Getting back into the groove of SVA also means getting back into the groove of New York, and as the city gradually begins to reopen, there are plenty of ways to get inspired. Our virtual galleries are currently filled with incredible thesis projects and juried shows of student work, and we have more than a dozen talks and virtual events to look forward to this month.
There are numerous opportunities to hear from major curators, authors and artists. On October 6, filmmaker Ephraim Asili will talk about his new film, The Inheritance, a fictional narrative interwoven with documentary recollections of the West Philadelphia-based liberation group MOVE, based partly on his own experience in a Black radical collective. On October 13, hear from Adam Pape about his monograph Dyckman Haze (MACK, 2018), in which he uses the city parks in Washington Heights and Inwood as the backdrop for a narrative that unfolds in between day and night. And on October 27, photographer Efrem Zelony-Mindell (BFA 2011 Photography)—author of the critically acclaimed n e w f l e s h (Gnomic Book, 2019)— will share some of his considerable art world-savvy and illuminate the aesthetic concerns behind his curatorial practice.
Also this month, on October 13, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media celebrates its first Alumni Film Festival, which will share the recent work of 30 alumni from the past 28 years, including short-form narrative, documentary, abstraction, environmental, music videos, installations, and more. On the 15th, you can sit it on a chat between artist Zoe Leonard and Legacy Russell, associate curator at Harlem's Studio Museum and author of the new book Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto. And on October 16, journalist David Dayen will analyze the main forces behind the COVID-19 disaster, including significant political developments thus far, and the winners and losers of the unfolding economic consequences. Dayen has been writing the essential coverage of the COVID-19 crisis through his daily "Unsanitized" briefings for The American Prospect and is an expert on the healthcare crisis.
Exhibitions this month are plentiful, from the vivid color palettes of “Chromatophores,” to the surreal habitats of “Across the Surface/On the Edge.” The former is on view in our virtual SVA Gallery through October 24, and the latter opens on October 3.
Right around the corner from SVA, you’ll find The Whitney is as bustling as ever, with nearly half a dozen galleries to take in, from the dreamy color palettes of Agnes Pelton’s surreal oil paintings, to classic pieces from the Whitney’s own 1900-1965 founding collection. Perhaps the most fitting exhibition for our time is Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945, a look at how art speaks to social justice and reform, and economic and racial injustice. Enormous, vibrant paintings live alongside graphic replicas of murals, protest art and prints, as a powerfully relevant reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
And finally, nearby at its W. 24th Street location, the Jack Shainman Gallery has reopened its doors for viewings of Tell Me A Story, I Don’t Care If It’s True, a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Toyin Ojih Odutola. Odutola’s figurative pencil, graphite and ink drawings invite you to look closely at vignettes of everyday life in all their pain and beauty, simplicity and complexity. If you’re viewing from home, you can also take a look at the virtual galleries for Carrie Mae Weems: The Kitchen Table Series, Black Joy, As It Was and Still Is, and The Salon, all of which celebrate the work of BIPOC artists.
Taking a break from your screen to get outside and physically take in the walls of a gallery or museum is a fortifying way to feel creatively stimulated again, and though things may not be as they were, there is still much to explore.