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Breathe, Scream, Ice Cream: Navigating Stress During Finals

Let’s be honest—your midterms have overstayed their welcome, your fuse is running short, and no matter how much food you ate over Thanksgiving, you still can’t help but think about your schedule, your homework, and most of all, your finals. My first word of advice, however, is not to stress. (I know, it’s much easier said than done.) But hopefully these tips will help you realize that know that it’s not only okay to be stressed, but also to let yourself mitigate that stress every once in a while.  

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Popping the Bubble Week 8: 13.1 (s)miles

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By Sinead Hunt

This weekend, while my peers were busy gorging themselves on turkey and binge-watching Gilmore Girls, I was off running a half-marathon. Running a half-marathon has been a long-term goal of mine, and I was elated to finally have the opportunity to check this item off my list. The half-marathon I ran took place in the sleepy town of Pelham, which, incidentally, is incredibly small, only 2.1 square miles in size. Therefore, the half-marathon course was extremely complicated, with many twists and turns. However, the course was well marked, and there were plenty of volunteers to direct the runners. The town’s enthusiasm for this event, as evidenced by the sheer number of volunteers and spectators, was incredibly impressive. Along the way, I was cheered on by tons of Pelham residents, and I was thankful for their words of encouragement, as every step past mile 9 was sheer agony.

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Although the course was very difficult, with many steep hills, I did finish with a time of 1 hour and 57 minutes, placing first in the Women’s 19 and Under Division. Ultimately, it was a great experience, and I feel very glad to have participated.

Sinead Hunt is  a first-year at Barnard and Liaison for Barnard Bite.

Black Mastry

By Olivia Nathan

Kerry James Marshall’s retrospective at the MET Breuer, rightly titled “Mastry”, is a collection of his earliest and latest figural paintings which continue to focus on the African-American experience. In the beginning of his college career at the prestigious Los Angeles art school, Otis, Marshall painted “A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self”. Displayed in the first room of the exhibition, the canvas is completely black and burnt umber except for a pair of white eyes, a smile of missing teeth, and a shirt collar. At first glance, the small portrait is disturbing in its evocation of blackface and racist cartoon, but becomes gentle and sad the longer you look.

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Small Pin-up (Finger Wag) (2013)

Painting, 76.2 X 60.96 cm.

Materials: acrylic, pvc

Photo courtesy of M HKA Ensembles

 

 

The exhibit moves with Marshall through his development into an authoritative and continuously conversational painter. The middle of the show hosts a collection of selected pieces from the MET’s archives which Marshall studied and emulated while at Otis. The pieces range from Ingres and Holbein to deKooning, Jacob Lawrence, Japanese woodblocks, and African sculpture. The display of vastly different works in the same space, essentially an exhibition within an exhibition, raises endless questions about how to connect a dead white man’s oil portrait to an African Dan mask.

In the next room hung perhaps Marshall’s most classically influenced 2012 work “School of Beauty School of Culture”. Set in a vibrant, shiny beauty salon filled with gleaming, too-glamorous black women and their children, Marshall paints himself into the piece in one of the mirrors but hides his face with a camera flash. The photo-ready women look directly out at the artist and viewers, unaware of the crooked head of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty hovering above the tiled floor of the foreground and outlined in glitter. The allusions to Velazquez’s “Las Meninas” and Hans Holbein’s “The Ambassadors” puts Marshall in conversation with traditional, revered art, while at the same time inserting a traditionally unseen subject: the African-American woman.

Although enamoured with the majority of his paintings, I found my favorite in one of the last rooms– “Small Pin-up (Finger Wag) (2013)”. In accordance with the rest of his works, the female figure’s skin tone is darker than the background with almost imperceptible gradations of black in her face. She stands in a lace bra and G-string, hand on hip and her other hand with one finger in the air, wagging. As I smiled up at her, a woman beside me turned to her companion and said, “An amazing exhibition of social commentary.” But it is not– Marshall paints black domestic life with subtle deftness and produces figures like my pin-up crush. She does not comment on her marginalized role in fine art; she simply takes her rightful place in it.

The MET Breuer is located at 945 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021, Kerry James Marshall retrospective until January 29, 2017

Olivia Nathan is a junior at Barnard and an Opinion Editor at Barnard Bite.

