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This May at SVA: Upcoming Virtual Events and Exhibitions
April 30, 2021 by Maeri Ferguson
Three proposed posters advertising a theoretical exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

Zedan Peng, MoMA posters, 2021. From the BFA Advertising and BFA Design 2021 Spring Show.

Credit: Zedan Peng

As we enter the final month of the 2020 – 2021 academic year, SVA is showing no signs of slowing down. More than a dozen exhibitions of juried, multidisciplinary works and thesis projects fill the month of May, including 3D animations, illustrations, fine art and films that touch on these still-tumultuous, but hopeful, times. Events like film screenings, artist talks and drawing workshops will keep you busy until the biggest event of the College’s month, commencement. Artist and MFA Fine Arts faculty member Marilyn Minter will address the class of 2021 in a virtual ceremony on May 23, ushering us out of another academic year and into whatever the future may hold. 

Read on for more about May 2021 events and exhibitions at SVA.



Wednesday, May 5, noon – 5:00pm | MFA Design for Social Innovation Thesis Show 2021

MFA Design for Social Innovation presents a live stream of the graduating class of 2021’s thesis projects. The show will highlight a year of collaborations with community partners to address various social issues.

Thursday, May 6, 6:30 – 9:30pm | The 100: Night of 100 Drawings

This free (and open to all) workshop is a nonstop marathon of 100 fast-paced figure drawings from life, complemented with exercises where participants draw from imagination and observation. The rhythm and structure of the drawing marathon encourages the participants to “let go” and connect to an authentic way of drawing, a celebration of what we are capable of with an expressive and liberated line. Each pose/drawing will be timed at approximately one minute. Artist and SVA faculty member Peter Hristoff (BFA 1981 Fine Arts) will lead the evening based on the principles and lessons used in the drawing courses and marathons he has developed for SVA Continuing Education.

Saturday, May 8, and Sunday, May 9 | BFA Animation 2021 Thesis Celebration and Screenings

Join BFA Animation on Twitch for a celebration and screening of thesis projects by its class of 2021. Times to be announced.

Monday, May 10, 7:30 – 10:30pm | BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects Thesis Screenings

Join BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects for a screening of thesis films by its class of 2021.

Tuesday, May 11, 7:00 – 8:30pm | Diane Meyer

Join a conversation with Los Angeles-based artist Diane Meyer, whose work explores history, memory and the photograph as a physical object, presented as part of MPS Digital Photography’s i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration lecture series. Her recent work combines photography with embroidery to mimic the effect of pixelization, creating a connection between forgetting with file corruption. Her recent series of 43 photographs following the path of the entire Berlin Wall uses embroidery to portray the wall as a translucent trace in the landscape.

Tuesday, May 11, and Wednesday, May 12, 8:00pm | MFA Computer Arts Thesis Presentations

The 2021 virtual thesis presentations will include short talks and a screening of graduating students’ work. The Tuesday presentations will highlight 2D-animation and motion graphics projects; Wednesday will feature experimental art and 3D-animation projects. Both events will stream live on mfaca.sva.edu/live. The presentations showcase our graduates’ unique approaches to the themes and modes of creative self-expression. Over 30 thesis projects incorporate a variety of media, materials and cutting-edge technologies that address a range of topics.

Wednesday, May 12, through Friday, May 14 | SVA Short Film Fest Class of 2020: “... a little of this, a little of that”

MPS Directing proudly presents “... a little of this, a little of that,” a virtual film festival celebrating the stellar work of the class of 2020. These narrative short films will be showcased directly on the festival website over a three-day period. On Wednesday, May 12, the films will go live for audiences to access and be viewable for three days. The festival will conclude with a Q&A featuring the directors on Friday, May 14, 8:00pm ET.

Friday, May 14, 5:00 – 8:00pm | MFA Products of Design Thesis Presentations

MFA Products of Design presents a virtual showcase of the class of 2021’s thesis projects. The 14 graduating students will each present their year-long thesis work, comprising research, artifacts, services, experiences and platforms.

Wednesday, May 19, through Friday, May 21 | SVA Short Film Fest Class of 2021: “A Window into Another World”

Join MPS Directing for “A Window into Another World”—a virtual film festival celebrating the stellar work of the class of 2021. Twelve narrative short films will be showcased on the festival website over three days.

Friday, May 21, 10:00am – 2:00pm | Metamorphosis: MFA Interaction Design Thesis Festival Premiere

"Metamorphosis,” is a celebration of work from the 2021 graduates of MFA Interaction Design. In this free and virtual forum, hear the class share their thesis work—work that connects the present to the future, bounding us forward into what is pragmatic and possible for the human experience.

Monday, May 23, 7:00 – 10:00pm | 46th Annual Commencement Exercises

SVA celebrates its class of 2021 with its 46th annual—and second virtual—commencement exercises, streaming online beginning at 7:00pm ET on sva.edu/commencement and Facebook Live. SVA President David Rhodes will recognize some 1,000 degree candidates from the College’s 31 undergraduate and graduate programs and artist and MFA Fine Arts faculty member Marilyn Minter will serve as keynote speaker.

