Grad Projects Faculty

Candida Alvarez


Candida Alvarez

I listen, question, probe and challenge you at all levels. Medium is not as important, as the thinking that drives the practice. That does not mean, I dismiss the intuitive or a highly accomplished relationship to skills and materials, which at the graduate level is a given. In fact, I believe somewhere between the known and unknown is the art.


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Sara Black

Within my practice I use conscious processes of carpentry, wood-working, and craft as a time-based method; diseased or effected wood, inherited building materials or other exhausted objects as material; and create works that exposes the complex ways in which things and people are suspended in worlds together; often generating forms that push beyond human frames of reference. My educational background is interdisciplinary across visual art, ecology and systems theory. Some recent research interests surround theories of new materialism and ecocriticism. In my role as advisor, I will act as a close reader of your work and a source for expanded research as appropriate and responsive to your ideas and methods. 

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Jeremy Bolen

My cross disciplinary work and research focuses on rethinking systems of recording and representation in an attempt to observe invisible presences and traces, that remain from various scientific investigations, industrial pursuits, nuclear experiments, military tests and other human interactions with the earth’s surface. Much of my work focuses on site specific, experimental modes of sensing -– that is I rethink the apparatus for observing and recording based on what it is I hope to record.

As an educator I focus on how interdisciplinary art practices intersect with disciplines outside of art including physics and ecology. Much of my pedagogical research involves issues surrounding the Anthropocene. When advising I am interested in helping students find connections in their work, to find strengths that may otherwise be overlooked as a way of defining relevant interests, processes, materials and research. I am excited to work with students from all disciplines and backgrounds.

 Phyllis Bramson


Phyllis Bramson

My work co-mingles humor with value infused feelings about the human condition. The central source of my imagery usually comes from experiences and memories that have to do with some sort of ‘traveling’. Narratives used as a repository for feelings, which often collide and intermingle between notions of the personal, the decorative and at the same time, proposes a story but doesn’t tell an ending.  


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Stephanie Brooks

In creating works, I am primarily concerned with creating tensions between systems of authority and subjectivity. From fill-in-the-blank forms, graphs, public signage, poetry, measurement systems, and minimalism, the work inserts subjectivity humor and emotion. Above all, I am interested in exploring the abstract, minimal, and textual properties of existing referents, and offering alternative methods for viewers to locate information, self-identify, and relate to each other.   My current work is located in and around mythologies and materiality. I'm working with topics that include Transcendentalism, The Smiths, the city of Chicago, affective publics and poetry.


 Nicholas Collins


Nicolas Collins

Born and raised in New York City, Nicolas Collins lived in Amsterdam and Berlin in the 1990s before joining the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  An early adopter of microcomputers for live performance, Collins also makes use of electronic circuitry, conventional acoustic instruments, and hybrid electro-acoustic instruments.  He is editor-in-chief of the Leonardo Music Journal, and his book, Handmade Electronic Music – The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge), has influenced emerging electronic music worldwide.  Collins has the dubious distinction of having played at both CBGB and the Concertgebouw. 

 I am very comfortable critiquing work in other media than sound. Both of my parents were art historian and architectural historians (as is my wife) so I know my way around.



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Alex Chitty

A mirror doesn't reset ones hair back into place, it just shows us when it's askew. My best skill is that I look and I listen closely. My aim is to cultivate and maintain avid levels of curiosity and to encourage exploration and expansion for individuals within their own practice. I notice where students let themselves get too comfortable or where they allow doubt to make decisions for them and I counsel collaborative accountability for those habits. I identify strengths and help to harness them. I have a background in Biology and a highly interdisciplinary artistic practice which incorporates ceramics, welding, woodworking, mold making, photography, printmaking, painting, writing, performance and endless looking, thinking, reading, and open dialogue.



Mary Cross

I write poems, creative nonfiction and short stories. My current work utilizes my photographs and text informed by experiences at animal sanctuaries.

