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November 15th 2017

Blackheath High takes on the Big Apple!

It was an exceptionally early start for our girls (a bleary-eyed 4am wake-up call!) for this year's Art department trip to New York but the weather and jam-packed itinerary did not disappoint. From strolling across Brooklyn Bridge to visiting many of the iconic NYC galleries and monumental buildings, our girls encountered a diverse range of influences and stimulus for their current projects. A massive thank you to Mrs Gilbert (Teacher of Art & Textiles) for her expert navigation of the Big Apple and for all her hard work in organising such a fantastic trip. Year 13 students, from our London Sixth Form, Phoebe, Amelia and Martha talk us through the tour...

On our first day in New York we went to two iconic art museums; the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim. Both were so completely different from each other and really offered us a wide variety of genres in contemporary and historical art and artefacts. We visited the Met first, which is the largest museum in the United States and was a treasure trove of masterpieces from every culture, time period, and medium; with beautiful art pieces such as ‘The Death of Socrates’ and the ‘Sphinx of Hatshepsut’ on display. We also went to the rooftop to see an amazing view of the skyline and Central Park, which we subsequently visited for lunch. The weather was beautiful so we were able to eat our lunch on the grass and then explore the amazing street art and performers that were scattered around the park. After lunch, we visited the second museum of the day, the Guggenheim. As well as housing an incredible collection of art, the building itself is one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. One of my favourite exhibitions was ‘Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World’ which presented work by 71 key artists and groups active across China and worldwide.

We began Day 2 by making our way to the Brooklyn area, crossing the famous Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest in the USA. The weather was almost too nice as many of us were out of breath by the time we reached the end of the 1.8km bridge in the beaming sun! It was worth it though as the views were stunning and we were able to take photographs along the way. On the other side of the bridge by ‘Jane’s Carousel’ we took some more photos from our new viewpoint and sketched some studies before hopping onto the subway to Soho. The first thing we noticed was the diversity - you could walk down one street to find market stalls, food trucks and humble cafes then high-end brands and department stores on the next. We had a blast, and so did our purses by the end of it! In the late afternoon, we visited the top of the iconic Empire State Building, a staggering 381m tall. The views were incredible as they allowed us to admire New York’s fascinating block arrangements from a bird’s eye, 360 degree view. You could see everything from Brooklyn bridge to the Chrysler building, and how Broadway cut through the city diagonally, an immense 54km of continuous road. 

Day 3 saw us visiting the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Highline, both must-see destinations in New York. MOMA is a museum which explores modern and contemporary art, from its unique and minimalist architecture to the creative and imaginative exhibitions. The most famous exhibition is the collection galleries, which feature some of the most iconic work spanning from 1880-1950. This includes ‘Starry Night’ by Van Gogh and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ by Andy Warhol. After wandering through the sculpture garden and the galleries, we set off for the Highline. Back in 1934, the Highline was opened as a railroad used to transport goods to and from Manhattan. In 1999, residents of the neighbourhood asked for the Highline to be transformed into a public space and today it is a 1.45 mile long converted pathway stretching through the city and decorated with plants and gardens and is seen as an icon in contemporary landscape architecture.



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