Summer is here at the School of Visual Arts and so are new exhibitions and events to keep us connected until we come back together—in person—this fall. Year-end work from our BFA Animation students is commingled with graduate thesis presentations and projects from MFA Computer Arts, MFA Fine Arts and MA/MAT Art Education students, boasting a rich and diverse look at the talents of the class of 2021. This month will also see lectures from renowned photographers, artists and editors, covering topics such as activism, gun violence and music composition.
So whether you’re stopping by a physical gallery space or communing from behind your screen, there is so much to do and see at SVA this June.
In a year unlike any other, fourth-year BFA Animation students finished their final year of study and culminated thesis film projects in an entirely remote context during the COVID-19 pandemic. They tell vibrant stories from their home studios worldwide, exploring themes such as friendship, family, isolation, extraterrestrial life, paranormal activity and gender identity. In the SVA Flatiron Gallery windows, the public can watch this year’s thesis films on a loop on four monitors safely from the sidewalk. An accompanying online exhibition consists of a selection of film posters and short film trailers for the selected students’ thesis films.
A juried exhibition of multidisciplinary works by SVA students and a recent alumnus reexamines the role of space and proximity during aberrant times. Over the past year, people reconfigured their environments as a global pandemic forced them out of public spaces, creating a mass retreat to their dwellings. For many, the areas we inhabit, the places in which we create, our personal space and workspace now live under one roof. The artists in “Finding Space” illustrate scenes of these formerly familiar places—once explicitly designated for work, family, relaxation and intimacy—during a time when these zones have taken on new purposes.
An exhibition of selected thesis projects by MFA Computer Arts 2021 graduates, “Before We Begin, Again,” reconsiders histories and memories while creating space for possible worlds that have yet to exist.
An exhibition of thesis projects by MFA Fine Arts students, curated by independent curator María del Carmen Carrión. “Here Together” explores the unfulfilled promises of digital culture and consumerism, the climate crisis and subsequent challenges faced by our fragile ecosystems and the structures of power and capitalism. The works by 25 artists in the exhibition explore with criticality and empathy the profound interconnectedness of the world we live inhabit.
In celebration of the College’s new MA Art Education program and the 18th year of its MAT Art Education program, the thesis exhibition “Making & Mentoring: Artist-Teachers Speak” explores art teachers and alumni who navigate their roles of being leaders and mentors for young artists, but also find time to pursue their creative endeavors.
Working directly from Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit (1964), SVA Continuing Education faculty member and visual artist Patricia Voulgaris (BFA 2013 Photography and Video) will be performing from two specific event scores featured in Grapefruit, using everyday materials. The interactive workshop will encourage participants to create their own score performance. Using scores as a jumping-off point, participants will explore performance art through their own practice. A discussion will follow to examine scores and improve on existing ideas.
Join Alyssa Coppelman, an Austin-based photo editor, photo-book consultant and art researcher with Harper’s Magazine and Oxford American, for a talk about her work. Presented as part of MPS Digital Photography’s i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration lecture series, Coppelman will discuss working directly with photographers to provide oversight in editing, sequencing, design and editorial aspects of portfolios and photo book projects. Coppelman is the archival researcher on the Emmy-nominated PBS NewsHour series Brief But Spectacular and regularly juries photography exhibitions, teaches editing workshops and guest lectures to photography students.
Megan Izen, managing editor of Word Force at Narrative Initiative, will explore what narrative is, the role artists play in shaping narratives and how art can make change, as part of MFA Visual Narrative’s Shifting the Narrative lecture series.
Tune in for the MFA Art Practice keynote lecture from New York City-based artist Ayana Evans. Her work includes shows at FIAP performance festival in Martinique, Tiwani Contemporary in London, and Ghana’a Chale Wote festival, plus countless guerilla-style performances at institutions including El Museo del Barrio, The Barnes Foundation, The Bronx Museum, Newark Museum and the Queens Museum. Evans was a 2018 Fellow at EFA’s Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, 2017 – 2018 awardee of the Franklin Furnace Fund for performance art, and a 2018 NYFA Fellow. Her recent press includes The New York Times, Artnet News, New York’s “The Cut,” Hyperallergic, and Bomb. Evans is currently an adjunct professor at Brown University.
Join SVA Continuing Education and MA/MAT Art Education for an intensive workshop for in-service educators on the subject of gun violence in America. Facilitated by professional photographer Kathy Shorr (BFA 1988 Photography) and art educator Adrienne Mikulka (MFA 2004 Photography, Video and Related Media), this event will feature a presentation on a photography project that is centered around gun violence and “artivism”—a combination of social activism and art. The discussion will focus on how children, whose lives have been radically changed by the pervasiveness of guns in our society, express their concerns and fears through their artwork. Workshop attendees will receive a lesson plan suitable for middle- and high-school students.
Join MFA Art Practice for a lecture with Jean Shin, nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant identity and community engagement expressions. Her work has been widely exhibited in over 150 major museums and cultural institutions, including solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona and Crow Collection in Dallas.
Join photographer, designer and writer Jerry Takigawa as part of MPS Digital Photography’s i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration lecture series. As a Japanese American artist, Takigawa is constantly practicing integrative thinking—bringing two things together that seem to be opposites and making them new/better together than they were separate.
Join MFA Art Practice for a lecture from Los Angeles-based artist Catherine Opie, known for her powerfully dynamic photography that examines the ideals and norms surrounding the culturally constructed American dream and American identity. In addition to receiving numerous award and solo exhibitions, Opie has been a professor of fine art at the University of California, Los Angeles, since 2001 and serves on the board of directors of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.