It was October 19th. The day had finally come. The first STAC trip of the year. The plan was to take the train into the city, first stop, Neue Gallery, second Cooper Hewitt, and end the night with a play, Bernhardt/Hamlet. In the weeks leading up to the trip, our teacher, Luke, introduced us to the many artists whose works inhabited Neue Galerie. Every day, he’d take us further and further into the endless realm of art history. Soon enough, we began to create our own art in the specific styles we discussed, and we saw some pretty neat results. We got to display them in the art wing and watched as students lingered by the STAC Room, in awe of the peculiar faces we drew. So when we were given the chance to see the artwork of the first artists to bring these styles to life, we seized it and that experience has been immortalized through our unconventional artwork. We had the honor of regarding Woman in Gold, a timeless painting, by Gustav Klimt, encrusted with gold. The painting is packaged with a history just as valuable as the gold leaf that bejewels the masterpiece. We also saw the beautiful work of Franz Marc, August Macke, and Egon Schiele.
What is incredible about STAC trips is the independance you are permitted. You are valued as an adult, unlike typical field trips, where you often feel like a five-year-old holding onto one of those Hold-A-Ring Walking Ropes. Like actual human beings, we dispersed into groups of five or six and wandered about as we pleased.
Next stop. . . Cooper Hewitt. This museum was insanely cool. It was filled with extraordinary exhibitions like the Immersion Room, in which you can design a pattern and project it all over the walls at full scale. Another exhibit showcased numerous lightboxes with a certain situation engraved on the top, alongside a specific scent. One of the situations read something similar to “Loving someone intensely, but realizing that they don’t feel the same way." The odd thing was that the scents were weirdly accurate. Other exhibits include a wall covered in fur that produced orchestral sounds when stroked and a recreation of the first snowfall of the winter with only scent and sensation. That last one was literally a display of wool balls, some jingle bells, blue fringe, and a carpet, but when you closed your eyes and walked around on the cushiony material below you, it felt exactly like fresh powdered snow beneath my converse.
It was pure enjoyment, as art should be. We were like a bunch of kids playing around with all of the exhibits, trying to catch feathers midair at The Fountain of Feathers exhibit. It was truly magnificent because it served as something much larger, but to us, it was just fun. Cooper Hewitt allowed us to explore the unconventional areas of art while enjoying ourselves and getting closer to each other. This trip occurred pretty early in the school year and some of us were still hesitant with each other, but by the end of this trip, we were family.
And to end with a bang, we saw a show! The play was titled Bernhardt/Hamlet, and it followed the story of actress Sarah Bernhardt as she tackled the role of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The show was remarkable. It was both empowering and entertaining. I would find myself laughing so hard at times that I was bent over and the next moment, I felt tears welling in my eyes. We learned about Sarah Bernhardt, so like the artwork we had seen a few hours before, we had developed a personal connection to this show as well.
There’s never a dull moment on a STAC field trip. These trips are one of the most significant experiences in STAC and they will stay with you. They constantly remind me that STAC is exceptional not only because of the incredible art we create, but the people behind it.
-- Emily Sinner