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Res Hall Discussed at Second Town Hall

By Quiara Vasquez, Editor-In-Chief 

Over twenty students showed up to the second Student Town Hall on Wednesday, Mar. 26, more than double the small number in attendance at the town hall last February. But unlike the initial town hall, where faculty easily outnumbered students, only a few key players were present: Assistant VP for Finance and Marketing Jason Carey, Senior VP for Finance and Administration Alan Gilbert, VP for Student Affairs Ronald C. Jackson, Provost Anne Lopes, and of course, College President Michelle Anderson.

  Anderson began the town hall by confirming the biggest news of the evening: Brooklyn College’s contract with the Residence Hall will not be renewed after it expires in August 2020.

  According to Anderson, in 2007, CUNY entered into a contract with New Brooklyn Development LLC, which owns the Residence Hall. That contract mandates Brooklyn College advertise the Residence Hall; however, the college has removed the banner ads for the Residence Hall across campus, and enhanced the disclaimer on the BC website stating that BC has no control over 1 Kenilworth. To that end, CUNY has advised New Brooklyn Development LLC to stop referring to 1 Kenilworth as “Residence Hall at Brooklyn College” – a name which Anderson characterized as “unauthorized, misleading, and improper.”

  Anderson also addressed allegations of anti-Semitism lobbed at members of the BC Socialists coalition, after members chanted “long live the intifada” in front of the library at a vigil in March. She read from a prepared statement she posted on her Facebook.

  Anderson left soon afterwards, leaving Lopes in charge of the meeting. Lopes denied rumors that BC’s Africana Studies and Puerto Rican & Latino Studies (PRLS) programs would merge or be dismantled – their importance to students of color go, in Lopes’ words, “way beyond curriculum.” But she also confirmed that there were no plans to expand the programs on campus, especially PRLS, which only has 36 majors.

  In what may have been the longest discussion of the evening, Lopes brought up how required math courses can prove to be roadblocks for students of color. The New York City Department of Education does not require high schoolers to take three years of math, meaning students of color frequently struggle when the first math course they have to take is pre-calculus. Lopes says that an algebra course designed for non-STEM majors, which the college is developing, will help bridge this gap.

  Lopes also fielded questions about diversity in hiring. While serving as interim provost at CUNY John Jay, Lopes increased the number of faculty of color hired from 10% to 50% – a feat she plans to repeat during her tenure at Brooklyn College. In addition, the college is planning implicit bias training for all employees, and trying to move faculty of color up the ladder as chairs and deans.

  “Everyone on the team is gung ho about faculty diversity,” Lopes told a crowd that was smaller than the administration would have liked.

  While the college had made some effort to advertise the second town hall, posting ads for the event on social media and across campus, student turnout was still less than ideal. In addition, the event was not livestreamed – something that was promised at the previous event.

  Other topics discussed at the town hall included homelessness among CUNY students, the difficulty students have reserving rooms, and administration not showing up at campus events like Black Solidarity Day.

  The next two town halls will be on Wednesday, Apr. 17 at 6 p.m., and on Tuesday, May 14 at 12:30 p.m.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Student Gov’t Races to Save Student Fees

Elections Postponed in Mad Dash to Merge CLAS and SGS

By Quiara Vasquez, Editor-In-Chief 

 Student government is scrambling to pass a referendum that will determine whether the incoming class of freshmen will have a voice on campus – and whether vital student services will continue to receive funding.

  Last month, student government voted to dissolve both CLAS and SGS student governments. Now, they have until Thursday, Apr. 18 to have students approve their “super-referendum,” a proposal which will, among other things, create a new singular undergraduate student government called USG, and a new student activity fee.

  When Brooklyn College was founded in 1930, it was divided into two schools: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) for day students, and the School of General Studies (SGS) for night students. At the time, there was a sharp difference between the two schools, with day students unable to take night classes and vice versa; now the two schools are completely integrated, and incoming students are not sorted into either CLAS or SGS.

