Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

MoCCA Mecca

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Covering the MoCCA Arts Festival 2017 is our guest blogger, Tom Motley, who is an SVACE faculty member, cartoonist, and illustrator. His publications include Tragic Strip (a monthly strip in The Brooklyn Rail), The Golden Ass, The One Marvelous Thing, and contributions to the indie anthology Cartozia Tales. For this guest blog post, Tom shares insights, photos, and original artwork. 

Blutch, MoCCA guest of honor, also spoke at the New York Comics and Picture Story Symposium. Artwork: Tom Motley

At MoCCA Fest: Blutch, MoCCA guest of honor, also spoke at the New York Comics and Picture Story Symposium. Artwork: Tom Motley

Since 2002, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art has hosted MoCCA Arts Festival, its annual festival of indie and art comics. This year’s edition, held April 1 – 2 at the Metropolitan West event space and Ink48 Hotel, was the fifth under the stewardship of the Society of Illustrators. I’d say the quality of the programming and the work on display was as good as it’s ever been, which is to say, excellent. What greets the public is a reliably eclectic mix of talented newcomers, stalwart old masters, reputable publishers, and promising students.

At MoCCA Fest: Brace yourself, over 200 cartoonists are exhibiting amazing work. Photo: Tom Motley

At MoCCA Fest: Brace yourself, over 200 cartoonists are exhibiting amazing work. Photo: Tom Motley

Longtime SVA Continuing Education student, Van Hong, emphasized to me that the real pleasure came from shopping for small handcrafted work one would never see at a comic store. She showed me marvelous silkscreened booklets by Kim Ku among other finds. For my part, I was enchanted by Alden Viguilla’s silkscreened Lucha Libre postcards and Ken Wong’s formally rigorous Origami Comics. But really, every table seemed to have breathtaking comics, prints, and other merchandise. I didn’t chance to see anything I disliked. How many ways can one make a comic? How many styles or subjects could there be? A walk through these aisles underscores how the answers are dizzyingly infinite.

Saturday’s Cartoon Allies crew, Annette Fanzhu, Joy Li, Cyan Daly, & Amanda Erskine. Photo: Tom Motley

Saturday’s Cartoon Allies crew, Annette Fanzhu, Joy Li, Cyan Daly, & Amanda Erskine. Photo: Tom Motley

SVA alum, Yao Xiao, selling prints and her comic, Baopu. Photo: Tom Motley

SVA alum, Yao Xiao, selling prints and her comic, Baopu. Photo: Tom Motley

The influence of SVA, which began in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, and has been the think tank that helped birth Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art, Raw magazine, and much more, permeates everything there. “This is like an SVA reunion,” Yao Xiao, SVA BFA ’13, told me. Brendan Leach, SVA MFA ’10, wondered if the school might frown that he’s working for a rival school now. Brendan is acting chair of the Masters in Illustration program at FIT. I assured him that this is precisely the point of art school– to whip young talent into shape and send them out to succeed. I trust his teachers are beaming with pride. I lost count of all the instructors and current and former SVA students I ran into from our continuing ed, undergrad, and masters programs, attending, tabling, staffing, guest speaking… SVA had tables running from Cartoon Allies & the Visual Narrative MFA, including a very active Riso lab.

SVA alum Brendan Leach waves hello from FIT. Photo: Tom Motley

SVA alum Brendan Leach waves hello from MoCCA Arts Festival. Photo: Tom Motley

There were opportunities for academic interaction, too, with strong representation from other schools near and far: Parsons, Pratt, MICA, SAW, CCS, Kutztown, Syracuse, the High School of Art & Design, and many more.

