick, black culottes in this vein:

On the days I miss Miami, I'd proudly wear my tropical pants to the office:

Some days I'd be blushing after having participated in rosé season on a friend's rooftop:

On days I feel a little reserved, I'd wear something a bit feminine yet subtle, perhaps in this shade of green:

Other days I'd embrace the Man Repeller vibe and wear all of my favorite garments at once, despite the glaring pattern mismatches:

And some days, days that are hard or scary or overwhelming, I'd wear several different emotions on my face:

But at the end of the day, no matter the day, I'd wear a smile - because everyone in this city could benefit from a little kindness:

Xx, Maia
 

Rooftops: Friend or Foe?

 

If you didn't already know, rooftops in NYC are summer's hottest spot - yes because hot air rises... but also because they provide the best city views and furthest respite from the sweaty sardine sidewalks. The best kind of rooftops, however, are ones replete with friends, food, and a touch of "will my dress fly off of my body or not?"

This past weekend, I had the great fortune of escaping the city streets by heading way up town. Like up, up, up in the air town. Thanks to the birthdays and brunches of two of my friends, I got to bust out my favorite summer dresses and my even more favorite summer moves. 

The thing about rooftops, though, is their high levels of precariousness. You're forced to be hyper aware of your surroundings lest you teeter too close to the edge. The wind up there picks up to race car speeds and has the potential to not only snatch away your modesty but even whisk away the bagel right out of your hand. 

Yet, with that heightened uncertainty comes some level of liberation. If you know your belongings are likely to fly away, do you really even care anymore? Or do you become one with the wind - as free and flowing as the gusts effortlessley re-designing your hairdo. 

Being up above that high can make you long for the stability of the ground, whereas once back on the ground, all you dream about is being back up above it all. Guess the grass (or the flowy Reformation dress) is in fact always greener. 

Xx, Maia
 

Puppers of NY

 

Inspired by the Canines of NY Book I found at The Met Gift Shop + the fact that it is Curtis' 23rd birthday and I wanted to celebrate him and all of his dog loving glory, I whipped up this lil doggy ditty. I present to you: Puppers of New York. 

The four legged friends who rule this concrete jungle and our hearts. From scruffy to fluffy, and every breed in between, here are six favorites spotted by Sydney the scout or mothered by the lovely Victoria. 

(Some names and bios are fictitious, as the shots were taken stealthily and silently, but others are bone-afide tails). 

Buster

 Buster is the type of doggo who should pride himself on his all-element-preparedness, but ends up longing for the summer sunshine despite his sunny raincoat. He's a four legged reminder that sometimes the rain blows - just like that cheeky saying on those bright umbrellas Dry Bar provides on days like this!&nbsp;

Buster is the type of doggo who should pride himself on his all-element-preparedness, but ends up longing for the summer sunshine despite his sunny raincoat. He's a four legged reminder that sometimes the rain blows - just like that cheeky saying on those bright umbrellas Dry Bar provides on days like this! 

Miko

 He's a young fella who's just scampered his way into the city. You can see that glimmer in his eye as he's eager to explore all the fire hydrants this town has to offer! I mean he's already working on his New York Neck Crane as he stares at the skyline - featuring buildings that Miko's coming to realize are too tall for even him to jump over.&nbsp;

He's a young fella who's just scampered his way into the city. You can see that glimmer in his eye as he's eager to explore all the fire hydrants this town has to offer! I mean he's already working on his New York Neck Crane as he stares at the skyline - featuring buildings that Miko's coming to realize are too tall for even him to jump over. 

Marilyn

 Froofy and feminine, Marilyn was spotted struggling to protect her modesty on one of those pesky subway grates! A gal in great spirits, she's seen here grinning and making the most of her minor wardrobe malfunction. She probably came to the city to model anyway, so having this moderately scandalous moment isn't the worst for getting her mug out there.&nbsp;

Froofy and feminine, Marilyn was spotted struggling to protect her modesty on one of those pesky subway grates! A gal in great spirits, she's seen here grinning and making the most of her minor wardrobe malfunction. She probably came to the city to model anyway, so having this moderately scandalous moment isn't the worst for getting her mug out there. 

Lyla

 On the older side of things, this Schnauzer mix has already been around the block and then some. She's seen it all, folks. From Spring's blooming flowers to dogs sniffing each other's behinds. Despite being a little skittish (perhaps given how many rats she's seen in this city by now) Lyla sure knows how to serve a stoic smize to remind her followers that she's still got it. Follow her shenanigans on instagram @oldman_lyla.&nbsp;

On the older side of things, this Schnauzer mix has already been around the block and then some. She's seen it all, folks. From Spring's blooming flowers to dogs sniffing each other's behinds. Despite being a little skittish (perhaps given how many rats she's seen in this city by now) Lyla sure knows how to serve a stoic smize to remind her followers that she's still got it. Follow her shenanigans on instagram @oldman_lyla. 

