Posts Tagged ‘Keith Mayerson’

Faculty Updates

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

What have SVACE faculty members been up to, besides preparing for Spring 2016 classes? We have exciting updates from Grant ShafferKeith MayersonIlene StrizverMatt Rota, and Viktor Koen.


Grant Shaffer at La Mama Galleria

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.”


Tom Hart, “Rosalie Lightning”

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.

Sagmeister & Walsh, "The Happy Film"

Sagmeister & Walsh, “The Happy Film”

Ilene Strizver interviewed design titan Stefan Sagmeister for her TypeTalk series with 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 for GQ Italia

Matt Rota for GQ Italia

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.

Viktor Koen for Scientific American

Viktor Koen for Scientific American

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Hands Together

Monday, January 18th, 2016

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.


Keith Mayerson’s painting, Drum Majors (Martin Luther King, Jr., and Family), 2008

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.

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Leonard Freed, “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”

This may be a stretch, but I see formal affinities between Keith’s painting and Matisse’s Goldfish and PaletteBegin 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?

Matisse Mayerson

Faculty Updates

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from Ilene Strizver, Steve Brodner, Ofri Cnaani, and Keith Mayerson!


Ilene Strizver shared more insights and best practices with her readers at On the topic of Helvetica, she writes, “Helvetica was designed primarily for display, and for this reason, has appropriately tight letterspacing. Yet the design does hold up at smaller sizes – but the spacing does not.” Read more about using Helvetica at any size.

Steve Brodner for The Nation

Steve Brodner for The Nation

For The Nation, Steve Brodner illustrated some controversial quotes from GOP presidential candidates about Syrian refugees.  Perspicacious, informed, and witty, Steve exemplifies how the pen is mightier than the sword.

Ofri Cnaani performs at Inhotim Institute, Brazil

Ofri Cnaani performs at Inhotim Institute, Brazil

In Brazil? Ofri Cnaani of SVACE will perform this week at Inhotim Institute! On December 4, she will perform Frequently Asked/ Que Lugar É Esse?  Ofri writes:

“For Frequently Asked, I worked with 40 of the museum gardeners and maintenance staff in order to create 40 private walk-throughs, which bring to the front not only the art but also the role of Inhotim staff as a translators and mediators. During Frequently Asked, each gardener will lead one visitor in a one-on-one tour, offering personal narratives or interpretations of classic or modern canonical artworks and their spatial and environmental manifestations.”

Ofri Cnaani of SVACE

Ofri Cnaani of SVACE

On December 5, Ofri will perform Recalculating Route, which she describes as such:

Recalculating Route is a participatory performance taking the shape of geographically-based group messaging app that encourages self-guided wandering through call and response prompts and allows participants to re-experience familiar or unfamiliar sites, whether they are cities or museums.”

And last but not least: Keith Mayerson will exhibit new paintings with Marlborough Chelsea at NADA Miami Beach 2015.

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Faculty Updates

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from Peter Hristoff, Keith Mayerson, Matt Rota, and Viktor Koen!

Peter Hristoff at the Met Museum

Peter Hristoff at the Met Museum

Peter Hristoff is the Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this interview for the MetKids Blog, he picks his favorite artworks and offers insights on visiting the museum, including an assignment he gives himself.  To learn more about Peter’s work, read his statement about the museum’s influence on the monumental work he’s developing. One highlight: “Being able to spend so much time at the Met has provided me with great lessons in history; I see the fluidity of influences across borders, how one culture’s artifacts are reinterpreted by another. Pagan figures in one gallery evolve into saints in another; Islamic motifs that appear in ceramics are then repeated on a European fabric.”

Keith Mayerson, "My American Dream"

Keith Mayerson, “My American Dream”

Faculty update: Keith Mayerson has debuted the catalog for My American Dream, his vast solo survey at Marlborough ChelseaThe first printing is 200 copies, signed and dated. It has installation views, Keith’s notes about the exhibition, and every painting – and it reads like a comic narrative. It’s available at cost for $75 through Marlborough. 

rota ballpoint

Matt Rota has published The Art of Ballpoint with Rockport Books!  Matt has already established a practice of interviewing artists on his Pen and Ink Tumblr, so the new book seems like a natural progression.

Viktor Koen for NYT

Viktor Koen for NYT

Viktor Koen illustrated the cover for this weekend’s New York Times Arts & Leisure section! For his process and thoughts, visit his lively Tumblr.

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Faculty Updates

Monday, November 16th, 2015

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from Keith MayersonTristan ElwellSteve Brodner, and Sara Varon!

Interview Magazine featured Keith Mayerson for My American Dream, his vast solo show at Marlborough Chelsea! Keith says, “‘My American Dream’ speaks to the new, more inclusive America that has taken form in the past decade.”


Keith Mayerson, “River & Keanu as Mike & Scott in My Own Private Idaho,” 2006

A painting by Tristan Elwell is featured in Wild About Harryhausen at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles! His oil painting depicts Talos from Jason and the Argonauts.

Tristan Elwell's painting of Talos

Tristan Elwell’s painting of Talos

Steve Brodner speaks in “Barack Obama: Portraits of a President” at the Society of Publication Designers, with fellow illustration luminaries Barry Blitt, Anita Kunz, and Edel Rodriguez!

Obama portrait by Steve Brodner (top right corner)

Obama portrait by Steve Brodner (top right corner)

Publishers Weekly reviewed Sweatherweather by Sara Varon! A highlight: “Varon’s characters, their sheepish expressions, and their animated conversations are unfailingly delightful, while flashes of graphic inventiveness—a fake flyer bound into the book, a set of carefully engineered paper dolls—are icing on the cake.”


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