The Visual & Critical Studies blog has been idle for a few days while our Systems Administrator Justin Elm has been fine-tuning its new look. Justin has streamlined the layout and made it more consistent with the the VCS Tumblr and Flickr, and moved some information around to integrate the blog more closely with the VCS website.

old VCS blog

Out with the old, in with the new.

The 2012/2013 academic year at the School of Visual Arts ended early last week, and the VCS class of 2013 is getting ready for the commencement ceremonies that will take place this Thursday, May 9th at Radio City Music Hall. Over the next few weeks, I will return to my regular summertime schedule of posting new updates to the blog every five or six days. I’ve got a lot of new material to present, including images from recent events such as the VCS open studios, updates on what some of our alumni are doing, and news about student and faculty exhibitions. I’ll be back in a day or so with my first summer post.

MTS poster

This Thursday, April 25th from 5 to 8 p.m., the Visual & Critical Studies Department will present Mapping Thinking Spaces, a one-night-only exhibition of site-specific work by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year VCS students, curated by VCS juniors Lily Lewis, Berny Tan, and Justine Wong. The exhibition will take place in room 404C on the fourth floor of 133 West 21st Street, at the same time as the 2013 VCS open studios, which I wrote about in the previous post.

Here is a little more information about Mapping Thinking Spaces, quoted from the show’s press release (you can download the entire document at this link):

One of the smaller classrooms on the floor, 404C presents specific spatial constraints unique to the classroom environment. As such, the curators have created an exhibition structure that allows the artists to respond to both these architectural characteristics and the knowledge production they accommodate. In doing so, they have chosen to eschew their conventional responsibilities of artwork selection and arrangement, and instead exert their authority through a form of legislation.

Each artist was asked to submit a proposal for a work that would allude to a larger space than that provided, as well as complete an accompanying questionnaire about their art school experience. The pages of the proposals were scanned and posted on the exhibition’s Tumblr in order of submission date, establishing a chronological map of the then hypothetical exhibition. This parallels the class syllabi each SVA student receives at the beginning of each class, which anticipates the entire semester but cannot possibly foresee how it will actually progress. Artists were encouraged to read and review each other’s proposals, perhaps modify their proposals in order to embark on any collaborative works, and work around cases where different artists proposed to use the same space.

The installation, taking place in a functioning classroom, naturally had to accommodate the scheduled classes. Thus, the artists were given a 24-hour window to install their work through an incremental schedule mirroring SVA’s process of class registration. The more senior the student and the better his or her grades are, the more time they had for installation. The artists also had to work around a class that was happening in the room on the day of the event. Through this staggered installation schedule, the classroom accumulated a form of creative spatial memory that the artists had to work around, suggesting the communal nature of the shared classroom environment.

As mentioned above, the curators have also set up a dedicated tumblr for Mapping Thinking Spaces, which you can find at

For more information or inquiries, please contact the curators by e-mail at

We hope to see you there.

2013 open studios poster

This Thursday, April 25th from 5 to 8 pm, the Visual & Critical Studies Department will hold its annual open studios on the 1st, 4th, and 6th floors at 133 West 21st Street. The event is free and open to the public, and will feature artworks from over two dozen of our students, including members of this year’s graduating class.

Students participating this year include Savanna Barrett, Alex Belancourt, Luiza Cardenuto, Peter Dubecky, Nina Franzen, Maya Harder-Montoya, Lucia Hinojosa, Romke Hoogwaerts, Hallie Kruger, Ilana Kruger, Betty Laboz, Ingrid Li, Sam Lieberman, Angela Miskis, Amelia Modlin, George Mott, Audrey Nicolaides, Lauren O’Neill, William Patterson, Alyssa Rina, Courtney Spieker, Susanna Spieler, Erin Ward, Danielle Whalen, Megan Westgate, and Jan Zaloudek.

We hope to see you there.


To see some images from prior years’ VCS open studios, check out the following links:

[Images: the 2013 open studios poster (top) and invitation (below), both designed by VCS student Berny Tan]

2013 open studios invitation

Posted by: Jeff Edwards | April 20, 2013

An animation by Taylor Baker, inspired by Woodkid

Here’s one more short video from Amy Wilson’s Foundation Drawing class. This one comes from VCS student Taylor Baker; it’s a hand-drawn animation made with black and gray Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils, inspired by the Woodkid song and video “I Love You.”

Today I’ve got the second of three short animations from Amy Wilson’s Foundation Drawing class.

