Archive for February, 2016

Residency Alum Interview: Detlef E. Aderhold

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Residency Alum Interview: Detlef E. Aderhold (Painting and Mixed Media Residency, 2014)

An SVA Summer Residency Program is a great way to immerse yourself in the New York Art world, but it can prove just as valuable for the community that it creates between residents. For example, Detlef E. Aderhold participated in the Painting and Mixed Media residency in 2014, and his time there led to collaborations with critic and Summer Residency coordinator, Eric Sutphin, whom he had met while attending. Eric has curated Detlef’s work for an exhibition at Rogue Space: Chelsea, and more recently in an exhibition in Germany.

Will Patterson of SVACE asked both Detlef and Eric a few questions about their thoughts on painting, their experience in the Residency Program and what they have been up to since meeting in 2014.

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Detlef E. Aderhold, “Genau”, mixed media, 80x110cm, 2015

Will: Why do you think painting is important as a medium?

Detlef E. Aderhold: The discussion about painting being alive or dead has been going on for a long time. It has even been suggested that painting reached its final stage with Kasimir Malevich’s Black Quadrat in 1915. In 1997, Catherine David said that painting as a form is “illegitimate,” and Documenta X (which she curated) served to substantiate her opinion. But then Luc Tuymans responded to David’s claim with a series of paintings that he titled Illegitimate. For me, painting is still very much alive, it’s my medium, and through it I can best develop and express my ideas, fantasies and impressions of the world.

Eric Sutphin: I contribute to a website with the tongue-in-cheek title Painting is Dead. It was started by a painter named Scott Robinson and its focus is painting. Painting is Dead publishes reviews, interviews and conversations with painters and being a part of that project has demonstrated to me that painting is still a medium that excites and challenges people. I think because painting has such an enormous and complex history and is tied to the development of societies and cultures at large, that its import remains inescapable.

Will: How have the connections you made during the Summer Residency Program expanded your artistic practice?

DE: I stay in contact with some of the fellow residents via social networks and email. We share new work with each other and continue to support each other’s artistic practices.

ES: Since I began working with the Residency in 2013, I have met artists from all over the world. I have had the opportunity to talk with and in some instances work with these artists beyond the program. I’ve learned about arts communities in Brazil, Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Melbourne, among many other places. I’ve seen firsthand the energy and excitement of an expanding global network of artists who come together and stay connected through the Residency.

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Installation View, “Signs: Part 1”, 12:1-12:23, 2015

Will: How did the program expand your own studio practice? Do you feel that you became more experimental in your approach to painting as a result of the immersion and exposure to the diverse range of faculty and fellow residents?

DE: At first it was difficult to integrate and follow the new ideas into my work. When I returned to my studio in Germany, I had to process the experience and to figure out how to integrate the residency experience into my old studio practice. At the time, my studio contained unfinished work and old habits. I needed time until I was able to implement my “New York ideas” into the old environment. But as I got back to work in my studio, all of these different influences and experiences came to fruition. As a result, I am much more experimental in my work now. Some of my paintings have begun to become more sculptural and I have begun to explore installation.

Will: Since completing the residency, you have gone on to have multiple exhibitions and have been included in a number of international art fairs. What have been some of the highlights of your career since completing the program?

DE: The first highlight was my solo show at Rogue Space: Chelsea in New York in the fall of 2014. Eric Sutphin curated that show and I was surprised by the choices he made and how everything was connected in the end. During the opening and while the show was up, I reconnected with some of the friends I made during the residency, including faculty members. In summer of 2015, I was selected for a juried show at the Islip Art Museum. I recently had a show in Venice during the Biennale–that was a great experience. I won the Secret Art Prize (mixed media category) and my work was shown, along with some of the other winners, in London’s East End. I was selected to be the Artist-in- Residence on Villingili Island, Maldives for a month during December and January. The unfamiliar setting, the vibrant colors, the air and the sea right outside of my studio was a wonderful way to invigorate my work. During that residency, I had the opportunity to talk about art with people from all over the world.