It was great to see original paintings from Drew Friedman’s (BFA ‘81) Heroes of the Comics, such as these portraits of Marie Severin and Alvin Hollingsworth. Photo: Tom Motley

Original painted portraits of Marie Severin, Alvin Hollingsworth from Drew Friedman’s (SVA BFA ‘81) “Heroes of the Comics” series. Photo: Tom Motley

But is this worth doing? At the panel “Teaching Comics Internationally,” the panelists Ben Katchor from Parsons The New School for Design, Jessica Abel from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (and formerly of SVA), and Merav Salomon from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Israel, expressed serious concerns about the high cost of education and the low to no pay that awaits most cartoonists. I’d offer that creative expression is a vital component of the pursuit of happiness. Many of those who work in commercial genre comics, giving life to ideas not their own, are likely no more fulfilled than workers at any other job. But those who pursue comics as literature and art enjoy the full benefit of this superior medium. Nobody at MoCCA Fest seemed to regret their hard won power of speech.

My sketch from the panel, Teaching Comics Internationally.

My sketch from the panel, Teaching Comics Internationally. Artwork: Tom Motley

Which brings us to another panel, “Covering Trump.” It can be hard to see how a lone cartoonist might move the needle in contemporary politics. Steve Brodner, perhaps our greatest living American caricaturist (and a top SVA instructor, naturally), sees his function as “rallying the troops, showing that we’re fighting a monster in a weakened state.” I was humbled to learn how Edel Rodriguez, famous creator of viral conceptual illustrations, engages in street art, dropping posters at Trump Tower and posting prints around Times Square, often with the encouragement of our local police.

SVA instructor Steve Brodner and daughter, Terry (SVA BFA ‘12). Photo: Tom Motley

SVA instructor Steve Brodner and daughter, Terry (SVA BFA ‘12). Photo: Tom Motley

These are scary times, but life must go on. At MoCCA Fest, it goes on vividly, brilliantly. I look forward to next year’s.

Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman want you to submit to the second volume of Resist!

Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman want you to submit to the second volume of Resist!

Do you love comics, graphic novels, cartooning, and illustration? Check out our upcoming course offerings, including courses by Tom Motley! See more of Tom’s work on his website, on Twitter, and on Instagram!

Spring/Break 2017: The Above-Ground Underground?

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Covering the Spring/Break Art Show is our guest blogger, Emily Weiner, who is an SVACE faculty member, visual artist, writer, and founder, The Willows Apartment Show.

Daniel Horowitz, Civilization and its Discontents (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Windowsill view (above); Room View (Below):

Daniel Horowitz, “Civilization and its Discontents” (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Windowsill view.

Spring/Break Art Show, the art fair initiated in 2012 as an alternative to the high-polished Armory Show and its satellites (Volta, Pulse, Scope), was held this year on two vacant floors of a massive corporate building overlooking Times Square. Featuring 150 curators showcasing rooms of work by more than 400 artists, the show felt equal parts MFA Open Studio and Art Fair, drawing ample collectors, regulars like Jerry Saltz, and lines of artist crowds extending out the door.

Daniel Horowitz, "Civilization and its Discontents" (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Room View.

Daniel Horowitz, “Civilization and its Discontents” (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Room View.

The fair was also meant to give the impression of a thematic show—curators were asked respond to the idea of Black Mirror and identity. Given the number of works included, however, this was not so obvious to the uninitiated.

JONALDDUDD presents Show Mein, featuring work by seven artists contributing works that pay homage to New York City’s Chinese restaurants.

JONALDDUDD presents “Show Mein,” featuring work by seven artists contributing works that pay homage to New York City’s Chinese restaurants.

However, this fair had a very different feeling from that of its first iteration, presented six years ago in the dilapidated Old St. Patrick’s schoolhouse in the Lower East Side, where there were no numbered booths, free Perrier, or panoramas of giant screens and the NYC skyline.

A solo booth of stellar paintings by the French artist Juliette Curtis, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

A solo booth of stellar paintings by the French artist Julie Tuyet Curtiss, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

A solo booth of stellar paintings by the French artist Juliette Curtis, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

A painting by the French artist Julie Tuyet Curtiss, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

In art, the success of anything “alternative” creates a catch-22: It can’t stay on the fringe for long. The Independent, founded in 2010 by gallerist Elizabeth Dee, now depends on a smart reputation and the participation of more than 40 carefully selected art institutions from across the US and Europe. The New Art Dealers Alliance—launched in Miami as a scrappy alternative to Art Basel—is now a mainstay in New York, too, where new-to-established galleries show their best and most innovative emerging-to-mid-career artists in carpeted booths. There is no pretense of being avant-garde or fringe anymore in these fairs, as they have evolved to have a different function.

