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My Chautauqua Essay

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My Chautauqua

 

I have a tendency to forget to breathe when I'm sitting in my art history class. A double slide projector set-up shoots its characteristic artillery - bright colors, intense shapes, inscriptions in languages that are at times read merely as symbols by my untrained mind, archaic figures with bodies contorted like elementary school students on the recess monkey bars. I discuss Diego Rivera's "The Liberation of the Peon," Frida Kahlo's "Self-Portrait," and Anselm Kiefer's "To the Unknown Painter" with my classmates. The room is never silent as we marvel at these images. When the slide projectors give off that first glimmer of light, their Gatsby spot of a blurry green hope at the end of the dock, we depart on our collective imaginary field trips. The teacher doesn't need to coax, to pry, to pose multiple-choice questions. We are already on our way.

 

I wander down the Hall of Mirrors in the French Palace of Versailles. Soon after I am thinking of the converse style, and recall that German Architect Mies van der Rohe has created the most simplistic a...


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