ES: My connection with Detlef was completely natural. It started when he was preparing for the 2014 Open Studio, I popped in to his studio one afternoon and helped him hang his show and we connected and worked well together. Since then, I’ve curated two of his shows (in New York and in Germany.) Former residents have contacted me after the residency for advice about graduate school, which for me is very rewarding; to be able to help artists along in their professional development.


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Detlef Aderhold, “An End Has A Start,” 150 x 150 cm, 2015, mixed media on canvas



Will: What do you think of the state of painting in 2016? Do you feel that the medium has changed or is changing in recent years?

DE: My feeling for painting shifted during my time in the residency through my exposure to faculty critiques, viewing contemporary art on our gallery visits, as well as through discussions with the fellow residents. Today, there are endless ways to deal with painting. With the end of the postmodern era, there are no regulations on how an artist should paint: (s)he can use everything (s)he thinks important for his or her creative work. Painting will continue to include new media and will look critically at, or be part of, larger projects like installation and performance. In our digital world, images play a very important role, but unlike digital images, a painted picture is very special. For me, painting is, and will always be, about material: canvas, pigment, and brushes. Painting is about invention and reinvention, critical thinking, and conceiving of new strategies for complex problems– it is still a very powerful medium.

ES: Painting is always looking for alibis. Over the last 20 years or so, painting has folded a multiplicity of other media into itself: neon, digital elements, video, performance, sculpture etc. These strategies have yielded exciting results at times, but to me, great painting relies on its subject matter and content to do the work and assert its vitality. I’m old fashioned in that way. It often seems to me that painters try to do too many things without really getting into the meat of the medium. When this happens, the work feels confused.

Will: What’s on the horizon for you? Are there any plans for future collaborations with fellow residents?

DE: In April this year I will have a solo show in Perugia, Italy. In June, Part II of my solo exhibition Signs (also curated by Eric Sutphin) will open in June in Germany. During the same time there will be a solo show at a gallery in Paris. Some of my paintings will also be shown at Art Madrid and Scope Basel. In 2017, I will exhibit with fellow SVA resident Gail Winbury at the historic Heinrich Heine Haus in Luneburg, Germany.

ES: I’ve been reviewing a lot for Art in America and there will be opportunities for international stories and coverage there. I am working on a biography of Rosemarie Beck (1923-2003), a post-war painter who began her career as a second-wave abstract expressionist. In the late 1950’s, she turned to narrative painting. That project has been very important and I am working on organizing an exhibition of her work for 2017.

Eric Sutphin (l) and Detlef E. Ederhold (r)

Eric Sutphin (l) and Detlef E. Ederhold (r)

Friday Hot Links

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Happy Friday! We want to share some art, design, and culture goodies shared by the SVACE faculty and community.

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Two-Lane Type (The New York Times): What typography does for safe driving. (via Jenny Kutnow)

Space-time Photo (NPR): A photographer captures the passage of time. (via John Rea)

Like Mike (The Guardian): On HBO’s tribute to director Mike Nichols (via SVA MFA Visual Narrative)

Facebook Feels (Fast Co. Design): How Facebook designers reached beyond “Like.” (via Robert Stribley)


Student Artwork Update: Eugen Braeunig

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Please join us in congratulating SVACE student Eugen Braeunig on the success of his short film, There Are No Strangers Here. Through ballet dance, There Are No Strangers Here depicts Sophia’s beautiful, yet challenging and adventurous journey to becoming the young woman she wants to be.

Poster for "There Are No Strangers Here" by Eugen Braunig

Poster for “There Are No Strangers Here” by Eugen Braeunig (Photo credit: Joanna Jankowska)

There Are No Strangers Here will screen at film festivals in multiple cities, including the Richmond International Film Festival and the New York City International Film Festival. It also screened in Italy, hosted by fashion magazine L’Officiel Italia, and at festivals in Berlin and Los Angeles.

The film was also picked up by a distribution company that is taking the film to the Marché du Film at the Festival de Cannes in May.

There Are No Strangers Here, animated poster by Thoka Maer

There Are No Strangers Here, animated poster by Thoka Maer

A recent filmmaking student of Sal Petrosino, Eugen recently published a trailer for the film through and entered it into a competition on Awardeo. Eugen writes, “I can highly recommend both sites to other students to use for premiering their trailers online. This definitely helped me because the trailer was viewed about 1.5k times on Vimeo alone and I was contacted by a company that wants me to do a commercial for them, and by a musician who wants to score my next film.”

