New York City Lifestyle

What do the BFA students do when not interred in studio, working at internships, or reading up on homework? I interviewed each Fine Arts major to find out a little about how they spend their free time. General consensus: while New York is supposedly the city that never sleeps, sleeping seems to be the favorite weekend pastime as finals approach.

The sunny weather has made it easier to explore different parts of the city. Photo by Danni Shen.
The sunny weather has made it easier to explore different parts of the city. Photo by Danni Shen.

1) Aisha Abbassi, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Well, I live in a neighborhood where there’s a good amount of shopping so I generally get caught up in a store even if I didn’t mean to go in. My roommate and I also go look for new places to eat a lot. I think being in New York is a great opportunity for trying new things and we try to take advantage of the great food that Ithaca doesn’t have. If I’m in Chelsea I also go see some galleries.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? I guess the deli. There’s a deli a block away that has everything 24 hours a day. Breakfast, coffee, packaged food, amazing muffins…

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Just ride the trains and smell the smells of New York!

2) Lisedy Bueno, B.F.A. ’15

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I like to go out to bars uptown.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? Hale and Hearty and Chop’t. Chop’t is really good but extremely expensive.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? South Street Seaport is a really fun place to go that no one really goes to. My friend went there for her 16th birthday. There are a lot of nice restaurants and the boardwalk is right there.

3) Sara Cheong, B.F.A. and C.A.L.S. ’17

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I try new places to eat or I explore a new part of the city like the Brooklyn Flea market, the Botanical Gardens, or Central Park.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? The deli! Or $1 Pizza.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? They have to go eat good food like ice cream in Chinatown and then just walk around parks, and go to the Brooklyn Flea market. Also go to Soho or Chelsea.

4) Jae Hee Cho, B.F.A. ’15

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I like to take walks around the city especially if the weather’s nice. I also like to eat. I like to read in the park.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? I go to either La Petite Abeille next door or I go to the Pita place across the street.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go around and eat. The food is the priority! They will find their way. Everyone comes to the city with things and expectations in mind. During the spring, a lot of my friends came to the art events and fairs like the Armory Show, so the art scene here is definitely a big draw.

4) Minhye Choi, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Sleep. I hang out with my roommate most weekends and we go for walks in the parks when it’s sunny out. Otherwise just eat.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? I go out to eat either next door at Petite Abeille or at City Bakery. Both are pretty expensive but very good.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go to nice restaurant!

4) Esther Jun, B.F.A. ’15

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I like walking, reading, and sleeping. Right now I’m reading the New York Trilogy. I like to read books that are set in the city I’m in whenever I travel somewhere new.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? Around studio I like to go to the Pita place on 6th Ave and the café, Petite Abeille or City Bakery on 18th street.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Just walk around for a day. Don’t try to do anything special. Just pick an avenue like Broadway and walk from the top of Manhattan all the way down—see everything.

Second year BFA students, Rachel Margolis and Sara Cheong at the opening of "A Mercantile Novel" at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. Photo by Danni Shen.
Second year BFA students, Rachel Margolis and Sara Cheong at the opening of “A Mercantile Novel” at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. Photo by Danni Shen.

5) Lauren Jung, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Sleep or go to Central Park.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? The café next door or the deli around the corner.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go find a nice restaurant, or just hang out in Korea Town!

6) Valerie Kwee, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Just exploring around New York City, meeting up with friends. A lot of my friends from high school live in New York too so I mostly hang out with them.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? The deli.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go to Central Park and then see some galleries and museums. Try a bunch of cool food.

7) Rachel Margolis, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I like to sit quietly and relax. I also hang out with my friends on weekends a lot.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? Deli.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Walk around and see the sunset by the water near Battery Park and swing on the playground swings.

8) Naima Reddick, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Ride the trains. Smell the smells of New York.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? The food cart, Wafels and Dinges!

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Explore Soho and go shopping then get out of Manhattan and go to Brooklyn Botanic Gardens or the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx! Get outside!

BFA students eating a quick lunch together at Ikea between class field trips. Photo by Danni Shen.
BFA students eating a quick lunch together at Ikea between class field trips. Photo by Danni Shen.

