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This April at SVA: Upcoming Virtual Talks and Exhibitions
March 31, 2021 by Maeri Ferguson
Annie Chen Ziyao's 'Ms. Meta Meta: A Pockmarks Skincare Routine'

A still from Annie Chen Ziyao’s Ms. Meta Meta: A Pockmarks Skincare Routine from the juried exhibition of SVA student work, “Tissue Memory.”

Credit: Annie Chen Ziyao

Spring has sprung, with events and exhibitions in full bloom as we head toward the end of the academic year. This month sees work that spans a wide range of the SVA experience, from the debut of the College’s first exhibition of incoming student work, “New Talent ’21,” plus a slew of thesis exhibitions and open studios, and in-person works at the Pzifer Building in Brooklyn and at SVA’s Flatiron Project Space. The Visual Arts Student Association (VASA) will also host an exhibition in honor of Earth Day and “ReShape SVA,” an initiative VASA launched last year focused on reducing the consumption of single-use plastics around campus. Visits from a diverse array of renowned artists, photographers, character performers, authors and curators will touch on topics like civil rights, environmental justice, political theory, design and more—and all are free to join.


Friday, April 2, 7:00 – 8:00pm | Conversations with Claywoman

Join a conversation with Claywoman, an original character created by writer and performer Michael Cavadias as part of SVA’s Art & Politics Lecture Series, co-hosted by BFA Visual & Critical Studies and the Honors Program. Claywoman is a 500-million-year-old enigma from the Mirillion Galaxy. She travels to Earth (one of her favorite planets) from time to time to check in on us and engage in dialogue. The Mystery of Claywoman, a mock-documentary on Claywoman directed by Rob Roth, has been presented at The New Museum, The Wild Project, Town Hall, Abrons Art Center and Howl Festival. “Conversations with Claywoman” was featured at The Meltdown Festival in London and continues regularly at Pangea in New York City.

Tuesday, April 6, 7:00 – 8:30pm | Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira

Join photographer Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira (BFA 2006 Fine Arts), whose work focuses on memory, geo-poetics and storytelling through collaborative processes and personal narratives. Born on Lenape land (Manhattan) and raised on the coast of Ecuador, Miranda-Rivadeneira’s intersectional theories and Earth-based healing inform her practice. She has worked extensively with indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Andean Mountains and, more recently, the American Southwest. Presented as part of MPS Digital Photography’s i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration lecture series.

Wednesday, April 7, 7:00 – 8:00pm | The Unknown Future

Join this virtual omni-sensorial experiential presentation featuring 13 conceptual works from the participants in the SVA Continuing Education course, What’s The Big Idea?, led by artist Ed Woodham. What’s The Big Idea? is an introduction to conceptual art. Participants conceptualize, develop, create and share accessible original works that combine methods from a variety of creative techniques: observation, critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, performance, installation and video. This course is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with your imagination, collaborate with others and understand how ideas are materialized.

Tuesday, April 13, 6:30 – 9:00pm | Photography and Racial Justice: Honoring the work of Maurice Berger

A panel discussion in honor of celebrated historian, curator and critic Maurice Berger, presented by MFA Photography, Video and Related Media. Featuring artist, author and curator Dr. Deborah Willis, photographer and journalist Brian Palmer (MFA 1990 Photography and Related Media) and photographer and visual artist Nona Faustine (BFA 1994 Photography), this panel will examine issues that were central to Berger’s concerns and scholarship, namely the relationships between photography and racial justice. From his scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement to his writings on the work of Gordon Parks, Berger’s work makes clear the central role of photography in the advancement of racial justice. Covering the fields of history, activism, photojournalism and art, the panelists will discuss how photography helps us reckon with issues of race and representation in the United States.

Wednesday, April 14, 5:00 – 8:00pm | Venture 21: Unmute

Join the 16 2021 MFA Design graduates as they share their ingenious ventures and celebrate their creative resilience, promise and innovation during this unprecedented year of adversity.

Friday, April 16, 7:00 – 8:00pm | Samir Gandesha: The Traumatic History of Political Theory

In this talk, Samir Gandesha discusses scenes from a traumatic history of political theory, presented as part of SVA’s Art & Politics Lecture Series, co-hosted by BFA Visual & Critical Studies and the Honors Program. Ranging from Aristotle to Hobbes, Freud to Heidegger, Adorno to Kuhn, Gandesha traces how fears originating in these fateful encounters shaped—and limited—the political ideas of the modern age. Gandesha is the director of the Institute of Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. His most recent volume is Spectres of Fascism: Historical, Theoretical and International Perspectives. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.

