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Volume 19, Number 1
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Fashioning
a New Department

The fall 2011 term marks the launch of the MPS Fashion Photography Department at SVA. This new graduate program offers practicing photographers the opportunity to advance their work under the guidance of photographers, editors, creative directors and digital retouchers who work at the forefront of today's fashion world.

The program will be co-chaired by Stephen Frailey, photographer and chair of the BFA Photography Department, and Jimmy Moffat, one of the founders of the agency Art + Commerce. Frailey and Moffat have assembled leading figures from the fashion industry worldwide as faculty members, visiting artists, guest lecturers and advisers in the program. These include: retoucher Pascal Dangin; photographers Nick Knight, Ryan McGinley, Sølve Sundsbø and Tim Walker; creative directors Fabien Baron and Glenn O'Brien; and style editors Alix Browne and Andrew Richardson. They will be joined by noted critics and curators Vince Aletti of The New Yorker; Cathy Horyn of The New York Times; Eva Respini of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Carol Squiers of the International Center of Photography, among many others.

Students will explore the narrative, conceptual and cultural subtext of contemporary fashion photography while cultivating the critical and technical skills that will give them the ability to produce original, innovative, publication-ready work. They will make full use of New York City's extensive fashion resources through lectures, critiques, museum and gallery trips; visits to designers' studios; and couture shows. "We don't want to just inspire the most original work possible," says Jimmy Moffat, "we want our students to shape the future of the medium." [Keri Murawski]



Top photo: MPS Fashion Photography Department Co-chairs
Stephen Frailey and Jimmy Moffat
Bottom photo by Martin Adolfsson

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Beyond Kandinsky

Nathaniel Dorsky, still from Triste, 1974-1996.

In commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the publication of Wassily Kandinsky's seminal text On the Spiritual in Art, the College invited artists and scholars worldwide to participate in an online symposium: Beyond Kandinsky: Revisiting the Spiritual in Art. The 10-day event in April examined the influence the Russian painter's book has had throughout its 100-year history and its relationship with (and relevance to) the art world of today.

Organized and moderated by artist, writer and BFA Fine Arts Department faculty member Taney Roniger and writer and filmmaker Eric Zechman, the symposium encouraged a lively dialogue among art historians, media historians, critics, visual artists and filmmakers. The participants weighed in on how the questions Kandinsky posed in 1911 about the responsibilities of the artist could be interpreted within a contemporary context. In the book, Kandinsky argues against materialism and calls for a spiritual revolution in art.

In addition to the online event, the symposium included a screening at the SVA Theatre of three works by acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky: Sarabande (2008), Compline (2009) and Aubade (2010). Dorsky has been creating poetic (and often silent) films since 1964 and is the author of the book Devotional Cinema (Tuumba Press, 2003).

To read more about the symposium, visit
www.beyondkandinsky.net.
[Keri Murawski]

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Notes from
a Nobel Laureate

IOn Thursday, May 12, the SVA community will gather at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall for the College's 2011 Commencement exercises. President David Rhodes and the graduate and undergraduate department chairs will confer BFA, MAT, MFA and MPS degrees to the members of the class of 2011 with family, friends, faculty and colleagues in attendance.

The event's featured speaker will be Dr. Gerald Edelman, a Nobel laureate biologist best known for his pioneering work in understanding the structure of antibodies in the human immune system. Edelman shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with British biochemist Rodney Robert Porter, and has since built on that work by combining his expertise in immunology with neurological and philosophical inquiries. He is a native New Yorker and currently serves as director of the nonprofit Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, which he founded in New York in 1981 before moving to the West Coast in 1995. Following his keynote address to the class of 2011, Edelman will receive an honorary SVA degree from the College's Board of Directors. 
[Brian Glaser]

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Sans Title

There is a long-standing tradition at SVA of producing innovative publications, from the College's award-winning catalog to the student-run magazine Visual Opinion. The newest publishing venture to join this roster is SVA Untitled, an online newspaper from the Visual Arts Student Association (VASA).

