Lissa Rivera co-curates NSFW: Female Gaze at Museum of Sex

Image courtesy of Joanne Leah. 

Image courtesy of Joanne Leah. 

"When we talk about the female gaze, the conversation generally hinges on how inherently emotional and complex women's attraction is. There's a movement for feminist porn, and while Magic Mike XXL may have proved that women love ogling a good hunk, so much of the appeal of that movie is that the men were funny and sweet, not just that they had ungodly abs. Is women's attraction that much more complicated than a man's?"
- Jaya Saxena (Elle Magazine, Figuring Out the Female Gaze at the Museum of Sex)

NSFW: Female Gaze, co-curated by Marina Garcia-Vasquez and alum Lissa Rivera (Associate Curator at Musuem of Sex, showcases over 25 emerging female artists from various disciplines dedicated to powerful feminine narratives. Every day, women are faced with a world of images that reflect male perspectives on sexual desire. The artists in NSFW Female Gaze both reclaim and break out of women’s historical roles as muse and object. The exhibition showcases a fearless new visual language of desire that defies social norms and expectations.

Image courtesy of Museum of Sex. 

Image courtesy of Museum of Sex. 

The artists featured in the exhibition are working at the intersections of identity and life experience, genre and process. They are exploring sexuality on their own terms, bringing to light new angles of expression. From Instagram and GIF platforms to textile, painting and photography, these artists take a diverse and fearless approach to sex, shattering mythologies of female sexuality and restructuring stereotypes to explore a more complex relationship between gender, pleasure, fantasy and desire.

Image courtesy of Museum of Sex. 

Image courtesy of Museum of Sex. 

The exhibition runs through September 24th, 2017. For more details on hours and the featured artists, please click here. 

Barbara Kalina featured in What the World Needs Now during Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2017

What the World Needs Now is a juried group exhibition that takes us back to the indispensable truths of life. It will be a document and celebration of the joy, togetherness, beauty and love that we need now more than ever. Co-curated by Anita Arliss and Ruben Natal-San Miguel. This September 2017, the art works selected for this exhibition at the B Complex Gallery will exalt the bliss of living and loving that is needed now more than ever. The exhibition will feature imagery from class of 2009 alumni Barbara Kalina. 

"What the World Needs Now Is Love" is a 1965 popular song with lyrics by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach. First recorded and made popular by Jackie DeShannon, it was released on April 15, 1965. In June 1968, following the shooting of Robert Kennedy but before he died (approximately 26 hours), the Jackie DeShannon version was played over and over on Los Angeles radio stations as an audio vigil. This also continued for a few days following his death. Over decades the song continues to come back to be played as a healer and its positive message over troubling times in the nation and the world. We are currently experiencing similar turbulent times and we want to use the song as an experimental tool and theme to encourage and inspire artists to express such emotions and feelings through the use of photography based and related art works.

The artists reception will take place Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 7pm until 10pm at the B Complex Gallery. For more details, please click here. 


Image courtesy of The B Complex.

Image courtesy of The B Complex.

Liz Deschenes and Sol LeWitt at Fraenkel Gallery

Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, CA is pleased to present simultaneous exhibitions of three important wall drawings by Sol LeWitt, with new photographs by SVA faculty and artist Liz Deschenes. Deschenes’s recent work, loosely inspired by LeWitt, will appear with the wall drawings in the gallery’s Geary Street space.

Installed in the same galleries, Liz Deschenes’s new imageless photographs use photographic means to explore conceptual possibilities cracked open by LeWitt. Her photograms are a direct record of atmospheric conditions during the process of their production: light, humidity, and the outside temperature, among other factors, determine the surface of the final works.

The exhibition will run from September 7 through October 28th 2017. For more information please click here.

Image courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery. 

Image courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery. 

Liz Deschenes (b. 1966, Boston) lives and works in New York and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1988. She teaches at Bennington College and is a visiting artist at Columbia University’s School of Visual Arts and Yale University. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Recently, Deschenes was the subject of solo exhibitions at MASS MoCA and the Walker Art Center.

Video Courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art- Boston. 

Alumni featured in exhibition The Blue of Distance at Transmitter Gallery

“The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color where you can never go.” – Rebecca Solnit

Transmitter Gallery is pleased to announce The Blue of Distance, an exhibition of emerging artists who disrupt conventional notions of identity and address themes of alienation in their work, by operating within the space between connection and distance. Taking its title from an essay by Rebecca Solnit, which explores the color blue’s role as a metaphor for longing and desire, this exhibition features works reflecting personal narratives of isolation from larger communities due to race, gender, religion, mental health, or social inequality.