  Student government has been trying to merge CLAS and SGS for three years now, but every semester so far, they’ve failed to pass a referendum merging the two. This spring, CUNY central forced their hand by changing its admissions module for CUNY colleges, making it so undergrads cannot be identified as day or evening students – and thus, can’t be sorted into either body of undergraduate student government.

  This means that the incoming class of freshmen will not be represented by any existing body of government, nor will they pay $114.85 in student fees. This means incoming freshmen won’t be able to use campus services like the Magner Career Center or Health Care Clinic, or participate in student government; in addition, since these new students would not pay student fees, nearly every student service and club would see their funding slashed by 20% every year.

  Foreseeing this catastrophe, on Oct. 9, 2018, CLAS passed the Undergraduate Student Government Transition Act. This act formed the USG constitutional committee, which was meant to ease day and night students alike into a new government body, called USG, during the fall semester. That didn’t happen, because they couldn’t submit key governing documents until a few weeks ago.

  In order for USG to merge, 10% of undergraduate students will need to sign the “Referendum to Establish a Student Government and Student Activity Fee for all Undergraduate Students.” CLAS members refer to this as a “super-ref,” because it also includes the text of two existing referendums (one of which would increase funding for the Women’s Center, and one of which would merge The Kingsman and The Excelsior into a single publication).

  To give them time to get the nearly fifteen hundred signatures they need for it to be approved, the petition period for student government candidates and proposed referenda has been officially pushed back from Monday, Apr. 8 to Thursday, Apr. 18.

  This announcement has thrown elections and referenda for this semester into chaos. Petitions that have already been circulated prior to Apr. 2 are still valid; however, referendum petitions will now require 1,426 signatures instead of 1,249, because SGS students are now included in the 10% of the student body which must sign off on any referendum, as per a CUNY by-law.

  Student elections will now take place from Monday, Apr. 29 at 12:01 a.m. to Thursday, May 2 at 2:30 p.m. This means there will be no formal period designated for campaigning.

  The constitution and by-laws for the proposed new student government are accessible online at tinyurl.com/bcusgconstitution and tinyurl.com/bcusgbylaws, respectively.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Dueling Protests as Tensions Rise During “Israeli Apartheid Week”

By Ryan Schwach, Managing Editor

  To commemorate the anniversary of the “Great March to Return” one year ago in Gaza where 183 Palestinian protesters were killed by the Israel Defense Forces, the Students for Justice in Palestine, BC Socialists, and the BC Student Union organized events as part of “Israeli Apartheid Week,” which ignited counter-rallies from pro-Israel groups.

  “Free Free Palestine!,” shouted protesters at the first event last Thursday in front of the library. Maira Tahir, Secretary of Students for Justice in Palestine, read the names of 109 Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli soldiers last year.

  “I feel like speaking out against any issue makes me feel empowered,” Tahir told The Kingsman. “A lot of places you can’t do that,” she said.

  The reading of names was followed by a collection of chants led by BC Socialist Chris Mejia, whose chant of “long live the intifada” at the vigil for the Christchurch attacks on Tuesday, Mar. 19 sparked outrage and cries of anti-Semitism from the pro-Israel community. Protesters dispute these allegations.

  “They use fallacious claims of anti-Semitism to shut down criticism,” pro-Palestinian protester Kellen Gold, who himself is Jewish, told The Kingsman. “They have forgotten the Jewish history of organizing for all oppressed people,” he said.

  Another speaker, Cole Boyd, a member of SJP discussed observing “settlers throwing garbage on them [Palestinians],” and called for boycott and divestment in Israel.

  Of course, the Mar. 28 event was just a precursor to the events of Tuesday, Apr. 2, where pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with pro-Israeli protesters on the East Quad side of Bedford Avenue.

  At the onset, the groups were separated, the pro-Palestinian group congregating in front of the library with a small crowd and a mock wall, to signify the one that separates Gaza and Israel.

  “We’re here to raise awareness and talk to people about what happens in Palestine,” said BC Socialist and activist Yasmine Kamel.

  The pro-Israel group was set up with a small table on Bedford Avenue with banners and reading material of their own. Their banner read “Equality in Israel” and made the argument that Israel was the most socially progressive nation in the Middle East on matters like LGBTQ rights.