Olive

 Just having celebrated her first birthday, Olive sure is the epitome of DTF (down to frolick). Eagerly wagging her tail (and shaking her birthday cake, of course) you can spot Olive running up and down just about every sized space. She sure keeps her roommate, Lyla, young!&nbsp;Follow her shenanigans on instagram @olivewelshcorgi.

Just having celebrated her first birthday, Olive sure is the epitome of DTF (down to frolick). Eagerly wagging her tail (and shaking her birthday cake, of course) you can spot Olive running up and down just about every sized space. She sure keeps her roommate, Lyla, young! Follow her shenanigans on instagram @olivewelshcorgi.

Curly

 Spotted outside Maison Kayser, Curly is clearly a connoisseur of Sunday's best brunch spots. He's one of those patient waiters (knowing that every dog and their owner is trying to snag a seat at this snack shack) so he doesn't mind making new friends in the meantime!

Spotted outside Maison Kayser, Curly is clearly a connoisseur of Sunday's best brunch spots. He's one of those patient waiters (knowing that every dog and their owner is trying to snag a seat at this snack shack) so he doesn't mind making new friends in the meantime!

Bonus fact: Curtis is madly in love with two specific dog breeds: Schnauzers (for fondness of his childhood pets) and Corgis (because they're Corgis). So to learn that Old Man Lyla & Olive Welch are the best of friends warmed his elderly heart <3

Happy Birthday, Bub.

Xx, Maia 
 

Inside Raquel's Dream House, "less is bore"

 

Post the summer move to NYC, I found myself resting in the bed of my new apartment sublet: head pressed against the back wall and feet touching the opposing wall. My room is cozy, to say it sweetly, and after two days of experiencing New York living for myself, I decided to restore my faith in ample square footage and visit a popular SoHo Pop-Up exhibit: Raquel's Dream House on 79 Greene St. 

Arriving promptly at 11am (anticipating a line around the block since Gigi Hadid visited the day prior and the exhibit was closing soon after), I was met with an empty, 3 story apartment display all to myself. 

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The idea behind the whole concept was as such: 

What kind of room is possible? 
We imagine:

a room that commands
a room that tells a story
a room that defines
a room that quotes
a room that shapes a medium
a room that shapes a support
a room that shapes a subject
a room that shapes a space
a room as state of mind

To quote a line from Ettore Sottsass: “These objects, which sit next to each other and around people, influence not only physical conditions but also emotions. ...They can touch the nerves, the blood, the muscles, the eyes and moods of their observers. ...There is no special difference between architecture and design. They are two different stages of invention.” 

An adventure of mixed tenses and reconciled opposites, Raquel’s Dream House coheres in the materia prima of design. Design conceived as an alchemical vocabulary for working and inhabiting. A room as a way of seeing. 

Raquel Cayre

The first floor operated more like a gallery display, with art populating the walls and decorative Daniel Buren pillars presenting an "Urban Light" LACMA-esque photo-op.

Heading upstairs on the colorfully painted stairs had to be my highlight (typical), pre-selfie in the groovily pink mirror. Come to think of it, there were many mirrors speckled about the space. 

Many of the rooms put together funky seating with even funkier art objects. Think fuzzy wall hangings, life-sized pictures of interiors, and the most beautiful designed piece that really puts the ~table~ in table tennis. 

The space attracted a lot of light - whether pouring in the higher the floor or concocted by quirky, artificial fixtures. 

I found myself pulled towards these rooms and pieces in particular, probably because colorful things have a magical magnetism on me. 

While there was "seating" aplenty, this was more of a visual dream house than a livable one. 

This house had it all: from meta-interior decoration to man caves. To keep myself from nestling into the couches and never leaving, I decided to devour the space with my camera instead. 

And if you wanted to take away more than just photos of furniture, there was a little tchotchke sectioned that rivaled the famed gift shops of art museums everywhere! 

In a city known for it's cramped and crumbling quarters, it was quite refreshing to explore this sprawling architectural playground. 

Xx, Maia
 

Saturdays are for Day Trips to The Portland Museum of Art

 

Going to school in Cambridge, MA means I'm extremely close to Portland, ME - a quaint area known for a burgeoning art scene and the ease of weekend trip-ability. This past Saturday, courtesy of the Harvard Art Museums Student Board & Student Guide program, my friends and I took a bus to check out all the fuss for ourselves. 