I have advised with writers and studio artists from many departments who use text as a component in their work.  My approach is student-centered and built upon active listening, as well as formulating questions and responses that inspire an ongoing important conversation.  I welcome students at any point in their creative process, from intuitive impulses toward generating new work to developing and refining work-in-progress.  My goal is to constantly find ways to help each writer/artist discover the work that is uniquely theirs.  



Janet Desaulniers 

 I work with writers and artists working on or off the page.  I enjoy the exchange with practices that engage permission, intuition, compulsion, auto/biography and with artists who may not know exactly what they're doing but who are following the work, looking for its logic and intentions.  Whether work is so raw you're not even sure it qualifies as work yet or already refined/close to finished, I'm good at recognizing and finding language for its original dynamics and modes.  I'm equally devoted to sharing with students a passionate and discerning inquiry into how work becomes more like itself.

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Amy England

My own work deals with dreams, text and image, translations of all kinds, and the edge between poetry and prose. I’m interested in surrealism, the relationship between art and politics, and the relationship between genre and experimentation. I’ve written about dioramas I’ve made of made of my own dreams, fragmentation in language and archeology, and the customs of imaginary countries. I’ve also spent many years translating 18th century Japanese haiku. 

Advising sessions might focus not only on the student’s work, but on exercises, discussions of relevant readings, films, visual art, or music, and concerns about coursework or professional development. Advising is a chance for students to direct their own education, and I try aid students in developing their own trajectory as much as possible.

Tirtza Even

A practicing video artist and documentary maker for the past 15 years, I have produced both linear, installation, and interactive video work representing the less-overt manifestations of complex and sometimes extreme social/political dynamics in specific locations (eg, Palestine, Turkey, Spain, United States, and Germany, among others). At the same time, my work could also be described as a detailed exploration of the inevitable failure of this very act of representation.

My aim has been to somehow express the freedom from an imposed narrative or ideological framework that the singular details and lives that I find embody. I wanted, in other words, to make the viewer acutely aware of the many possible (overlapping, contradictory, changing) readings determining any act of documentation. It is deeply crucial for me that I maintain a continuum and direct tie between my artwork and my teaching, particularly in light of my desire to explore the ethics and politics of narrative structures, as well as my study of the detailed forms of failure of the act of representation.

Throughout the various courses I teach, I therefore attempt to challenge students to form a deeper understanding of the intricacy of the act of viewing. I encourage them to realize a dynamic interweaving of studio work (technical, creative) and textual analysis of relevant written or recorded material, to move across—and question the boundaries of—genres, categories and media types, in a quest for the fundamental concerns (formal, ethical) underlying composition, authorship, and spectatorship.

My goal is to empower them to challenge formats and frameworks for expression and display, to prompt them to speak not only within given and familiar parameters, landscapes, and settings, but rather to impact, mobilize, break open, and question these settings themselves. I want them to have the courage not to fit—to enter uncomfortable, unmapped, and un-gridded terrains, where their orientation systems and strategies cease to be fluent—where language might fail and stutter.

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Assaf Evron


My work investigates the nature of vision and the ways in which it reflects socially constructed structures where I apply photographic thinking in various two and three-dimensional media. I received an MA from The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University where I wrote about Leon Batista Alberi essay ‘On Painting’ and linear perspective. My MFA is from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which gives me an insight to the other side of the graduate studio. I am also engaged in architectural photographic commissions as in the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), Aircraft carrier the Israeli Pavilion at the 12th Venice Biennial for architecture (2012). Besides that I was also a photojournalist in a daily newspaper in Israel and a scuba diving instructor in Zanzibar. 


Andrew Falkowski 



Andrew Falkowski

My current interest extends into the relationship painting has with mediation. While this obviously includes the digital, my interest also includes the usage of alternative paints and genres like water-borne alkyds, milk paint, acrylic, waterborne resins, acrylic sheeting, D-boards, various sprays, casting, text, installation, and other graphic output. I love a good picture though, so I'm open to what makes the moment useful to painting.