The opening reception will take place on Friday September 15 from 6-9pm with the exhibition running through October 15, 2017. For more details, please click here.

Still from 3017. Image courtesy of Melvin Harper. 

Still from 3017. Image courtesy of Melvin Harper. 

In class of 2017 alumni Melvin Harper’s films he addresses race, gender, and identity, examining what it’s like to be perceived as an African-American man in the United States. Weaving together appropriated imagery from cell phone videos, dash cams, news footage, early science-fiction films, and Google searches, Harper considers issues of visibility and perception. In Harper’s films, conceived as a trilogy, his own disillusion with markers of identity and racial inequality are present—African-American men are juxtaposed to aliens, stuffed in cages, and unnecessarily brutalized because of their perceived otherness. Harper will be showing 3 films during the exhibition including his thesis 3017. 

Still from Sign Language. Courtesy of Melvin Harper. 

Still from Sign Language. Courtesy of Melvin Harper. 

Photographer, educator and class of 2009 alumni Maureen Drennan has always been drawn to vulnerable people or communities that are isolated from mainstream society. Earlier this year, she met and photographed Arab women who have all endured various types of discrimination. In photographing young Arab-American women, she was interested in dispelling otherness. In The Blue of Distance, Drennan’s work focuses on one of her subjects, Adam. Adam is hijra, a transgender female of Pakistani descent.

Nesting from the project Ordinary Devotion. Image courtesy of Martha Fleming-Ives. 

Nesting from the project Ordinary Devotion. Image courtesy of Martha Fleming-Ives. 

Martha Fleming-Ives grew up in Northampton, MA and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at Silver Eye Center for Photography, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Weatherspoon Art Museum, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and Griffin Museum of Photography. A 2010 graduate of the MFA Photo, Video and Related Media she is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Honors Program at the School of Visual Arts, NY. 

The exhibition, The Blue of Distance is curated by alum, Kate Greenberg (class of 2010)

Ann Collins upcoming Film will debut at the 55th annual New York Film Festival

Congratulations to faculty member and film editor Ann Collins on her impeccable work on the upcoming Netflix release Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.

Billed as Director Griffin Dunne’s years-in-the-making documentary portrait of his aunt Joan Didion, the piece moves with the spirit of her uncannily lucid writing: the film simultaneously expands and zeroes in, covering a vast stretch of turbulent cultural history with elegance and candor, and grounded in the illuminating presence and words of Didion herself. This is most certainly a film about loss—the loss of a solid American center, the personal losses of a husband and a child—but Didion describes everything she sees and experiences so attentively, so fully, and so bravely that she transforms the very worst of life into occasions for understanding.

The documentary will be making it's world wide debut at the 55th annual New York Film Festival with screenings on October 11 and October 14 before becoming availible on Netflix in late October. Tickets go on sale September 10th.

For more information and to reserve tickets, please click here.

Author Joan Didon at home in Hollywood. Image courtesy of Ann Collins. 

Author Joan Didon at home in Hollywood. Image courtesy of Ann Collins. 

Alum, Matthew Pillsbury's Sanctuary at Ben Rubi Gallery

With his upcoming solo exhibition Sanctuary, Matthew Pillsbury returns to the idea of respite, but this time in a more urgent context. “Many of our cities,” Pillsbury writes, act as a “line of defense against an administration whose policies directly threaten rights” he had taken for granted. What had before seemed merely social or recreational has suddenly taken a political context, as some of our most quotidian yet essential activities—of assembly and expression, or simply just being here—have suddenly been revealed as contingent rather than inalienable. That many people turn to these activities and these spaces as a respite from the political is only another lay of irony, and underscores their precariousness.

The exhibition will run from September 14 through November 22, 2017 with the opening reception taking place Thursday, September 14, 6-8pm.

Benrubi Gallery is located at 521 West 26th Street, Floor 2. For more information on the exhibiton, please click here.

Unisphere, Queens, 2016. Image courtesy of Matthew Pillsbury.

Unisphere, Queens, 2016. Image courtesy of Matthew Pillsbury.

Matthew Pillsbury was born in 1973 in Neuilly, France. He received his B.A. in Fine Arts (Cum laude with distinction) in 1995 from Yale University and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2004. His work has been widely shown and is in the permanent collections of numerous American and international institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Tate Modern, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Yale University Art Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is the recipient of the 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the 2007 Fondation HSBC prix pour la Photographie. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Upcoming Exhibition at the Re: Art Show featuring Faculty Grahame Weinbren, current students, and alumni.

Guest Curated by faculty member Wardell Milan and alum, Melvin Harper. The works in ‘Haphazard Paradigm’ (the 14th edition of the Re: Art Show) look to question the deep cultural identities a person invests in race, gender, and nationality.