Given that the semester is coming to a close and that senior spring nostalgia is hitting (despite the fact that I'm a junior and fully have another school year ahead of me), escaping campus provided unexpected relief from some self-imposed woes. It took exploring the Portland Museum of Art to make me feel at home, in a city I had never visited before. And to catalyze that comfort, I have Joan Miró to thank. 

After scoping out the Biennial Show in which I found photographs by John Harlow who spliced his imagery with his wife's journal entries, Anne Buckwater's innovative mounting method for her paper works, and Becca Albee's intriguing commentary on feminist literature by condensing her annotations per chapter on one page, I peeled away from my peers and travelled upstairs. 

 John Harlow,&nbsp; Garish Sunlight , 2016

John Harlow, Garish Sunlight, 2016

 Anne Buckwalter,&nbsp; The Republic of Hysteria,&nbsp; 2017

Anne Buckwalter, The Republic of Hysteria, 2017

 Becca Albee,&nbsp; RADICAL FEMINIST THERAPY: Working in the Context of Violence,&nbsp; 2016

Becca Albee, RADICAL FEMINIST THERAPY: Working in the Context of Violence, 2016

Seeking fresh air and a moment of silence, I found myself face to face with a time machine. No, not actually. But I stumbled upon a Miró I had never seen before. But the gestural and jovial marks familiar to this artist transported me to my grandmother's apartment circa 2003. I'm sitting in her kitchenette eating turkey and butter sandwiches on challah rolls, and laughing at something my sister said that my grandmother must not have found as amusing. While I'm no longer 6 years old nor in my grandmother's Miami Beach apartment, standing in front of this Miró provided me a momentary glimpse into my past. 

 Joan Miró,&nbsp; Untitled,&nbsp; circa 1981

Joan Miró, Untitled, circa 1981

This is what I love about art: it's ability to transport and to resonate. Art has a way of making you feel something, and allowing you to see in abstraction what you're looking for. And what I was looking for, in that moment, was comfort. And comfort I found in this untitled "chickadee" looking work. 

 (left) Joan Miró,&nbsp; The First Spark of Day III , 1966&nbsp;  (right) Adolph Gottlieb,&nbsp; Green Ground , 1968

(left) Joan Miró, The First Spark of Day III, 1966 

(right) Adolph Gottlieb, Green Ground, 1968

In another room on a different floor, I encountered a corner that instantly made me smile. Perhaps it was the brighter colors to contrast my somber mood, but I also found it shocking that the painting that most moved me was another Miró. This one, entitled The First Spark of Day III simply made me happy. And having it juxtaposed with Adolph Gottlieb's Green Ground created an instant happy place (or corner, at that) for me in the museum. 

Other works in the museum were less heart striking, but I still enjoyed encountering new artists and new mediums. Like this Porch Mattress by Duncan Hewitt - it's made entirely of painted wood! Or this René Magritte painting that had me doing a double take at first, before I noticed the slight of hand ;) 

 Duncan Hewitt,&nbsp; Porch Mattress,&nbsp; 2000

Duncan Hewitt, Porch Mattress, 2000

 René Magritte,&nbsp; The Tempest , circa 1944

René Magritte, The Tempest, circa 1944

So I'd say that the two hour bus ride to Portland was well worth it, given that it brought me instantly closer to home - and that trip is usually a 3 hour flight. 

 The Harvard Art Museums Student Board &amp; Student Guide Program, 2018. Courtesy of @harvardarthappens.&nbsp;

The Harvard Art Museums Student Board & Student Guide Program, 2018. Courtesy of @harvardarthappens. 

Xx, Maia 
 

A Neighbor's Guide to Miami

 

When you live where "most people vacation," you can easily become flooded with texts for recommendations for what to do in Miami during people's weekend trips down to the tropics. Lucky for me, I love my city and I am always eager to rattle of my favorite things to do so that people can experience the Miami that is my home, rather than just the Miami they see portrayed in TV shows and social media. 

Since I spent almost two months in Miami for my winter break (ask me how genuinely excited I am to be back at school with a routine and actual wintery weather), I hit up my favorite hometown spots as much as I adventured out to the newer sights in town. And here's a little write up of the current highlights in Miami - in case someone needs a recommendation list of things to do:

Explore Art Deco throughout Miami Beach

Bonus points if you find a corner cafe and stop for an empanada and cafecito - for the true flavor of Miami. 

 

Venture down to South Florida for the best Cinnamon Rolls & Strawberry Shakes

Pro tip: visit Knaus Berry Farms RIGHT when the open in order to avoid the lines and inevitable sun burn you will get outlining your outfit because you spent 3 hours waiting for the snacks in this photo. 

