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I arrive at the Barnes Museum at around 9:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. Almost immediately, I'm greeted by a visual that could rival most masterpieces: sun rays casting selective shadows over the external facade of the building, illuminating the pond of water near the entrance with an iridescent clarity. However, I soon come to realize that the beauty of the Barnes Foundation’s exterior serves only as a precursor to the visual delights that lie within.
Kywe Aung* (C ’24) begins his mornings by opening the Canvas website. If the page is available, Kywe downloads all the content he can get his hands on, extracting coding assignments and projects so they’ll be available to him offline. At around 3 p.m., he goes for a jog, running laps around the yard outside his home. He continues to work on projects and homework until around midnight.
As our TikTok pages, Instagram feeds, and Pinterest boards become inundated with blazing pinks, purples, and the ever–so–persistent threat of low–rise jeans, one thing has become clear:
A week ago, at the behest of my best friend’s continual suggestions, I began a tumultuous journey to the lighthouse.
Scrolling through my playlists is an all–consuming experience.
Visuals of 19th century Europe are often awash with empire waistlines, gauzy fabric, and pearl–encrusted hair accessories. A Pinterest search for Bridgerton—Netflix’s latest show set in the Regency era—features enduring images of stolen glances in a sea of pastel gowns. Amidst the ruffles and powdered wigs, however, one garment has solidified its status as a staple in the fashion world—transcending both time and sociopolitical borders.
Simplicity is hard.
In the fall of 2019, Rachel Harris (C '23) followed the official Instagram account of “Stitch it to the Patriarchy.” The brand sold thrifted clothing with a twist, featuring an assortment of sweaters, hats, and shirts—all embroidered with politically charged messages in angled backstitch. Rachel’s friend had recently begun working for the brand, and the ethos of “Stitch–It,” as it is referred to colloquially, appealed to her: “I thought it was really cute, and so I ordered a couple of shirts."
In 1989, bright yellow posters featuring a reclining female nude with a gorilla mask were emblazoned across public buses in New York City. The poster alluded to the Romantic era, featuring a reproduction of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’ La Grande Odalisque—albeit with a unique, bestial twist. To the right of Ingres' nude lay a provocative question, splayed across the poster in bold typeface:
Around this time every year, 320 million people around the world receive a love letter.
‘Holden Caulfield’ is a name that’s strewn about in literary analysis with as much frequency as there are blades of grass in a field. He's the teenage narrator and protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s infamous The Catcher in the Rye, a novel that everyone either loves or loves to hate.
As far as the spectrum of human emotions goes, fear poses an eternal paradox. It's simultaneously unique and universal. On one hand, fear is democratic—almost no one is immune. Yet, everyone's fears are highly personal and often individualized.
In the fall of my senior year in high school, I, like many others, attempted to encapsulate 17 years of my life within a 500 word text box. Every meaningful experience I ever had was meticulously scrubbed, buffed, and polished, akin to a piece of silverware gleaming with promise unfulfilled. Intending to major in English Literature, I refrained from including my less impressive daydreams in the application—hurrying down Locust with a stack of books in hand, poring over Proust in the shade of an old tree on college green, and spending my days emulating the spirit of Jo March in critical seminars and discussions.
It is a universally acknowledged truth that an artist in possession of great talent must be in want of an ideal subject.
For some, high school relationships are picture–perfect nostalgia: tucked away in an IKEA frame, to be glanced at sporadically, and thought of even less. When they are reflected upon, this recollection embodies the feeling of spitting out a chewed–up wad of bubblegum—only remnants of a cloying sweetness and a sentimentality for childhood naivety linger.
Few websites can claim to be the subject of all of the following: intense criticism on social media platforms, a Beyoncé lyric, privacy leaks and hacks, and a prolonged discussion on the treatment of sex workers.
Like most teenagers sent home early from college, I spent a vast majority of the quarantine period staring down the end of a barrel with the promise of never–ending boredom. In an effort to curtail those feelings, I decided to participate in the long–standing Generation Z tradition of putting off all impending work in favor of starting a new show. Critical acclaim and numerous over–enthusiastic tirades from my friends pushed me to start Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.
First gracing our cinemas almost 15 years ago, the Devil Wears Prada remains, in my opinion, a necessary element of anybody’s film diet. Starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, the film delves into the world of fashion publication – focusing on the relationship between a fashion magazine’s editrix and her assistant. The film’s primary ‘antagonist’ – though there is a real case to be made for Hathaway’s on-screen boyfriend fulfilling this role – is Miranda Priestly, the aforementioned editrix of a renowned fashion magazine, played by Streep. Most of the stellar moments in the film are easily attributable to Miranda Priestly (and Streep’s performance), one of the most iconic instances being her soliloquy lecturing Andrea Sachs (played by Hathaway) on the exact difference between turquoise and cerulean. In it, Priestly delves into a brief history of the color cerulean – the genesis of its popularity, the proliferation of cerulean within high fashion, and its eventual appearance in mass production of the clothes Sachs herself wears.
I attended my first ballet class at the tender age of eight. Set in a dimly lit room in some corner of my primary school, our "studio" did not boast ballet barres nor mirrors. Rather, it relied purely on the motivation of a singular instructor determined to teach a dozen children an elite art form revered for its innate sense of perfectionism.
Just as banana bread, Chloe Ting workouts, and whipped coffee have become quintessential staples of Quarantine, so have drastic alterations to one’s appearance, especially by ways of their hair. Of these varying hair dye trends, the infamous "e-girl hair" has become ubiquitous— consisting of bleaching or coloring the front two strands of hair.