This summer, SVA faculty member Peter Histoff (BFA 1981 Fine Arts) completed a 15-month artist-in-residence program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was a new position at the Met and the first of its kind for a visual artist. The position gave Hristoff access to the museum’s entire collection and archives as both a source of personal inspiration and as a jumping-off point to develop educational programs involving the general public, young adults and college students (read more about it here). We recently caught up with Hristoff to find out how the residency went, and in the video below, he discusses his approach to art and teaching at SVA.
What was the most interesting part of your residency at the Met?
The most interesting part of the residency was my documentation of the collection through drawing and finding the same archetypes that reappear in various cultures through the centuries. The residency became a great lesson in art history over the ages and across the globe. One of the most rewarding, visually beautiful and emotionally moving experiences was engaging teen visitors to weave a huge paper rug, with a weft that included their hopes for the future written across them.
What was the most challenging?
Knowing that I had a limited—a very generous but still limited—amount of time to realize all that I wanted to do. Real highlights were the drawing sessions with live models. I would have liked to do more of them and in various galleries, a combination of theatre and drawing. I also loved visiting the archives, libraries, the Antonio Ratti Textile Center... all very inspiring to my studio work.
Is there anything in particular that you learned at the Met that you're looking forward to sharing with your students at SVA?
I very actively engaged my students with the Museum during the residency : my Graphic Design drawing students used the Islamic Galleries as a source of inspiration to create (potential) ads for The New York Times Sunday magazine; I held several marathon drawing sessions at The Met for C.E.; my VCS students and I met at the museum every other week to gather information (and inspiration) for paintings realized in class and I encouraged my Fine Art painting students to see and review as many of the exhibitions at the museum as possible—such as "Unfinished," Vigee Le Brun, "Art of the Congo," etc. I plan on continuing to teach SVA sessions at The Met as often as possible. It’s a great addition to the classroom and studio.
What advice do you have for future artists-in-residence at the Met?
The same advice I give my students: do your thing passionately.