Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Friday Hot Links

Friday, April 29th, 2016

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

Image via Hyperallergic

Image via Hyperallergic

Protest Projection (Hyperallergic): Artist activists illuminate the Guggenheim’s impasse over migrant workers’  rights. (via Robert Stribley)

Hello Dolly (CNET): Drone photography recreates Alfred Hitchcock’s “dolly zoom” technique. (via SVA MFA Visual Narrative)

Mini Museum (Print Mag): Tribeca treated to a museum in an elevator. (via Steven Heller)

Branding Brew (FastCo. Design): Design titan Milton Glaser has branded Brooklyn Brewery since it began. (via SVA News)

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No Toxic Factor

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Among the usual crop of gallery openings this past month, there was an exciting pop-up show taking place at Central Booking in the Lower East Side. The pop-up exhibition, titled No Toxic Factor reunited 33 artists who spent the summer of 2011 in the School of Visual Arts Painting and Mixed Media Residency.  They have kept in touch since then, and the lasting impact of their experience has led to this exhibition almost five years later.

“NO TOXIC FACTOR,” at Central Booking in the Lower East Side

“No Toxic Factor” at Central Booking in the Lower East Side

No Toxic Factor was an extraordinary event featuring former residents, faculty, and visiting artists from 2011, curated by SVA Residencies own Assistant Director of Special Programs, Keren Moscovitch.

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The title and concept of the show rest on the conceit that organizing as a group has an altering effect on the individuals who participate in it, synchronizing them while making them unpredictable.  This is observable in social phenomena such as “mass hysteria.”

Video and installation by residency alum Rebecca Kinsey

Video and installation by residency alum Rebecca Kinsey

From the press release:

“ …this exhibition seeks to examine the mass hysteria that can arise amongst highly energized, closely situated individuals. History has thus shown us that large groups of people can generate unpredictable synchronized behaviors that often remain unexplainable by science. Despite suspicions that environmental poisons or other bacterial agents may be at the core of such phenomena, oftentimes these events, when investigated using modern research methods, are shown to have ‘no toxic factor’ involved. This exhibition points to the ambiguity of mass hysteria, suggesting that the line between laughter and psychosis, joy and mania, the rational and the senseless, are innately blurred. Recognizing the destructive forces that lie dormant within all groups, we instead choose to celebrate creativity, community and collaboration.”

The crowd at "NO TOXIC FACTOR"; Installation by Majella Dowdican, Residencies alum

The crowd at “No Toxic Factor”; Installation by Majella Dowdican, Residencies alum

No Toxic Factor found an interesting spin on the group show. Framed in such a way, one begins to wonder to what extent individuals are changed by being in a close-knit studio environment like SVA’s Summer Residencies. The claim of the exhibition is that the experience does change the individual, and if that can inspire a strange mania, it can also be generative, collaborative, and a powerful creative force.

“NO TOXIC FACTOR,” at Central Booking in the Lower East Side

“No Toxic Factor” at Central Booking in the Lower East Side

See more of the artists: Residencies alumni Rebecca KinseyWilliam PaganoLiz FloresKatalina Guerrero, Lorella PalenCristina Camacho; and the faculty members Tobi KahnOfri Cnaani, and Ira Richer. Read our review of Ofri Cnaani’s recent exhibition here.

Heard It First

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Counting, noting, and making lists of people, places, and things: Elise Engler makes art focused on documentation. She has drawn the contents of women’s purses, the prizes or our tax dollars, and every block on Broadway in Manhattan. After exhibiting her Broadway drawings at Robert Henry Contemporary, she has moved on to First Radio Headline Heard of the Day, her current series of postcard-size watercolors that document major news stories from around the world. 

In between her indexical drawings, Engler teaches Visual Narrative: Ways to Tell a Story here at SVACE. And on the occasion of her 100th entry for First Radio Headline, we asked her to open up about her process and ideas.


First Radio Headline Heard of the Day by Elise Engler

SVACE: How exactly do you carry out your First Radio Headline Project? Do you wake up to news radio?

EE: I listen to WNYC(NPR) and sometimes BBC onNPR not at consistent time, but first thing when I wake up. I choose/edit so stories aren’t repeated. (Don’t want daily Trump.) I am traveling west later this month and will tune in to local NPR and CBC stations.

SVACE: Where do you turn for reference images?

EE: I troll the internet looking for videos from lots of news sources — all over world — and take  screen shots to combine images, so I am not stealing someone else’s work.


First Radio Headline Heard of the Day by Elise Engler

SVACE: In this series, is there a place for working not from reference images, but instead from memory or imagination?

EE: I like to use references, then there is a great deal of choosing, altering and rearranging. There is not a great deal of memory or imaginative work in my art, although I just finished an accordion book response to a friend’s published poem, and it is all memory and imagination, and quite abstract at times. It was quite challenging.

SVACE: Many of us increasingly get our news from Facebook. And even when listening to news radio, we access it through streaming internet. By working from radio news, are you consciously representing an outmoded form of technology?

