Alum, Maureen Drennan interviewed and featured on Art21 Magazine

Highway to the Sun: Truth and Fiction in Maureen Drennan’s Photography

by Jacquelyn Gleisner | Aug 15, 2017

In Montana, the Going-to-the-Sun Road traverses Glacier National Park along hairpin turns, where mountain goats live, and crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Titled after this road, the series Highway to the Sun by the New York City–based photographer Maureen Drennan is a metaphor for an epic journey: In the summer of 1951, four friends departed from Hanover, New Hampshire, on a five-thousand-mile trip to Alaska, passing through Glacier National Park and countless other notable places. They kept a travel log and took photos of the sites they saw. One of the young men on this road trip was Drennan’s stepfather. While she was growing up, his coming-of-age tale was recounted to the point of becoming a myth.

Maureen Drennan. Clear Creek, Montana, 2013. Digital c-print; 24 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Maureen Drennan.

Maureen Drennan. Clear Creek, Montana, 2013. Digital c-print; 24 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Maureen Drennan.

Drennan described how she imagined these four friends “moving toward an endlessly bright future.”1 Working with an archive of photos and written descriptions, Drennan began to recreate images from the expedition, using a medium-format film camera. Initially her photographs were too illustrative, so Drennan changed her strategy. She envisioned herself on a parallel journey with an uncertain ending. In the resulting work, the places and people in the photos are not literal representations of characters or locations in the travel log; Drennan was more interested in blending the past and present. The images depict her understanding of the trip as a journey of exploration and invention.

On the road, the four men took turns contributing to the log, which varies in tone from factual to poetic. One writer diligently states the mileage and location in the text, and another describes at length a comely waitress. Drennan noted that more than one person asked to join the road trip. The four friends remained unaccompanied by others, yet Drennan believes the strangers’ enthusiasm reveals the idea of the road trip as part of the zeitgeist. Six years after this journey, in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road was published. Being on the open road—as Kerouac, his characters, and Drennan’s stepfather were—continues to inspire similar journeys now accepted as quintessentially American.

Charles Russell. Hanover, New Hampshire, 1951. Silver gelatin print; 5 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Charles Russell. Hanover, New Hampshire, 1951. Silver gelatin print; 5 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Click here for the full Art21 article. 

Maureen Drennan was also recently featured in an interview on Musée magazine. Please click here for the article. 

Alum, Liz Zito featured in the New York Times

Turning the Perverse Nature of ‘The Bachelor’ Into Art


Love “The Bachelor” but hate yourself? Duck into SleepCenter’s cramped Chinatown basement art space on Wednesday for “Here for the Right Reasons,” an endearingly scrappy one-night show where artists will try to process the disquieting implications of their “Bachelor” fandom.

“I think in a healthy society, ‘The Bachelor’ would be illegal,” Artie Niederhoffer, a curator of the show, writes in an artist’s statement penciled on one of the gallery’s walls. She adds: “Gotta get my fix while society’s still sick.”

Ms. Niederhoffer, a freelance writer, and Janie Korn, an illustrator, both 29, started watching the show in 2012. At first, it was a joke. Then, it wasn’t. Their group texts with a mutual friend became consumed with “Bachelor” relationship analysis and speculation about behind-the-scenes producer manipulation. They found themselves drawn to the toxic hetero spectacle in the same way that some women read murder books to subconsciously deal with anxieties about violence. “It brought together this sisterhood,” Ms. Korn said.

These days, it’s easy to recognize “The Bachelor” franchise — the 13th season of “The Bachelorette,” featuring the series’ first black lead, is currently careering toward its inevitable rush-proposal ending — as a vacuous project complicit in various crimes against humanity. (Among them: the subjugation of women; the exploitation of the mentally ill; the perpetuation of racial stereotyping; and the advancement of corporate synergy.) But it’s even easier to blow two to three hours a week watching it.

“We want to examine why people like us watch the show,” Ms. Niederhoffer said. “The things they put the women through are horrible, at times. It’s kind of nice to watch, in a perverse way.”

In “Here for the Right Reasons,” more than a dozen New York artist-fans exorcise their own “Bachelor” issues. The video artist Liz Zito slips into the persona of an obsessed fan, painting the erstwhile bachelor Nick Viall as a merman on a seashell-lined canvas, then trying to sell the portrait to Mr. Viall over Instagram for $10,000. Her direct message to Mr. Viall, displayed alongside the piece, investigates the show’s aggressive rebranding of the Wisconsin software salesman into America’s most enduring eligible bachelor. (Mr. Viall has starred in four seasons of the franchise, including “Bachelor in Paradise,” appearing increasingly beefy in each iteration.)