The periodical is overseen by VASA's student government president Ilyssa Cohen, a current student in the BFA Photography Department. "It's by the students, for the students," says Cohen. "We didn't really have a publication like most colleges have, and we wanted to write about things from a student's point of view." The 10-page newspaper contains news about SVA events, reviews of campus exhibitions, interviews with faculty members, and more. "We read about these things in a formal way in places like the Briefs [SVA's blog and e-newsletter], but this is a more casual, student-focused approach," says Cohen, who adds that she's open to contributions that reach beyond the current content. "We'd love to see people come in with more ideas—maybe someone wants to write a comic or do something about fashion."

Untitled is available at svanewspaper.com and is currently published on a monthly basis, although Cohen says she's not ruling out a print version in the future. What's important, she says, is to get as many members of the student body as possible interested in the project: "We're looking for people to help out by taking photos, writing—any way they want to get involved. We're happy for anyone who wants to be a part of it to be a part of it."

To get more information about contributing to SVA Untitled, contact Cohen at [email protected]. 
[Brian Glaser]

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Ink Plots Scholarships

Lauren Baker, Aquapunk, 2009, ink on board, colored and lettered digitally.

In conjunction with the College's October 2010
presentation of "Ink Plots: The Tradition of the Graphic Novel at SVA" exhibition, The Alumni Society of SVA hosted a benefit cocktail party at which the exhibition's co-curators—BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department Chair Thomas Woodruff and MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department Chair Marshall Arisman—honored the faculty members whose work appeared in the exhibition. Proceeds from the event helped establish two new scholarship funds for undergraduate and graduate illustration students.

In February, the society announced the recipients of the inaugural scholarships: Lisa Anchin, who will receive the 2011 Illustration as Visual Essay Scholarship, awarded in support of second-year MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department students; and Lauren Baker, who will receive the 2011 Illustration and Cartooning Scholarship, awarded in support of undergraduate illustration and cartooning majors. Anchin will use the award to help complete her to-be-titled children's book (in both print and digital formats), an illustrated prose poem about a little girl who finds a mysterious jar labeled, "Do not, no how, no way, never EVER open this jar"; Baker's thesis is a two-part project, including the guerrilla-art Aquapunk multimedia piece and a series of paintings that will investigate a variety of styles, themes and uses of symbol and logo.
[Brian Glaser]

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Taking Design Back to School

During the fall 2010 semester, MFA Interaction Design Department students Carmen Dukes and Katie Koch co-founded Project: Interaction, a 10-week after-school program that challenges high school students to solve big problems with design. As teachers, Dukes and Koch introduced their students to the concepts of design, with the goal of empowering them to think differently about their surroundings.

"Kids are naturally creative and curious about the world around them," says Dukes. "Our program teaches kids to use design methods and design thinking to creatively approach problems that affect them and their communities."

Koch adds, "Whether it's reducing crowding on a subway or providing access to more green spaces in the city, we think some of the most creative answers lie with New York City's high schoolers. For a lot of kids, we're hoping this will be their first exposure to the practice of design and the potential of interaction design as a career opportunity."

The inaugural classes were held at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in downtown Brooklyn, where a group of 15 ninth- and tenth-grade students met once a week. The first lessons focused on design basics, defining design, brainstorming ideas and observing the world. By the fourth week, the students were off-site for an exclusive tour of the design studio RG/A. Another class session, taught by Julia de Martini Day from the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, focused on healthy living in New York City.

After successfully raising more than $8,000 using Kickstarter, a Web-based fundraising site, Dukes and Koch are planning to expand Project: Interaction to more schools in 2011, including an 11-session workshop at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Dukes notes, "In the end, we hope this program encourages kids to think creatively about the world around them, and ultimately, we hope to inspire the next generation of creative thinkers." 
[John Wyszniewski]

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