EE: I am combining my own longtime and probably old-fashioned radio obsession with Internet technology and social media. If I wasn’t an artist I would like to have been a radio journalist.

SVACE: Is there something unique about news radio, which we don’t find in other news sources?

EE: I like the range and seemingly arbitrary aspect because I don’t always tune in at same time –news is local, national, global.  Perhaps the viewer and I will, after 366 days (or in fact 406 days with 40 “test’ drawings”) have a sense of the year and also what is broadcast by this particular network. (Would be different of i was listening to Fox or Pacifica or CNN.)


First Radio Headline Heard of the Day by Elise Engler

SVACE: In that sense, your project is a time capsule. In retrospect, would you have liked to cover any previous years, specifically? Like 2008: Obama’s election? 2001: the 9/11 fallout?

EE: This year is pretty rich. But the nature of my work is that I find interest in everything and everywhere. I drew the contents of the handbags of over 70 women, always interesting; I like the mundane and the dramatic, and intimate (the women’s bags) and enormous (Antarctica.) Any year would be fine; they all have their moments.

SVACE: Does your emotional response to the news affect your work? For example, do you struggle to depict very bad news?

EE: Definitely. I don’t want to be sensationalist. I hesitate to show murders and corpses but will if that’s crucial to the story.

SVACE: Why not just choose a story with less violence?

EE: FIRST radio headline — trying to be somewhat consistent.

First Radio Headline Heard of the Day by Elise Engler

First Radio Headline Heard of the Day by Elise Engler

SVACE: Your commitment to the project partially precludes choosing your subject matter. This could be a challenge by pulling you outside comfort zones. But it could also be a relief because it gives you a starting point.  How do you adapt to this?

EE: I’m enjoying the challenge of having to figure out how to do something quite different every day. It’s different than A Year on Broadway which had the landscape/cityscape format. I also like the research aspect.

SVACE: A Year on Broadway project had the landscape/cityscape continuity, but you were drawing from a different physical place each day – a different city block. And that is much more of a social space, with noise and interruptions, than your own home. Does First Radio Headline feel more hermetic? For you, what is the ideal setting for making art?

EE: I like the range and I have always worked both on site and in my studio. Sometimes being a “fly on the wall” gives the work greater insight and dimension. The Antarctic work was started on there, finished in my studio. My tax-dollar project TAX-ONOMIES was done in my studio (researching weaponry, drawing 30,000 Iraq War casualties), while drawings done on site include my fire station drawing (everything on a fire engine), NYC Health Lab, and equipment to maintain Riverside Park.

The social media aspect makes this project a bit less hermetic as it is posted daily and I sometimes get an immediate response. The Broadway project was also about confronting my fears having had a very serious bike accident, I did it in part to embrace and appreciate the pace of my new role as a walker and also as someone who had become very skittish on the street (that sort of worked, though not completely by any means.) People generally ignored me on the street when drawing Broadway and I am very good at zoning out. When I was young, I learned to draw in part on the street, drawing people in public places like Grand Central Station and the Staten Island Ferry.

Follow Elise Engler’s First Radio Headline Heard of the Day Drawing Project on Twitter and Instagram, or see the entire project at

Friday Hot Links

Friday, April 8th, 2016

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

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes Black Panther for Marvel Comics

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes Black Panther for Marvel Comics

Bet On Black (NPR): Ta-Nehisi Coates Hopes ‘Black Panther’ Will Be Some Kid’s ‘Spider-Man’ (via SVA MFA Visual Narrative)

Mothers of Innovation (Design Observer): Frank Zappa’s designers’ innovated by placing ads in Marvel comics, and more. (via The Daily Heller)

Neon Dream (AnOther): Bahar Yürükoğlu’s “neon wilderness acts as a breath of fresh Arctic air.” (via SVA Alumni)

Brand Conscious (The Verge): France’s new law will strip branding from cigarette packages. (via SVA News)

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Faculty Updates

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from Melissa MeyerSteve Brodner, and Jeanette Spicer!

Melissa Meyer at Lennon Weinberg, Inc.

Melissa Meyer at Lennon Weinberg, Inc.

Melissa Meyer has a solo show of new abstract paintings at Lennon Weinberg, Inc in Chelsea. This is her fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Several of the paintings reflect influences from a mural commissioned by the Art in Embassies program for the entrance to a new American Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Steve Brodner for The Boston Globe

Steve Brodner for The Boston Globe

Steve Brodner illustrated “Who will win the battle of Brooklyn?” for The Boston Globe. In the same week, he participated in a MoCCA Arts Festival panel discussion, “You Can Get Killed Doing This: Sketches from the Satire Biz,” with Rick Meyerowitz, Sean Kelly, and Peter Kuper.

Jeanette Spicer, "Weekend Morning," archival pigment print, 2014

Jeanette Spicer, “Weekend Morning,” archival pigment print, 2014

Jeanette Spicer is included in Dwelling, a group show with six other female artists exploring women, the interior, and the precarity of domestic spaces, opening at Susan Eley Fine Art on April 7.

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