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This September at SVA: Upcoming Virtual Talks and Exhibitions
September 2, 2020 by Maeri Ferguson
A photograph of a woman with a hairy chest sitting on a stool in her underwear.
Credit: ILONA SZWARC

This September SVA is back with a full slate of exhibitions, talks and events that are not to be missed.


We may still be communing virtually, but we can improve our photography skills with BFA Photography and Video and SVA Continuing Education faculty member Joseph Sinnott (BFA 1988 Photography) and join lectures by MFA Photography, Video and Related Media and SVA Continuing Education faculty member Elinor Carucci and photographer Ilona Szwarc (BFA 2013 Photography).


In addition to this month's slew of virtual exhibitions in the SVA Galleries, we'll also be celebrating the work of some of our most prominent alumni in the film industry with the seventh annual After School Special: Work From Home Edition. More than 25 SVA alumni—now working as award-winning editors, directors, cinematographers and more—will share the ways they're staying creative amidst a global pandemic.


And it wouldn't be the start of a new SVA academic year without Art & Activism, the annual event dedicated to exploring the ways art can do good. This year's symposium will take place during Climate Week NYC and include panel discussions on upcycled materials, sustainability, animation and design.


Here are the highlights:


Virtual Exhibitions

Through Saturday, September 19 | MFA Visual Narrative Open Studios

The "open studios" exhibition represents the culmination of the intensive summer semester at SVA's MFA Visual Narrative program. This daring body of work by first- and second-year students explores how narrative paths can be created across the spectrum of genre and media. Through a broad range of new media techniques—from live-action video, to storyboards and visual mapping, to animation, game design and sequential art—these students share a common goal of exposing truth by giving it narrative motion.


Through Wednesday, September 30 | "Failed State"

A virtual exhibition of works by first year MFA Art Practice candidates, produced in class under the guidance of the program's summer 2020 digital artist-in-residence, Katya Grokhovsky. The exhibition explores the notion of the failing construct of the American dream and capitalist system overall. Prioritizing process and experimentation within a multitude of mediums, genres, visions and concepts of the home- and handmade, while analyzing the meaning of an artist-citizen today, "Failed State" initiates an open-ended discourse around the changing landscape of art- and exhibition-making and the future of our world at large, at this time of a major global crisis.


Tuesday, September 8 – Monday, September 28 | "Making the Way"

A juried exhibition of multidisciplinary works by SVA students, "Making the Way" features artists seeking lines of communication between outer landscapes and interior worlds. They find healing through art by observation and response. Exhibited works range from a film addressing the idea of self-acceptance through an animated dream journey, to a series of photographs capturing the effects of COVID-19 on hometown surroundings. A collection of drawings made to cheer up a friend experiencing a mental breakdown contrasts with abstract representations of loss and resilience. These works locate themselves within the present while preserving hope for the future, making a way forward from the shared experiences of loneliness and uncertainty.

A photograph of a man balanced in the air on a piece of wood with a rifle in his hand
Credit: LUCAS FOGLIA

Saturday, September 19 – Saturday, November 21 | "Parallel Adaptations"

An exhibition of thesis work by MPS Digital Photography 2020 graduates curated by New York City gallerist and program faculty member Debra Klomp Ching, showcasing a commitment to continuous progress and the importance of community.


Monday, September 28 – Monday, October 19 | "Chromatophores"

A juried exhibition of multidisciplinary works by SVA students.


Virtual Events

Thursday, September 10, 6:30 – 8:00pm | Elinor Carucci: Photography in Pandemic Times

Join acclaimed photographer and SVA faculty member Elinor Carucci and Edwynn Houk Gallery for an evening of discussion about photography and making work during quarantine and COVID-19 times. Carucci will also discuss her fine-art work and other elements of her career as an artist, immigrant, editorial photographer, teacher, mother and feminist. Following the discussion, there will be a Q&A to discuss and celebrate the opening of Carucci's latest solo exhibition, "Elinor Carucci: Midlife," which will be on view in Edwynn Houk Gallery's online viewing room. RSVP here.