Stephen Farrell

Stephen Farrell

I am a connectionist discovering meaning in the gaps, a structuralist making meaning through configuration, and a trickster playing with generative methods to make things strange to myself. Although my practice as a designer­author focuses predominantly on the illuminated novel, I also paint, compose music and teach data visualization. My stories and visual essays employ design thinking—strategies like intertextuality and non­linear slippage, or relays between images, text configurations and diagrams. A subject area provides material, but it also provides me a set of operational constraints and parameters for structuring its material; this is, I believe, the most unconventional part of my practice—where design, writing, and subject matter all direct and constrain one another.

Although I advise grads primarily in Visual Communication Design, I welcome students from all departments. At its core, design thinking can be applied to just about any area of study or any medium.

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Maura Frana

I work with students to identify useful frameworks and methods to organize and expand their work. In an advisory role my main objectives are to listen, feed student interests, parse research, and encourage authenticity in process and outcomes. I build critique around points of inquiry—What if? How? Why? For whom? 

In my own work, I pursue various aspects of communication—language, perception, translation—through client-based and independent projects in printed matter, typography, identity design, and interactivity; publishing, type design, writing, editing, and pedagogy. 

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‌Ilona Gaynor

My background is within film and graphic design, and have been a practicing artist, designer and writer for 10 years. 

My research interests are broad, but with particular expertise is the in social, technological and political nature of finance, economics, law and their relationship to pop culture. The predominant nature of my work is the heavily geared in research as a mode of practice and critique; and is detailed in the construction and reformation of narrative plots, schemes and planned situations. The themes of my work often lie in philosophies of crime, forensic science, legal application and implication, cinema and mathematics. My applicable practice is expansive and I have worked within film and television, government, securities and risk and fine art. 

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David Getsy

From my position as an art historian and an art writer, I work with MFA students to develop generative conceptual vocabularies for their practices.  This does not mean the layering of jargon or applied theoretical models.  Rather, the aim is to have works of art or performance, themselves, communicate clearly and concisely their driving priorities, aims, and ethics.  I am equally engaged in abstraction and in figuration, in obdurate materiality and in ephemeral performances, in connotations of form and in denotations of content, in art’s histories and in its contemporary debates, and in wide-ranging addresses and in the individual particularities emerging from intersections of gender, race, sexuality, ability, and age.  Much of my current writing is about transgender, intersex, and queer capacities in art and performance, and I am particularly interested in working with students who are engaging with these themes and who are navigating the contentious debates about visibility, disclosure, and opacity.

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Danny Giles

In my work I'm concerned with making experiences that connect our collective experiences of identity and social being to larger histories and structures of power and belonging. My research often begins with a cultural artifact or a historical narrative from which I can expand my thinking to consider how human experience is shaped by visual and material culture. To do this, I find it important to begin with thinking on an individual human level, finding ways to center the effects of culture in real bodies and communities. Because my work often requires other people to participate or collaborate in the process, my challenge is to make the form of my projects correspond ethically to the communities and individuals with which I collaborate. I bring the same kind of human considerations to my graduate advising and teaching, bringing a perspective that reckons with the confluence of humanity, criticallity and rigor. I want to engage and collaborate with my advisees to come to a greater understandings of how their work participates in the world and ways of building a sustainable practice that considers the whole person.

Diana Guerrero-Maciá

Diana Guerrero­-Maciá

My interest is rooted in the current and past histories of textiles, design, and painting without prioritizing one over another. I believe craft is an essential way of thinking and has always been a method to refute the either/or bianaries that have circulated in culture. Content that is driven by color, material, and language is of specific interest to me as an advisor. I have served many MFA students across disciplines in the past fifteen years, however I do work most frequently with Fiber, Painting, Printmaking, & Sculpture students as my own educational experience and practice has evolved from the interdisciplinary potential of those fields.