A photograph of a hilly and mountainous landscape partially shrouded in fog. Illustrations of numerous figures and animals are painted on the image.

Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira, from “In the Mouth of the mountain jaguar everybody is a dancing hummingbird,” featured in the upcoming i3 Photo Lecture, presented by MPS Digital Photography.

Credit: Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira

Monday, April 19, 8:00 – 9:30pm | Guest Lecture: Liz Ogbu

Join MFA Products of Design for a guest lecture with designer, urbanist and spatial justice activist Liz Ogbu, a global expert on engaging and transforming unjust urban environments. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Ogbu has a long history of working with communities in need to leverage the power of design to catalyze sustainable social impact. She is founder and principal of Studio O, a multidisciplinary design consultancy that works at the intersection of racial and spatial justice.

Tuesday, April 20, 3:00 – 5:00pm | Baseera Khan

The MFA Art Practice Practice Lecture Series presents Baseera Khan, a New York-based visual artist who sublimates colonial histories through performance and sculpture in order to map geographies of the future. Khan is currently working on their first museum solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, New York (2021), and opened their first solo exhibition at Simone Subal, New York (2019). Their works are part of several public permanent collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim; Kadist, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; and New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana.

Tuesday, April 20, 7:00 – 8:30pm | Timothy Archibald

Join self-described “total photo nerd” Timothy Archibald, widely sought after for his human, humorous and sometimes subversive take on advertising. In this lecture, part of MPS Digital Photography’s i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration series, Archibald will present an overview of recent commissions and personal projects. His clients include Facebook, McDonald’s, American Express, Netflix and Botox Therapeutics.

Friday, April 23, 9:30am – 1:00pm | MPS Art Therapy Class of 2021 Thesis Presentations

Join MPS Art Therapy in celebrating the work of the program’s class of 2021, as the students present their graduate thesis research.

Tuesday, April 27, 6:30 – 8:30pm | Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: 20 Questions for Ben Hagari

Artist Ben Hagari is a faculty member of SVA MFA Photography, Video and Related Media who specializes in film and video installation. This event will feature his film Fresh, followed by a discussion about its relevance to man’s relationship with plant life. The film is an imaginative one, where a human who lives in a greenhouse intersects with insects and machines, and takes on an animated identity with the vegetables he encounters. The film’s soundtrack is made of instruments made from plant life. The film is being featured as part of the exhibition “Musical Brain” at The High Line in New York City from April 29 through June 23. The exhibition’s curator, Melanie Kress, and the musician, Dale Stuckenbruck, will be present to discuss their collaborations.

Thursday, April 29, 6:00 – 9:00pm | MFA Fine Arts: Spring 2021 Virtual Open Studios

MFA Fine Arts presents its spring open studios, where each graduating student will show their end-of-year artwork online. The work will be on view at svamfafineartsopenstudios.com.

A photograph of the head and upper body of a person whose mouth is covered with the American flag.

Photograph by Alyvia Luong, from the “New Talent ’21” exhibition.

Credit: Alyvia Luong
A photograph of three young people dressed in formal wear.

Photograph by Nicole Sung, from the “New Talent ’21” exhibition.

Credit: Nicole Sung


Thursday, April 1 – Sunday, April 4 | 10th Annual MFA Social Documentary Filmmaking Showcase—Class of 2020

Thirteen graduates from the class of 2020 will share their work-in-progress thesis films, which inspire and amaze—especially as they began their films before the pandemic reached our shores, and finished and edited them in this newfound isolation.

Through Sunday, April 11 | BFA Photography and Video Freshman Show

Freshman Show presents artwork by first-year students under the instruction of workshop faculty members Josef Astor, Algis Balsys, Alex McTigue, Abby Robinson and Gabrielle Russomagno. This exhibition is guest-juried by a leading professional from the field. Distinguished juror Yancey Richardson, owner and director of Yancey Richardson Gallery, will select the first and second place winners, who will be announced on Wednesday, April 7.

