It’s 4:45 on a Friday afternoon, and I am getting very
anxious. In fifteen minutes the
classroom I am currently taking Randy McIver’s ecorche intensive course in will
become a massive and extraordinarily intricate game of painting storage Tetris
and I am not convinced everything will fit.
It is time to prepare for Tribeca Ball.
An event the Academy hosts right here in the Academy, and we only have
one little weekend to whip the building into shape. There is nothing else like it, as a student
that walks these halls daily, it boggles my mind how unrecognizable it becomes.
This year I wanted to dive right in and get really involved
to see just how this project works from start to finish. You would not believe the team of people that
work day in and day out to make this event happen. I was lucky enough to work with one of the
teams and help create the paper garden lounge in the basement. I spent hours
during the week proceeding the event cutting folding and glue-gunning as many
little paper flowers as I could produce… which turned out not to be all that
many, but it was an eye opener for me to realize how much work goes into some
of the elaborate decorations we see scattered about New York on a regular
basis. It was an incredible experience
that has really opened my eyes to some of the different possibilities for me in
So now let’s get on with the event. I am sitting on this old
recycled trunk in my studio, fidgeting and full of nerves, no idea what to
expect. The first thirty minutes go by
and all I have successfully done is nervously stuff my face with tiny turkey
sausages. Then everything picked
up. The halls were crowded with people
and the conversations and excitement began.
It was so exhilarating when I realized that people were actually
interested in these paintings I’ve been working so hard on for the last two
years. I even sold a few, which is
really just icing on the cake. It opens
up a whole new world for us as young artists to work day in and day out into
the wee hours of the night and then to be given this unbelievable opportunity
as students to show our stuff to an incredible audience of people.
Then suddenly three hours have flown by, and its time for
the dinner. I actually had the
miraculous privilege of attending the dinner, which really summed up an already
fantastic night. Catered by the notable chef
Daniel Boulud, the food was absolutely delicious! But, my favorite part was the
little flower headdresses and boutonnières they provided at every seat for each
of the guests. It really brought the
whole floral, garden theme full circle.
After we ate we got to the dancing with the fiery DJ Kiss. The Van Cleef & Arpels models we had seen
throughout the night appeared with amazing, giant paper flower
headdresses. My dad took pictures with
them and it made him look famous.
Wouldn’t you know those girls could dance too! Each had a bodyguard though to make sure they
didn’t lose any of the lavish jewels they were dawning for the event.
Once all is said in done, the students reunited at one of
the usual hang outs to celebrate the survival of yet another Tribeca Ball. This year our fantastic little after party
was held at the Tribeca Tavern. Good
friends and good fun made this years ball a great success! We hope to see you
all there for our next event, OPEN STUDIOS from 6:00 to 9:00 at the Academy, April 25; also my 25th birthday (shameless plug!) can’t wait to see
For more information on Helen Strickler please visit helenstricklerartist.com. To visit her studio in person, come to the Academy's Open Studios event on April 25th from 6-9pm where Helen and all of the Academy's artists-in-residence will open their creative spaces to the public and be on hand to discuss their work.
anxious!!! … and there was tons of work to do before, during and after Tribeca Ball. All the studios in the Academy and all the artists were sharp and ready
for one of the most successful events in Tribeca. Right before the event started
I was taken by a fear and a kind of insecurity. All of my works in my studio walls were in progress and I had no idea about what to expect
from the crowd.
Tribeca Ball attendee John Bowman visited my studio
wave of agitation arose with every single step footstep and sounds of
voices from the other end of the hall. Half an hour later it felt like a natural. I enjoyed the range of collectors and fresh responses inspired by my unfinished work. For me it was a humble feeling.
journalists talking about art. Teachers giving us a feedback about the work that
we were showing and a line of guests waiting to listen what we have to say. All
the artists worked very hard, it was beautiful to see everyone's works and being
able to talk about our discoveries and conquering our first academic year.
an amazing success. Congratulations to the school for the awesome organization
and the astonishing event!