Anne Harris

Anne Harris

I paint, usually with oil, and draw with pretty much everything. I also do some curating and writing, and have organized an expanding drawing "conversation" called The Mind's I. Rather than me verbally describing what I do, here is my website link. I would like to work with any student who would like to work with me. The graduate students I've advised have ranged from conceptual and abstract to figurative and representational; they have come from inside and outside the Painting and Drawing department. As for specifics, I have particular expertise in painting, figurative painting, color theory, etc. but art is art—I value the pluralistic philosophy at SAIC. I look at a broad range of art and like working with a broad range of students.
 Kurt Hentschlager


Kurt Hentschlager

My focus is interdisciplinary, in-between installation and performance, working predominantly with time-based media, light and sound.  Continue to be interested in the impact of new technologies on both individual and collective consciousness and perceptual habits. I am invested in things uncanny, "unreal", immersive and phenomenological.  


 Andres Hernandez

Andres Hernandez

Andres L. Hernandez is a Chicago-based artist, designer and educator who re-imagines the environments we inhabit, and explores the potential of spaces for public dialogue and social action. His current projects include a 2018-2019 visiting artist residency for the University of Arizona School of Art’s VASE Program, and Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See A Line), a commissioned installation in collaboration with artists Amanda Williams and Shani Crowe for the U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Hernandez and Williams also recently completed A Way, Away (Listen While I Say), a design-build commission organized by the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Sam Fox School of Design; Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Hernandez is co-founder of the Revival Arts Collective, founder and director of the Urban Vacancy Research Initiative, and exhibition design team member for the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, IL. He recently served as workshop faculty in the Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture; Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis. Hernandez received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is currently Associate Professor of Art Education and Director of the Master of Arts in Art Education program.


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Lin Hixson

My advising is student-centered. I feel it is my responsibility to listen, guide, and offer new ways of thinking; to foster a desire to find out what one does not yet know; to challenge and support at the same time; and to help my students create a sustainable, rigorous practice. I have advised students from across many disciplines.

My practice is performance-based and collaborative. In 2008, I formed (with Matthew Goulish) the companyEvery house has a door. We set out to make performances in response to historically or critically neglected subjects that engage in dialogue with social realities. For each performance we assemble a collaborative team of specialists selected specifically for that project.  I have created work with installation artists, musicians, choreographers, film and video makers, sculptors, theorists, and writers.

Terri Kapsalis 


Terri Kapsalis

I think of grad projects as a collaborative and generative exchange that can take a variety of forms, not exclusively based on the model of critique and evaluation.  Over the last decade, I have predominantly advised with students in Writing, Visual and Critical Studies, Performance, and Film Video New Media, but am open to working with people in all departments.  My own work takes various forms: creative critical prose, fiction, sound, performance, lecture, curation, and combinations of these.  Recent research interests including activist and innovator Jane Addams, visionary musician and philosopher Sun Ra, the history of sexual health care in Chicago, the Greek economic downturn, and the concept of slowness. 



 Robert Krivanek


BJ Krivanek

I generally define myself as a public designer, implementing commissioned public site constructions and site activations in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago and elsewhere. My partner and I develop urban communications, to infiltrate the cityscape with metaphoric forms, infrastructures and media, integrating the languages of visible urban structures and spaces with the lost languages of invisible communities. We bridge the worlds of architecture, performance, urban design, visual communication and public art, to produce coherent, meaningful public design-art programs, to enhance public experience and understanding. Our public siteworks---metaphoric structures surfaced with icons, symbols and inscriptions---are directed outward, deployed within digital and non-digital public cultural space that is characterized by multiple frameworks of inscription—publications, books, ebooks, billboards, television, computers, LCD and LED panels, signage systems, traffic signs, smartphones, products, audio soundtracks, etc.—as technology continues to deconstruct and reconstruct the historical structures of the city and of the written word. I have worked with graduate students in various design disciplines, architecture, printmedia, writing, new media and video, to analyze and develop structured approaches to the configuration of their design-artworks and installations within the MFA Exhibition.


