So Long, February

Is it seriously March already?!

The semester is flying by. Last week the B.F.A. studio had our first critique of the semester, which was structured in a format none of us had experienced before: after handing out our project statements and answering process-focused questions, we were disallowed from talking about our work and forced to only receive the comments of our classmates and professors without response. For me, that was a bit of a shock to my system, but turned out to be a much-needed one. I am used to vocalizing my ideas during a critique, but through this experience I realized that I could be much more receptive to a semi-cold reading of my work without the pressure of needing to talk about it. Plus, it was a welcome treat to have our Contemporary Art Seminar professor Jane Benson and our Professional Practice professor Jane Farver take time out of their mornings to participate in our critiques, give their opinions, and get a better understanding of who we are as students and as people; it was a very caring and productive gesture on their part.

Meanwhile, New York City has been swirling in its usual frenzy of exciting events to be taken advantage of. For the past week and a half, NYC Restaurant Week has been in full swing, offering discounted prices on full course meals at some of the city’s top restaurants — which I have probably taken advantage of more than my wallet (and stomach) can afford, at restaurants like Mercer Kitchen and L’Ecole in Soho. And, as always, the music culture of New York City is unrivaled. Just yesterday, I got a chance to see Sango and GoldLink — two of my all-time favorite DJ’s and rappers, respectively — perform a Boiler Room show at MoMA PS1 as part of their Sunday Sessions series. Another upcoming show that I’m looking forward to is Jay Prince, Esta, and Iamnobodi at SOB’s later this month.

February was a very short month, but it has completely succeeded in making me fall even more in love with this city.

Performance at MoMA PS1


Socrates Sculpture Park

In mid-February, we trekked out to Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens for ART 3103: New York City Seminar taught by Jane Benson. In previous years, the weather had prevented the trip from happening but this time it seemed we were safe. As we arrived at a snow-covered Socrates, we were greeted by a wide field dotted with various sculptures as part of a current Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition, which features 15 artists who were selected through a competitive application process. As part of our assignment for the course, we were asked to write a project proposal for Socrates. We set out to survey the space and the works currently installed to help formulate our ideas for what we would create since we are learning to think as practicing artists. Meanwhile, an ominous storm cloud began creeping across the sky and we watched nervously as it crossed the Hudson toward Queens.

Benson_Socrates_Sculpture_Park Jane Benson pointing out the covered area where artists work on their sculptures during the summer.

At one point, captured in gusts of snow and wind, it felt as though we weren’t even in New York City anymore…had the Ithaca weather followed us??

B.F.A. students trying to escape the weather.

After touring Socrates Sculpture Park, we headed over to the massive studio of Mark di Suvero who established the park in 1986 on top of a landfill. Unfortunately, he had just flown to Los Angeles, but we were still able to receive a full tour.

Professor Jane Benson (right) speaking with di Suvero’s assistant.

His works, which vary in size from tabletop pieces to towering metal sculptures, all have an element of interaction with the viewer. It’s necessary to view the larger pieces from a distance, but they invite you closer to spin pieces and push swinging parts and create sounds. The sculpture pictured above hangs above the floor by a mere few inches, thus creating a sense of curious and unexpected weightlessness.

Mark di Suvero’s art studio.

We also encountered large works on paper and canvas which displayed his love for dynamic color, lines, and glow-in-the-dark paint. Overall, it was an incredible experience to see the studio and work of a world-renowned sculptor and to learn about his process. Seeing Socrates and the support it provides for emerging artists leads us to envision where our work and practice could take us in the future.

Mariko_CatMariko Azis (B.F.A. ’16) with one of the cats-in-residence of Socrates Sculpture Park

Photos by Anna Warfield

Q&A: The BFA Internships

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, we B.F.A.s report to our respective internships to gain real-world, professional experience in our chosen fields.  One of the best parts of this internship arrangement was our ability to select our placement either from a comprehensive suggested list or from an outside source.  As a result, we all acquire different experiences and I took the opportunity to ask about everyone’s first few weeks on the job.

