alum

Tiffany Smith: Redefining Incarceration Through the Arts

MFA Photography, Video and Related Media alum, Tiffany Smith is utilizing art to explore notions of displacement and identity through collaborative experience. One of Smith's latest projects takes place at Recess Assembly, an artist-led program designed as an alternative to incarceration for teens and young adults who are caught up in the justice system.

In a recent interview published through SVA's ContinuED newsletter, Smith says:

"I worked with the youth more directly and over a longer period of time than I have in the past. I was able to get to know them more personally and develop closer bonds...The impact for a young person seeing someone who looks like them, who understands the circumstances they've come from, and exemplifies how to successfully sustain a career as an artist is immeasurable and increasingly necessary."

Installation view of Tiffany Smith’s “A Moment in the Sun”

Installation view of Tiffany Smith’s “A Moment in the Sun”

Tiffany Smith is an interdisciplinary artist from the Caribbean diaspora who works with photography, video, installation, and design to create photographic portraits, site responsive installations, user engaged experiences, and assemblages focused on identity, representation, cultural ambiguity, and displacement. Using plant matter, design and home decor elements, pattern and costuming as cultural signifiers, visual references from an array of multi-cultural influences, derived from her upbringing between Miami, Florida, Nassau, Bahamas, and Jamaica inform images and installations that examine their subject’s individual narratives. Smith’s constructed temporary habitats serve to articulate cultural subjectivities that oscillate between the roles of visitor and native, mirroring the ambiguous cultural space that her subjects occupy. Smith’s practice centers on what forms and defines communities of people color, in particular; how they are identified and represented, and how they endure.

To view the full interview with Smith, visit ContinED online.

Portrait of Recess Assembly team during public family photo day (credit: Tiffany Smith)

Portrait of Recess Assembly team during public family photo day (credit: Tiffany Smith)

Cynthia Bittenfield: Current Shows and Exhibitions

On view at at the Wassaic Project until Saturday Sept. 22, Change of State features SVA MFA Photo, Video and Related Media alumnus Cynthia Bittenfield. The exhibit showcases art created during a time in which many people in our country have felt divided, angry, vindicated, or confused — and the works reflect these changes and challenges. Find elements of nostalgia, fantasy, failure, hope, fear, love, anger, and chaos. Consider who you are, not the groups you identify with, and attempt to welcome each artist's intentions without your own biases. While not all of the works are political in the traditional sense, it is worth considering the charged political climate in which they have been created and the rural community in which they are being viewed. Visit the Wassaic Project for more information about the show.

“K.P.” by: Cynthia Bittenfield

“K.P.” by: Cynthia Bittenfield

Also on view by Bittenfield this month, World War II Revisited combines images from her father’s scrapbook with images taken at the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. The combination of his playful, innocent musings of daily life in basic training with the remnants and aftermath of war creates a powerful statement of the harsh reality of war and the devastating loss.

World War II Revisted is available for viewing Mon, Wed, and Fri from 11 am- 7 pm at The PIT Loft.

“Boys Will Be Boys” by: Cynthia Bittenfield

“Boys Will Be Boys” by: Cynthia Bittenfield

Cynthia Bittenfield pursues projects that shed light on the human cost of war whether dealing with the issue of post-traumatic stress, revisiting battlefields and sites of atrocity, or documenting life on the home front. The discovery of her father’s wartime scrapbook after he died started her in this new direction. The photo album and family archive has also figured prominently in her latest portrait project, an homage to her mother’s life and death.

The Vernacular of Landscape: Opening Reception

From Sept. 14-Oct. 19, Usagi NY hosts The Vernacular of Landscape, a survey of contemporary landscape photography curated by Subjectively Objective founder Noah Waldeck and co-edited by SVA alumni Dana Stirling and Yoav Friedlander of Float Photo Magazine.