Ruth Margraff 


Ruth Margraff

I listen very deeply to my students' raw intuition from any genre or field, their voice, their eyes, the way they sit and breathe. Their music is how far they reach, what they fear, where they want to go.  I have trained myself to enter the architectural aesthetic of each new content or framing. I read closely from inside each world as a proscenium beyond my own point of view. An artist has to know how to use weapons of dissonance and tools of collaboration. Making art is ransacking folly, centrifugal labor, and strange fruit.

Students Ruth has taught at Brown, Yale, UTAustin, SAIC and UIowa include Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights/ runners up Quiara Hudes, Stephen Karam, Rolin Jones and Jordan Harrison; MacArthur playwrights Tarrell Alvin McCraney, Samuel D. Hunter and leading writer/professors Ramon Rivera-Servera (Northwestern), Sylvan Oswald (Suny), Christine Evans (Georgetown), Jacqueline Lawton (UNC Chapel Hill), Deborah Stein (Yale), Seth Bockley (Goodman), John Rich (MCA), Tsehaye Geralyn M. Hebert (Alliance Kendeda playwriting national winner), Kristiana Colon (Teatra Luna), Aja Monet etc.

Current Interests

I write vocal art in the edges of theater, music, and poetry. My lyrics spring from displacement and unbridled presence. My characters speak/sing, live and love beyond their means. My work has disrupted the comforts of commercial realism and the anti-theatricality of more ironic multimedia experimentation currently in vogue. I am drawn to elicit a distinctly female point of view by foregrounding the interiority and abstraction of "provincial," "alamkara," or neo-baroque passions. I see multilinear point of view as political and crucial to coexistence. Lately I'm colliding fine art with streaks of street, operatic gypsy blues, and soliloquies layered in seams of dissent. My long-term artistic goal is to push the form of American opera into a more working-class and less Eurocentric direction. My writing has lately grown more cubist/painterly, contrapuntal, and surreal. I pressure various palettes of language to resist the complacence of corporate clarity, monolithic intimidation, cultures of fear, and rampant intolerance for the ornaments of thick description.




James McManus

I write short stories, novels, poems, essays, scripts, memoir, journalism, and history, and I enjoy working with students interested in any of these genres, especially those who want to set the bar high and find a wide audience. My goal is to help them write publishable and/or producible work. This can be achieved in a variety of ways but usually involves a lot of revision to make sentences more clear and precise.

 I’ve published eleven books, and my work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, New York Times, This American Life, Poetry, The Believer, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, Harvard Magazine, Best American Poetry, New Directions in Prose and Poetry, Irish American Poetry From the 18thCentury to the Present, Best American Sports Writing, Best Erotic Writing in Modern Fiction, and other anthologies. 

As a teacher, I’ve worked with Sandra Cisneros, David Sedaris, Daniel Borzutsky, Anchee Min, Sara Hess, Jeffery Renard Allen, Beth Kohl, Baird Harper, Adam Novy, Zach Dodson, Samantha Peale, Kyle Beachy, Eric Lebofsky, Gabe Bump, Sofya Karash, Rebecca Keller, Patty Cottrell, and many other young writers

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Ayanah Moor

My practice includes performance, drawing, painting, printmedia, and installation. I am interested in layered histories and utilize sampling and appropriation as subversive strategies. For me, graduate advising is a space of support best articulated through critical questions and the exchange of ideas. I welcome discussions about art across a range of media and disciplines.

I asked former and current Graduate Project students how they’d describe my approach to advising. Here’s what they said:

“...[Y]our approach as an advisor is based in inquiry and dialogue that slowly ekes out the heart of the work and the idea at hand. You ask rather than state, absorb and observe carefully rather than opine...” –Rudy

“I would say that your approach challenges me conceptually but is also encouraging of my point of view; as an advisor you are open to ideas but also emphasize the criticality of the ideas which inform the work.” –Chris

“You opened questions that helped me to be more critical about the things that I was doing in my studio... When I was having a hard time with the work, you suggested things that gave me the freedom to listen and be open to the place and people that I was working with...” –Nur



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Erica Mott

I am a multi-media installation artist, cultural organizer and deviser of body-based and technology performance. I start new work with a central inquiry question and, through a collaborative process, I write and erase layers of information allowing densely woven and immersive experiences to emerge. In my artwork and instruction I am curious about interdependences over interdisciplinarity, weaving together experiences where mediums and ideas exist within and because of their relationship to each other. I work with students to identify streams of thought and clarify strategies and desires around their art making practice and subsequent artworks.

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Allie n Steve Mullen

As corny as it may sound, I am in awe of the power of imagination. I am constantly surprised by the way our creative work activates ways of thinking and being that we sometimes don’t understand for years.

As a film composer, songwriter and performer, I have over 25 years of experience working in a highly competitive commercial field that is focused on quickly ascertaining the creative goals of my clients and identifying the semiotic language they prefer.  This has fine tuned my ability to climb inside the creative mind of my advisees.  My goal is to site the primary direction your work is headed, allow room for change both incremental and fundamental, and to push you in directions that will inform the work you are already doing as well as open up new doors.

 I believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our communities to develop and maintain the rigor of a disciplined practice that continually pushes against the constraints of that discipline, to continually be reframing and redefining our lives and our work, and will demand that of you.  This requires hard work and thoughtful conversation.  Above all, however, I am happiest when we find ourselves somewhere we have never been before.

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William John O'Brien

The foundation of my practice starts in drawing and extends into other forms of material investigation including sculpture and installation. The work I make seeks to critique and bring conversation that exists in material hierarchy, queer identity and ritual. I structure my advising sessions in a manor to allow the student to develop, grow and refine their practice.


Beau O'Reilly

My name is BEAU O'Reilly.

I have been advising in the Writing Program for 19 years.

In my own practice, I have written and produced over a hundred plays and monologues for the stage. I also have written songs for over thirty years and have written extensively for radio.

I like story, I work closely with dialogue, I tend towards reading aloud as a learning and critical approach.

I believe in the value of deadlines.

I am a strong advocate of my students and their work.

I teach with a potent mixture of kindness and rigor.

I have worked with, in addition to writing students, filmmakers, sculptors, performance artists and students in the sound.

I believe my ability to see and enjoy a large variety of work has been more then a little helpful to the majority of my students.

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Elise Paschen

I encourage my students to produce new writing for our graduate projects during the course of the semester, and I hope to instill in them a passion for other writers, both historic and contemporary. I write poetry books and edit poetry anthologies (and even served as the Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America for thirteen years), and, although I relish meeting with poets, I also enjoy working with students from a variety of disciplines.  I attempt to bring out the best in your work through close readings and by encouraging revision. I particularly appreciate working on students’ longer projects – such as theses and books in progress.


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Mary Patten

A productively symbiotic relationship connects my interdisciplinary practice—video, installation, drawing, digital media, photography, and performance—to my teaching. Writing is a crucial thread that runs behind and between, connecting research and studio work. My expanded models of "critique" include listening and asking questions; notation of what is seen, heard, and felt; associative thinking—references, continuities, congruencies; and "close reading" through a semiotic/cultural studies lens. I advise graduates in my "home" department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, as well as Performance, Photography, Printmedia, Fiber and Material Studies, Sculpture, Writing, Art and Technology, and Visual and Critical Studies.

One of the biggest things I offer to my students is a willingness to risk "not knowing." I model a process of questioning, thinking out loud, "feeling your way" as Sara Ahmed would say–a kind of incoherence that turns the privatized imaginary inside out. My public practice, from billboards and murals to large-scale interdisciplinary projects, and ongoing collaborations with Chicago Torture Justice Memorials and Feel Tank Chicago, are important resources for students wanting to provoke or engage the "social." 

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Kamau Patton

Kamau Amu Patton (Assistant Professor, VCS) is an interdisciplinary artist and art educator. His work is an examination of history and culture through engagement with archives, documents, stories and sites. His research focuses on questions of human ecology, environment, memory, cyberspace, telematics, and transmission technologies. Patton’s projects take form as expanded field conversations, always becoming, continuing and undergoing transformation.Patton received his MFA from Stanford University in 2007 and his BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. 



Dan Price

I am chair of the sculpture department and have been teaching at SAIC for seven years. I trained as a blacksmith and metal fabrication specialist before going to graduate school. I have competency in a wide range of materials and processes including metalwork, woodwork, moldmaking sewing and so on. I go to the studio with curiosity and an appetite for material experimentation. My own research and interests converge in the study of material histories and agency. I approach graduate projects within a firm schedule of one full hour every two weeks for the entire semester. I typically visit graduate students in their studios, but on occasion I invite advisees to see a show with me at a local museum or gallery. My style of interlocution involves formal and conceptual analysis of works in progress and finished works with accompanying text, theoretical and artist references.

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Karen Reimer


As an advisor, I try to help students define and refine their interests and ideas and figure out how best to focus their practice on that. I value the opportunity advising gives to do extended, detailed, collaborative thinking with a student about their work.  I enjoy interdisciplinarity and I’m happy to work with students from any department. I have had productive advisor/advisee partnerships with graduate students in Fiber and Material Studies, Sculpture, Ceramics, Photography, Printmedia, Performance, and Architecture.


My own work is in sculpture, language, and site-specific installation. In most instances, it combines the traditions of minimalism and conceptual art and the traditions of decorative craft. I use handwork in the context of systems-based, serial, and chance operations. I wonder if and how slowness, manual work, and craftsmanship have value and/or meaning in art and in the Western capitalist world in general.  I’m interested in the tensions and interdependency between the object and the means of production, between experience and representation, between the map and the walk.


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Richard Rezac

I have served as a Graduate Advisor at SAIC consistently for about 18 years, and although my Undergraduate courses are within the Sculpture and Painting and Drawing Departments, I have advised MFA students in all of the studio areas. I appreciate the wide-ranging and diverse set of discussions that this interdisciplinary possibility offers here, as it naturally centralizes the content and intention of each student's work.  My own studio work is based in sculpture developed through extensive drawing and planning, a process both necessary and fruitful, having evolved from my initial education in painting. 

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Jacob Ristau

My work integrates visual/verbal language, physical structures and the viewer's own body to slip people into unexpected realizations, reframing the familiar. Emphasizing physical interaction, playfulness and apparent simplicity, people drop their guard and play, with ideas. I work in typical and a-typical book and paper forms, simple constructions, found tools and equipment, etc; staging personal engagements. I question how forms and our bodies interact and shape our ideas—and the reverse.

Emerging from Visual Communication Design, I have a restless curiosity and playful yet rigorous approach; interpreting art and design in exceptionally broad terms. I am most interested in working to question held assumptions about conventionally stable subjects and ideas, leading to becoming different, or becoming differently. As such, I value advising students in peripheral and adjacent areas as much as those self-identifying as designers.

The Image is from my typographic inquiry, Geek Type/Type Geek (2014).

Oliver Sann

Oliver Sann

My research is as much informed by cultural studies—with its emphasis on locality and specificity—as it is by the aim to give expression to global issues of contemporary relevance, especially socio-economical urgencies (such as financial markets and global trading), and to the history of related systems that gradually void individual actors, instituting a post-social condition.

My work utilizes a variety of forms of visualization including photography, video, installation, games, performances, internet-based work, and books. On the threshold dividing document from created reality, on the border between factual occurrence and fictional bringing-into-being, my interest is to scrutinize the inherent idiosyncrasies of media and society. If art promises to act as an inchoate offense within culture, can artistic work negotiate speculation as mode of cognition?

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Roberto Sifuentes

Graduate advising is probably my favorite mode of teaching at SAIC. The opportunity to meet and work with students across disciplines and examining their practice through the lens of politics, philosophy, varied aesthetics and performance is very exciting. I like to begin with a lose set of goals for the semester and then deviate based on the needs of the students and the unexpected directions their work may take. We might look at work in studio or in another context outside of school, talk about professional practices, write grant proposals, or whatever seems most pertinent that particular week. I like to challenge my students to make bold statements in their work and to change the world – why not!!

In my own practice, I am an interdisciplinary performance artist and co-founder of the San Francisco based performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. I have has performed and conducted workshops with La Pocha at over 1000 venues across the US, Canada, Europe and Latin America. I have co-authored two books with Guillermo Gómez-Peña; most recently "Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical Performance Pedagogy" Routledge 2011.

 Jan Tichy


Jan Tichy

Jan Tichy is a contemporary artist and educator. Working at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography, his conceptual work is socially and politically engaged. Born in Prague in 1974, Tichy studied art in Israel before earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now Assistant Professor at the Department of Photography. Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the MCA Chicago; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago; CCA Tel Aviv; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; No Longer Empty, NY and Chicago Cultural Center among others.


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Lan Tuazon

My work on architecture, artifacts and anthropogenic materials is a trilogy on the order of things.  I examine spaces of order and decode them as descriptive systems through sculpture and prints.  I work with students to analyze and witness their own historical present and push them to follow their ideas with a level of intent and intensity.  Students structure grad advising sessions according to their needs with readings, critiques and writing workshops.

Lisa Vinebaum

Lisa Vinebaum

My practice incorporates performance, textiles, lens­based work, collaborative and participatory projects, and critical theoretical writing. My practice is concerned with labor issues and workers' rights; contemporary modes of identity formation with an emphasis on Jewish, feminist, and marginalized identities; and artistic production and working conditions for artists. I am especially interested in fiber, performance, social and collaborative practices, and the value of labor in art, as well as in how meaning may be expressed through materials, words, gestures, and actions.

I take a student­led approach to grad advising, emphasizing generous yet critical discussion in an effort to enable students to develop, challenge, and refine their work. I think that one of the most important things one can do as an artist is to find one's voice and assert it through materials, concepts, and forms. As a critical writer I'm also very interested in suggesting textual material that can help support and inform practice, and helping students to articulate their key concerns and interests.

Lisa Wainwright

Lisa Wainwright

Lisa Wainwright is the Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For the past 15 years, Lisa has served in major leadership roles for the institution including Dean of the renowned Graduate Program.

As a professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, Lisa has authored numerous articles in books and international professional journals, as well as developed an extensive list of exhibition catalogues. She has lectured on topics from Rauschenberg and the history of the found object in art, to Contemporary Art and the rise of a neo-decadent movement at the turn of the 20th century, and has curated multiple exhibitions.

Lisa Wainwright received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Vanderbilt University, and earned both a Masters and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson

I create objects, drawings, horizontal fields, and performances that explore themes of time, loss, and private and social rituals. My artwork embraces conceptual strategies and handwork using everyday materials—table linen, bed sheets, human hair, lace, thread, glass, and wire. Recent exhibitions include "Thread Lines" at The Drawing Center in NYC and "Fiber: Sculpture 1960­Present" originating at the ICA/Boston and traveling to the Wexner Center for the Arts. I am a Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies and believe in the interdisciplinary nature of SAIC—I am interested in working with graduate students across SAIC departments and areas of study.

 Andrew Yang


Andrew Yang

My practice spans installation art to ecological dynamics, history of science to collage.  Current projects and interests include systems aesthetics, archives & the Anthropocene," visual analogy, animal subjectivity, and the nature/culture relationship broadly.  I have advised across Sculpture, Fiber & Material Studies, Art & Technology Studies, and Visual & Critical Studies and welcome conversation with anyone, especially those concerned with transdisciplinary and hybrid forms in their work.