Name:  Anna Warfield
Graduation Year: 2017 (sophomore)
Internship:  Pace Prints

Why did you choose this internship? I chose my internship because of my interest in print as a medium. I was similarly interested in holding an internship in a studio setting, which is the case with Pace.

What are some typical tasks? I cut and tear down paper, dampen paper, register paper on a printing plate, I act as “clean hands” for the master printers (so I handle the prints that are being printed for editions), I help start up and close down printing plates, I mix and clean up ink, work on Photoshop to set up digital files, I help print digital files etc. It’s a great deal of odd jobs that need doing and I am there to do them basically.

I’ve walked through the warehouse/storage space with my boss, and there were Keith Haring prints just absolutely everywhere. It was so exciting.

It was really intense to find out I was going to be the clean hands of the studio space. I felt so much pressure to not screw up and dent a Dan Walsh print as I moved it from the press to the damp case for overnight storage. Once my pulse was no longer ringing in my ears, I started to feel pretty cool. I was like just casually handling Dan Walsh prints, NBD.

I was given (literally, she just handed me this rather large copper plate) my own plate to take home and to etch for grins and giggles because my boss is a dream.

What’s something that you’ve learned? I’ve learned to smile. It helps when making first impressions and it makes you almost feel like you’re happy even if it’s a bad/tiring day.

I learned to ask as many questions as possible to get a job done quickly, efficiently and without mistakes.

I also learned that I’ll be wearing a lot of t-shirts because mineral solve and ink get everywhere, even when you put on an apron.


Name:  Mariko Azis
Graduation Year: 2016 (senior, concurrent degree)
Internship:  Artsy

Why did you choose this internship? Last summer, I read an idealistic Wall Street Journal piece about the future of art’s role within popular culture, someday being as ubiquitously appreciated as music and detaching from the institutionalized elitist tendencies of the industry. I loved the piece; it aligned with everything I’ve ever believed about the importance of art commercially and developmentally. I was so taken by it that I ended up researching the author, Carter Cleveland, and discovered that he was building a company called Artsy that sought to make all the world’s art accessible online for both educational and commercial purposes. Ever since, I had my eye on any employment opportunities with the company, with genuine hopes to further the progress of their mission.

What are some typical tasks? My biggest role in the Digital Marketing department at Artsy involves boosting search engine optimization for our online platform, using outreach and link building strategies, and focusing on the content on Artsy’s artist pages.

A unique experience? Leonardo di Caprio was in our office the very first day I was in; that was pretty exciting.

What’s something that you’ve learned? Take initiative and make suggestions. As artists and creatives, our greatest value in non-artistic tasks and industries is our ability to improvise and manifest creative solutions.


Name:  Veronica Constable
Graduation Year: 2017 (sophomore)
Internship:  Ann Craven

Why did you choose this internship? I liked her art style.

What are some typical tasks? Running errands and making/stretching canvases

Any interesting experiences? Getting lost all the time

What’s something that you’ve learned? Ask for the exact address before you go somewhere so as to not go to the right store in the wrong location


Name:  Rachel Redhead
Graduation Year: 2018 (sophomore, concurrent degree)
Internship:  Aperture Foundation

Why did you choose this internship? I was interested in getting a sales and marketing internship at an art-related business, and I’m also interested in film photography, so Aperture seemed to be the best fit for both of those things.

What are some typical tasks? I create invoices, send mail, take calls, upload pictures to their webpage, write book descriptions for their site, and re-stock book displays.

I got to organize their “vault” of prints, which is basically a huge room filled with expensive prints that were never sold. Also, we have a very fluffy and orange office cat named Ouija.

What’s something that you’ve learned? Businesses really don’t trust interns to do any kind of super important tasks.


Name:  Tiffany Li
Graduation Year: 2017 (sophomore)
Internship:  Garance Doré Studio

Why did you choose this internship? I’ve been following Garance’s blog since junior year of high school when I was beginning to feel confident enough to experiment with fashion and my personal style.  I have read it almost daily ever since.  It was a dream of mine to work for her, and when I received the email saying I got the position, I legitimately shrieked and cried, which was very out of character.