9) Danni Shen, B.F.A. ’15

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I had a few months where my friends would come into the city and I’d take them around to museums, galleries, the Highline and stuff.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? I don’t eat. I bear with it.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Definitely go walk the Highline. There’s also a place called BaoHaus that is really cool for bao buns.

10) Melody Stein, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I like to visit galleries in new parts of the city and then sort of wander around that area. I have some friends in the city so it’s nice to tag along and see their favorite places to eat and hangout.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? The farmer’s market in Union Square is amazing. As the weather gets nicer more vendors keep showing up selling fresh bread, flowers, vegetables, everything!

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go explore each of the boroughs! New York City is more than Manhattan and some of my favorite places are in Queens and Brooklyn.

11) Emily Teall, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Explore the city. See friends.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? I go to Petite Abeille usually.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? If it’s nice out they should go to Central Park. If it’s not, then they should definitely go explore some museums.

7) Jin Yoo, B.F.A. ’16

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: I like to go to the movies or hang out with a friend. Sometimes I go thrift shopping in Brooklyn which is also fun.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? I go get chicken over rice at the Halal food cart on 6th ave and 18th street.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go to the Met, go see the Statue of Liberty, go to the Empire State Building. Run out of time doing all the touristy stuff first.

12) Katrina Yu, B.F.A. ’15

Describe a typical Saturday afternoon: Having a nice time with friends, going to movies, shopping.

If you’re hungry in studio, where do you go? Max Brenner or Starbucks around 14th street.

If people were coming to visit the city for the first time, what would you tell them to do? Go to the Empire State Building. I went with my friends and it’s really pretty.

Veronique Ansorge, Miguel Luciano, and Letha Wilson; a Day in Professional Practice and New York City Seminar

While every Professional Practice and New York City Seminar class consists either of discussion, gallery visits, guest lectures, or biennial and art fair tours, this Thursday’s guests were particularly notable. In Jane Farver’s Professional Practice class, Veronique Ansorge, the associate director of the infamous David Zwirner gallery came to the AAP space to discuss how a world-renowned commercial gallery conducts its exhibits. She spoke about her past in Germany studying economics and consulting before searching for opportunities in the art world and serving as David Zwirner’s personal assistant. While the principal portion of her work today revolves around supporting the 40 living artists who are represented by Zwirner gallery through studio visits and scheduling of shows to accommodate their individual careers and working habits, she says her background in business is just as essential as her growing knowledge of contemporary art.  The tasks of balancing commercially viable shows with more conceptual works as well as considering the needs of art collectors in accordance with the goals of artists rely on both sides of her expertise. Her lecture began the day with a new understanding of the many careers associated with the art world.

Next, all of the BFA students jumped on the L train to Brooklyn to meet with acclaimed artists Miguel Luciano and Letha Wilson. Seemingly opposites in their critical approaches and artistic practices, meeting with both of them and touring each of their studios provided great insight into these artists’ diverse ranges of approach and concern. Miguel Luciano utilizes community engagement and social practice as his principal media, and then builds sculptures, interventions, and community art projects off of his concerns. Frequently commissioned by arts organizations such as the smART Program, the Bronx Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and even the State Department, his work reaches outside of museums into the communities it addresses. Through his kite project in Nairobi, his Piragua cart in Brooklyn, and various other vending machines, kiddie rides, and even paintings, he remains rooted in the topics and issues he chooses to cover.

Letha Wilson takes a much more formal approach to art making. Her beautiful work walks the line between photography and sculpture and has opened up two previously pigeonholed artistic mediums to new associations and critical readings. Wilson showed us her work and discussing her processes of traveling to remote natural environments to take photographs, and then printing and altering the photos using concrete and the existing architecture of galleries. She also spoke about her journey to success, and the pitfalls and discoveries she has made along the way. As aspiring artists coming into the art world, this kind of candid insight is essential. From applying to Skowhegan residency multiple times to taking time off just to work and develop her practice by traveling independently, it seems that the most enduring keys to success among all of the guest lecturers were determination, hard work, and a little bit of luck.