“It projects a majestic aesthetic, which falls in line with your television persona,” Ms. Zito writes in her sales pitch, adding, “I’m not a weird psycho fan, I’m just a really good artist.” He does not respond.

The artist Mur performs his song “I Should Not Watch the Bachelor” at “Here for the Right Reasons.”

The artist Mur performs his song “I Should Not Watch the Bachelor” at “Here for the Right Reasons.”

The artists and curators Janie Korn and Artie Niederhoffer’s “Rose Installation,” featuring the “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay, on display at “Here for the Right Reasons.”

The artists and curators Janie Korn and Artie Niederhoffer’s “Rose Installation,” featuring the “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay, on display at “Here for the Right Reasons.”

Please click here for the full New York Times article 

Alumni, Erin Davis and Max C Lee at Invisible Exports


ERIN DAVIS / MAX C LEE Ride Collision: Voice-Haptic On-Road Patio for Liaison Sessioning

August 4 - 26, 2017

RECEPTION: Friday, August 4: 6-10pm

For the month of August, INVISIBLE-EXPORTS is surrendering the gallery to artists Erin Davis and Max C Lee.

Ride Collision: Voice-Haptic On-Road Patio for Liaison Sessioning is part of Erin Davis / Max C Lee’s Ride Collision series of environments built from discarded, disposable, and cheap materials. Each assemblage combines disparate items that, when viewed together, form a dialogue about cars, law, comfort products, and the transformation of bodies within these networks. With the installation presented here, Davis / Lee focus on the collision of personal and governed space.

These confrontations begin taking shape with styrofoam “rock” piles, painted black and coated with the same retro-reflective material used in road paint. Reminiscent of salt-worn asphalt, piled after a scene of impact, with surrounding bright spotlights of a forensic examination post-emergency. Elsewhere, diagrams of "impact attenuators" are rendered in thin lines on loose pieces of drywall. Also known as "crash cushions," impact attenuators are metallic or plastic barriers designed both to control traffic and brace for impact.

Collision determines the design of transportation space: in physical design (barriers, lights, symbols, and retro-reflective surfaces) and in abstract conceits (traffic law). The design of transportation systems also assumes motor-vehicle operators have bodies (for now). A hypothetical ideal functionality exists behind the safety systems devoted to these bodies: protect the body of the driver, deform everything around it should there be a crash. However, this ideal functionality is flawed. The crash deforms the bodies of drivers and are then rushed from transportation space to an environment similarly designed around the safety and survival of bodies: medical space. Here, breathing, fluid-filled bags act as organs sustained by a safety-system of objects that evoke both the medical and vehicular.

The design of transportation systems also assumes that drivers have internalized a set of codes (traffic laws) dictating their behaviors. This system, too, is constantly prepared for collision – between law and body, where the law is embodied by law enforcement. Much like the body’s role in designing roads and cars, its destruction is contingent to enforcing the law.

Erin Davis and Max C Lee both received their MFAs from the School of Visual Arts in 2016. They have been creating collaborative works for two years, this exhibition being their first solo show in New York. Davis / Lee are also the co-founders and curators of Re: Art Show, an ever-evolving group exhibition within the now-defunct spaces of the former Pfizer pharmaceuticals factory in Brooklyn. Both artists live and work in New York.

INVISIBLE-EXPORTS is located at 89 Eldridge Street, just south of Grand Street. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon—6pm, and by appointment. For more information, call 212-226-5447 or email:

Alum, Maureen Drennan in Group Show, Portals at Transmitter Gallery

Transmitter presents:

Portals Curated by Ashley Garrett and Anna Ortiz



"The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities." —Giles Delueze

"I never succeed in painting scenes, however beautiful, immediately upon returning from them. I must wait for a time to draw a veil over the common details."
—Thomas Cole

Portals considers the concept of landscape as a reflection of self. This range of paintings, drawings and photographs acts as a gateway into the experience of these nine artists. Depicted in personal, intimate scales, a range of real and invented imagery comprises a cross-section of approaches to the contemporary landscape. Energized and fantastical, dark and foreboding, these microcosms imply contradictory feelings of both safety and vulnerability. Creating spaces to peer into, but not necessarily through, these artists explore paths of escape while allowing us access to altered realities. As with the reflection from a portal’s glass, the viewer faces her own presence and occupation of space in the act of viewing.

Out of the shape and texture of a landscape emerges the first clue into an artist’s subjectivity. The works in Portals manipulate artificial proportions. These interpretations of the land break from traditional horizon-driven vistas into compositions that are jammed up, graphic, or ethereally floating. Spaces oscillate between perspectival depth and flattened surfaces, leaving the viewer in undefined territory full of potential. Through their imagined worlds, these artists transform memories and traumas into fantastical spaces; in some the results are haunting, while others are disarming.

