Updates on the 2020-2021 Academic Year
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January Exhibitions at SVA: Thesis Works, Literature-Inspired Art and Illustration, and More
January 13, 2021 by Maeri Ferguson
A photograph of a person dragging a large tarp behind them in Central Park on a winter's day; snow is on the ground.

Susan Luss, 17 December 2020—Sheep Meadow-Central Park, 2020, on view at "The Aftermath."

The new year may be off to a surreal start, but SVA is hitting the ground running with a slew of new art in our virtual galleries and beyond. This week is the last chance to take in “Visions 2020,” an exhibition of work from SVA’s class of 2020, a group affected like no other in the history of SVA. With 60 selected artworks inspired by this whirlwind year spanning all mediums, “Visions 2020” aims to provide the recent graduates an opportunity to have a gallery exhibition of work, something they were deprived of last spring. The show closes on Saturday, January 16, as does “The Book Show,” one of MFA Illustration as Visual Essay’s annual exhibitions of student work. This year students considered whether a book’s impact is dependent upon a reader holding it in their hands, ultimately redefining “The Book Show” in a virtual space. 


There is also still time to check out the BFA Fine Arts Open Studios for a behind-the-scenes look into what BFA Fine Arts students are working on. Through Friday, January 29, viewers can get a sneak peek at a curated selection of work by each of the students in the class of 2021, and even engage in conversation with the artists. 

An ink drawing of several terra cotta figures; the head of one appears to be on fire.

Bernardo Rodriguez, Terra Cotta Army, 2020, ink on paper, 12 x 14 inches, on view at “The Circular Ruins.”

Now on view in the windows of 133/141 West 21st Street through Friday, February 26, is “Influx and Efflux: Drawings by Taney Roniger.” Presented by BFA Visual & Critical Studies and the SVA Flatiron Project Space, this exhibition of work by Taney Roniger (BFA 1992 Fine Arts) is inspired by a new book by Jane Bennett from which the show gets its title. Of the work Roniger says, “The drawings in this series invite the viewer into a fleshly and empathic encounter with writhing and rhythmic organic forms. Rousing the body’s innate mimetic capacities, the forms act as animate forces, transferring their choreography onto the electrochemistry of the viewer. Scaled to the human body and left unframed, the drawings are also bodies, influencing and being influenced, influxing and effluxing.”


Three new exhibitions open on January 16, including “The Aftermath: Life After SVA MFA Fine Arts,” a self-explanatory exhibition of work by MFA Fine Arts alumni, curated by Kaja Anderson (MFA 2016 Fine Arts) and on view through Saturday, January 30, in SVA’s virtual gallery space.

An artwork depicting the upper half of a devil-type figure.

Nour Moustafa, Red Queen, from, “3D/ream Spiral_r e l a x.”

The other two, “3D/ream Spiral_r e l a x” and “The Circular Ruins,” will be on view in our virtual galleries through Saturday, February 6. The former will feature work by BFA Visual & Critical Studies students, and the latter work by MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Class of 2022 students, curated by faculty member Viktor Koen (MFA 1992 Illustration as Visual Essay). 


"3D/ream Spiral_r e l a x" was curated by faculty member Suzanne Joelson, and includes work by students Mina Al Huqail, Julia Colletes, Tyler Downing, Nour Moustafa, Juliet Nelson, Jay Park and Naomi Treistman. In an especially challenging situation, they defied expectations with what art school can be, tapping into previously undiscovered resources and questioning assumptions. 


Inspired by the classic paradigm of Jorge Luis Borges’ passion for magical realism, “Las Ruinas Circulares” (1940), “The Circular Ruins” views fire as a beginning rather than an end. The 13 unique project concepts in “The Circular Ruins” follow unexpected paths—down visceral rabbit holes and parallel universes where unlikely characters take the lead, from neon-colored gaming environments and shadows that question their hosts to works inspired by Mayan codexes or the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” a hypothesis of evil’s influence through the ages. 

An image of a large bird spreading its brightly-colored plumage to the ends of the artwork's frames.

Wenxu Zhao, The Bird Model Coming True, 2020, on view at “The Circular Ruins.”