Matt Bollinger: 'Labor Day'

Neatly tucked into the front gallery at M + B, Matt Bollinger’s "Labor Day," confronts viewers with a scattered panoply of shapes. Each work, painted specifically for the show, seems to spring to an idealized life, replete with muted color schemes and rhyming characters––many who resurface in Bollinger’s hand-drawn animations. At stake is a melancholic vision of America, caught between a neoliberal drive towards productivity and the dissatisfaction of the labor itself.

Senior Column: The final statement

If you ever walk toward the Anderson Collection from the Main Quad, right past the Sapp Center, you’ll come across a tree. A yucca that Jane Stanford transplanted there in 1894 to mark the boundary of what would become the Cantor Arts Center. As a place, Stanford is populated with such distinctive trees — the junipers at Landau, the ficus at Encina, the gold wattles on Mayfield. Trees haunt the campus. Where I saw it To the left and then twice that Distance again further and further In this

The Dualist: The ruined image

There is no photograph that is not a failure. To take a photo of something (and not another thing) belies an implicit ethical relationship to that thing; to be seen is to be loved. The implicit goal of the photograph is to depict a portion of reality in exacting detail, to reproduce the world as it actually is experienced. As Soviet cinematographer Dziga Vertov writes, “Our eyes see very little and very badly … so we invented the camera to penetrate more deeply into the visual world.” Yet, our m

Badlands: Q&A with head curator Reilly Clark

Reilly Clark (’19) and Reily Haag (’19), co-presidents of the Profession Art Society of Stanford, head-curated an art exhibition, Badlands, currently at the O’Donohue Stanford Educational Farm. Focusing on indigenous photographer Josué Rivas’ photographs of protests at Standing Rock, Badlands also features work directly responding to Rivas’ intense images. The Daily sat down with Clark to discuss the experience of curating an exhibition, putting everything together and the stakes of such a proje

Wagner: Stanford and its crushing freedom

In my five quarters on campus, it seems like we are continually talking about our own endless achievements and abilities. In order to get into Stanford, everyone had to do Something at their high school, aspire to some natural talent that they would develop. Collecting bones, base jumping, cultivating coffee beans — just talk with people from your freshman dorm, you’ll begin to realize all of the weird and interesting passions that we all have. And receiving a Stanford acceptance means that the

Respecting silence

Philosophy comes too late. The point at which an aesthetic idea or concept is formalized and widely accepted enough to persuade a publisher, receive a book deal, meet a deadline and enrapture an audience is the point at which it becomes embalmed. Like a motionless monument, the Academy transmutes the living and breathing into deadened flesh, binding in order to analyze and dissect, not allowing for fresh air. The act of study opposes the experiential act of being present to the world and seeing

Abstracted spaces

People are abstract like art is abstract. Representational, paraphrasable, inaccurate and unable to be made perfectly mimetic. A failure. I recently went to The Anderson Collection to stare at Philip Guston’s characterization of a disembodied overcoat, “The Coat II.” Depicting a floating overcoat flanked by empty, black shoes and a flowing river of what can only be blood, the piece serves as a ghastly self-portrait of the artist as guilty, as not being able to offer up more than fictionalized re

Us and them

I like lunch. There’s nothing more comforting than sitting at Wilbur lunch with a friend on a weekday staring at a burrito bowl. Looking around the crowded dining hall, I wonder how many hidden faces are of people I might recognize from my freshman dorm, from class, from miscellaneous encounters. And, I ask myself the same angsty question I asked myself in high school: How much can we possibly know about one another? It seems like we can break down the kinds of interactions that we have into tw

Oops: This will never do

I hate flowers. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life trying to avoid them. Their touch, look, and smell haunt my dreams. And, for the most part, I’ve been successful. Yet, one of the first memories I have of Stanford is of flowers. While walking around campus for the first time as an undergraduate, I looked upwards in the Old Union courtyard and saw five flowers etched in high relief on the underside of its arch. The flowers mark the physical barrier between the openness of White Plaza and t

The long present

I do the same thing every morning. And I convince myself that I don’t. Surely, I can’t have been going through the same actions, in the same order, for the past four weeks, the past five-and-a-half quarters, the past 19 years. But I have. And – now that I’m thinking about it – it makes sense. The less I focus on my everyday wake-up routine, the more mental energy I have to devote to the important things: summoning the energy to actually leave my bed, choosing matching socks, wearing yellow under

Fact: I can’t remember anything

The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Rosa Parks led the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in the 1960s. All of these basic facts about the world that we were taught in school are inside all of us. Regardless of where we were educated in the U.S., the chances are that we all learned the same kinds of things, and that those things remain with us, even if they are buried in our brains. I often reflect on the fact that I can’t remember most of what happene

What I’d like to forget

I don’t remember most of my life. What I ate for breakfast last week, how I spent my January 2007, the color of the grass in Los Angeles in mid-September, what it feels like to be in the second grade are all gone, erased from my mind. If I was asked what I did on any particular day before 2018, I would struggle to come up with anything beyond base generalization — “I got dressed,” “I went to school,” “I ate lunch,” “I played a jazz song at morning announcements.” Yet, at the same time, I have th

Writing through the body

I return to this seemingly simple command every few weeks, whenever I am faced with difficulties writing. At first glance, “writing through” seems like an odd expression of the physical act of composition – a neural impulse that registers in my brain and is transferred to the appropriate nerves that move the proper muscles to create characters on a page. But “writing through” also implies a thoughtlessness and immediacy speedier and more urgent than writing to-do lists, class notes or legal docu

The face of another

I can’t remember faces. Whether it’s someone I quickly met waiting in line at Coupa or a friend from my freshman dorm, I have trouble placing faces, especially from a distance or if they are laughing. It seems that I’m always looking at people who I feel I should know, or who I do actually know, but can’t recognize. It’s a very strange and unsettling feeling. But sometimes I actively see people and know who they are – a shocking turn of events. In section last week, as I turned to say “hi” to a

In search of a lost major

I don’t want to have a major. I don’t want to have to specialize within an ever-changing field. I don’t want to take prerequisites for the sake of qualifying for a higher-level course. I don’t want to check boxes on a major requirements form. Even though I could just choose a major like comparative literature, which only has three explicitly required classes, and then take the classes that interest me, this seems like a poor workaround to a flawed system. In the classes I’ve taken across myriad

Living with art

I want to live with an original piece of art. Sleep underneath it. Solve p-sets within arm’s reach. Feel its presence as I attempt to find a matching pair of socks. And the easiest place to find art is in a museum, namely at the Cantor. So, last week, excited by the idea, I walked into the Cantor to ask about living with a work of art. The first docent I found all but laughed at me as she informed me that the Cantor displays Fine Art, which has no place in a college dorm room. Discouraged, I wa

Glam Grads: Jessica Jordan and Jesse Nathan talk Bob Dylan

This edition of Glam Grads features two graduate students in English, Jesse Nathan and Jessica Jordan, recently honored in an American Studies Program essay contest which asked students to reflect on the significance of Bob Dylan after he won the 2016 Nobel Prize. Nathan, Jordan and other contest winners will read from their essays at a public event this Thursday evening at 5 p.m. at Margaret Jacks Hall. Nathan is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in poetry and poetics and received first prize in the
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