Tuesday, May 25, 7:00 – 8:30pm | David Maisel

Join a conversation with San Francisco-based David Maisel as part of MPS Digital Photography’s i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration lecture series. An artist working in photography, video and painting, Maisel’s distinctions include a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts. Among his chief concerns are the politics and aesthetics of radically human-altered environments, and how we perceive our place in time via investigations of cultural artifacts from both past and present. His work focuses on power and the production of space by examining landscapes, objects and archives that are off-limits, quarantined or hidden from view.

An image of a modern city at night, as viewed from the sky.

Yuxuan Lei, Xing Lin and Suyang Yao, Recollection, 2021. From BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation, and Visual Effects’ VFX thesis projects exhibition, “Rendering New Realities.”

Credit: Yuxuan Lei, Xing Lin and Suyang Yao


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 Tuesday, May 4 | “New Talent ’21”

For the first time in its history, SVA is hosting 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, and to demonstrate the variety of talent incoming students can expect to find among their peers and the importance that the College places on showing their work.

Through Thursday, May 6 | “ReShape SVA Earth Day Exhibition”

The Visual Arts Student Association (VASA), the SVA student government, presents its ReShape SVA Earth Day Exhibition—an exhibition all about reducing consumption of single-use plastics, fighting climate change and raising awareness of our collective responsibility to the environment. 

Through Tuesday, May 11 | “In Solidarity: SVA Celebrates Its Asian and Asian American Communities

SVA presents an exhibition of multidisciplinary student work celebrating Asian and Asian American experiences and heritage and speaking out against anti-Asian bigotry and violence. Animation, collage, design, illustration, paintings and photography are all on view, and contributing artists provided statements about their work.

Through Wednesday, May 12 | “Disclosed Studios” | SVA Flatiron Space, 133/141 West 21st Street, ground floor

Two consecutive exhibitions of work by select fourth-year BFA Visual & Critical Studies students, curated by faculty member Suzanne Joelson. Part 2 is currently on view from the sidewalk outside the space and features work by Julia Colletes, Tyler Downing, Amina al Huqail and Nour Moustafa.

Through 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, highlighting 3D environment design and altered realities, from lush wonderlands and cyberpunk dystopias to the mundane school hallways or kitchen-table gatherings that we’ve been missing. 

Through Friday, May 28 | MA Curatorial Practice Year-End Exhibitions

The final curatorial projects from MA Curatorial Practice fellows, on view in-person at the Pfizer Building in Brooklyn and online.  

Through Friday, May 28 | MFA Illustration as Visual Essay: Selections from Thesis Projects

In a time of unprecedented challenges, the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay class of 2021 has achieved amazing things—this year-end exhibition includes paintings, drawings, prints, graphic novels, children’s books and illustrated memoirs. 

An illustration of a child lying or crouching down among their toys and regarding what looks like a fairy who is holding an arrow.

Ciel (Xinlu) Chen, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, 2020–21, from the BFA Cartooning and BFA Illustration exhibition, “All In the Family.”

Credit: Ciel (Xinlu) Chen

Through Friday, May 28 | “All in the Family”

An exhibition of work by BFA Cartooning and BFA Illustration third-year students, inspired by stories that involve the family, both traditional and atypical, and each student chose titles that would best express their interests and artistic goals. You will see visual adaptations of works by Louisa May Alcott, Pearl S. Buck, Anton Chekov, William Faulkner, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Henrik Ibsen, John Steinbeck, Amy Tan, Thornton Wilder, and many others. 

Monday, May 3 through Friday, May 28 | BFA Photography and Video Senior Show

This virtual thesis show provides a dynamic and interactive experience with the final projects from BFA Photography and Video’s graduating class of 2021.

Monday, May 3, through Monday, May 31 | BFA Fine Arts Open Studios

BFA Fine Arts presents its spring open studios, where each fourth-year student will show their end-of-year artwork online. 

Through Tuesday, June 1 | BFA Advertising and BFA Design 2021 Spring Show

An exhibition of advertising, design and interaction and motion-graphics work created by BFA Advertising and BFA Design students, curated by the departments. 

Through Tuesday, June 1 | SVA Interior Design: Built Environments Thesis 2021

After a challenging year of learning online and adjusting to new methods and tools for designing and exchanging ideas, SVA ID:BE students created innovative designs for a wide variety of typologies and sites across the globe. With designs grounded in research, investigating topics such as biophilic design, historic preservation and the future of retail, students demonstrate that design can advance the built world we live in and solve many of the pressing issues of our day.

Thursday, May 20 – Friday, June 14 | MFA Computer Arts 2021 Thesis Exhibition

An exhibition of work by MFA Computer Arts thesis students.

Thursday, May 20 – Friday, June 7 | “Finding Space”

A juried exhibition of multidisciplinary works by SVA students.

Friday, May 21 – Monday, June 3 | Animation Celebration 2021

In a year unlike any other, fourth-year BFA Animation students finished their final year of study and their culminating thesis film projects in an entirely remote context. They tell incredibly rich stories from their home studios all around the world, exploring themes such as friendship, family, isolation, extraterrestrial life, paranormal activity and gender identity. In the SVA Flatiron Windows, located on the street level at 133/141 West 21st Street, the public can safely watch this year’s thesis films on four monitors. An accompanying online exhibition consists of a selection of film posters and trailers.

A grid of six illustrations of fantastical scenes and landscapes.

Oliver Allison, various illustrations. From MFA Illustration as Visual Essay: Selections from Thesis Projects.

Credit: Oliver Allison