 

Visit Dante Fascell Park to see the statue that has become an iconic portion of any South Floridian's childhood

This here is the naked lady. She is a staple of my childhood. I don't know who made her, or who decided to put her here, but she is easily one of the most peculiarly intriguing memories of my youth. Re-visiting her and being able to climb from her navel to her shoulder in one fluid motion really reminded me that wow, I am tall. 

 

Have an early morning beach day before the big crowds emerge and block your view of the water

However, if you like people watching, I would recommend going during lunch time - though that's when you risk some skin torching sun rays. 

 

Noodle around the Wynwood Art District and 'nosh at 1-800-Lucky

Since the walls are always changing and there's new fusion cuisine constantly populating the area, this is a great spot to revisit time and time again. It also helps to bring a crew of friends for the laughs but also for rotational photographer purposes...

 

Walk around the re-vamped Design District to see well-known art at the ICA and more site-specific art in the streets

At the end of the day, I think the best thing about Miami is that you can be craving nature, art, fashion, or food, and be able to accomplish everything (and more) in a single swoop - if you play your cards right. 

Xx, Maia 
 

A Drive Down Pacific Coast Highway

 

At the end of the year, time seems to stand still. There's a lull in the vibrancy of any city as street traffic clears up and people opt to stay in with families and catch up, craft New Years resolutions, the whole shebang. The days between the holidays and the 1st feel especially slow, as if we're all moving through the thick goo that keeps a snow globe scene held together - though in Miami, glitter would probably replace flecks of snow when you shake it. 

For this hushed winter, a time of re-adjustment and reflection over the monumental shifts of this year for my family in particular, we chose to uproot ourselves from the quiet 'burbs of Miami and fly across the country to re-connect with another side of our family. That trip sure helped pass the time, speed up the string of days that can often feel wasted, and celebrate the end of 2017 as we welcome 2018. 

For five days, my family clan drove up and down Pacific Coast Highway and saw about all there is to see of California in that short time. 

From a start in Sacramento to link up with the rest of our family unit, we drove to San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and all the way back up - and here's a little taste of that four wheeled adventure:

Given that we linked up with some major surfers in the family, a big focus of the trip was seeing our cousins in their element, and catching a beautiful sunset to boot!

 (I call this one, 'Sun Sets on Mushroom Broccoli Girl.')

(I call this one, 'Sun Sets on Mushroom Broccoli Girl.')

 (Look at the crescendo from deep purple to striking sunlight!)

(Look at the crescendo from deep purple to striking sunlight!)

For the more touristy travels like perusing Monterey, my sister and I enjoyed classic shenanigans with our father, Mo: The Most Interesting Man in The World. 

Since Miami is flat and swampy, Mo insisted on showing us the redwood trees to prove to us that plants do grow taller than palm trees - sadly, we weren't particularly dressed for the occasion. 

And because we chose to drive up and down the state to sight see, we stumbled upon some pretty phenomenal outlooks at delightful times of day. Hey, Apple, if you'd like to include some of these shots in your next desktop-image-starter-pack, just shoot me an email ;)

All in all, a drive down pacific coast highway provided my family with the most lovely and serenely scenic way to watch the sun set on 2017.

Xx, Maia 
 

The Game: Harvard-Yale 2k17

 

There's not much to report from this Harvard-Yale since the weather was subpar and The Game results were worse... so I guess to focus on the positive, here's an aggregate of HappY pictures and comical captions - because who doesn't use humor to cope?? 

Most people's holiday weekend began at Toads, where the music pulsated, lights strobed, and there were more bodies flooding the dance floor than conducive for finding your friends - which I guess was a general theme of the weekend, given that the reception in New Haven was nonexistent (so at least Cambridge has that, hah).

Apparently while you're trudging through the mosh pit, you can actually run into the Yale friend you made at Bulldog Days 3 years ago - hi, Jenny!!

The next morning, you better be ready for a 9am tailgate and a 7am wake up call if your hotel happens to be a 30 minute drive from North Haven to New Haven... But, don't worry, there's nothing like 25 degree weather, mud, and nonstop dancing to start your day off right!

The Game isn't just a 48 hour excuse to party for undergrads, but rather grounds for a reunion of Crimson clad alums! There's nothing like locking eyes with someone you haven't seen in years while you're stuck dancing on a truck bed barricaded by about 30 people...

