In Loving Memory

We have been incredibly fortunate to have had Jane Farver as a professor, and more importantly, known her as a person. With only 8 students, we have felt more like a family than simply a group of students. Just last week, we had a “family” lunch at Ikea, telling stories and talking about the artist Michael Joo, whose studio we had visited earlier in the day. The most remarkable aspect of Jane was her enthusiasm for everyone and everything. Even with her immense amount of experience, she still approached each artist and artwork with an open mind and was always curious to learn more. Every week she took us to see different highly respected individuals from the art world that she had worked with before they achieved their current level of success.

Jane gave everyone a chance, and never rushed to make judgments. She was an esteemed curator, and dedicated herself to her work and those around her, working on the Venice Biennale with Joan Jonas until the very end. Regardless of her enormous success, she was always humble and down-to-earth. Jane was kind, wise, and genuine. She also curated shows that she truly believed in – shows that were revolutionary and that she passionately believed in. She spoke to us about the hard questions – the things that no one talked about, such as the financial aspects of being an artist and the difficulties of breaking through as a young artist. Every week, she gave us a list of five different shows to visit and made sure to see all of them herself. She made time for everyone and everything. Her hope was that if we saw even one work or artist that we liked each week, then it was worth the trip. Jane wanted us to see as much as we possibly could, and allowed us to take advantage of the city in every way we could. She sincerely hoped for the best for everyone and taught us to reach for the impossible. She pushed us to be the very best we could be. Jane attended every studio critique that we had, even though she had no obligation to do so. When we doubted ourselves and our work, she said that “if we don’t make, it no one else will.” She was always the voice of reason, compassion, and advice, helping us find the answers when we were frustrated and confused. She introduced us to people we would have never have had the ability to meet and asked questions in our favor. She gave everything for her students, and we are eternally grateful for all that she has done for us and the artistic community. We have been so lucky to have the privilege to know her. We miss Jane very dearly, and we will ensure that her legacy will go on.

Jane, thank you for everything. You have been a true inspiration.


Yuxi Xiao, Pauline Shongov, Veronica Constable, Anna Warfield, Rebecca Allen, Rachel Redhead, Mariko Azis, Tiffany Li

Rina Banerjee 2-26-2015 Studio Visit Rina and jane Farver (3)
Jane Farver (right) at the studio of artist Rina Banerjee (left).
2-23-15 First Crit Jane Benson and Jane Farver(2)
Jane Farver with Jane Benson (right) during studio critique.
Jane Farver (left) with BFA student Mariko Asiz.
Triennial at New Museum 3-26-2015 Jane Farver  (8)
At the New Museum Triennial.
Triennial at New Museum 3-26-2015 (17)
Right to left: Jane Farver, BFAs Pauline Shongov and Tiffany Li.
Triennial at New Museum 3-26-2015 (6)
At the New Museum Triennial.

It all ends here!

As the final week of classes approaches, we B.F.A.’s are struggling to accept that our semester is finally ending. All of the artist, studio, and gallery visits have proven to be immensely helpful in shaping the way we make and view art; resulting in a personal and artistic growth which cannot have occurred in any other place besides New York City. The amount of artwork and individuals we have seen and met has taught us more about art then we could have possibly imagined. Ranging from discussions about financial aspects to conceptual practices, the people we have met have been open and honest about all aspects of their careers and work. Here is a list to describe only a fraction of the remarkable individuals we have met over the course of the semester:

Holly Block, director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts

Eleanor Heartney, Art Critic 

Tavares Strachan, artist

Matthew Higgs, artist and director of White Columns Gallery

Bill Carroll, Elizabeth Foundation Program Director 

Rina Banerjee, artist

Brooke Davis Anderson, executive director of Prospect New Orleans

Jens Hoffman, deputy director and curator at The Jewish Museum

Jessica Morgan, director of Dia: Beacon

Michael Joo, artist

Michelle Lopez, artist

Simon Preston, curator and gallerist

Amy O’Neil, artist

Thomas Leeser, architect

Miguel Luciano, artist

Magdalena Magiera, co-curator at e-flux

Mark Di Suvero, artist and founder of Socrates Sculpture Park

Robert Melee, artist

Through the hard work and persistence of all of our professors – Jane Farver, Jane Benson, John Jurayj, and Masha Panteleyeva, we were able to hear all of these individuals kindly take the time to speak about their practices and answer any questions that we had. What resulted was a continuing dialogue between all of us about what it means to be an artist and to make art, especially in New York City.

On a more sentimental note, this semester has proven to be invaluable, inspiring, adventurous, and motivating. We have grown on our own, but also as a group and the bonds we have formed are eternal ones. After meeting with artist Michael Joo last week for Jane Farver’s class, we all went to Ikea for a group lunch. Later in the day, we visited the studio of our professor Jane Benson, and discussed the importance of museums while enjoying sweet treats – an occasion unforeseeable elsewhere. AAP in New York has been a bittersweet experience; we cannot forget the many times we have gotten lost in the middle of Brooklyn, or being crammed into a subway, or run out of funds for or Metrocards, nor can we forget walking along The High Line, or seeing the Statue of Liberty outside our windows, or seeing the new studio for the first time. New York, we will miss you.

B.F.A. students and professors at Dia:Beacon

A Day at Dia: Beacon

It’s been a busy month for us: moving into the massive new space at 26 Broadway, presenting our second studio project for a critique, and visiting Dia: Beacon. The Dia trip was a joint excursion for our professional practice, NYC seminar, and art history courses. We caught a train from Grand Central Terminal up to Beacon, NY to spend the day at Dia and meet Jessica Morgan, the new director of the Dia Art Foundation. We were all absolutely awed to hear her speak of her career trajectory spanning from curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, director of the 10th Gwangju Biennale this past fall, and curator at the Tate in London. She brought a more global perspective to the Tate Modern, which shows both modern and contemporary art. As eight young women artists, it’s pretty incredible and fortifying to meet a female director and curator who has had so much influence in the global art world.