This one was made by VCS student Jennifer Keyes, a first year student from Chicago. It’s based on “Poem” by E. E. Cummings, originally published in the magazine Shenandoah in 1962 and later collected in the posthumous Cummings collection 73 Poems and the Shenandoah anthology Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Poetry.


what time is it? it is by every star
a different time, and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

– not all their times encompass me and you:

when we are never, but forever now
(hosts of eternity; not guests of seem)
believe me, dear, clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time.

Time cannot children, poets, lovers tell –
Measure imagine, mystery, a kiss
– not though mankind would rather know than feel:

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our) merely to undie


I’ll be back in a few days with one more animation from this year’s Foundation Drawing class.

Posted by: Jeff Edwards | April 13, 2013

“Window in the Void,” a short animation by Andrea Garcia

Around this time each spring, Amy Wilson gives her Foundation Drawing class the assignment to create a short animation using some of the techniques they’ve learned during the year. The latest round of animations was turned in last week. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting a few of them here.

Today’s post presents “Window in the Void” by VCS third-year student Andrea Garcia, featuring the song “Wash” by Bon Iver. (You can also see some of Andrea’s art on her blog at, and her photos on soapskeptics@Instagram.)

I’ll be back in a couple days with another animation from Amy’s class.

Posted by: Jeff Edwards | April 9, 2013

Zeke Decker at the Leipzig International Art Program


Zeke Decker in his studio at the Leipzig International Art Program.

For the last three years, one member of the VCS graduating class has been selected to participate in a residency at the Leipzig International Art Program in Leipzig, Germany. Here’s a some information about the program from the VCS website’s residencies page:

Each year, the Visual & Critical Studies department offers scholarship to one graduating senior, to spend 5 months as an artist in residence with the Leipzig International Art Program, in Leipzig, Germany.

LIA is a non-profit residency programme that fosters artists internationally by providing them with spacious studios and cultural support, as well as opportunities to exhibit both locally and abroad. The programme links young artists with the regional and international art community associated with the Spinnerei, connecting them with galleries, collectors, museums and art institutions.

Last year, class of 2012 alumnus Zeke Decker was chosen to be the most recent recipient of the residency scholarship. Today’s post presents a few photos from Zeke’s time in Leipzig.


Another shot of Zeke in his Leipzig studio.


Zeke and a member of the residency program discuss one of his paintings in an early stage of its creation.

Zeke 5

A few of Zeke’s preliminary sketches.


Zeke (right) hanging out with other members of the residency program in one of the halls outside the LIA studios.


Zeke with a couple of his paintings.


Members of the public visit Zeke’s studio during an open house at LIA.

You can find more photos from Zeke’s residency in this photoset on the VCS Flickr page, along with images from Brooke Tomiello’s residency the previous year.

I’ve also written on this blog about the residencies completed by Brooke and Katie Armstrong, who was the first recipient back in 2010/2011. Here are links to two of my posts about them:

Tonight (Friday, April 4th) from 6 to 8 p.m., the Visual & Critical Studies program is hosting an opening reception for a new exhibition of landscape paintings by VCS student Joseph De Sena. The show is located on the 4th floor at 133 West 21st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. We hope to see you there.

Joseph De Sena

Posted by: Jeff Edwards | April 4, 2013

Reminder: Freshly Minted, tonight at the SVA Theatre

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Visual & Critical Studies Program will present Freshly Minted, a panel discussion about life after art school moderated by VCS faculty member Peter Hristoff. The SVA Theatre is located at 333 West 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th avenues), and the event is free and open to the public.

You can read more about Freshly Minted below, or at this post from last week.

Freshly Minted Poster

Posted by: Jeff Edwards | April 1, 2013

The VCS Chair Reading for April 2013

NLR Jan Feb 2013

The VCS Chair Readings series is a monthly mailing of recently published short essays recommended by department chair Tom Huhn. This month, Tom has selected the essay “Obama’s Battalions: The Last White Election?” by Mike Davis, from the January/February 2013 issue of New Left Review.  Here are his comments on it:

I’m very happy to recommend this detailed essay by Mike Davis on the most recent US Presidential election. It contains the most extensive analysis I’ve seen thus far on the peculiarities of our most recent election. And it has some rather sweeping implications for the future of the Republican Party. I trust you will learn much from it.

“The Last White Election?” is available for download as a PDF file via this link.

The previous entries in the VCS Chair Readings series are available for download at

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