Like a portal or passageway, technology can open uncharted mindscapes full of new kinds of energy and promise, while editing and shaping our experience. As we acclimate to experiencing life in conjunction with new technologies, we become further detached from our terrestrial surroundings, the physical space we occupy falling out of focus. We fight to stay present, often nostalgic for a recent past that did not include the digital mediation of our experience. In this increasingly digital world, the physicality of the landscapes in Portals is more vital than ever. Through brushstrokes, blurred and hard edges, these images test our attention, slowing down our consumption in spaces that pose more questions than answers.

Maureen Drennan

Maureen Drennan

Transmitter Gallery: 1329 Willoughby Avenue, 2A, Brooklyn, NY 11237 

Alum, Dalia Amara in the Group Exhibition, In Pursuit of the Perfect Pose


In Pursuit of the Perfect Pose explores internalized performative manifestations of femininity and cultural alterity imposed through social structures and societal expectations of marginalized women. Drawing loosely on ideas of Otherness as experienced by racialized minorities, this exhibition highlights the intersections of barriers faced by women of colour, and the ways in which they challenge the constructed performance of their identities. Participating artists Dalia Amara, Rah, Rajni Perera, Shellie Zhang and Tau Lewis use image-based works and installation to reflect on the signifiers and foundations of cultural and gender performance in Western society. Each project takes a unique approach to question and reform enforced binary narratives that pose limits on a fluid disposition of self. With a platform for these female artists of colour to take up space, subvert the colonial gaze and navigate through notions of otherness and performance in their work, the exhibition acts as a collective appeal to engage in further discourse on the barriers such mandated performance creates.

Dalia Amara, I'll Be Your ____, archival inkjet print, 2017

Dalia Amara, I'll Be Your ____, archival inkjet print, 2017

In Pursuit of the Perfect Pose

Artists: Dalia Amara, Rah Eleh, Rajni Perera, Shellie Zhang and Tau Lewis

October 27 - December 2, 2017

Opening reception: October 27, 2017 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Gallery 44: Centre for Contemporary Photography

401 Richmond St W #120, 

Toronto, ON M5V 3A8, Canada

For more info regarding the exhibition, please visit:


A.P.E is pleased to present Ordinary Devotion, an exhibition of new photographs by Martha Fleming-Ives. Taken during the artist’s first year of motherhood and her daughter’s infancy, Ordinary Devotion depicts her early experiences as a mother through images of her growing child, her changing body, and the domestic space immediately surrounding them. Over the past several years, Fleming-Ives’ photographic practice has focused upon unflinching portraits of members of her family, at times capturing vulnerable periods of transition and growth. Here, Fleming-Ives turns her lens to herself, identifying the mother-child relationship as a familial point of origin. Taking its title from English pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott’s statement that an “ordinary devoted mother”—present rather than perfect—is enough for the healthy development of a child, Fleming-Ives’ series acts as a negotiation between the seemingly opposite mundane tasks of daily life tending to an infant and the blissful, often spiritual, sensuality present in caring for a new child.

Fleming-Ives’ photographs, taken with a medium format film camera, are largely confined to a quiet and still apartment, often cast with squares of warm afternoon light, and defined by objects relating both to a child’s development—rainbow toys strewn about the floor—and a mother’s—a guide to labor and childbirth entitled Birth. The conversion of the domestic space to studio by necessity speaks to the heightened sense of isolation and alienation a new mother can feel towards the outside world and in her new role as round-the-clock care-taker. Fleming-Ives portrays both blissful interactions with her child alongside physiological stresses of post-pregnancy, and demonstrates motherhood as practiced and learned over time, rather than automatic and immediate upon a child’s birth. Layering meanings of “women’s work”—that of mother and that of artist—Fleming-Ives steps into the latter to illuminate the former, expanding the art historical theme of motherhood to include its effect on female identity, while newly exploring her own negotiation between the two roles. This idea is perhaps best articulated in the work Motherhood: The Reference Library, a shelf containing a collection of books that question what motherhood means to those who define themselves as mothers, and were meaningful to the artist while making this project.

Martha Fleming-Ives was born in 1983 and grew up in Northampton, MA. Her work has been exhibited at Silver Eye Center for Photography, Center for Photography at Woodstock, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and Griffin Museum of Photography. She currently teaches in the Honors Program at the School of Visual Arts, NY, and is working on her first book of photographs with German publisher Kehrer Verlag.