  “I want Brooklyn College students to get both sides,” said Daniel Brooks, an activist who does not attend Brooklyn College and authors a blog entitled The Times of Israel.

  Both groups kept their distance, but eventually, the Pro-Palestinian group made its way across East Quad and stood directly across the entrance from the Pro-Israeli groups with students passing in between. “We wanted to get in touch with people,” said Kamel about the move across campus.

  The groups ignored one another, the pro-Palestinian group chanting and the pro-Israeli group did little but watch. As common hours drew to a close, an audience began to form around the East Quad entrance, many using their phones to record. Finally the straw seemingly broke when the Palestinian side began a “long live the intifada” chant, inciting responses from the opposite side.

  “Keep cheering for terrorism and anti-Semitism,” shouted Sarah Weber, a pro-Israeli student. “I don’t this particular protest is helpful, if they really want to educate people.”

  By this point the chants got louder and the number of onlookers increased, some taking issue with one of the groups and using the open platform to debate, including Mohammad Sarker who debated with Brooks and other pro-Israeli protesters.

  “I don’t think peace is happening,” he said.

  “I believe that what our cousins on the other side are doing is radical in the sense that the security wall was built to protect Israeli lives and Jewish lives,” said another onlooker Holden Hirsh, a former combat soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces who served on the Gaza Border.

  Smaller debates began to bubble up amongst the larger ones, notably an argument between Brooks and pro-Palestinian protester Amanda Ruiz, who at one point took one of Brooks’ papers and tore it up. “I was telling him to address what is happening in Palestine,” she said, “I have no issue with the group, I just have an issue with the way the group is portraying Palestine […] they are the ones that are oppressed.”

  Although it seems that the Israeli-Palestinian debate is far from seeing its conclusion, all common hours protests on Brooklyn College campus came to end at 2:15 when the next round of classes begin.

  Going forward, the “Israeli Apartheid Week” continues on Thursday, Apr. 4 with a screening of the short documentary “Watched,” which details the NYPD surveillance of Muslim students at Brooklyn College.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Self-Defense Tools for Survival

A Workshop With the Women’s Center

By Alana Vayntraub, Staff Writer

  Who hasn’t felt scared or uneasy leaving campus late at night, after that one class that we needed that was only offered in the evening? Well, have no fear, because every year, the Women’s Center and the Women’s History Month Committee, along with instructors from the Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), organize a self-defense workshop.

  On Thursday, Mar. 28, The Women’s History Committee came together, in honor of Women’s History Month, to present the self defense workshop. This remarkable workshop was led by the Center for Anti-Violence Education. Approaching SUBO lounge where the event was being held, looking through the clear glass doors, it was refreshing to see the diversity of students. They were all eagerly waiting and anticipating what the workshop entailed; excited to learn self-defense tactics.

  Wendy Romero, the program assistant at the Women’s Center, worked with the Women’s History Month Committee to organize the annual defense workshop, inviting instructors from CAE to come in and teach a class.

  “This year we were very fortunate that they have more funding, and they were able to provide this service for free,” Romero said. “We’re really excited. We’re really hoping to empower some women today, and just give them tools to feel safer.”

  When we think of self-defense, we tend to think of violence, but this workshop isn’t geared towards violence as the only means of self-defense. During the workshop, some students said that self-defense meant dodging or blocking, or finding weapons if your life is in imminent danger. But for other students, self-defense meant awareness, being prepared, or trusting your gut.

  “That doesn’t mean we don’t also learn physical technicalities, we do, so that’s really great to learn and know as well,” said Gabriella Belfiglio, an instructor with CAE. “We approach martial arts and self-defense in a way that’s different then most places. It’s not a simple ‘kick them in the groin,’ it’s more how do you prevent things from happening, how do you make boundaries.”

  For example, according to Belfiglio, your voice is extremely prominent in self-defense care as well. Being confident and saying “NO” or “STOP” is one way to prevent any unwanted harm, physically or emotionally.