It's ok, though, because, as my friend Marina reminded us: 

"With the game out of reach, Harvard students, disinterested and confused by football to begin with, used the backdrop to take selfies at an event seen as much as a social event or class reunion as a game." - Breitbart

And while my friends and I did manage to make it to the actual game, I can't say we were awake for all of it...

If you aren't sick of HY pics clogging your feed, check out last year's post for plenty more where this came from.

All in all, though we might have lost The Game for the second year in a row, I hear Yale kids pour their milk before their cereal anyway.

Xx, Maia 
 

A Soulful Recharge at The Color Factory

 

“Scratch and sniff memory wall by Erin Jang & Leah Rosenberg” an introduction to a colorful experience and sensory overload. Here at The Color Factory, to smell is to remember, and to see is to be supplemented. The colors serve to visualize the imagery evoked by the scent - a threefold, transportive experience. Moving through this room, you prepare yourself for what you’re about to enter: a world of hues, an interactive playground, and a way of experiencing color like never before.

The rooms ranged from projections of individual perceptions of color (think the orange room depicting the black identity by Tosha Stimage) to invitations for the visitor to enact their own interpretation of color (think wadding in a yellow ball pit, in a yellow room, with a yellow ice cream treat to conclude).

Other rooms blurred that boundary in a rainbow haze. The room with rainbow streamers, for example, meant a visual catalogue of t-shirts and bridges and pencil paintings to the artist and playtime for the visitor. In the Color Factory, the visitor was not only a viewer nor a consumer, but an active agent in exploring what color means and what color can do.

Prompted by a sense of urgency to visit this pop up show before it closed so that I could incorporate it into my eventual thesis, I was afforded the trip due to the generosity of Harvard’s History of Art & Architecture Department. Having in mind that I want to write a thesis on color theory (argument and angle TBD), I set my sights on this exhibit not only to explore the various ways in which it engages with color on a unique level, but also because The Color Factory is helping to elevate color as a serious agent of change in the artworld. Here comes my personal vendetta. Last year, I was working on a theoretical exhibition proposal for a seminar on drawings, one in which I wanted to center around color - surprised? I read countless, traditional theories of color, and even stumbled upon a few that enraged me. Namely, a misconception of color as outlined by David Batchelor in the book Chromophobia:

“Chromophobia manifests itself in the many and varied attempts to purge colour from culture, to devalue colour, to diminish its significance, to deny its complexity. More specifically: this purging of colour is usually accomplished in one of two ways. In the first, colour is made out to be the property of some ‘foreign’ body – usually the feminine, the oriental, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer or the pathological. In the second, colour is relegated to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential or the cosmetic. In one, colour is regarded as alien and therefore dangerous; in the other, it is perceived merely as a secondary quality of experience, and thus unworthy of serious consideration. Colour is dangerous, or it is trivial, or it is both. (It is typical of prejudices to conflate the sinister and the superficial.)” (Batchelor 23)

From that encounter forward, I wanted to personally prove the ways in which color taps into a way of resonating with a viewer that other artistic qualities cannot. To see color is to recognize memory. To be surrounded by color is to have the ability to alter your mood. To walk through the wall to ceiling realms of color in The Color Factory is to experience firsthand the emotive and whimsical powers of color.

Some of the rooms I felt best melded color + senses + experience were the disco ball room and the Chapel. The first being a dimly lit dance party in which shimmers of silvery light twinkled around you as you selected aptly titled songs like Man in the Mirror. In this room, a literal translation of color was applied to connect the visitor to the far-reaching depths of color in other media.

On a more emotional level, the Chapel brought together allusions to stained glass and silence while bridging two rooms of active engagement: the Confetti room where snow angels and sorority sister blow kisses were a must, and the Purple Surveillance room which printed out selfies of people who were aware of the project. In between two “louder” rooms sat this still, reflective space. Where color filtered in and bathed you. Joy and replenishment washed over you. And, for a brief moment, you felt simply thankful to be there.

With an upbeat yellow crescendo to conclude, the Yellow Room featured every monochromatic lover’s dream. From wall to ceiling, everything was yellow and you couldn’t help but feel happy - the ball pit surely helped nudge that sentiment along. But emerging from the exhibit with a yellow ice cream in one hand and a map of secret installations all around San Francisco in the other, I, personally, couldn’t help but feel like my soul was recharged. It’s as if I was re-injected with all the vibrant colors I grew up on in Miami that the classic redbrick vibes don’t quite satiate here in Boston.

And the fun didn’t stop once I left those rainbow doors either. Scattered around the city like a treasure hunt were several other installations, ranging from a mural of favorite foods to a jukebox claiming to showcase what color sounds like.

