Happy Friday! We want to share some art, design, and culture goodies shared by the SVACE faculty and community. To celebrate the Sundance Film Festival, this week’s edition covers film and video.
Archive for January, 2016
Today’s guest blogger is Eric Sutphin, Residency Coordinator of SVA’s Summer Residency Programs:
It is a fact that pursuing a career in the arts comes with a wealth of anxieties. Art schools may offer students top-of-the-line facilities, renowned faculty, a marketable pedigree and an invaluable network, but a complaint that I have often heard (and have launched myself) is the deficit in practical training for art students at the beginnings of their careers. The attendant ambiguity that comes with a life in art can seem daunting and alienating; how often have we been to an opening and looked around at the dealers, curators and artists, and thought, “Wow, these people really have it figured out, they’ve all made it.”
Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon was a performance event conceived and launched by multidisciplinary artist Ofri Cnaani, a current faculty member of SVA’s Continuing Education and Summer Residency Programs. The performance took place at the Artists Equity brick-and-mortar space, Equity Gallery, located in New York’s Lower East Side. Cnaani invited eight guests (most were arts professionals) to respond to questions submitted via Artists Equity’s online platform. Over the course of the performance, which was structured like a professional practices “clinic” and free and open to the public, the spirit of generosity and an enactment of a kind of utopian sharing economy unfolded. A few of my personal highlights from the event are below:
Q: How do I navigate being an artist, critic curator?
A: Gean Moreno, Artistic Director of Cannonball Miami: “Why is this still a problem within art? It’s seems like a kind of masochistic line that we have gotten comfortable with as artists. In other disciplines, people often move freely between roles. Don’t worry about it, just do it.”
Q: “Are studio visits worth it?”
A: Joey Lico, curator and Director of Programming at The Cultivist: “Yes!” People who visit your studio generally want others to succeed, so invite people who are interested in your work to visit. But be prepared, and show everything you have, even the things you have hidden away, turned against the wall. We want to see everything. Be careful of those people who want to just sit around and hang out with artists; they’re out there.”
The question of the livability of cities came up frequently. Leila Bozorg, Chief of Staff for the NYC Dept. of Housing and Preservation and Development noted that “It is a city’s responsibility to make accommodations for cultural producers. It’s what keeps neighborhoods and cities, in general, attractive places to live.”
As each respondent answered the questions (which were written on index cards), he or she put the card on a clear table under which a projector beamed the image of the amassed question cards onto a nearby wall. The ephemera from the performance is included in Cnaani’s solo exhibition File Under:?, on view at Equity Gallery through January 30, 2016. Additionally, the answers to the artists’ questions will be “transcribed, processed and made available through Artists Equity’s website as a service for the art community.”
Happy Friday! We want to share some art, design, and culture goodies shared by the SVACE faculty and community.
Grant Shaffer will open a solo exhibition, Gay Arms, on February 26 at La MaMa Galleria. For Gay Arms, he will present a new body of photographic work. Shaffer writes, “When I’m taking pictures, I think of myself as an alien who’s here for a while, trying to understand the experience of my sliver of life on this planet. It’s hard to say what my photos and this show are about. It’s just intuitive. It’s very personal and at the same time very public. It’s me trying to take in the world and asking people to notice or consider something.”
Keith Mayerson, current faculty member, will speak with Tom Hart, recent faculty member, at a public discussion and book signing for Rosalie Lightning, Tom’s new graphic memoir. The book is based on the grieving process of Tom and his wife after the death of their young daughter. Keith and Tom speak on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7pm, Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway, New York City.
Ilene Strizver interviewed design titan Stefan Sagmeister for her TypeTalk series with CreativePro.com. Sagmeister speaks about his thinking process, his education, your education, and his dream job. One takeaway: “The current generation of design school faculty all learned about design in the 80s and 90s when ideas and concepts were king, and formal considerations were dismissed – including by me – as decoration. I now think that was wrong. Beauty is very much part of what it means to be human. Good-looking things communicate more effectively.”
Matt Rota produced new illustrations for GQ Italy about hackers that stole $45 million from ATMs throughout Manhattan. And Viktor Koen crafted a feature illustration for Scientific American magazine about the incredibly sophisticated tracking system our mammalian brain uses to find its way around, before we racked up points using Waze.
To honor Martin Luther King, Jr., we’re looking at Keith Mayerson’s painting, Drum Majors (Martin Luther King, Jr., and Family), which was installed at the 2014 Biennial and is now part of the Whitney’s collection.
A rigorous, crescent-shaped composition, the image brings together Dr. King with his family. Their heads align like a chord on a musical scale. Coretta Scott King is at the top, the only standing. She embodies the ubiquitous adage, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” The Revered looks closely at his daughter, but Coretta’s elevated point of view enables her to survey all hands together. Still, the parents work in harmony; they mimic each other as each presses their right index finger to the keyboard.
The convergence of hands at the piano keyboard could remind us of the hands in Leonard Freed’s photo, Baltimore, Maryland: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being greeted upon his return to the United States after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, October 31, 1964. In Freed’s photo, the composition radiates outward from Dr. King’s extended hand – or all hands home in toward his. Either way, the scrum of hands describes the currents of MLK’s mass appeal and resonance. In Mayerson’s painting, the hands extend in the same direction, as they might have done in a church pew, among other places.
This may be a stretch, but I see formal affinities between Keith’s painting and Matisse’s Goldfish and Palette. Begin with the slabs of black geometric planes on the lower right quadrant of each painting: in Keith’s, a piano; in Matisse’s, a “vestigial scaffolding” that abstracts Matisse himself clutching a palette. Then look to the left, where black and white alternate. In the background of each painting, we see arabesque contours, especially fulsome in the floral paisley of the King family’s wallpaper. Notice how the marigold bow corresponds to Matisse’s lemon. And don’t you see a goldfish shape on the surface of King’s daughter’s dress?