  Some instructors from the CAE have experienced this unwanted harm firsthand. Instructor Angie Pits shared her moving story, about an upbringing full of domestic violence.

  “I basically felt that I had enough, and wanted to learn how to defend myself,” Pits said. “At the Safe Horizon I saw a flier, and I just thought, why not try this. I feel that not having that empowerment of feeling brave enough to be able to speak up, I thought maybe I can learn from this and be able to defend myself.”

  She did learn how to defend herself. Angie has been with the organization now for the past four years.

  “Once I got with the organization I thought, I’m learning this, now I want to give back to the community. I want other women to learn as well,” Pits said. “Now that I have more information and experience, I can help women and tell them what to do in certain situations.”

  Students appreciated the insight and tools they were given by the instructors.

  “I thought this was an amazing experience as an intro to self-defense,” said Chahat, an accounting major. “You should always be self-aware of your surroundings and how to assert yourself in certain situations, where you might be in danger, so I really loved it.”

  Other students, like creative writing major Lordy Belance, appreciated the workshop so much, they came back for a second time.

  “Being at this workshop two years ago, it helped me refresh what I learned back then, and helped me learn new things,” Belance said. “I learned how to escape when someone is trying to grab me, with wrist release. This was informational, and gave me confidence to go out, gave me more tools.”

  Belfiglio says that repeat attendance at events like these can only help.

  “Ideally, we can come back, or people can continue this information, because the more you get it in your body the more it will be instinctual,” Belfiglio said. “This was really a wonderful group at Brooklyn College, everyone picked up energy, skills, and new skill set.”

  “We believe not only in protecting ourselves. None of us are safe, unless all of us are safe, so we want to support each other as well.”

  To do that, the CAE handed out a sheet which listed the rights we’re entitled to, regardless of your sexual preference or gender identity. There’s the right to be treated with respect and as an equal. There’s the right to decide who can touch you, and when you feel comfortable being touched. And there’s the right say who I am and act on my own behalf without being afraid of harmful consequences.

  After all is said and done, we need to come together and be united. Being divided won’t help anyone especially in an unwanted and negative situation. Being safe is our number one priority and there is safety in numbers. If you or anyone you know is dealing with any type of violence, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends or loved ones. Call 911 in any situation you feel your life is threatened. On campus, you can express any danger you are feeling and concerns with the public safety officers. If needed, personal counseling services are located in James Hall. You can even reach out to the Center for Anti-Violence Education at CAENY.org. The Women’s Center is another safe space to turn to and will be there with open arms to assist you, and help get you the proper confidential assistance you need. Remember, you are not alone, and have resources to turn to.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Opinion: BC Should Condemn Calls for Intifada

By Sarah Einav, Secretary of United 4 Israel

Unlike most students at Brooklyn College, I did not grow up in this chaotic city. I grew up in Squirrel Hill, a quiet neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From the age of two until I graduated high school at eighteen, I attended a Jewish school just three blocks away from the synagogue the Tree of Life that suffered a devastating massacre earlier this year. So I know all too well, the personal and communal pain Muslims all over the world feel after being mercilessly attacked in the most sacred space, where they should have felt safest. I know all too well the fear when you step out of your home; it happened where nobody thought it possible – could it happen here too? The bubble of safety you once once floated through, harshly burst. The loneliness as you navigate a world that no longer feels welcoming, the uncomfortable question of whether anybody really cares at all. I know it, because I felt it too. Sometimes, when the world feels heavy, I still do.