The exhibit will showcase images from 58 artists from around the world, including:

Rob Stephenson, Diana Nygren, Patrick Warner, Tim Dechent, Lewis Ableidinger, Nathanial Schmidt, Emmanuel Monzon, Roger Grasas, Michael Wriston, Nick Zukauskas, Daniel George, Adrien Blondel, Ivan Echevarria, John Sanderson, Paul Sisson, Sandro Katalina, Brooks Geenen, James Doyle, Christiaan Kritzinger, Raul Guillermo, Tod Kapke, Cody Schlabaugh, Cristian Ordonez, Balint Alovits, Pratya Jankong, Danny Rowton, FeiFan Zhang, Reid Elem, Anthony Onesta, Joshua Oldfield, Ryan Parker, Maxime Taillez, Balazs Fromm, Julian Reid, Franck Doussot, Dineke Versluis, Irene Tondelli, Cody Bratt, Matthew Portch, Leonardo Magrelli, Christian Kondic, Solange Adum-Abdala, Kyle Everett Smith, Berber Theunissen, Dan Mariner, Michael Garbutt, Fred Guillaud, Mattia Paladini, Yorgos Efthymiadis, Stephen Berry, Lawrence Braun, Will Cox, Morgane Erpicum, Liam McMillan, Pol Viladoms, Jeff Phillips, Chris Bennett & Chris Round.

The opening reception will take place at Usagi NY art space September 14, 2018 7-9PM; 163 Plymouth St, Brooklyn, New York.

For more information, or to RSVP, please visit the event's page

Photo: Irene Tondelli

Photo: Irene Tondelli

Lissa Rivera exhibition Beautiful Boy at Clark Gallery

Clark Gallery is pleased to announce their upcoming provincetown pop gallery featuring a solo exhibition by alumni Lissa Rivera. Beautiful Boy follows her collaboration with her friend, muse, and romantic partner in an effort to create a private domain in which fantasy and real life collide. Based on a conversation in which her friend divulged his collegiate habit of donning women’s clothing, the pair constructs a series of glamorous and alluring portraits in which gender and our understanding of it becomes ambiguous and nuanced. Beautiful Boy is a testament both to the man before her lens and her abiding love for him.

The reception will take place on July 6th from 6-10pm. The exhibition will be on view June 27th through July 25th, 2018 at Clark Gallery (Provincetown Pop-Up) located at 444 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA.

For more information, please click here.

Image courtesy of the artist.

Image courtesy of the artist.

In related new, Rivera's work has also been acquired recently by Museum of Fine Arts Houston  and Newport Art Museum. On Saturday June 30th, her latest curatorial effort Our Souls to Keep will debut at Field Projects, NYC. The works were selected from an open call of over 1,100 entries. Representing both a keen awareness of repression and a sense of personal awakening, the artists in 'Our Souls To Keep' employ vernacular languages and outmoded processes to express the historical absurdities of American mythology, investigating the undercurrents of social control from the perspective of their own lived experiences.

image courtesy of Field Projects. 

image courtesy of Field Projects. 

Pacifico Silano, After Silence at Stellar Projects

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On June 28th, Stellar Projects will be debuting a solo exhibition of works by alumni Pacifico Silano. After Silence, Silano's latest series of photographs explores the physical and emotional voids felt as a result of the AIDS crisis.

The exhibition will run from June 28th to July 27th; with the opening reception occurring on June 28th from 6-8pm. For more information, please click here.

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A graduate of the program, Pacifico Silano is a lens-based artist whose work is an exploration of print culture, the circulation of imagery and LGBTQ identity. Born in Brooklyn, his work has been exhibited in group shows, including at the Bronx Museum; Tacoma Art Museum; Oude Kerk, Amsterdam; and ClampArt, New York City. He has had solo shows at ClampArt, New York City and Baxter ST@CCNY. Reviews of his work have appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum, Washington Post and The New York Times. He is a winner of the Individual Photographer’s Fellowship from the Aaron Siskind Foundation and a Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize. He was chosen as an Artist in Residence at Light Work in Syracuse, NY, granted a Workspace Residency at Baxter Street CCNY and was a Key Holder Resident at the Lower East Side Printshop. He is a 2016 fellow in Photography with the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi featured in Departures Magazine

Class of 2008 alum, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi was recently featured in Departures magazine in the article Women of African Art by Percy Mabandu. The piece look at female artists who in creating powerful work are taking their place on the international stage.

"Last year, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris presented a series of 16 oil portraits by the Johannesburg-based painter Thenjiwe iki Nkosi. All of them were 20 inches square, showing their subjects from the shoulders up, in the manner of photo IDs. The faces, subtly rendered in warm tones against flat backgrounds, belonged to family, friends, and political figures, all of them heroic to Nkosi in one way or another. When Nkosi had shown these canvases in South Africa, audiences recognized many of these people even though they were identified only by first name."