All in all, The Color Factory served to further the discussion of color’s capacity to be more than a decorative afterthought. But for the conclusion to that argument, you’ll just have to wait to read my thesis.

Xx, Maia
 

Above-Average Aquatic Escapes

 

As the summer comes to a close and my brief stint of vacation in Miami ends even sooner, I can't help but rewind the past couple of months in my mind. Between the incredible internship and even more incredible cohort of summer friends, there's not much, if at all, I'd do over. Days I'd play over, though? Plenty. Most of which coincidently have to do with aquatic escapes. I guess I do my Pices-ness well in that I crave water and the routine bikini-clad plunge. However, being in Boston for the summer meant that my standards of a "beach day" had to shift, stat

My first beach excursion was to Duxbury where the sand was replaced with rocks and the water was replaced with ice. At a beach unsuitable for leisurely tanning or a refreshing dip, what do you do? Bury your friend in the only sand patch in sight, of course! Well, that and play great music to soundtrack your Spikeball. 

Beach trip number two was a lot more familiar given the return of sand and, actually, my return to Singing Beach from last summer's Fourth of July trip with Sara (my dear summer roomie of 2k16). Here, at Manchester-by-the-Sea, we lapped up mountains of ice cream, frolicked on the set of The Proposal (I'm still replaying my reenaction of Sandra Bullock feeding the dog to the hawk), and played some questionable games on shore - one that had me sprinting into the ocean, submerging myself, and losing all feeling in my body. But hey, that's summer!

Aquatic adventure number three was far more spontaneous in that I was invited to None-Such Lake (a lake??) after work one day and just said, "why not." I think was far too excited about my first time seeing a lake, let alone swimming in one, that I'm pretty sure I annoyed all of my friends. Not to mention that I snobbishly commented on the "dirt" taste of the water because my palette is apparently more accustomed to the salinated Miami Beach waters. Needless to say, my friends tried to convince me there was a Loch Ness Monster lurking underneath the orangey water, to which I replied, "There's None-Such thing." (It was really funny, I promise...)

A return to the lake rounded out excursion number 5, though if one skinny dips at midnight and it's not documented, did it really happen?

The sixth body of water provided more of an ambient and familiar background sound than an opportunity for splashing about. On her one day visit to Boston, Val found herself in a familiar position: cuddled next to me on a blanket by some water. And no, we're not dating. 

Salt, sun, and sand trip number seven happened a little more true to form: 305 form. Given 10 days home, I spent the first 5 sleeping and plan on spending the last 5 swimming. Today, awoken by the irrational urge to take a dip at the crack of dawn, I swooped up Val at a ripe 7:30am and we managed to get in a solid beach day all before lunch.

I used to think a solid beach day was defined by the quality of the sand and the clarity of the water, but, after spending a whole summer taking off to any nearby body of water I could find, I realized that aquatic escapes are much better defined by the company than the taste of the water when you jump in cannon ball style. 

Xx, Maia 
 

New (love for) York City

 

New York City: the homeland of Gossip Girl, Levain cookies, and postgrads a plenty to keep your college years going strong long after they're gone. I've been lucky enough to visit NYC pretty consistently throughout my life, especially when my sis lived there (the Magnolia Bakery on her corner definitely made visits that much sweeter - seriously thinking of starting a Banana Pudding Enthusiasts Club, but that's a whole other story). Since she moved out, I've used the excuse of visiting city friends to justify weekend trips here and there. This past weekend, I packed a weekend bag (with only three outfits, one for each day, and that is a packing first for me so thank you in advance for your congratulations) and embarked on a multi-delayed flight to the Big Apple. 

Being a city girl, well swamp city girl, myself, I appreciate the zooming pace of NYC in a way that is more rejuvenating to me than a weekend in the beautiful burbs of Massachusetts. Smack dab in the middle of my summer internship (and absolutely loving it, but more on that at another date), this weekend trip to New York proved to be the perfect jolt of energy I needed to finish out the summer strong - not to mention I really missed my city pals and weekly FaceTimes weren't cutting it. 

Having now officially reached the midpoint of my college years, talk of post-grad has already begun and people seem to be claiming their first apartment neighborhoods already. I have never really been a New-York-or-Bust kind of post-grad thinker, but I must say that for whatever reason, this past trip really made the Big Apple feel like home. 

Perhaps it was the warm welcome and royal treatment found at my weekend at Lily's home that jump started this familial feeling of affection for the city. 

It could've also been the walks to the subway to meet my friends accompanied by blasting tunes in my ears, sunglasses on, and the realization that my shoes really did look good strutting along the sidewalks. 