 

Popping the Bubble Week 7: Our Presidential History

By Sinead Hunt

This week I had the distinct pleasure of visiting a New York City landmark that has been on my list for quite some time: the New York Historical Society. Typically, tickets for students can be quite pricey ($12 with student ID). However, on Friday nights from 6 to 8 p.m., the Historical Society runs a promotion where visitors can enter for a “suggested donation.” Thus, with only a crinkled dollar bill to spare, I was able to gain admittance into this amazing New York resource.

My favorite exhibit of the night was definitely, “Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972: Selections from the Museum of Democracy.” This collection of political memorabiliap1 allows visitors to experience firsthand the highly contentious presidential campaigns of
the 1960’s. All in all, I found the items in the collection to be highly entertaining. From Richard Nixon’s many poorly-worded campaign slogans, including, “Click with Dick!” and “My Pick is Dick,” to cigarette packages proudly displaying Nixon’s face, I found myself stifling my laughter as I meandered about the exhibit. Though the collection was, without a doubt, incredibly funny, it was at the same time both informative and captivating. I believe that the political paraphernalia displayed in this collection affords visitors a unique insight into political zeitgeist of the 1960’s.

The first presidential race discussed in this exhibit was the election of 1960. As tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union continued to escalate, American voters were faced with the decision to elect either seasoned vice-president Richard Nixon, or the charming one-term senator, John F. Kennedy. The advent of the televised debate proved decidedly important in the election of 1960. Over seventy-seven million Americans tuned in to watch the presidential debate from the comfort of their own homes. Kennedy excelled during the debate, looking right into the camera in order to provide a sense of intimacy with the viewership. Nixon, however, floundered on camera. He refused to wear stage makeup, and the bright lights of the set made him sweat excessively, so that he came across to voters as extremely nervous. Ultimately, the televised debate highlighted one of Nixon’s greatest weaknesses as a candidate: his complete lack of charisma. As a p2result, much of the political paraphernalia produced by the Nixon campaign aimed to portray their candidate as personable (hence, the awkwardly phallic campaign slogans).
The second campaign examined in this exhibit was the election of 1964, which was a veritable tete-a-tete between incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Johnson, who had vowed to “build a great society” upon his ascension to the presidency in 1963, ran on a campaign promising greater social programs. Johnson defiantly declared a “war on poverty,” and sought to create a better society for all Americans, regardless of  race, creed, culture, or socioeconomic class. Republicans struggled to unite behind candidate Barry Goldwater. In particular, Goldwater’s decision to oppose the 1964 Civil Right’s Act alienated many moderate Republicans. Goldwater’s many off the cuff remarks regarding liberalism, as well as his vehement emphasis on states’ rights, portrayed him as an extremist. In p3response to Goldwater’s campaign slogan, “In Your Heart You Know He’s Right,” the Johnson campaign countered with the incisively witty comeback, “In Your Gut You Know He’s Nuts.” Ultimately, the American people’s perception of LBJ as a moderate candidate proved invaluable in helping him to be elected.

The 1968 presidential race featured, once again, Richard Nixon, as well as LBJ’s vice-president, Hubert Humphrey. Though Nixon had already lost the presidency once, by 1968 the general tone of American politics had been completely transformed. Voters, disenchanted by America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, increasingly resented Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson’s withdrawal from the race offered a way for three contenders: anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy, vice-president Hubert Humphrey and, the one and only Richard Nixon. While Hubert Humphrey ran a campaign that boasted the accomplishments of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, Nixon’s campaign invoked imagesp4 of burning American cities. In response to the race riots proceeding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tragic death, Nixon ran on a “law and order” campaign, capitalizing on the racially-motivated fear many Americans secretly harbored (sound familiar to anyone?). Nixon’s criticism of federal civil rights legislation resonated with many White Southerners, and his favorability among the “silent majority” undeniably helped him to secure success in such a close race.