August 8-25, 2017 Ordinary Devotion A photography installation by Martha Fleming-Ives August 8 – August 26, 2017 Artist Reception: Friday, August 11 , 6 - 8 pm

August 8-25, 2017

Ordinary Devotion
A photography installation by Martha Fleming-Ives
August 8 – August 26, 2017
Artist Reception: Friday, August 11 , 6 - 8 pm

All That Paradise Allows by Adam Bell on the Aperture Blog

reviews July 18th, 2017

All That Paradise Allows

In Crimea and the Caribbean, Nicholas Muellner’s new photobook is a tropical gothic of seduction and violence.

By Adam Bell

Nicholas Muellner, Untitled, from In Most Tides an Island, 2017 Courtesy the artist

Nicholas Muellner, Untitled, from In Most Tides an Island, 2017
Courtesy the artist

Gracefully marrying image and text, Nicholas Muellner’s photobook In Most Tides an Island(2017) is a poignant meditation on loneliness, love, and isolation in our contemporary world. Structured in twelve chapters, the book tells two parallel but related stories: the real-life struggles of closeted, gay men in provincial Russia and Ukraine, yearning for a connection and love they can’t openly express; and the invented life of a solitary woman on a Caribbean island. Equal parts document, diary, and fictional invention, In Most Tides an Island defies easy categorization. Like Muellner’s previous books—The Amnesia Pavilions (2011) and The Photograph Commands Indifference (2009)—the work deftly combines image and text into a unique form, while, at the same time, poetically questioning the limits of each. The book’s parallel stories ultimately converge to offer a portrait of the heartrending reality of our disconnected, yet networked lives.

Nicholas Muellner, Untitled, from In Most Tides an Island, 2017 Courtesy the artist

Nicholas Muellner, Untitled, from In Most Tides an Island, 2017
Courtesy the artist

Adam Bell: You describe yourself as an artist who “operates at the intersection of photography and writing.” How did you come to this relationship and how do you see it working in In Most Tides an Island?

Nicholas Muellner: I came to that intersection in my work by way of a circle: it’s precisely where I started. Long before I knew myself as an artist, I loved following threads of language, and I loved making pictures. They were better places to live than inside myself—richer, safer, more satisfying. Simultaneously, and for as long as I can remember, I have been both thrilled and heartbroken by the inviolable separateness of each human consciousness, no matter the physical or emotional proximity. For me, these facts were inseparable. Words and images became like two lovers lying next to each other in bed who can never know the other’s mind. And, at some point, without a formal declaration, I made it my life’s work—what an absurd claim!—to reconcile those two fraught lovers, by making a romance of the space between them.

That’s a lie. My work never hopes to reconcile language and image. More accurately, it deploys their unbridgeable autonomies as both a means and a metaphor. In the new book, the reticence and stillness of the photographs often amplifies the loneliness and repression of the written narratives. Other times, the emotion of an image confesses what cannot be expressed in words. The language and the photographs collapse into disjunctive double exposures and create a broken double vision, moving in and out of sensory alignment.

For the full review and text, please visit the Aperture Blog here

Alum, Maureen Drennan Exhibiting at Aperture Summer Open, On Freedom

Curated by For Freedoms, the 2017 Aperture Summer Open exhibition, On Freedom, offers a photographic response to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The photographers and image-makers selected for inclusion each address these issues in their work in varying ways. By bringing them together, we aim to open up a dialogue about the nature and necessity of political action, the language and means by which we critique and produce avenues for sustainable change, and the relationship of photography to these issues.

In the hands of some of the photographers presented in this exhibition, the camera serves as a mirror, reflecting on the stark limitations that make social inequality visible. In others, the camera serves as a tool of liberation—for the body and the mind, and from personal and ecological danger, social constructs, and political limitations. The selection demonstrates how the democratic nature of photography can serve as a vehicle for diverse perspectives to visualize social problems, spark dialogue, and transform assumptions. For many, freedom may be an illusion, but the photographers here are committed to mapping new aspects of this critical terrain—identifying a trail, pointing out dangers along the way—and ever aiming toward the light.