Maybe it was the day trip to Brooklyn where Lily and I sought out the Brooklyn Art Library (a precious nook filled to the brim with sketchbooks submitted by anyone and everyone) that made me feel like I could contribute something to this magical canvas of a place. 

Or the fact that two thirds of the restaurants I was taken to to try I had actually already been to, having forgotten the names but instantly recognizing the vibes, that had me realize I was already more of a New Yorker than I thought.

But, above all, I think it was probably the amount of love I felt from the friends who have already set roots in town, or are planning to, that reminded me how special friends are in life because they're truly handpicked family.

And after three days, NYC felt a bit smaller, a little cozier, and lot more like a future home - at least for a few years until I return to Miami to make my mark before it's, well, totally underwater... 

Xx, Maia
 

Chistes de España

 

Now that the serious, visual documentation of 10 days in Spain have been written and released, it's time to reflect on all the quirks - because not every moment is picture perfect, I know. 

Having taken over 2,000 photos, spent more time in museums than in our lecture back in Boston, and eaten my weight in jamón iberíco, it was pretty easy to start noticing common trends, and quirks among all of us 11 HAA students. 

My fascination with Kaitlin's bun

Isabella's crucial ability to pass out on every bus ride

Julia's affinity for siestas

The emergence of Ongerd from tunnels, caves, and late night dinners

Abby bringing the joy to our days through her laughter and dancing

Me really ~finding myself~

Kaitlin and Isabella finding any and all seating opportunities 

Me putting my wingspan to the test

Abby & Spencer's cuddly love affair (with cameos from Yael & Ingrid)

Me desperately trying to strut in homage to the Cheetah Girls 

The influx of Infantas around the city 

A couple who happened to be matching 

A collection of cool, mirror selfies (because those are coming back, right?)

The back of people's heads being ridiculous

And whatever else is happening in these (feat. a meme I made because it's 2017):

So cheers to our quirks and to the incredible people in this department, and two more years of us being artsy goofballs together. 

Xx, Maia 
 

(Mad)rid about Spain

 

In an attempt to visually serve justice to the remainder of this trip while also realizing that image fatigue is a thing, and not all of you might find each different side street photo as much as individual treasures as I do, here goes the cliff notes version of days 5 through 10:

To wrap up our portion in Madrid, we snuck into the Reina Sofia an hour before opening to receive a private lecture by our Professors in front of Guernica, all by ourselves. And once that clock hit 9am, boy were we flooded with traffic. This was probably the point of the trip when I realized how fortunate we were to be traveling with such brilliant people and doing such VIP things. This thought was confirmed when one of my classmates whispered in awe, "Wow, I can't wait to come back in see this." (probably in regards to one of our Mosque-roof-access excursions), to which a professor responded, "You're probably never seeing this again." And rightly so. 

 

These views were spectacular, and made even more so because of their rare, almost unicorn like, status. We were probably never going to see Spain like this again, so what'd I do? Split my time between soaking it in and photographing it, for institutional memory of course. 

Post Morning At the Museum (think Ben Stiller level, but AM), we ventured to El Escorial where someone tried to sneak into the Courtyard with us, but our super cool security guard was not having it. 

But that wasn't the only Palace we saw. Once we hit Sevilla, we frolicked in the gardens of La Casa de Pilatos, and took a quiet, dusk tour around the Alcázar. 

The next morning, we took to the sky with several aerial views of the city - think tons (and I mean tons) of stairs (yep, I may or may not have slipped in one of the winding corridors in the dark) & altitudes so high there may or may not have been a nosebleed... friends run to the tour guide for help, true friends know that that's taken care of so they take pictures instead:

For one of the only moments we had a free hour to unwind, we hit the pool. And by that I mean napped poolside and fawned over the beauty of it all. 

Suffice it to say, I absolutely loved my trip to Spain. I realize any return adventures will never be the same, but I am so fortunate to have had my first Spanish experience be filled with such fun, surprise, and learning. 

Sevilla later.

Xx, Maia 

Madrid Day 5:

  • Reina Sofia

  • Escorial

 

Burgos Day 6:

  • Burgos Cathedral

  • Monastery of Santa Maria la Real de las Huelgas

  • IPHA Cartuja Monastery

 

Córdoba Day 7:

  • Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

  • Synagogue

  • Hospital Cardenal Salazar

 

Sevilla Day 8:

  • Casa de Pilatos, Duke of Alcalá’s Palace

  • Hospital de la Caridad

  • Seville Cathedral

  • Old Cathusian Monastery, Isla de la Cartuja

  • Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico in Carthusian Monastery

  • Alcázar

 

Sevilla Day 9:

  • Museum of Fine Arts

  • Iglesia de San Salvador and vaults

  • Seville Cathedral Vaults

Familiar Barcelona & (Too)ledo Many Shenanigans

 

Days two through four of this trip were split between surveying the rest of Barcelona (a hefty task for a day), commuting to Madrid, and taking time to explore Toledo. 