Ultimately, I believe that this exhibit is incredibly important, even now more than ever (incidentally Nixon’s campaign slogan in the 1972 race). The political climate in the United States is a pendulum, constantly oscillating between conservatism and liberalism. Though Nixon initially lost to liberal p5candidate John F. Kennedy, he was later able to gain two consecutive terms in office. The 1960’s were an incredibly turbulent time in American history. Between the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the forced desegregation of public schools, many Americans resented the government for forcing them to comply with social policies they didn’t necessarily believe in. Many Americans secretly harbored racially-motivated fears, which were further exacerbated by the racial riots following the assassination of Dr. King. This “silent majority,” who felt that the government had betrayed them and their interests, and that their opinions were no longer valued, found their champion in Richard Nixon. In this way, the past forestalls the future, as Donald Trump capitalized on many similar sentiments to win the presidency in the 2016 race.

Image Courtesy of Sinead Hunt

Sinead Hunt is  a first-year at Barnard and Liaison for Barnard Bite.

 

A Thanksgiving PSA

By Jessica Gregory

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for love, family, and friendships. Unfortunately, thanksgivingand ESPECIALLY with the recent election, tensions are bound to be high at the dinner table.

Election results aside, Thanksgiving is a breeding ground for invalidation of all kinds. One of the biggest examples of this surrounds food and the act of eating.

People always have something to say about food. That is within their right. However, this Thanksgiving I ask you to please oh please pass the gravy but do not pass judgment on what/how much others eat.

Counting Calories and “Too Much”

No one should count many calories their friend/neighbor/parent/sibling/whoever is eating on Thanksgiving. I cannot stress this enough. My relationship with food is PERSONAL. Your relationship with food is PERSONAL. As someone who is a self-proclaimed foodie and views eating as a social experience, I get double-nervous when someone questions why I’m eating ‘x’ amount of food. It’s happened so much that I feel legitimately guilty when I’m the last person eating at a table (even if I’m not eating “more”) or when I want dessert.

It’s more productive to comment on how good the food is and how thankful we are to be with one another than how much food we’re eating. In fact, try not to do it to yourself either! You don’t have to feel guilty for enjoying Thanksgiving and cider is not your guilty pleasure. It’s just a pleasure.

To Recap:

YES: You’re eating [X flavor] pie? Good choice!

YES: –says nothing and pays attention to own plate-

NO: That is a really big piece of pie…

NO: There are [who the hell cares] amount of calories in that pie!

 “Too Little”

This is the other side of the coin. Sometimes, someone will take nothing but a salad, or just the veggies, or a tiny little sliver of cobbler. This is not our concern either. You don’t know if something’s going on (and I mean anything, from depression to an eating disorder to sickness to literally just not being hungry). Them not eating as much as you think they should eat may not have anything to do with the quality of your macaroni and cheese.

The best thing you can do if you notice someone not eating is offer them something but, of course, avoid pushing it. If you think there’s something bigger going on, addressing it at the dinner table will only make that person uncomfortable. Address it later.

To Recap:

YES: Hey! Want some beans before I finish them off?

YES: Would you like some X [and if they say no, leave it]

NO: Why aren’t you eating? Don’t you like the food?

NO: You’re all skin and bones! Eat X!

In summary, if you want to eat a salad on Thanksgiving, fine. If you want to eat three plates full of turkey and stuffing, I’m all for it. But remember to be sensitive to yourself and others, because Thanksgiving is a time to exist and enjoy without worrying about the way you look or what is on your plate.

Jessica Gregory is a senior and Editor in Chief for Barnard Bite

Band-Aid

by Ruby Samuels

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Some kind of Band-Aid is what you are

You’ll rub off and stick to some place too far

Or maybe you’re some kind of wandering guest

And I’m some kind of bird with spare room in my nest

No, I know. You’re an empty ATM

I can take what I give when I give what I can

But for now let’s be libraries and sit between shelves

We can borrow free words and colors and smells


Ruby Samuels is a Junior at Barnard and On-Campus editor for Barnard Bite. 

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An Open Letter to the Man-Bun Gone Wrong

By Allison Yeh

Dear Semi-Man-Bunner,

To man-bun or not to man-bun – that is the question you asked when in the Barbour shop on that boring Monday night. You can’t settle for classic short hair because you wear slim pants and the occasional dress jacket. But your skater inspired sneakers hamper your worthiness of shoulder length hair that you can tie back while in a deep philosophical conversation. In the Barbour shop you expressed your need to have both.

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