  This past week on campus has been an uncomfortable one for many, including me. As an individual who holds American, Jewish and Israeli values dear, I unequivocally support free speech and the exchange of ideas on campus. More than that, I believe that college students hold tremendous power and should exercise their right to express those ideas to impact change. However, the rally that occurred last week, where members of the socialist club proudly yelled “long live the intifada” goes directly against the values of inclusion, progress and unity our campus should cultivate. I believe, or at least would like to, that the silence surrounding the event is due to a lack of understanding what intifada really means. A quick google search shows that intifada is the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. In reality, intifada is nothing less than the incitement of violence against Israeli civilians (and all Jews who support them). In the first intifada, 150 Israelis were killed – 100 of which were civilians. Of the 1,137 Israelis killed in the second intifada in the early 2,000’s, 887 – an astounding 78% were civilians.This is in addition to the 5,676 Israeli civilians wounded by suicide bombings, shootings, stonings and various other methods of attack. When busses are blown up, civilians randomly stabbed and cars recklessly steered onto the sidewalks – there is no regard for who is being harmed, Arab or Jewish. Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar himself said, “when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance’, we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support.” Make no mistake, calling for intifada goes beyond political resistance and has historically proven to be an incitement of violence against my community and the people I love. As a student on this campus and a proud Jew, I believe it is the duty of the administration to condemn all forms of hate and incitements of violence on our campus so that we can feel safe. Because when I walk to and from class and hear people shamelessly calling out for the violent attack of Jews and Arabs alike, I do not feel the sense of belonging and safety every student of this college deserves to feel.

  The positioning of Apartheid week and these protests, just days after an unimaginable act of terror is disrespectful and tasteless. To confuse the ravaging effects of white supremacy with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ignorant at best and wildly offensive at its worst. President Michelle Anderson, in a statement said “I object to any conflation of the massacre in New Zealand with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”. However, she continued to write “students disagree about what the chant meant, what the relevant facts are, and whether they can remain civil when discussing geopolitical issues about which they disagree passionately.” To Jewish students walking on campus, there is no confusion as to what those chants meant, no doubt as to the fear and discomfort it evokes in us. The uncomfortable truth is that Anti Zionism is often a weak guise for Anti Semitism and this past week we bore witness to the slip of that facade as students yelled “long live the intifada” loudly, proudly and without consequence.

  I believe we are positioned uniquely on this campus. As students, we have a responsibility to cultivate curiosity within ourselves and our communities, to think critically about the claims we hear everyday, to use each moment of tension as a learning opportunity. As young people, we must use our voices to advocate tirelessly for the matters we care deeply about, to share our passion with those around us. As Americans dedicated to the ideals of democracy, we must take pause, listen to the perspectives of others and ensure an environment that is both safe and inclusive. But mostly, as humans, I believe we should invest our efforts in showing up with compassion and hope. The world has borne witness to a saddening rise in hate and the violence that follows it. Personally, I wish for a world and a campus, where protests are replaced with discussion, chants are replaced with questions and fear with unity. I believe that in an effort to achieve peace and justice globally, it must begin here – student to student.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Opinion: Brooklyn College Socialists Club
Addresses Anti-Semitism Allegations

By Daphna Thier & Christopher Mejia, Brooklyn College Socialists Club

On March 26th, 2019 a student publicly accused the BC Socialists of partaking in anti-semitic speech and activism for the use of the term ‘intifada’ in a chant at our recent vigil for the victims of white supremacist terror in New Zealand. We were disheartened by the fallacious claim. Socialists oppose racism in all its forms, including anti-semitism and islamophobia. This smear comes as part of a larger offensive by Zionists, across campuses and nationwide, in the face of the further popularization of the Palestinian cause. Academics and politicians, such as Ilhan Omar and Dr. Angela Davis, face repression for their positions on Palestine.

The word ‘Intifada,’ a term purposely distorted by its right-wing opponents, denotes non-violent resistance—the “shaking off” of one’s oppressors. It is a beautiful Arabic word that means struggle for liberation.

We reaffirm our commitment and our right to defend Black and Brown people from oppression and terror in all its forms, and our support for their movements of resistance and liberation.

We believe systems of power that support injustice can be changed by grassroots activism. Israeli Apartheid Week, happening on campus this week, is a part of that tradition of non-violent resistance. This is an effort to reach out to the campus community to discuss the  repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of Palestinian rights.

This month marks a year since the start of weekly protests by Palestinians demanding an end to the inhumane siege on Gaza and the enforcement of refugees’ right of return, as recognized by UN resolution 194. The protests, known as the Great March of Return, have been overwhelmingly peaceful and yet are confronted with deadly force by the Israeli military, including indiscriminate live fire. A recent UN report condemns Israel for the murder of 189 protesters and injury of 6,000 others.