Soft sculpture by Hein Koh: "Eye of God," 2017; curated by Nicole Grammatico + Christina Papanicolaou

Soft sculpture by Hein Koh: “Eye of God,” 2017; curated by Nicole Grammatico + Christina Papanicolaou

Is the flow from success to mainstream inevitable—and if so, is that a bad thing? One argument for “no” is that good art should be seen. All over the country since the market crash of 2009, small groups of artists and curators have been exhibiting exceptional work outside of a conventional gallery context.

Installation view, Matthew Morrocco, Portrait of Elliott, 2015. Inkjet print.

Installation view, Matthew Morrocco, “Portrait of Elliott,” 2015. Inkjet print.

Installation view: Left, Matthew Morrocco, Portrait of Paul, 2015. Inkjet print. 30 x 24 inches. Right, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Vanessa and Diane, 2016. Digital c-print, 36 x 24 inches.

Installation view: Left, Matthew Morrocco, “Portrait of Paul,” 2015. Inkjet print. 30 x 24 inches. Right, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., “Vanessa and Diane,” 2016. Digital c-print, 36 x 24 inches.

Spring/Break has capitalized on this wave of curatorial independence, bringing artist- and curator-driven exhibitions into the spotlight (or in this case, Times Square’s neon).

Immersive, panoramic photos (online photos don’t do justice!) by Phil Buehler in American Trilogy: Ferguson, Washington, Arlington curated by Larry Walczak of Eyewash Projects.

Immersive, panoramic photos (online photos don’t do justice!) by Phil Buehler in American Trilogy: Ferguson, Washington, Arlington curated by Larry Walczak of Eyewash Projects.

Radiating exhilaration bordering on exhaustion, this year’s Spring/Break art fair seemed on the precipice of being too big for its own good. Only time will tell if next year’s iteration can keep the fair’s original exuberance going, while increasing in size and visibility. As for this year, there were many moments of inspiration, including these selections (pictured above and below).

Matthew McConnell, Untitled (from More Possibilities for Distance and Mass), 2016. Earthenware with Bone Charcoal and Graphite.

Matthew McConnell, “Untitled (from More Possibilities for Distance and Mass),” 2016. Earthenware with Bone Charcoal and Graphite.

Masterful cast-ceramic sculptures of low-fi materials by sculptor Matthew McConnell were a highlight of Infinity Pool, a selection of work curated by artists Rebecca Morgan and Stephen Eakin.

Paul Gagner, "The Artist as Receptacle," 2016. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches.

In a similar trompe l’oeil spirit: Paul Gagner, “The Artist as Receptacle,” 2016. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches.

By Proxy, a room curated by gallerists Caroline Tilleard and Anna Maria Cuevas, was a quiet respite from the busy hallways, with some perfectly balanced wall works.

Left: Tracy Thomason, A Well and a Wealth or a Spine and its Center, 2016. Oil, Marble dust, and activated charcoal on linen. 20 x 16 inches Right: Alex Ebstein, Long Division, 2017. Hand Cut PVC yoga mats and enamel on wood panel, 20 x 16 inches

Left: Tracy Thomason, “A Well and a Wealth or a Spine and its Center,” 2016. Oil, Marble dust, and activated charcoal on linen. 20 x 16 inches. Right: Alex Ebstein, “Long Division,” 2017. Hand Cut PVC yoga mats and enamel on wood panel, 20 x 16 inches

Featured in the booth Psychic Dream Girls, curated by Rachel Phillips, was a video by Katie Cercone, alum of SVA MFA Fine Arts, 2011)

Katie Cercone, "$wagophilia’s Song of Fleshy Wind," performative video, 2014.

Katie Cercone, “$wagophilia’s Song of Fleshy Wind,” performative video, 2014.

And in the colorful presentation, Mirror Mirror, artists Adam Mignanelli and Caroline Larsen curate the work of one another on different sides of the booth, complete with houseplants.

