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

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!