Tuesday, September 15, 12:00 – 2:00pm | Laurie Rojas: Practice Lecture Series

Join MFA Art Practice on Zoom for a lecture by Berlin-based art critic, journalist and public intellectual Laurie Rojas. Rojas is a founding editor of Caesura, a magazine of art and criticism, and a host of "Sh*t Platypus Says," a podcast that takes on contemporary topics on the political left with an eye toward art and culture. She has served as editor in chief of The Platypus Review and senior editor at Spike Art Magazine; her writing has been featured in ArtsyArtforumArtnetArts of the Working ClassChicago Art CriticismTime Out ChicagoThe NationThe New YorkerArtslant491Kunst und AuktionenSotheby’s Magazine and Happening Media, among others.


Tuesday, September 15, 7:00 – 8:30pm | Lucas Foglia

Join artist Lucas Foglia for an overview of recent projects, including works from his third and most recent monograph, Human Nature (Nazraeli Press, 2017). Foglia grew up on a small family farm in New York and currently lives in San Francisco. His photographs examine the relationship between human belief systems and the natural world. Presented by MPS Digital Photography.

A photograph of a woman wearing a mask and gloves, while two people on either side of her lay their heads on her shoulder.

Elinor Carucci, Love in the Time of Corona, 2020.

Thursday, September 16, 6:30pm – 8:00pm | Photo Techniques with Joseph Sinnott

Learn simple flash tricks that make your pictures better in this SVA Continuing Education workshop with SVA alumnus and faculty member Joseph Sinnott, senior staff photographer at WNET/New York Public Media. A variety of flash techniques will be described, including the use of diffusers, bounce, fill, slow sync and how to prevent red-eye. The advantages of using reflectors outdoors and other photo tips and tricks will be discussed. This event will demonstrate things anyone can do to enhance their photographs regardless of their resources and level of knowledge. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A. Participants can bring photos taken with flash that they would like to know how to improve.


Monday, September 21 – Monday, September 28 | After School Special 2020: Work from Home Edition

SVA's free, annual alumni film and animation festival, After School Special, will be held virtually this year, with over 25 alumni from the film, animation and visual effects industries participating. Q&As will premiere the week of Monday, September 21, on YouTube, featuring alumni whose recent film and television projects include, amongst many others, Artemis Fowl, Big Little Lies, Get Out, Greyhound, The Midnight Gospel, The Plot Against America, Pose, Stranger Things, Taste the Nation, Unorthodox, We Bare Bears and Welcome to Chechnya. Additionally, one Q&A will feature a cooking demonstration with James Beard-nominated cookbook author, chef Cal Peternell (BFA 1987 Fine Arts). Visit svatheatre.com for the full lineup on Tuesday, September 8.


Friday, September 25, 12:00 – 7:00pm | Art & Activism: Nourishing Conscious Communities

SVA Continuing Education's fourth annual Art & Activism will be presented as a virtual symposium during Climate Week NYC. Dedicated to exploring the relationship between environmental and social injustices and how our talents and voices can organize to nourish conscious communities, the program will consist of presentations and interactive workshops. The day’s events will conclude with a panel discussion moderated by Continuing Education faculty member Valerie Smaldone, in which participants will discuss how their visions address climate justice, provide an opportunity to galvanize community and forge a dedicated path into the future.


Tuesday, September 29, 7:00 – 8:30pm | Ilona Szwarc

A recipient of the 2015 Richard Benson Prize for Excellence in Photography from Yale University and the 2014 Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture, Ilona Szwarc (BFA 2013 Photography) has forged a fine-art photography practice that examines gender, identity and beauty in the context of American culture. Join her to hear insights into her artistic process and for a discussion about her two most recent bodies of work, "Unsex me here" and "Some women can take their eyes out." Presented by MPS Digital Photography.

Find more SVA event details at sva.edu/events.


To see even more work by SVA students and recent graduates, visit sva.edu/svashows, where you'll find a list of current and upcoming SVA Shows thesis events, all of which are taking place online. You can also see past SVA Shows exhibitions, screenings and thesis presentations that can still be viewed online.