 

Letha Wilson discusses her life and work in her Brooklyn studio space. photo by Danni Shen
Artist Letha Wilson discusses her life and work in her Brooklyn studio space. photo by Danni Shen
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Second year BFA, Jin Young Yoo examines work on a studio visit. photo by Danni Shen.
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Artist Miguel Luciano demonstrates his piece Pimp My Piragua in his studio in Brooklyn. photo by Danni Shen

Whitney Biennial Review

The Whitney Museum is the museum of American Art. The Whitney Biennial then is nothing less than America’s show—a curatorial celebration of now: the artists, the key pieces, the strategies, the influences, the rising stars and the perennial favorites. This year the Biennial tried a new approach to composing this grand collection. Rather than a team of curators working together to gather and assemble the works, three curators were chosen to work independently, each tackling a separate floor.  Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance art at MOMA; Anthony Elms, associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Michelle Grabner, artist and Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago each brought their own unique perspectives the Biennial, unencumbered by compromise or collaboration.

However, the success of this new approach is less firmly decided. Each floor contained a lofty theme and curatorial statement of purpose, however the work that filled the familiar galleries of the Whitney seemed chosen and arranged with little regard to any specific criteria, much less the evocation of precise premises. Indeed, the entire museum was veritably stuffed with art. Often the audience was barely able to view a painting without backing into a sculpture placed only a few feet away. From wall text to floor layout, the exhibition design was uncomfortably reminiscent of the sales floors of the Armory show.

Nevertheless, among this disorganization, the quality of the work was still breathtaking. The video pieces stood out this year, including Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s 2012 film Leviathan, a beautifully disturbing ethnographic investigation into the fishing industry. Matter of fact, starkly documentarian, and unbelievably generous, diving out of the cluttered brightness of the Whitney and into the darkness felt like immersing oneself in a different world altogether.

Both Jane Benson and Jane Farver led the class through the show. Photo by Danni Shen.
Both Jane Benson and Jane Farver led the class through the show. Photo by Danni Shen.
Second year BFA, Melody Stein looks at some of the works on paper displayed in the show. Photo by Danni Shen.
Second year BFA, Melody Stein looks at some of the works on paper displayed in the show. Photo by Danni Shen.

a BIG Lecture

One of the best parts of spending this semester in the city is the access to lectures, exhibitions, and events happening at the great architecture and art institutions around the city. A couple of weeks ago, The New School hosted a lecture by Bjarke Ingels, of the world-renowned architecture firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and a few of the AAP NYC Masters students attended. Almost every architect or architecture student you meet has heard of Bjarke Ingels, but opinions of him are extremely polarized. Each person, it seems, has a strongly formulated opinion of his work, and of him. To be honest, I thought I had a clear opinion as well, and so I saw the lecture as an opportunity to give him a chance to defend himself, so to speak, against this opinion (of which he knows nothing and cares even less, I’m sure). Listening to the way in which he spoke about his firm, about his work, and about his philosophies about architecture, proved to be nothing short of impressive.  I may not agree with all of his aesthetic judgments (example: Superkilen, a park in Copenhagen), but I greatly admire his stance on social issues and the idea that architecture is a way in which people can engage in and address these issues (example: Superkilen).

IMG_2642Bjarke Ingels

(photo by Luke Erickson)

 

BSC Studio – Midterm Review

The Master of Architecture studio taught by the three principals of the firm Bade Stageberg Cox had its midterm review last week. (quick review: this group is designing a branch library for Williamsburg in Brooklyn). For students, this was a chance to assimilate the ideas and processes that they had been exploring to this point and to present their work to fresh and highly experienced eyes – guest critics. The guest critics were: Andrew Benner (architect + studio critic at Yale), Martin Finio (architect + studio critic at Yale), Justin Korhammer (architect + studio critic at PennDesign), and Tina Manis (architect), in addition to our studio faculty, Timothy Bade, Martin Cox, and Jane Stageberg.

DSC_0528Stuart Pidcock presenting his work to the critics

(photo by Luke Erickson)

Each student was given a bit less than half an hour to present their work – in the form of printed drawings and physical models – and to engage with the critics in a discussion of concept and ideas about the library as well as consideration of site conditions and integration of building systems. One student addressed the project using the site’s history as a rail yard for a formal investigation. Another focused on the idea of a story book and the user’s ability to choose his or her own story within the building. Twelve different approaches to the same problem on the same site – it will be exciting to see how the projects continue to develop.

DSC_0529Allen Chhav presenting his work to the critics

(photo by Luke Erickson)