At the vigil for the victims of the white-supremacist terror attack in New Zealand, we also raised the plight of Palestinians. This is because many of the victims had migrated to New Zealand to flee the worst effects of militarism and war. Some were Palestinian. For us, taking a stand against Islamophobia, means taking a stand against militarism and war.

Accusations of anti-semitism are used to discourage and repress activism. There is a long history of repression of Palestinian activism on CUNY campuses, particularly Brooklyn College: from Horowitz Center posters slandering students and faculty, restrictions by the previous administration implemented in particular on Students for Justice in Palestine events, and even undercover policing of Muslim students.

Jewish students themselves have expressed frustration with their identities being used to carry-out a settler colonial project, which denies Palestinians even the moral right to resist the colonization of their homeland. They feel that equating support for Israel with support for Jews is itself indicative of prejudice and is anti-semitic: Israel does not represent all Jews.

When students chant “long live the intifada!” it is a statement of solidarity that recalls the memory of generations of Palestinian struggle, and honors those brutally murdered in the course of that struggle, including during the heroic resistance taking place today along the border of Gaza.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Opinion: A Hare’s Breath From Death: Witnessing a Subway Tragedy

By Noah Daly, Business Manager

On March 24th, at approximately 1:50 a.m., police responded to a man struck and run over by the Flatbush Avenue-bound 2 train. I saw it happen, and it gave me a very real glimpse of the tenuous nature of life and sanity.

  I was on the train home from Atlantic Avenue when the train came to an unexpected halt as it entered the Newkirk Avenue station. I was finishing my notes on the piece I wrote this past week about a large man and his cheese on my laptop, when I could see that there was a flash of movement at the front of the train as a man ran in front of the first car.

  I am relieved to have seen that as of this moment, the man, an unidentified individual about 30 years old, is not confirmed to have died.

  The unfortunate reality is that suicide in New York has increased by nearly 29 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control. The Mar. 16 issue of The Economist featured a brief article in leaders that cited two out of every three people in the West with diagnosed mental illness will go untreated, and that one in every six are afflicted with some sort of mental illness each year.

  This is by no means an insinuation that the tragedy that unfolded before my eyes last Sunday morning was indeed caused by mental affliction, but the numbers do not evidence a strong alternative, even if drugs or alcohol had a part to play in that incident.

  As New Yorkers, we live in one of the most competitive and hostile environments in the world. With over nine million residents, New Yorkers rank amongst the highest metropolitan populations in the world in loneliness. Chronic isolation, easy access to prescription opiates and illicit narcotics have all exacerbated the resolute truth of city life: the city will consume those who do not find better means of coping with their environment.

  On Monday, April 2nd, Dr. Deepak Chopra, a pioneer of New Age thought and holistic medicine, joined local yoga scholar and thought leader Eddie Stern at the Rubin Museum for a talk on the science of Yoga. During the talk, emphasis was put on the powerful bodily response that can be derived from regular practice of yoga and other disciplines. In his new book, One Simple Thing, Stern recalls a study of pre-hypertensive students and young men from the inner city who took part in a series of yoga classes and training sessions. Apart from the benefits to their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and digestion (details of which can be found in Stern’s book and further writings), many reported improved mood, mental acuity, and even a willingness to engage with their studies in school. In light of the recent tragedy, I asked Mr. Stern and Mr. Chopra about their response to these difficult portents for life in the big city.

  “We are beset on all sides by systemic maladies,” Chopra began. “Greed, overindulgence, dependence, addiction, and aggression fueled by fear can be reduced to a single identifying word: inflammation. The modern age and all of the dangerous activities that now jeopardize the human experiment are rooted in this inflammation. If we address the root causes of these behaviors, the symptoms themselves will gradually dissipate.”