"But in Paris, where museum goers might not have readily identified the subjects, curators chose to display full names and short bios for each figure. Nkosi felt ambivalent about the decision. "I had questions," she says. "I wondered, Will the work lose something?" But in the end, the moment was triumphant. "When I saw these faces hanging in this place of power, there was power that I felt," she says. "It was kind of subversive." Nkosi's artistic approach is partly political, aiming to reclaim spaces through painting. "We are going through a historic moment in the African world, especially in the global diaspora," Nkosi says. "There's a focus on putting images of black people on the walls of key institutions!'"

To purchase a copy of the magazine and read the full article, please click here.

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Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi was born in New York to a South African father in exile and a Greek-American mother. In 1992, two years before South Africa’s first democratic elections, she moved with her family to Johannesburg. She is an artist who divides her time between studio work and navigating the field of art as social practice. Her work investigates power and its structures – political, social, architectural. Implicit in her examination of these structures is an interrogation of the invisible forces that create them, and an imagining of alternatives.

Her paintings and films have been shown at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg, the ifa Gallery in Berlin, the South London Gallery and Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rio de Janeiro and most recently at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Nkosi obtained her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts Photo, Video & Related Media in New York in 2008. She currently lives and works in Johannesburg. 

Alum, Angeliki Tsotsoni's debut album featuring photography from Charles H. Traub

Cover photo - Rome, 1981 from the project Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles H. Traub

Cover photo - Rome, 1981 from the project Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles H. Traub

The Greek brother-sister duo , Ocean Hope aka Serafim and class of 2009 alumni Angeliki Tsotsonis share "Devotion", the first lush taste of their debut album Rolling Days. The LP will be released on vinyl, CD, and digitally via Hush Hush Records on May 25th, 2018.

Rolling Days serves as the proper follow-up to their breakthrough 2015 debut release Chamber Dreams, a 4-track EP that introduced Ocean Hope’s romantic dream-pop sound in mysterious, shadowy, intimate fashion. For the past few years, the duo have stayed busy tinkering away in their home studios, recording ideas at Angeliki’s home in the small seaside town of Nerantza on the Corinthian Gulf, as well as at Serafim’s studio in the metropolitan of Athens. Steadily evolving and crafting their own unique style of dream-pop, Rolling Days proudly embraces a confident shift away from the hushed aesthetic of their debut in favor of a more direct, bold, and magnetic sound.

To listen to the album and purchase your copy, please click here.

In his book Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s, photographer and Department Chair Charles H. Traub (born 1945) turns his emphatically American gaze upon the streets and byways of Italy, from Milan to Marsala. Traub’s brilliant blues, reds and yellows accent the baroque posturing and gestures of strangers and ordinary people. Traub’s friend and guide, the late photographer Luigi Ghirri, said of the imagery, "you see our foibles, strip us bare, make love through the camera and then venerate us." Dolce Via is the first comprehensive collection of these vivid color photographs, which were made in Italy during the early 1980s. This publication includes contributions from American art critic, photographer and founding editor of Artforum, Max Kozloff, and the Italian poet, Luigi Ballerini.

To see more from the series, please click here.

Venice, 1981 from the project Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles H. Traub

Venice, 1981 from the project Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles H. Traub

Alum Qingshan Wang featured in upcoming exhibition at 7s Labo

Class of 2017 alum Qingshan Wang and artist Junnan Lyu will be featured in a joint exhibition, Displacement, on view at 7s Labo from May 4 to May 11, 2018. This exhibition will highlight the recent photographic projects by these two artists with a special focus on their unique approaches to staged photography. For more details on the show, please click here.

Qingshan Wang’s photography series Fabricated Nature shows how nature in urban environments is nurtured to conform to human demands. Wang’s approaches to staged photography also respond to the displacement of nature in urban ecosystems. Some of his works were reconstructed in the studio with paper sculptures; Others were digitally manipulated by compositing several elements into one image. His elaborated staging process aims to reveal the controversies behind these displacements, suggesting how the plant species in the urban space is constantly interfered by continual urban construction and redesign. His works - the Christmas tree lying in a fallen trash bin, the bare tree twigs attached to an arch, and the tree covered with string lights during festival times - then represent an uncanny character beyond the seemingly “beautiful” photographic surfaces.