Though I've never been to Barcelona, or Spain in general for that matter, I'm partially titling this post "familiar" because, well, it was. Kinda. 

First off, I was greeted bright and early on Day two by a familiar face: Harvard pal, Cesar, who has been on a study abroad in Barcelona all semester (read: sad!). He showed me his university and we had the chance to catch up over bocadillos - which I would soon come to be addicted to, and also probably eat my weight's worth. 

Post breakfast, us HAAers went to the Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya, and truly felt one with the art...

Our next stop was also familiar, in the sense that I had learned a lot about this architect and his work back in high school: Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe - specifically his Barcelona Pavilion. A simple beauty replete with rich juxtapositions of crisp marble, lush velvet, and pristine glass - all contributing to, one might say, the liminal nature of the space. 

We then spent quite some time at the Picasso Museum (no pictures permitted, so you'll just have to take my word for it) before heading to the Gothic Quarter, dining, and packing up for an early trip to Madrid the following morning.

Day three marked the day we will never forget. The day we spent seven hours in the Prado. Seven. Hours. It's the Prado, we know. It was great, no complaints there. But we hadn't quite adjusted to the drastically different dining situation, and hungry doesn't make for the best visual digestion. I will say that seeing Las Meninas in person was quite a Transformative Experience (thanks Harvard, thanks Dean Khurana), and it was quite comical to find little Infantas scattered around Madrid from there on out. 

Day four, we all zonked out on the bus en route to Toledo, but perked up once we were there - or at least I did. I absolutely loved it! From the sexy sidestreets to the sprawling view, frolicking in the flowers in between, Toledo had to be one of my favorite spots. 

There, we saw the Cathedral of Toledo, Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz, Santo Tormé, Santa Maria La Blanca, and El Tránsito - not without our fair share of shenanigans and group photos of course. 

But, in all seriousness, the architectural views were pretty spectacular. From lush landscapes to crisp corners, each stop was full of awe and information streaming directly from our professors. 

So here's to looking up at ceilings like these, and looking forward to more Spain posts - oh yes, there's more. 

Xx, Maia

Barcelona Day 2:

  • Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya

  • Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona Pavilion

  • Picasso Museum

  • Gothic Quarter: Cathedral, Las Ramblas

 

Madrid Day 3:

  • Descalzas Reales Convent

  • Prado Museum

 

Toledo Day 4:

  • Toledo Cathedral

  • Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz

  • Santo Tormé

  • Santa Maria La Blanca

  • El Tránsito

 

A Spanish Revival & Gaudí's Barcelona

 

Though Spanish Revival is a beast of it's own, I'm poaching its credible title to announce this Mod & Bean comeback - one of perhaps epic proportions (I'm talking travel photos galore). Though not as much pomp but definitely a lot of circumstance prevented me from keeping up a few weeks worth of Mod Mondays, much like Gossip Girl, I'm back and better than ever - sans the digital tormenting, of course.

I present to you the first of several installations reporting on the art, the architecture, and the adventures of 10 days in Spain, generously afforded by the History of Art & Architecture Department at Harvard for the sophomore concentrators.

Adventures included days spent at the Prado and Reina Sofia (before and after public hours, wow!), trips to every grand Cathedral, Mosque, and Synagogue imaginable to celebrate Spain's convivencia, and scaling these skyscrapers for behind the scenes aerial views of Spain.

For ease of photo upload and narrative arch, I have broken down this trip regionally, focusing on the major cities of Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla as the anchors of the posts. Each post will deliver sites and stories from that spot, including the itineraries of those days at the end for more specific citations. Today's post? A review of Gaudí's Barcelona - a visionary known for his gargantuan and fantastical structures that manage to consume you and transport you into another universe. Though we viewed images of his work throughout the whole semester in class, nothing could compare to the overwhelming nature of approaching one of these curvilinear structures and instantly feeling like both an alien and an ant inside. I'm not saying that the sleep deprivation from the day's travel helped to make these buildings trippier, but I'm also not not saying it. 

Fresh off the plane we slipped into Casa Milá, passing my personal favorite, House of Bones (Casa Batlló) on the way. At each stop, we usually had some peer presentations, so don't just think we're nerds who carry books to every site we saw, we had to do that ;) 

For Casa Milá, roof access was available to all those curious - and what a curious sight indeed: