Low-Residency MFA: Alumni

Successes

Nyugen Smith (MFA 2016)

SAIC Student Nyugen Smith Named 2016 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellow

CHICAGO—The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts has announced that School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Master of Fine Arts (MFA) student Nyugen Smith is one of nine early-career artists awarded grants from the fund. As an Annenberg Fellow, Smith receives $50,000 a year for two years to help him further his artistic practice and achieve professional success. The only visual artist on the list of winners, Smith begins his fellowship upon completing his MFA at SAIC this summer.

Smith draws on his West Indian heritage in his work and is interested in the “confluence of cultures and sensibilities of the African and European experience within colonial and postcolonial contexts.” His fellowship enables him to pursue fieldwork in the Caribbean for mixed-media sculptural installations and drawings that draw on mythical and historical figures from Caribbean and American literature.

“We are delighted for Nyugen Smith on this recognition of his achievement,” said SAIC’s Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright. “Nyugen’s interdisciplinary practice is a true testament to the philosophy behind our MFA, as is his use of personal heritage to explore and engage with larger historical and theoretical concerns. The Annenberg Fellowship provides Nyugen with a wonderful opportunity to continue this invaluable work.”

Last fall, Smith and SAIC faculty member and alum Cheryl Pope (BFA 2003, MDes 2010) were invited to the White House to give a collaborative performance in honor of National Youth Justice Awareness month.


Guadalupe Rosales (MFA 2016)

Guadalupe Rosales Brings Curatorial Eye to Lacma’s Instagram as First Digital Artist-In-Residence

Written by: Kylie Obermeier, July 6, 2017

Guadalupe Rosales’ Instagram posts of snapshots from SoCal Latino youth and party culture of days past are amazing in and of themselves. But in relation to each other, the individual images—a group photo of the “homegirls of Elm St., Watts,” for instance, or a picture from a Los Feliz high school prom in 1995—become much more than the sum of their parts. Veterans_and_Rucas and Map_Pointz, her two accounts, are something like virtual museums, preserving and unpacking and celebrating snippets of marginalized histories. So it makes total sense that LACMA has crowned Rosales as their first Instagram artist in residence, with her six-week reign starting yesterday.

The artist, who also took over the New Yorker’s social media last year for a week, kicked off her residency with an image of Badge of Honor, an installation by Pepón Osorio that presents a teen boy’s bedroom complete with ephemera like a Lebron James poster and shiny gold trophies. It’s a piece from the larger Home—So Different, So Appealing,’ LACMA’s decade-spanning exhibit of Latin American artists that explore the concept of home with all of its socioeconomic and political implications. Rosales' caption about her feelings toward the piece are compelling, but the selection could also be considered boring—a LACMA artist-in-residence posting pictures of a LACMA exhibit might easily come off as contrived PR.

But Rosales’ next post totally changes the dialogue: an image of her friend in her pink-walled and carpeted bedroom in 1998/99, surrounded by party flyers and mall glamour shots and a Taz the Tasmanian Devil toy. It’s the kind of totally special, totally genuine and intimate little piece of teen life that Rosales has such an eye for and a fascinating complement to the Osorio installation.

Rosales wants to not only put these images in conversation with each other, but to spark conversation among herself and her viewers. Much of the Instagram commentary is seemingly mundane reminiscing—e.g. “I remember that Cypress Hill smoke out flyer *x-eyes emoji*”—but, as with the accounts themselves, on a larger scale there is something more significant happening.

LACMA hopes the digital residency will “break down barriers,” according to Rita Gonzalez, curator and acting head of Contemporary Art, and is accompanied with an acknowledgement of the way people experience museums now: often through the camera on their smartphones (you already know this from the innumerable Tinder profile pictures set under the giant chairs at the Broad).

This mission is also completely in-line with Rosales’, who intends for the residency to promote accessibility and democratic conversation in an arena that can sometimes feel insidiously white-tower-academia-elitist.

“Whether someone studied art or not, all feelings and opinions are valid,” she said. Even if the comments are mostly facile recollections of having had the same show poster or Taz merch in their room, the little bits of excited nostalgia and small stories the posts provoke are significant. Rosales knows that tiny moments of lives lived add up to a very important and ever-relevant history, and she is keeping it alive.

As Rosales wrote with her first LACMA post: “Pepón Osorio’s work has taught me to value everything I have experienced (every memory and every place I have been in) and to reflect on those experiences because that is what has built the person I am today."


Eleanor Neal (MFA 2016)

MOCA GA

Works on paper: 1980-2013 Women from the Permanent Collection

Dec 13, 2016 - Feb 11, 2017

Curated by Jessica Schmitz, Collections Manager

MOCA GA’s Permanent Collection of over 1,000 works boasts a bountiful, 230 piece assembly of intricate, carefully-made Works on Paper encompassing a wide variety of methods and materials from lithographs to drawings and beyond. “MOCA GA Works on Paper: 1980-2013” showcased just a few of these artworks, highlighting those created by female artists. Georgia has a rich history of groundbreaking and original female artists, many of which are preserved in the permanent collection. By looking at just a few of their works from the last 30 years within this exhibition, the visitor saw a valuable portrait of the diverse and profound contribution of female artists within the community. From Beverly Buchanan, who showcased her talents through sculpture, photography and drawing to Rocio Rodriguez, who brought her beautiful designs to a more intimate level with the viewer through her works on paper.


Sandrine Schaefer (MFA 2016)

The Boston Foundation

Brother Thomas Fellowships

From the President and CEO

This year is the Boston Foundation’s 100th Anniversary and in the process of studying our history, we have learned a great deal about the Foundation’s long commitment to supporting the arts. In the 1980s, responding to a time of diminishing government support for the arts, a series of special designated funds were established at the Foundation to provide annual funding to a number of Boston’s cultural organizations so that they could continue to offer free programming to the community. And, thanks to the vision and generosity of a brilliant ceramic artist named Brother Thomas, in 2007 the Boston Foundation expanded its grant making to include fellowship grants to some of Boston’s most talented individual artists. This brochure introduces the 10 Fellows who will receive the award this year, bringing the total of fellowships awarded since the program began to 30. We are pleased to introduce you to them here and are delighted to mark the Foundation’s Centennial with these new Brother Thomas Fellows. Paul S. Grogan President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. Sandrine Schaefer Performance Artist For Sandrine Schaefer, the thing we all call “art” in performance art, is the creative process rather than the product of a creative process. Using what she calls a “site-sensitive” approach, she explores the parameters of time and the body.

“Because my practice is site-sensitive,” she explains, “each piece I create can only exist in the place that I have sited at the time I am making the work.” As such, she adds, “Because the work unfolds in real time, it must be witnessed live.”