*We Interrupt This Program...
School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “*We Interrupt This Program…,” an exhibition of thesis work by the MFA Fine Arts class of 2020. Curated by guest curator Regine Basha, the exhibition will be on view Thursday, July 16, through Thursday, August 6, on galleries.sva.edu.
From the curator:
“*We Interrupt This Program…” is an exhibition that was supposed to take place in the spring but, due to complications related to COVID-19, had to be postponed indefinitely. This online version serves as a window into the work and processes of a group of hard-working artists in MFA Fine Arts’ class of 2020 who earned their degrees in May but did not have the chance to exhibit their thesis projects to a broader audience in person.
This student body, and many others like them around the city and country, grew particularly close through the lockdown and the trauma of COVID-19. Throughout my studio visits with them, I was especially impressed with how this incredibly diverse group—hailing from many parts of the globe, including China, Korea and New Zealand, and from many parts of the United States, including Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida—chose to support one another. In these times of extreme racism, ignorance, hate and injustice, not to mention capitalist exploitation, it gives me a glimmer of hope to witness genuine solidarity and compassion in emerging groups of artists, who have carved out their own terms of social engagement with one another during these dark times. As we know from the several protests in university programs around the city this year, even pre-COVID, students are waking up to what’s broken and what’s unacceptable and pushing back on the status quo. The Black Lives Matter movement, often with students at the forefront, has mobilized citizens of New York City to not only protest but to also consider their own agency in being active anti-racists. It is often for these reasons why I remain committed to visiting the studios of emerging artists in MFA programs as part of my curatorial practice overall, as this is the arena where change begins.
Speaking of status quo, group shows often tend to be woven together with a theme or a guiding principle, but with MFA thesis shows, that is not the case; there is an opportunity to ‘riff’ off of the works through random proximity. The task of putting the show together in the ‘actual’ space would have relied heavily on dimensional associations. I usually enjoy watching that happen in the course of installing the show. Textures, scale, psychic space, rhythms and subtle overlaps of concepts often drive the arrangement into spatial relationships between works and between real bodies standing in front of them within a specific architectural space of the gallery. In almost every case, the works made in the studios were made with the knowledge that they would be seen in actual, not virtual, space.
Now that we are operating in 2D, within a flat but vastly broader electronic network, new considerations arise: How do the works behave here? How will they communicate or be perceived as a group in digital space? Considering these new sensibilities, I have selected works that serve this context more seamlessly, rather than works that might come across as ‘documentation’ of work in real space. Fortunately, many artists in this group have their own websites and social-media handles featuring plenty more work, so viewers can get to know their most current output in real time. That in itself would not be possible in real life.
What you will find within this online group show is a summary of the important themes that emerge in the paintings, video, photography, sculptural installations, public art interventions and other new genres the MFA students (now graduates) were invested in during their time at SVA.
The title “*We Interrupt This Program….” Is a modification of the (now defunct) urgent broadcast announcement, "We interrupt this broadcast," used frequently by radio and television networks when breaking into a program in progress to deliver important news or information.
Featured artists: LaTonia Allen, Daniel Arturo Almeida, Peter (Chun Chieh) Chang, Andrea Crapanzano, Jason Elizondo, Becca Guzzo, Yawen Erin Huang, Jyoon Hurr, Jee Youn Hwang, Kunjin Jiang, Maximilian Juliá, Jae Won Jung, Dulce Lamarca, Sarah Malekzadeh, Michael Marrella, Jimmy Mezei, Marcelina Pater, Jennifer Rappaport, Tarah Rhoda, Carlos Rosales-Silva, Maria Duran Sampedro, Carra Seals, Olive (Mengxia) Shi, Amanda Smith, Linda Streicher, Keno Tung, Tao Wei, Lynn Weilin and Esther Yijun Xu.
Additional virtual programming and events will take place every Saturday evening from July 18 – August 6, 8:00 – 10:00pm (EST). Check mfafinearts.sva.edu/exhibitions or follow MFA Fine Arts on Instagram @svamfafinearts for more information and links to join the virtual events.
SVA’s MFA Fine Arts program reflects the diversity of New York’s many art worlds. Together, the faculty and students form a community of established and emerging artists from many backgrounds who work across disciplines and modes of practice. Our main goals are to provide a stimulating and supportive environment in which students can thrive and develop as artists, to foster rigorous critical engagement with contemporary art and other cultural forms, and to produce an ongoing conversation, through work as much as through words, about what we make, how we make it and why.