What are some typical tasks? I do a lot of pickups and returns around the city.  Because of that, I’ve been to the offices of a bunch of major fashion brands around New York.  Just this week, I was at Stella McCartney, Manolo Blahnik, and The Sartorialist.

I also do research for projects and interviews – I recently pulled together a ton of information on Drew Barrymore’s beauty company because Garance interviewed her the next day in the studio!  I was so bummed I wasn’t working that day.

What’s something that you’ve learned? Make yourself available and deliver.  It might seem like trivial work (like searching Pinterest for 2 hours) but it really contributes to the office and towards diminishing the heap of work that always needs to get done. Dress well, but wear comfortable walking shoes or snow/duck boots to get around the city.


Name:  Rebecca Allen
Graduation Year: 2017 (junior)
Internship:  Lisa Perry


Name:  Pauline Shongov
Graduation Year: 2017 (sophomore)
Internship:  Gagosian Gallery and Lothar Osterberg


To any AAP students interested in participating in the program in the future: feel free to contact any of us if you see that we have an internship that you’re interested in!

The First Crit!

As we wait in anticipation of our move to the new studio, we are also using our current studio space to the fullest, seeing as our final critique for the first studio project is drawing near. The assignment, called “The New York Times,” is based on the notable newspaper and the impact it has on us. The class structure is very open and allows for a broad exploration of virtually any idea using any medium. By allowing such freedom in our creative expression, we are able to push the boundaries of our work even further, resulting in projects that deal with issues such as identity and appropriation. Not only are we allowed to pursue our creative ideas, but also to explore a variety of mediums such as newspaper, wood, and video.

Our work is also being influenced by the many artists, curators, and exhibitions we are meeting, along with the various readings we have been assigned. Through this exposure to so many different aspects of the art world, we are able to formulate who we are and the kind of work we want to create. By honing in on specific ideas, our work is able to facilitate dialogue to address various concerns that we may have.

Yesterday we met the artist Tavares Strachan, who discussed the importance of adhering to one’s beliefs, yet always improving on and expanding one’s practice. As a native of the Bahamas, Strachan had little resources growing up. However, his determination and ambition led him to graduate from RISD and Yale, build his own studio, and advocate for the importance of, science, education, and art. After he spoke about his work and his artistic beliefs, Strachan asked each of us to discuss our grievances, forcing us to consider what we do, what we should do, and why we do it. The segment, although not very long, had a lasting impact on us all as we ventured into the studio once again, working on our first project with the end drawing near.

BFA student Pauline Shongov working on her piece based on the New York Times.
B.F.A. student Pauline Shongov working on her piece based on the New York Times.

Introductions To The City

Having completed our first full week in the AAP NYC studio, I can safely say that this is going to be the busiest semester of my Cornell career. It’s an overwhelming feeling but certainly an exciting one, particularly after the small taste of our impending studio experience which is taught by the artist John Jurayj.

Our B.F.A. studio class is rather intimate – and feminine – consisting of eight female students, most of whom have never lived in New York City before. Although I am something of a veteran of this city, having lived here for extended periods on several different occasions, I have never experienced it in this way. I am no longer simply living here as a student in the city, but as a student of the city. It’s almost like being a tourist in your hometown with a crew of the most knowledgeable tour guides (read: faculty) to answer any and every question you could possibly have about the place. The intimacy of our studio is an ideal dynamic to make this learning process possible too, with all of us in different years at school as well as at different points on the spectrum of familiarity with New York.

Of course, there’s an element of obligation to our activities as students, but the dynamic of our “field trips” hardly feels forced. Instead, they feel like opportunities to survey the current landscape of the New York City art industry, and to engage with incredible influencers in the field (such as Holly Block, Director of the Bronx Museum, who we got to meet on our most recent field trip).

I truly don’t believe there is any place like New York City to be a B.F.A. student, a feeling that can be lacking in Ithaca. The faculty we have here at AAP NYC are incredible resources who give us context for our education outside of the traditional academic setting; thereby putting us in an ideal position to tackle this semester in New York City and semesters to come in Ithaca.