Watch the trailer to There Are No Strangers Here on Vimeo. Find Eugen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.


Monday, February 22nd, 2016

The Met’s new logo has inspired divergent criticism from the art and design press. It’s a “graphic misfire,” writes Vulture, while WIRED explains how its ligatures create “a metaphorical moment.” The capital E’s “look like butts,” quips GQ.

To build our own informed opinion of the logo, we sought answers from Ilene Strizver, a longtime SVACE faculty member who teaches Gourmet Typography.  She also writes TypeTalk, an ongoing and deeply informative blog for Ilene responded with some valuable insights. She writes:

The New Met Logo
Ilene Strizver | The Type Studio

The new Metropolitan Museum of Art logo has everyone talking – and it’s not all words of praise. The new logo is the work of global-branding firm Wolff Olins, scheduled to be unveiled on March 2016. This design is a rebranding, with a totally new look, feel, and concept compared to the previous logo. While there is certainly nothing wrong with rebranding a highly revered institution such as The Met, I’m not sure this one accomplishes what they set out to do.

Old and new logos for The Met

Old and new logos for The Met

At first glance, the connection the new logo has with the overly tight type treatments of the 60s and 70s was unmistakable. This style was first employed by Herb Lubalin, who started the whole tight type movement during the transition from metal to phototypesetting which made it possible to do things that were not viable with hot metal. Lubalin was known for his extremely tight spacing and type tailoring (as we called it then), where two or more characters were often blended into each other, creating a ligature of sorts. The new Met logo uses this technique to create extreme ligatures out of each of the three-letter words. Unfortunately it is overdone to the point where the ‘tricks’ catch the eye and take visual precedence over the meaning of the words and the great institution it represents, in effect reverting back to the “bellbottoms and tie-dye shirts” of typography of the 60s and 70s.

This cover of U&lc Vol 5, No 4 was designed by Herb Lubalin in 1978. It epitomizes the overly tight type that was the revered style of the 60s and 70s.

This cover of U&lc Vol 5, No 4 was designed by Herb Lubalin in 1978. It epitomizes the overly tight type that was the revered style of the 60s and 70s.

“Our new logo no longer relies on symbols and, instead, is based on our commonly used name ‘The Met,’ which has an immediacy that speaks to all audiences. It is an original drawing, a hybrid that combines and connects serif and sans serif, classical and modern letterforms. In this respect, it reflects the scope of the Museum’s collection and the inherent connections that exist within it.”

This statement by the museum explains that the hybrid forms are intended to symbolize the broad scope of the museum’s collection. Unfortunately the logo doesn’t ‘read’ that way. If the viewer needs an explanation in order to ‘get’ or understand a logo that is not easily recognizable, it is missing the point.

Both revising or rebranding a logo should take an identity in forward-moving direction, but this does not do that. It is a caricature of a style gone by, and does not accurately reflect the greatness and broad spectrum of the institution it is designed to represent. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for finessing and type tailoring typography to either draw attention to words or letterforms (having lovingly created many in my days working on U&lc), but going overboard with too many tricks makes the tricks the star attraction, not the word mark or the institution itself. If this logo consisted of these same letterforms without the ‘triple-ligaturization’ it might have been more successful in achieving the intended goal.

-Ilene Strizver

Friday Hot Links

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Happy Friday! We want to share some art, design, and culture goodies shared by the SVACE faculty and community.

Paula Scher, “U.S. Demographics and Economy,” 2015

Paula Scher, “U.S. Demographics and Economy,” 2015

Map Maven (Slate): Take a close look at painted maps by designer Paula Scher. (via SVA News)

Pharma Fries (Dezeen): Artist Damien Hirst opens restaurant Pharmacy 2 – but does it deliver? (via SVA Interior Design)

Plant Plans (Medium): A vegan solution to urban food deserts. (via SVA DSI)

Letters Formed (David Roberts Art Foundation): Artist Fiona Banner tackles type in new neons. (via Kevin Brainard)