Through Sunday, April 11 | Human Tribe

A juried exhibition of multidisciplinary works by 14 artists using storytelling and mark-making to cope with feelings of isolation, ennui and fear. Their paintings, drawings, animations and photographs convey a sense of disconnect with our own nature and reckon with its effects on the human psyche. Wide-ranging in scope, covering topics such as death, desperation, lack of belonging, a search for spirituality in daily life and destruction of the human habitat, this exhibition acknowledges the pain and confusion of our times while simultaneously pointing toward the need for interpersonal connection. Collectively, these explorations shed light on our common bond of the human condition. 

Through Monday, April 12 | Tissue Memory

A juried exhibition of multidisciplinary works by SVA students which explores the body as a repository for experience. The ten artists in this exhibition use the body’s presence, absence or surrogate in the same way. From the skin’s surface to the artist’s gesture, this work examines what otherwise remains hidden from our consciousness.

Through Monday, April 12 | Anatomical and Foundation Drawings | SVA Flatiron Space, 133/141 West 21st Street, 1st floor

A two-part exhibition of anatomical and foundation drawings by the students of Andrew Gerndt, safely viewable from the sidewalk outside.

Tuesday, April 6 – Tuesday, May 4 | New Talent ’21

For the first time in its history, SVA will host an invitational exhibition of multidisciplinary artworks by newly admitted students. Its purpose is to introduce these aspiring artists to SVA’s long tradition of holding professional-quality exhibitions for its students, demonstrating the variety of talent students can expect to find among their peers at SVA and the importance that the College places on showing their work. Exhibiting is an integral part of learning at SVA.

Thursday, April 15 – Friday, May 28 | MA Curatorial Practice Year-End Exhibitions

The final curatorial exhibitions from MA Curatorial Practice fellows, viewable online with a few additionally in-person at the Pfizer Building in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, April 20 – Monday, May 17 | Rendering New Realities

An exhibition of 3D and visual effects (VFX) thesis projects by BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects fourth-year students, curated by faculty member Alex Barskys. By pioneering novel landscapes, students give audiences new spaces to explore. “Rendering New Realities” highlights 3D environment design and altered realities using VFX, allowing the artist and viewer space to explore together.

An illustration featuring many people gardening and tending to or enjoying nature.

Yunyi Dai, The Big Why, from the Visual Arts Student Association’s (VASA) Earth Day exhibition, “ReShape SVA.”

Credit: Yunyi Dai

Thursday, April 22 – Thursday, May 6 | ReShape SVA: Earth Day

Presented by the Visual Arts Student Association (VASA), the student government at SVA, “ReShape SVA” is an exhibition all about environmental awareness, inspired by VASA’s climate-change initiative launched last year to reduce SVA’s use of single-use plastic around campus.

Tuesday, April 27 – Friday, May 28 | MFA Illustration as Visual Essay 2021 Thesis Exhibitions

An exhibition of work by MFA Illustration as Visual Essay thesis students.

Through Monday, May 3 | The Still Small Voice of ???: Recent Work by Pete Franzen

A virtual exhibition of recent paintings by Pete Franzen (BFA 2013 Visual & Critical Studies). Of his work, Franzen says, “My pictures express my own fantasies (fears and desires) related to my life and our shared world. I use images relating to pleasure, friendship, sexuality and compassion, as well as masculinity, power, nihilism, apocalypse, fear and humiliation. For me, the pictures have hidden orders that tell multiple, co-existing stories all at once. Cruelty and suffering are depicted alongside symbols that represent, for me, the determination for uncompromising embrace of our common humanity.”

Through May 12 | Disclosed Studios | SVA Flatiron Space, 133/141 West 21st Street, 1st floor

Two consecutive exhibitions of work by select fourth-year BFA Visual & Critical Studies students, curated by faculty member Suzanne Joelson. Part 1 will be on view Thursday, March 25 through Thursday, April 15, and Part 2 will be on view Thursday, April 22 – Wednesday, May 12, from the sidewalk outside the space. The first installation will pair work by Juliet Nelson and Naomi Treistman in real space , with Jay Park’s work on the monitor. Plants, roots and rhizome in form and content, as material, as method and as metaphor for the tangle.

A film still showing a person's head and upper body, upside down and against a yellow background. The person is extending an arm toward the camera and smiling.

Veronique Engel, still from Wata Dawtas. From the 10th Annual MFA Social Documentary Filmmaking Showcase—Class of 2020.

Credit: Veronique Engel