Oil painting by Caroline Larson (with artists pictured behind)

Oil painting by Caroline Larson (with artists pictured behind)

Paintings by Adam Mignanelli

Paintings by Adam Mignanelli

Cosmos-conjuring work filled a room curated by artists Mark Joshua Epstein and Will Hutnick, To see the Moon Fall From the Sky.

Dan Perkins, "Midnight," 2017. Oil on panel, 12 x 9 inches.

Dan Perkins, “Midnight,” 2017. Oil on panel, 12 x 9 inches.

Ian James, "Stimulates Cell Regeneration and Repair," 2016. Collagen Neck Mask, slate, stainless steel, 39 x 19 x 15 inches.

Ian James, “Stimulates Cell Regeneration and Repair,” 2016. Collagen Neck Mask, slate, stainless steel, 39 x 19 x 15 inches.

Editor’s Note: don’t miss paintings by Angela Dufresne and Rosemarie Beck in room 2215, curated by our very own Eric Sutphin! For students interested in curating, check out the upcoming courses “Digital Feminism” and “Spring Exposures: Photo Developments in the Chelsea Gallery Scene.” 

Inauguration Art

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

“Of course artists are going to be very involved in planning and executing creative acts against what is going to be a very oppressive regime. We can lead the way. It’s sort of our job,” says artist Becky Howland to Hyperallergic. “There are times when it’s necessary to say ‘absolutely not,’ and this is one of them.”

So what are some ways forward for politically-minded artists, designers, filmmakers, and more? The answers seem to exist between individual motivation and collective action. Here are some examples.

The Nasty Women exhibition at Knockdown Center raised 50,000 dollars for Planned Parenthood, Callen-Lorde, and other community health initiatives, as reported in Artforum.

We the People,” a Kickstarter project, has raised more than 1.3 million dollars for printed materials, on its way to crowdfunding “The Amplifiers,” a documentary about art and activism.

Image via Kickstarter

Image via Kickstarter

For insiders, the Halt Action Group, led by well-placed artists, curators, and galleries, has organized the Dear Ivanka events and social media audience.

Image via New York Times

Image via New York Times

Museums and institutions will close for the #J20 Art Strike, initiated by e-flux, or they will offer free admission or special programming for Inauguration Day: “This call concerns more than the art field. It is made in solidarity with the nation-wide demand that on January 20 and beyond, business should not proceed as usual in any realm.”

Image via e-flux

Image via e-flux

And We Make America has hosted space and resources for artists to construct signs and props, as have numerous galleries, publicized through social media and word-of-mouth.

Image via Hyperallergic

Image via Hyperallergic

However you choose to jump in and respond to this unprecedented era, we offer several courses to help you craft your message. These include The Art of Consequence, Pow! The Art of Politics, and more. Though sometimes, all it takes is a sharpie and a passion.

Faculty Views: Untitled (Gender Representation)

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

We asked SVACE faculty members 
Magali Duzant and Jeanette Spicer to attend and reflect on Untitled (Gender Representation) symposium, a day-long symposium presented by SVA and BFA Photography and Video, featuring leading artists and theorists addressing current conversations on gender in high and low culture and the ways representation has effected the discourse. We’re pleased to present their original thoughts below.

Untitled

Untitled (Gender Representation) Symposium at SVA

In introducing the Untitled (Gender Representation) symposium, organizers stressed the deliberate choice of the word “Untitled.” Untitled, it was said, would act as a prompt to allow the audience to have their own take on gender. Over the course of the day’s presentations, this idea only grew more relevant.

Much like in naming an artwork, naming a wide-ranging series of talks and conversations is a challenge. Similar to art, conscious decisions are made in organizing a symposium, but so much is left up to chance interactions, sparks in conversations, and person-to-person connections. A through line across all of the day’s presentations was the power of community, coming together to share, discuss, and support; as well as the power of the artist to create. We create works of art that question the binary (the world?); we create our own definitions and identities. Art may not solve all of the world’s struggles, but it is a powerful force in asking questions, stressing alternatives, filling in gaps, building bridges, and most importantly, in creating safe spaces and empowered communities.