—For Freedoms

Participating photographers: Myriam Abdelaziz / Inbal Abergil / Susan Barnett / Claire Beckett / Lisa K. Blatt / Corinne May Botz / Xavi Bou / Jean-Christian Bourcart / Jenny Brover / Gary Burnley / Jasmine Clark / Debi Cornwall / Marcus DeSieno / Daesha Devón Harris / Maureen Drennan / Jess T. Dugan / Dan Farnum / Mike Fernandez / Ashley Gates / Gigi Gatewood / Kris Graves / Matthew Hamon / Jon Henry / Perri Hofmann / Lili Holzer-Glier / Michael Joseph / Stephen Joyce / Rhea Karam / KevinCharityFair / Lali Khalid / Demetris Koilalous / Marta Kosiorek / Holly Lynton / Francesca Magnani / Marc McAndrews / Mary Beth Meehan / Noritaka Minami / Sam O’Neill / Mike Osborne / Joaquin Palting / Argus Paul Estabrook / Ke Peng / Brittany M. Powell / Hector Rene / Jordan Reznick / Daniel Evan Rodriguez / Phil Roeder / David Rothenberg / Mara Sánchez-Renero / Ben Schonberger / Jay Turner Frey Seawell / Daniel Shea and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa / Danna Singer / Angie Smith / Steven Trent Smith / Allison Stewart / Jared Thorne / Millee Tibbs / Shane Rocheleau and Brian Ulrich / Sandra Chen Weinstein / Harm Weistra / Emily Yang

2017 Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom / July 14 - August 17, 2017

Aperture Gallery: 547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor

Monday–Thursday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday

New Work by Alum, Tiffany Smith Presented at Bronx Calling: the Fourth AIM Biennial at The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Now in its fourth cycle, Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial features the work of seventy-two emerging artists from the 2016 and 2017 classes of the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program. AIM provides professional development resources to emerging artists living and working in the New York metropolitan area. The exhibition is organized by Aylet Ojeda Jequin, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana; and the Bronx Museum’s Christine Licata, Director of Community and Public Programs; and, Heather Reyes, independent curator. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.

Participating Artists: Seyi Adebanjo, Constanza Alarcon-Tennen, Francheska Alcantara, Amanda Alfieri, Setare Arashloo, Sabrina Barrios, Milcah Bassel, Laura Bernstein, Leo Castaneda, Kiran Chandra, Jesse Chun, Clare Churchouse, Maya Ciarrocchi, Lionel Cruet, Craig Damrauer, Sophia Dawson, Rose DeSiano, Luba Drozd, Carrie Elston Tunick, Dolores Furtado, Dhanashree Gadiyar, Ivan Gaete, Ana Garces Kiley, Pablo Garcia, Dakota Gearhart, Michelle Gevint, Naima Green, Uraline Septembre Hager, Kathie Halfin, Bang Geul Han, Amber Heaton, Robert Hernandez, Chika, Sara Jimenez, Merritt Johnson, Dominika Ksel, Stephanie Lindquist, Tammy Kiku Logan, Lulu Meng, Estefani Mercedes, Coralina Meyer, Kyle Meyer, Joiri Minaya, Pablo Montealegre, Shayok Mukhopadhyay, Jasmine Murrell, Zahra Nazari, Christie Neptune, Brandon Neubauer, Ana Penalba, Nestor Perez-Moliere, Anna Pinkas, Gustavo Prado, Elise Rasmussen, David Rios-Ferreira, Sarah Sagarin, Annesofie Sandal, Giovana Schluter, Kristine Servia, Dustina Sherbine, David Shrobe, Tiffany Smith, Vered Snear, Rachel Sydlowski, Mikolaj Szoska, Adrienne Tarver, Rosemary Taylor, Heryk Tomassini, Ekaterina Vanovskaya, Alisha Wessler, Doohyun Yoon, Jayoung Yoon

Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial

July 22, 2017 to October 22, 2017

An opening reception will be held in conjunction with the museum's Summer Season Open House on Thursday, July 27 from 6pm to 8pm


Group Show at Metro Pictures featuring Alum, Shiyuan Liu

As a part of CONDO Complex New York, a gallery swap between New York galleries and national and international partners, Metro Pictures hosts Leo Xu’s two-part exhibition A New Ballardian Vision. The show brings together a selection of works that reflect recent social, technological and environmental developments through the lens of author J.G. Ballard’s (1930–2009) writings. Xu conceived the exhibition as two distinct chapters; the first features Metro Pictures artists Nina Beier, Camille Henrot, Martin Kippenberger, Oliver Laric, Robert Longo, Trevor Paglen, Jim Shaw and Cindy Sherman. The second chapter focuses on a younger generation of Chinese artists represented by Leo Xu Projects, including aaajiao, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Cui Jie, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan and Pixy Liao.

A New Ballardian Vision Chapter 1: Curated by Leo Xu Chapter 2: Leo Xu Projects in Metro Pictures’ Upstairs Gallery June 29 – August 4, 2017

A New Ballardian Vision. Installation View, 2017. Metro Pictures, New York  

A New Ballardian Vision. Installation View, 2017. Metro Pictures, New York  

Read full press release here