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Presented by MFA Illustration as Visual Essay

The Book Show

Dec 6, 2019 - Jan 11, 2020
Illustration of a kid exclaiming "Wow!" while inside an immersive aquarium as a large shark or whale passes over the glass tube.
Credit: Hwarim Lee


Mon, Dec 9; 6:00 - 8:00pm

School of Visual Arts presents “The Book Show,” an exhibition of original art and books by the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay class of 2020. Curated by Department Chair Marshall Arisman and faculty member and alumnus Anna Raff, the exhibition will be on view from Friday, December 6, through Saturday, January 11, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City.

“The Book Show” is an annual event showcasing books produced by students during their first year in the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program. The program, established in 1984, is dedicated to developing the storytelling creativity and skills of figurative artists. The exhibition highlights the work of 18 artists from the class of 2020, all of whom explore their unique visions in the form of a book.

The 18 different stories in “The Book Show” include a visual essay exploring the diversity of people working in food delivery (Peter Phobia); a book exploring lust and pornography as viewed through a rocket ship that is an AI sex doll factory (Hui Ma); a short comic exploring adolescent loneliness and fear (Kelsey Short); a wordless book that takes place in an imaginary museum where the art comes to life during the night (Danjung Choi); a tribute to Mrs. May, the artist/author’s grandmother, who lived and worked on a Native American reservation as a missionary and teacher (Luke Wohlgemuth); a story of a boy struggling to survive in a conservative Asian family as he hides his sexuality (Authan Chen); and You Can Only Fall Asleep on Your Own, which explores the artist/author’s long term suffering from insomnia (Xinmei Liu).

The MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of 21st-century media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.

Free and open to the public