  As I and my fellow passengers were escorted from the platform, a stream of some thirty firefighters, paramedics, and a few MTA employees flowed into the station. Several had radios tuned to the same frequency, where a voice detailed the situation in a calm but serious tone. I saw “Station Chief” on the patch of one firefighter, and approached to ask him a question regarding the circumstances of the incident. Halfway through my question, he stopped, looked at me, and said all that needed to be said.

  “Kid, what is there to find out that you don’t already know? There’s always someone who’s had a worse night than you.”

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


The Whitney Embraces its Colorful Side in “Spilling Over”

By Jack Coleman, Staff Writer

The Whitney Museum of American Art opened its new exhibit “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s” to the public on Friday, Mar. 29.

  On the morning of the show’s opening, the crowds gathered around the Whitney to catch the iconic Andy Warhol show on its closing weekend. Fortunately for those who had seen it (or for those who aren’t interested in the Warhol phantasmagoria), the madness cleared out by the time the elevators reached the eighth floor. All the way up, on the top floor of the Museum, bold and vivid works from eighteen different artists are curated to a tasteful anti-art-historical narrative.

  “Spilling Over” pulls work from the Museum’s collection. The majority of the works date from 1959-1972, from established artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Robert Bowling, Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, and Miriam Schapiro. The show also features newly acquired paintings from Emma Amos and Kay WalkingStick.

  Rather than placing each artist within their respective movements, the curator, David Breslin, opted instead to highlight the ways in which these artists used color to capture the political movements of their day. In rejecting a specific art-historical narrative, Breslin seeks to show how these artists used color in their very personal responses to the social changes, like feminism and the civil rights movement, that were storming across Western societies. While some of the work uses the more traditional oil medium, most of the paintings use plastic-based acrylic paint, which was fairly new at the time and heavily utilized by artists exploring the possibilities of color as form.

  In the gallery’s foyer, viewers are confronted with the massive New Day, an earth toned, horizontally stripped Kenneth Noland piece. Next to it is Carmen Herrera’s minimalist diptych Blanco y Verde. These works are hung on the opposite wall from Robert Reed’s Plum Nellie, which features a sharply defined, slightly off-center, rectangle of untreated canvas amidst assertive brushstrokes in deep purple. Noland’s enormous scale and clever gradation of color, Herrera’s slightly more soft-spoken triangular exactitude, and Reed’s expressive play on abstraction all utilize acrylic paint and are a succinct glimpse of the gallery to follow.

  While walking into the main gallery, a fellow museum-goer remarked to his companion that Frank Stella’s Gran Cairo is “so intense but calming,” and with a nod of the head, carried on to see the rest of the show. It’s true. The gallery space feels like a slow acid trip, with a sober friend guiding you along the way.

  Morris Louis’ Gamma Delta, with its mostly bare stained canvas and thinned acrylic streams of red, blue, yellow, and green might be recognizable to some, as her similar Untitled is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Louis’ piece is a perfect foil to the polygonal canvas and highlighter orange-red and pink color palette of Alvin Loving’s Septehedron, as well as Miriam Schapiro’s Jigsaw, a clean yet vivacious convergence of graphic squares and rectangles.

  Bob Thompson’s Triumph of Bacchus, one of four works to feature human representation, is also one of the only works with a direct nod to art history. This piece’s inclusion in the show is a clever nod to the rejection of art-historical narrative that Breslin is seeking. Its title is a direct allusion to Renaissance works with the same title, and the work is quite a departure from the naturalistic rendering of the old masters. Though for the jazz-influenced Thompson, color is used as the ultimate delineator; figures are discernable only in their flattened and vibrant treatment. Similar to Kay WalkingStick’s muted background of yellow-green in April Contemplating May, there is no clear rendering of human features, only stark, warm colored forms. Contrasting with WalkingStick and Thompson, Emma Amos’ Baby features a woman who gazes directly at the viewer with large, deep blue eyes against an abstracted composition.

  The show’s most naturalistic rendering of the human form is seen in Alex Katz’s Edwin, Blue Series. One of the last works to be seen in the show, the smallest in the gallery, and the most underwhelming, the tiny Katz piece puts a damper on the otherwise steady psychedelic trip. Katz’ The Red Smile (also part of the Whitney’s collection) would have been a more prescient option. Seen from across Sam Gilliam’s enormous and jaw dropping draped canvas in Bow from Construction, Katz’s is swallowed by more audacious and relevant works.