A combination of video art, installation, sculpture, etc., the exhibition will feature work by Grahame Weinbren, a pioneer of interactive art and faculty member alongside projects by thesis student Johnnie Chatman and alums Sullivan Gardner, Melvin Harper, Anders Jones and the international women's collective Et.Alia (comprised of class of 2016 grads Ala d'Amico, Jiwon Choi, Netta Laufer, Kelsey Lynn and Sara Meghdari.)

The opening reception will take place on Saturday September 9th, 2017 from 6 to 10pm, with many of the artists expected to be in attendance. Running through October 8th, the Re: Art Show is open weekends from 12pm to 6pm at 630 Flushing Ave in Brooklyn.

For more information on Haphazard Paradigm please click here.


The Re: Art Show is an ever-evolving, recurrent, curatorial project spearheaded by alumni of the program Erin Davis and Max C Lee. Housed within the now-defunct portions of the former Pfizer Pharmaceutical factory in Brooklyn, Re: Art Show brings together an abnormally wide breadth of artists in an abnormal environment.

For more information of the Re: Art show click here. 

Image courtesy of the Re: Art Show.

Image courtesy of the Re: Art Show.

Alum, Sara Meghdari featured in upcoming Governor's Island Art Fair

Image courtesy of 4heads. 

Image courtesy of 4heads. 

On September 2, 4heads (a New York City non-profit organization created by artists for artists) will open the 10th edition of the Governors Island Art Fair, featuring work by over 100 new and returning artists including our very own class of 2016 alum Sara Meghdari. For the first time the exhibition will be presented in the historic homes on Colonels Row and on the ground floor spaces of Liggett Hall. Touted as New York’s largest independent exhibition, GIAF welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually in New York Harbor.

The Art fair will run every weekend from Saturday September 2nd through October 1st, 2017 from 11am to 6pm. While admission is free, in order to arrive on the island you will need to take the ferry which costs $2.

For more information, please click here.

Mommoni (2012). Image courtesy of Sara Meghdari

Mommoni (2012). Image courtesy of Sara Meghdari

Meghdari has described her practice as a "passion to create driven by my bicultural background as an Iranian-American. My work is a reflection of culture as well as the self, pursuing distinct and obscure emotions in an attempt to create a narrative and connect with humanity."

Congratulations Alumni Jaime Permuth on his winning image in Latin American Fotografia 6

Congratulations to class of 1994 alum Jaime Permuth on his winning image from his latest series The Street Becomes in this year's edition of American Illustration-American Photography (AI-AP)'s Latin American Fotografia 6. This prestigious competition highlights the best photography projects conducted in or about Latin America. For more details on the competition please click here.

The street becomes.jpg

A selection of twelve images from the series is currently being showcased at El Museo del Barrio in the exhibition "Nasty Women / Bad Hombres" in New York City. The debut of the Uptown Triennial organized by Columbia University will be on display through November 5, 2017. For more information, please click here.


Imagery courtesy of Jaime Permuth ©

Faculty and award winning filmmaker Simin Farkhondeh showcases latest documentary at the City College of New York

In the August installment of the TWN Evening Seminars, join filmmakers Al Santana, Laura L. Fowler and SVA MFA Photo faculty Simin Farkhondeh and their docufiction films, ONE PEOPLE and WHO GIVES KISSES FREELY FROM HER LIPS, with filmmaker Rico Speight leading a discussion on treading the line of documentary and dramatic work. Explore the possibilities of docufiction or docudrama- bringing together narrative fiction and cinéma vérité, in order in order to strengthen the representation of reality with artistic expression.

Thursday August 24th at 6:30pm

Documentary Forum at CCNY,

Room 291, Shepard Hall

259 Convent Ave. City College

New York, NY 10031

This work "offers an engaging introduction to this challenging subject, adeptly conveying the complexity of temporary marriage. WHO GIVES KISSES FREELY FROM HER LIPS provides a welcome complement to existing scholarly literature on temporary marriage, offering a rare glimpse into a fascinating aspect of the fast-changing landscape of Iranian sexual politics. This film is recommended for courses exploring issues of gender and sexuality in Islam and in the Middle East as well as those that consider feminism in a transnational perspective. The film would also contribute to courses on modern sex and sexuality, providing a neglected perspective on contemporary debates in feminist and queer theory concerning polyamory and other alternatives to traditional forms of heteronormative intimacy by challenging the idea of Western subjects as necessarily more "modern" or sexually liberated than others."

*-Juliet Williams, Films for the Feminist Classroom*

For more details please click here.