 Festive Tree, 2017

 Festive Tree, 2017

Roadside, 2017

Roadside, 2017

Qingshan Wang, (b.1991, Beijing, China) Graduated from Photography, Video and Related Media department at School of Visual Arts, New York (M.F.A.), Wang now lives and works in New York. Focusing on transcending the fragments of everydayness, Wang’s photography works explore the interactions between nature and human beings in urban ecosystems. His recent shows include: Through the Looking-Glass, Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York (2018); Art and New Urban Culture, Metropolitan Pavillion, New York (2017); Forest of Imagination, Go East Project x UNDEF/NE 3rd Year Exhibition, M50 Art District, Shanghai (2017). He also received the Young Photographer of the Year award at ICC Photographic Award for COP21, Paris in 2015. Artist website: http://www.qingshanwang.me/

Melancholy , 2017

Melancholy , 2017

In other news, Qingshan Wang was also recently featured in an exhibition at Sotheby's Institute of Art at the end of March. The exhibition, Through the Looking Glass was curated by You Hyun Jang and Mary Harrison. 

 Qingshan Wang in conversation with curator Mary Harrison

 Qingshan Wang in conversation with curator Mary Harrison

Rachel Shuman's One October playing at Maysles Documentary Center

Filmed in October 2008 on the eve of Obama’s historic election and an unprecedented economic crisis, One October by alum Rachel Shuman acts as a lyrical portrait of New York City as it follows WFMU radio reporter Clay Pigeon as he takes to the streets to talk to fellow New Yorkers about their lives, their dreams, and their relationship with the city. These revealing interviews are woven between vivid scenes of New York’s eccentric byways, which together reveal a city—and a nation—at a crossroads.

The film first premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Clay Pigeon interviews Stacie who is worried about the changes in Harlem. 

Clay Pigeon interviews Stacie who is worried about the changes in Harlem. 

ONE OCTOBER will have a weeklong theatrical run at the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem, May 11–17, as part of their 10-year anniversary celebration. Following the screenings, there will be Q&As, panels, and special presentations with myself and various characters and filmmakers involved in both productions.

For more details and to purchase tickets, please click here.

A wide shot of the vacant lot where Stacie is standing in Harlem in October 2008.

A wide shot of the vacant lot where Stacie is standing in Harlem in October 2008.

Rachel Shuman (director, editor, producer) is a documentary filmmaker and editor who has worked in New York City for twenty years. Her directorial debut, Negotiations. premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival. She Directed Art, Architecture, and Innovation: Celebrating the Guggenheim Museum, which aired on PBS and is now on view at the museum. Her editing credits include various independent documentaries and nonfiction television, and she is proud to be a board member of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship. Originally from Boston, Rachel received a BFA from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2004.

That same corner lot is now home to the new Whole Foods in Harlem.

That same corner lot is now home to the new Whole Foods in Harlem.

Alum, Maureen Drennan featured New York Times

Alum Maureen Drennan latest work on the Rust Belt was featured in an article in The New York Times. In the interview with John Leland, Drennan opens up about her motivations behind the project as well as the insight that came as she delve deeper into the Rust Belt.

Bath Beach.

Bath Beach.

Excerpt from the article

“You have ideas about a project,” said Maureen Drennan, “but then when you go out there and shoot, things change.”

The idea for the photographs shown here, Ms. Drennan said, was to document the Rust Belt of New York City: an industrial wasteland that would stand as “a microcosm of the larger Rust Belt of the Midwest,” where once-vital factories gave way to hulking wreckage and the anger that animated the 2016 presidential election.

To read the full interview, please click here.

Sunset Park.

Sunset Park.

Maureen Drennan is a photographer born and based in New York City. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, the Tacoma Art Museum Seattle, Washington, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Aperture, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, and the Newspace Center for Photography, amongst others. Her images have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, California Sunday Magazine, Huffington Post, Photograph Magazine, Photo District News, American Photo, UK Telegraph, Refinery 29, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

She currently teaches at LaGuardia Community College and the International Center for Photography in New York City.

Bath Beach.

Bath Beach.