  It is surely a contentious time to visit the iconic West Side museum, as its owners are under pressure by the activist group Decolonize This Place to remove chairperson Warren B. Kanders for his involvement in creating tear gas canisters for the Border Patrol. “Spilling Over,” though,  is an exciting show from the Whitney’s collection, and as the Warhol show closes, it is heartening to have a reason to return.

  The exhibit runs until Summer 2019.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Men’s Volleyball Triumphs Over Lehman

By Maruful Hossain, Sports Editor

The Brooklyn College Men’s Volleyball team wins its third straight on the road after a victory against conference rival, Lehman College 3-1 (25-11, 25-23, 25-11). The prior game against Lehman was a non conference victory. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs improved 10-11 overall and 2-4 in CUNYAC. The Bulldogs will wrap the season up against Baruch College.

  The Bulldogs rolled through the first set, dominating 25-11. The second set, however was a competitive one as the Bulldogs only won by 2 points, 25-23. The Bulldogs were behind in the second set and had to rally for four straight scoresending with a kill by freshman middle hitter, Omar Rezika. However, Lehman College took that one preventing the Bulldogs from responding and answered the Bulldogs 21-14. Despite getting dominated in the third set, the Bulldogs would go on to dominate next time, winning the fourth set 25-11.

  Gabriel Pjatak led the team with 17 kills and 3 blocks. Omar Rezika followed up with 13 kills and two aces. Junior Setter Michael Valentin had 8 kills, one ace and two blocks and senior setter Sayuj Zachariah finished with a season high 34 assists along with 6 kills and four aces.

The Bulldogs overall had 50 kills while Lehman College had 35 kills. The Bulldogs as a team hit .262 percent while Lehman hit .083 for the game. The Bulldogs also had 45 assists to Lehman College’s 34 assists. Winning three road games in a row is a good feeling for the Bulldogs as they have shown their ability to deliver.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


Men’s Tennis Wins Two Straight

By Hernan Pacas, Staff Writer

The Brooklyn College Men’s Tennis team opened up conference play last Wednesday against York College, who they defeated and in a shut-out, 9-0.

  The Bulldogs started the match with a 3-0 lead after dominating doubles play where every Bulldog went on to win straight sets. In doubles play, junior Julian Calame-Mars and sophomore Justin Vasquez won the first match 8-4. In the second doubles match, freshman Christian Pena and junior Samuel Meyerovich dominated York with an 8-0 victory. In the final doubles match, junior Amadou Andre and sophomore Lance Hermosisima picked up an 8-1 victory.

  The Bulldogs would also win all of their singles matches. Freshman Christian Pena did not lose a single game all afternoon, picking up an 8-0 victory in doubles action and a (6-0, 6-0) victory in singles action as well. Andre would also pick up a singles victory (6-3, 6-1) and a doubles win with teammate and sophomore Lance Hermosisima (8-1). Hermosisima also picked up a singles victory (6-0, 6-1). With the win the Bulldogs moved to 1-4.

  The Bulldogs’ next meet against St. Joseph’s College (9-0), this time in a non-conference match, gave the Bulldogs back-to-back shut-outs and secured them a two game win streak. In singles play, the Bulldogs went undefeated, with freshman Jonathan Lum, Meyerovich, Pena, and freshman Remi Lawrence all scoring straight set 6-0 shutouts. In doubles play the Bulldogs also went undefeated. Calame-Mars and sophomore Rohan Mathur picked up an 8-2 victory in the first doubles match. In the second match, Lum and Lawrence shut out St. Joseph with a 8-0 win. In the last doubles match, Meyerovich and Andre picked up an 8-1 victory. With the victory over St. Joseph’s College, the Bulldogs are now 2-4 and hope to continue their winning ways against the College of Staten Island on Tuesday, Apr. 2.

This article was originally published on 4/3/19 in Spring 2019 Issue 9. 


 

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