The On Kawara Room, which had been constructed for maximum feng shui effecti
The On Kawara room, which had been constructed for maximum feng shui effect.

Afterwards, we were treated to an excellent tour of select works within Dia: Beacon. The space, a former Nabisco box printing factory, retains the original brick walls and high ceilings with skylights that flood the area with natural light. The scale and openness of the location was fitting for the large scale of many pieces present, including Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses and Michael Heizer’s North, East, South, West.

B.F.A. students contemplating life at the edge of Michael Heizer’s dizzying North, East, South, West.

There was a general consensus among us that the Dia was what art museums should be like, however the unfortunate truth is that many are moving in the opposite direction. The trip to Dia: Beacon left us with a new understanding of how art can be funded and shown and how, regardless of site-specificity, the location can completely change the experience.

A closer look at walls covered in Sol Lewitt's drawings.
B.F.A student Rachel Redhead takes a closer look at walls covered in Sol Lewitt’s drawings.

Armory Week

Several weeks ago, we traveled through the wild snow storms of the endless winter season to go to the Armory Show on piers 92 and 94, a space in which hundreds of galleries showcased selected artists and works to curators, collectors, and the avid art enthusiasts. The first floor of the show highlighted the work of international and local contemporary artists, ranging from Chris Ofili at David Zwirner Gallery from New York City to Tatiana Trouve at Johann König Gallery from Berlin. Each gallery had the option of selecting one or a variety of artist’s work to represent and ultimately sell to collectors. While looking through the immense amount of work, we were able to ask the gallerists questions about both the work and the artists to learn more about how and why specific artists and artworks were chosen for the show. Interestingly enough, many of the works which were selected for the Armory show will also be exhibited at the Venice Biennale in Italy this summer – a show that all of the AAP students in Rome will be able to see and experience.

Yuxi Xiao admiring the work of a Chinese artist at Piers 92 during Armory Week
Yuxi Xiao admiring the work of a Chinese artist at Piers 92 during Armory Week.

The idea of the biennial as a space for public art is one which was reemphasized during last week’s meeting with Prospect New Orleans director Brooke Davis Anderson in Jane Farver’s Professional Practice class where she discussed the importance of public art  having an impact on the community. Prospect New Orleans is an art organization which was created as a means of addressing the devastation and bringing awareness to and of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The biennial showcased public art works such as that of Paul Chan, who researched different types of soil which could help remove contamination in the damaged soil. The work became so recognized that a congresswoman of California began conducting her own research and discovered that the soil in her own backyard was actually contaminated, a realization that resulted in increased funding for New Orleans. Consequently, like the rest of the work exhibited in the Prospect Orleans Biennial, Chan’s work demonstrates the impact that art can have on a community – an aspect of art which we hope to incorporate into our own work as we prepare for our upcoming second critique.

Pauline Shongov (B.F.A., left) and Yuxi Xiao (B.F.A., right) looking at a piece by artist El Anatsui.
Pauline Shongov (B.F.A., left) and Yuxi Xiao (B.F.A., right) looking at a piece by artist El Anatsui.





Art With Architecture

As it might be obvious, the AAP bloggers this Spring 2015 semester are all fine arts students even though there are fewer of us compared to the graduate Masters of Architecture students. Previous to AAP NYC, we had little to no exposure to architecture and architectural history in our course work, and our interactions with the undergraduate architects were mostly limited to those fleeting moments when we would spot them outside of their studio (usually in the Green Dragon). Now, we are working in close proximity to the grad architects and we’re learning about art and architecture in our art history course, ART 3805 Media Space: Art, Architecture, and Film in the 20th Century Metropolis, taught by Masha Panteleyeva.

The course introduces us to architecture with a grounding in art and art theory, with which we are familiar, so we can learn the history of the city by combining past understanding with new knowledge. We make connections between how the growing industrial city of the 20th century became manifested in art and film. Last week, we were treated to a guest lecture by architect Thomas Leeser on the films of Jaques Tati, and next week he will be leading us on a tour of Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, which he designed and completed in 2011.

All this exposure to architecture motivated me to do a little cultural learning on my own: last week, I attended a lecture by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano at Columbia University’s graduate school of architecture. Since I arrived late after trekking uptown from my internship, I was herded into one of the overfill rooms outside the auditorium (although if I had arrived on time, it’s likely I wouldn’t have made it in anyway – they reserved seats for Columbia students).


I caught the end of his lecture, in which he mostly discussed the plans for the new Manhattanville campus for Columbia, and the first part of his Q&A. The topics in the Q&A were interesting since they concerned many of the same subjects that we discuss in our art history course: skyscrapers, the grid, suburbia, and future visions of cities, to name a few.

Here, I’ve compiled some observations and quotes from the Q&A:

  • Unity does not mean uniformity.
  • You cannot be an architect like a tourist. You have to know the city, feel the city.
  • The future of living lies in vertical towers.
  • On suburbs: He is an advocate of intensifying cities, and suburbs are inevitable. To stop making suburbs is a problem because then there would be nothing between city and country.
  • Towers can balance the weight of a city in terms of aesthetics, socioeconomics, and construction.

I wished that he had spoken more about theory and the grid especially, but it was still a cool experience that I would’ve passed over had I not been recently interested in architecture from our interactions in and out of the classroom.

Architect Renzo Piano
Architect Renzo Piano