No More Teachers, No More Books

Well, not exactly, since I’m planning on taking a Summer course that starts in a month.  Plus, I’m going to miss my teachers and my books.  Hmmm, maybe I should start over….

Today is the last official day of the semester, although we MFA candidates were finished on Saturday night with the end of Open Studios.  We had a good crowd, especially for our opening on Thursday.  Thank you to everyone who came.

Since my family was unable to attend, I am using photos of my studio here to give them an idea of the work I did this term.  If you’ve already seen it, scroll on by, and congratulations on a term well done.

The Drawing Center

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to receive a studio visit from curator Joanna Kleinberg Romanow of The Drawing Center (35 Wooster Street in Soho –

Giosetta Fioroni, Liberty, 1965

Giosetta Fioroni

During our visit, Mrs. Romanow was insistent that I come to The Drawing Center to see their new show: L’Argento (Silver) by Italian artist Giosetta Fioroni.  So this morning I headed out and arrived as the doors opened at noon.  It is an exciting, exquisite exhibition that made me appreciate the mastery that hides behind the appearance of simplicity.  Compared to these drawings, mine feel overworked and over thought.  Compared to these drawings, EVERYONE’s feel overworked and over thought.  They are sublime.

This is a focused survey of works made in the 1960s, but some of Ms. Fioroni’s childhood work is on display, as well as some of the more abstract work that she began to make in the 1970s.  It is interesting to note that both of her parents were artists, thus providing her with a very precocious start, plus nature AND nurture.  Her gift was evident early on.

The show is open through June 2nd and The Drawing Center is very easy to reach by subway.  Do yourself a favor and go savor it.

I have spent most of this semester drawing rather than painting, and experimenting with left-handed self-portraits and silk-screening, so  Mrs. Romanow’s thoughtful and positive critique of my work boosted my confidence as I head into the last week of the semester.  If you’re in the city, come visit the SVA MFA Program’s Open Studios at 133-141 West 21st Street, floors 8-9.  We open Thursday at 5:00 and Friday and Saturday at noon.

Ten Days and Counting

Ten days from today is my last (actually my only) final exam and the first day of this term’s Open Studios.  (invitation:  Then my first year as an MFA candidate will be over.  One more year to go.  And will I have mastered the issues I’m struggling with in my art?  Will I have gotten any teaching or writing job offers?  Will I have managed to get rid of the growing pile of old art that sits in the middle of my small living room like a post-modern tepee?  I’m tempted to burn it, but I’d have to move my sofa and disable the sprinkler system and prepare for the fire department to arrest me… well, you see why the pile is growing.

Jiwon Choi, BFA Fine Arts Infinity as Dots, Black Infinity as Dots, White

Jiwon Choi, BFA Fine Arts
Infinity as Dots, Black
Infinity as Dots, White

My first year has been frustrating, exasperating, exhilarating, and did I mention frustrating?  I have not taken up drinking or smoking, but my language is admittedly saltier than when I first got here.  And sometimes I write it on the walls of my studio.  In big black letters.  My teachers push me hard to change what I’m doing.  It’s their job, and I appreciate the creative ways they torture me.  (More salty language.)  It’s time to take what I’ve learned this year and begin to plan the work I’ll make for my MFA exhibition and my written thesis. Time is fleeting.  (Does that make you think of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or is that just me?  Is there a thesis topic hidden in there somewhere?  No.  No.  Stop it.)

Boyoun Kim, BFA Fine Arts, Printmaking Secret Pleasure

Boyoun Kim, BFA Fine Arts, Printmaking
Secret Pleasure


Boyoun Kim, BFA Fine Arts, Printmaking Summer

Boyoun Kim,
BFA Fine Arts, Printmaking

So the long explanation of why my blog posts have gotten a teensy bit scarce is that I’m busy biting my fingernails and getting ready for the term end.  In addition to my exam, I have two group critiques, term review by two strangers, and three days of sitting in my studio trying not to scare off the art-lookers who wander by.  They would really rather look in my studio when I’m not there, but what if one of them wants a conversation?  What if one of them is a curator?  Conundrum.  Maybe I’ll just loiter in the hallway as if I am a civilian and then pounce if they look interested.  That wouldn’t be creepy at all.

Michael Lee, BFA Fine Arts Castillo

Michael Lee, BFA Fine Arts

But in the middle of anguish, there is always art.  Especially in New York.  Yesterday as I was headed into my studio building I noticed two new exhibitions on the ground floor.  Both were by undergraduates.  One was posters of movies made by the students in the digital art department.  And the other was a beautifully curated small show of BFA students from several different departments.

Ting Yu Tsai Interior Design Model

Ting Yu Tsai
Interior Design

Deep breath.  Look at the art.  Admire the creativity.  Remember why I’m here.  And don’t lose my day job.


Affordable Art Fair

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first Affordable Art Fair.  Was it going to resemble the “Starving Artists” shows that pop up at Marriott Hotels?  Would everything be sofa-sized? I read that prices at the show would range from $100 to $10,000.  Compared to  Sotheby’s auctions, these are indeed affordable prices, but $10,000 for a piece of art is still beyond most people’s budgets.

I did the math (2/3 of my art given away, 1/3 sold for a few hundred dollars each) and decided that this was a venue that might work for me in the future, if the qualifying process is not too onerous and does not depend on knowing the right people.  I not only don’t know the right people, I don’t even know who they are.

Overall, definitely worth a trip.  Also, only three blocks from where I live.  Win-win!

Student discount ticket and I was inside.  It definitely had that generic art show/coffee fest vibe, with movable walls and gallery signs, but I appreciated that the show’s color scheme was hot pink and white.  It said young and fresh!

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst at Manifold Editions/Paragon Press

I was only three or four booths in when several paintings grabbed my attention.  Polka-dots in bright colors.  I could not possibly resist.  And who did they turn out to be by?  Damien Hirst.  I kid you not.  Practically the last man I expected to find at an Affordable Art Fair.  Okay, so they were woodcut prints in editions of 55 each, but they were signed by the artist and depending on the size could be had for a mere $2570 to $5040 apiece.  Including the frame.  I wanted one.  I wanted all of them.

Completely out of the question, of course.  If I had the cash, that isn’t how I’d spend it.  If I want to, I can paint my own polka-dots.  But how are ordinary “affordable” artists supposed to compete with big guns like that?

Minseop Yoon

Minseop Yoon

There were several artists from my own grad school program represented (more hope for me for next year), and I was especially pleased to see that Minseop Yoon’s art had migrated from the Emerging Artists area into Established Artists and was showing (and selling) in both spaces.  Good for her!


James Hawke at Bicha Gallery

James Hawke at Bicha Gallery

I was also interested to notice that most of the galleries represented were international, and therefore their artists were unknown to me.  But as usual, I was attracted to brightly colored paintings and resolved to make more brightly colored work, even though the group crit I endured right before rushing off to the Affordable Art Fair seemed to end in a concensus that my work wasn’t depressing enough.

Wouldn’t it be just dreadful if my work weren’t depressing at all?