The day kicked off with a conversation between Kate Bornstein and Diana Tourjee who spoke about living beyond the binary and the importance of intergenerational dialogue.

Untitled (Gender Representation) Symposium at SVA, October 1, 2016

Untitled (Gender Representation) Symposium at SVA, October 1, 2016

As an artist and member of the queer community working in my practice specifically around the body, body representation, vulnerability, and fluidity in personal relationships, I was impressed and intrigued by Bornstein and Tourjee’s conversation that so eloquently discussed gender and transgender issues while keeping the discussion personal, yet accessible, informative, and hysterical. I specifically enjoyed the balance between Bornstein and Tourjee, both self-identifying transgender individuals, from entirely different generations, which created a wonderful dialogue that acknowledges the necessity for society to understand the struggles, the pain, and the beauty in the transgender and gender fluid communities, which has changed drastically over the last several decades. Bornstein focused frequently on the play and fun that can exist around gender, while also keeping a keen understanding and acknowledgement of the severity of the need for change in how society views the binary and gender, while Tourjee brought a younger generational outlook, and necessary seriousness about the lack of attention to the struggles and horror in the trans community. Bornstein said at one point, “I am both; I am neither,” which struck me. That comment was representative of the entire conversation, and what our society so desperately needs to understand. ( Jeanette Spicer )

Lia Gangitano presented the work of Greer Lankton and the series concluded with a screening of work from M. Lamar.

MLamar1

Untitled (Gender Representation) Symposium at SVA, October 1, 2016

As a working artist and photographer I was drawn to the presentations of Guggenheim curator Jennifer Blessing and artists and activists Zanele Muholi and niv Acosta. Zackary Drucker led a conversation between both artists that ranged across topics from working as an activist, educating institutions, and audience interaction. In Muholi’s work the power of the archive was a stand out. In creating an archive, one creates a record, proof of the people who have existed, loved, and defined themselves outside of society’s narrower constructs. In documentation comes permanence. Acosta works in performance and dance and spoke of the power of live performance and Afrofuturism as well as the reality of traveling as a Black trans identified person. In negotiating the presentation of the work, Acosta has included a mandatory educational aspect to the work, to provide a course in structural racism as a means of changing the systems that the work is presented within. ( Magali Duzant )

Untitled (Gender Representation) Symposium at SVA, October 1, 2016

Jennifer Blessing’s presentation on her 1997 Guggenheim exhibition, “Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography,” traced back the importance of representation and documentation, both fictive and candid. Blessing expounded upon the history of blurring the binary from Marcel Duchamp to Cindy Sherman and Catherine Opie to Lyle Ashton Harris. The exhibition came out of research that she was pursuing around the artist Claude Cahun.

Education again is key here, when we learn and explore, possibilities are presented and new ways of looking and understanding are accessible. At SVA, we see a desire to present these opportunities with courses such as #GenderSexPhoto: Queer Studies, Feminist Art and Art & The Everyday, examining how and why we look. In today’s media-saturated world, images are both imbued with a substantial power and tossed aside in favor of the newest and loudest. Learning how to be both visually literate and how to craft an image and a position is a powerful tool, and also an inherent challenge. With courses such as these, art in general, and language, we may not solve the ills of the world in one quick snap of the fingers but we can bring together communities, illustrate and then help build a more accepting world that allows for greater possibility, diversity, and understanding.
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Magali Duzant & Jeanette Spicer

[All images by Magali Duzant and Jeanette Spicer. Read more about Magali Duzant and Jeanette Spicer at their websites.]

 

Weekend Hot Links

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Happy Friday! Might we suggest recent art, design, and culture goodies shared by the SVACE faculty and community?

Image via NPR

Image via NPR

Big Press (NPR): Indie comics take the stage at the Small Press Expo. (via SVA MFA Visual Narrative)

Pastel Power (Fast Co. Design): Making sense of pastels saturating the market and culture. (via Lisa Lordi)

Snap Trap (Advertising Age): Snapchat dangles new carrots. (via Mark Burk)

Queer Things (TIME): A photographer queers food p*rn on Instagram. (via SVA News)

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