Intellectual Profile (Elissa Buchalter)

1. Give some basic information about your studies and fields of interest.

Hey everyone! I am a sophomore and am currently a studio art and art history double major here at CU.  I have explored many other options and had a hard time deciding on what to major in because i tend to like everything.  I’ve explored classes in anthropology, sociology, integrative physiology, and journalism but finally decided that art is the passion that I want to pursue. My emphasis within my studio major is Painting and my favorite medium is oil paints.  I also have a passion for art history, specifically American art and contemporary art.  I plan on applying for the BFA in painting and hope to later go on to graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago or MICA.

2. Describe an exhibition that you liked or found impressive. Tell us why. Please provide a link to a website, if possible.

An exhibiton that i found impressive was the Denver Art Museums’ Embrace! Exhibit. This exhibit struck a chord with me because i absolutely loved how the artists invited to participate in this exhibition were encouraged to utilize the uniqus space of the new wing of the DAM.  I loved that the artists had free reign of the museum and could paint on the walls, or install works in any nook or cranny of the museum.  I liked this exhibit because it broke down the barriers of the traditional museum viewing and gave the artists much more freedom.  I  found this exhibit to be impressive because it came across as much more interactive for the audience.  One piece in particular that stood out to me was Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson in the rain by Tobias Rehberger.  This work was an installation consisting of a large quantity of  bungee cords stretched from floor to ceiling.  All the bungee cords were installed within a room-like space and positioned very closely together.  The viewer was invited and encouraged to try and make their way through the room of bungee cords, which proved to be very difficult  but highly entertaining.  I loved how this specific installation invited the viewer to actively participate in the art, not just stand back and take a passive approach to viewing and appreciating it.

3. Which books did you read of late (art, fiction, non-fiction)? Pick one and go into detail about it.

A great book that i just finished reading last Sunday is The Hunger Games.  This book is essentially about a Utopian society that exists far into the future after the destruction of what used to be known as North America.  This book is about this country, called Panem, that has 12 districts and a main city called The Capitol.  The Capitol has ultimate control over all 12 districts and all the citizens.  Each year a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 is selected from each district to be represented in the “Hunger Games”.  The hunger games is an annual spectacle/event that occurs in the capitol where all 24 representees are put into an arena constructed of a harsh environment ant their goal is to survive.  The games is a fight to the finish, and the winner of the games is the one person left standing at the end.  The goal of the games is to kill off all the other people in the arena while all the districts watch the live broadcast on their televisions.  The winner of the games gets to go back home to their district accompanied with fame and riches.  In addition their district is showered with gifts and extra food.  This book follows the main character of Katniss Everdeen who volunteers in place of her 12 year old sister who is chosen to represent district 12 in the games.  The book follows her fight through the games and her ultimate win.  This book was such a page turner! I finished it in only 3 days and could not put it down.  It is part of a trilogy, and have yet to read the next two books but have already ordered them on Amazon and cannot wait for them to come so i can finish the compelling story.  This book is being made into a movie due to come out at some point in 2012 (not sure when?) and I highly recommend it!

4. What are your main interests besides art?

My main interests besides art consist of being as active as possible! I have so much energy and love doing anything outdoors.  My biggest love besides painting would have to be long distance running.  I have run 6 half marathons and plan to run a full marathon in the near future.  I also have a love for yoga, especially hot yoga.  Any time i can get up to the mountains i love to Nordic ski and hike as well.  In addition to being active i love to cook and bake.  I love to experiment with Vegan baking and cooking and enjoy making meals for my friends and family.  I also am a huge animal nerd (I worked at the Denver Zoo during high school as a primate keepers assistant) and love going to the zoo and museum of natural history.

 5. Which blogs do you check regularly?

I am somewhat of a blog addict.  I love food and running blogs especially. Some of my favorite blogs would have to be :

Carrots n’ cake

Elana’s Pantry

Oh She Glows

Two Peas and Their Pod

New York Times Well Blog

Clean Eating Chelsey

and there are many more blogs I have come across that I have taken a liking to.  The best way for me to discover new blogs is on (as I am sure many of you know).  I just plug in my interests and this website takes me to all the blogs related

6. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? This can be a museum, a concert, or anything like that, but also a sports game (if you consider this a cultural event for which there are good reasons). Or anything I am not even thinking of … Again, tell us why.

The cultural event that impressed me of late would have to be the performance of Hairspray at the Arvada center last summer.  This play impressed me not only because of the talented actors and actresses but mostly because of the Incredible Costumes and set.  I thought that since this rendition of the broadway play was being done locally that it would not have the greatest set or costumes but I was wrongly mistaken.  The costumes were done by Mondo Guerra who is an extremely talented fashion designer from Denver who was featured on the hit TV show Project Runway.  I was blown away by the fun and original costumes he had designed for the play and found that it compleltely made the show.

 7. Please describe briefly an article in a newspaper or a magazine that got you thinking lately. Reading online is fine, and what you introduce here does not have to be about art. If the respective article is available online, please link to it!

I read an article in my runners world magazine last year about a woman who runs ultramarathons.  Her name is Diane Van Deren and she has had a portion of her brain removed due to her chronic seizures.  However, this has seemed to help her run extrmelely long distances (upwards of 100 miles at a time) because the portion of the brain the doctors removed controls sense of time and pain responses. So she is able to run  this far because she doesn’t experience the same amount of pain others would if they attempted running that distance and she loses all sense of time while running.  Truly fascinating stuff.

8. Please share with us a thought or an idea that really widened your intellectual horizon. Again, this must not be limited to the visual arts. If possible, give a source for this idea so that others know where to go to if they are interested.

Something that really widened by intellectual horizon was my Honors Physical Anthropology course.  Dr. VanGerven was teaching our small class about gender and he brought in a close friend of his who had made the transition from female to male.  Learning about transgender and gender identity disorder in children really opened up my eyes and was fascinating to me.  I think a lot of people are really too quick to write these people off as ‘strange’ or what have you.  But learning about the facts really made me understand.  I also found it interesting what the actual definition of gender really is.  It is the social construct society places on one gender versus another.

9. Have you been to the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver and BMoca Boulder? Describe one art object or a show you remember seeing.

I have been to both the Denver Art Museum and BMoca Boulder.  However I have not been to the MCA Denver yet.  I am looking forward to going quite soon.  My all time favorite painting is at the Denver Art Museum.  It is called Second Day Nothing by Jonas Burgert.  This painting is on an epic scale and conpletley overwhelms the viewer when you stand before it.  Burgert uses a relativley neutral color palette in which he incorporates several incredibly bright colors.  His use of neon colors is what initially drew me into his piece.  However, the subject matter is quite strange and somewhat uncomfortable.  This painting leaves me wondering what in the world is going on in this painting.   Not all the beings rendered in the painting are human and the artist plays a lot with scale.  There are elements from the circus incorporated into the piece and I am drawn to this specific work because it is purely imagination and obviously not realistic.



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