As we move closer to summer and the end of this semester, it will take couple of
weeks to digest the storm of information that is just about to end. Next up, I'll introduce you to more of my classmates and share their views from the studios.
Camila Rocha is the Academy's 2014 Social Media Scholar. You can learn more about her and her work by visiting her website: www.camilarochaart.com. In the meanwhile you can find her musings about her first year experiences right here on the Academy's blog.
On Monday March 24th, Sharon Louden's Professional Practice Series presented esteemed art critics Roberta Smith (New York Times) and Jerry Saltz (New York Magazine) in conversation with Randy
Cohen for “Person Place Thing” in the Academy’s Wilkinson Hall. The room’s
walls, recently stripped of the ten “Big Picture” paintings and not yet adorned
for Tribeca Ball, were, for once, bare. Guests outnumbered seats, and their excited chatter, along
with live bluegrass music by Duncan Wilkel and Eric Robertson, filled the air.
For his unique spin on the one-on-one interview, Cohen, (former author of
the New York Times “The Ethicist” column), invites prominent figures from
various backgrounds to discuss one person, one place, and one thing they care
A hush fell over the room when Cohen introduced his guests, but as
Smith and Saltz discussed their three items, (Donald Judd, the Met, and art), the
audience often erupted into laughter. Though the atmosphere was generally
light, some important lessons for artists emerged over the course of the
conversation. Here are a few I believe are worth emphasizing:
Familiarize yourself with the Met (and art history at large).Before coming to the Academy, I knew very little about art
history. I still know relatively little, but do feel that I have a much better
understanding of the trajectory after History and Theory of Composition, and
Art and Culture 1, which all Academy students are required to take during their
As the couple discussed their chosen place, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, they emphasized how important it is for artists to understand
art history. They encourage all artists to really get to know The Met.
“It’s the greatest encyclopedic museum in the world,” says Saltz. “You have a
responsibility as an artist to see how much there is, be humbled, and see what
your options are. And to know that you’ll never live up to it.”
You cannot see too much.
As we toil away in our studios, it’s easy to forget how much art
is at our fingertips all over the city. Since I moved to New York for school,
my friends have often asked me about living here, and my response is generally,
“Well I’m usually at school…” This talk was a helpful reminder to get out more. “We go to 20, 30 galleries a week, and museums on Sundays,” says
Saltz. “Galleries and museums are ecstasy machines – you experience your
autonomy while looking at an autonomous object, and it’s great.” The couple
underlines the importance of going to see the things you don’t like, as
much as the shows you do. “The bad shows teach you as much as the good shows,
or even more,” says Saltz. “If you go to Chelsea and see a show and think it’s
bad, figure out why.”
Copy, and Redefine Skill In discussing Donald Judd, Smith explained how after emerging from
the Whitney Independent Study program, she copied Judd’s writing extensively to
better understand it, in terms of both craft and content. Judd was a
Renaissance man, “almost as powerful a writer as he was an artist,” she says.
“He used words in a way that were unusual but legible.” Copying to understand applies not only to writing, but of course
also to art. Every Academy student is required to complete numerous Master
Copies over the course of his or her two years at the Academy. To successfully
copy a masterwork is to understand how the artist achieved his or her final
product. What’s challenging is taking the skills learned from copying to
the next level. “In this school, you’re learning time-honored skills,” says
Saltz. “You need to reinvent them.” A common criticism most art students hear
from their teachers is that whatever they’re doing has already been done.
“Don’t listen to ‘it’s been done’,” Saltz says. “Instead, do it again. Until
you make it yours. Do the American flag until its not Jasper Johns’
anymore: Its yours.”
Follow your oddball nature:
What these critics are attracted to in art is a certain intensity.
“I’m interested in a glitch,” Saltz says. “In some pieces, you
can see that the artist is focusing so hard that it herniates, and boom! That’s
art.” Saltz compares the type of art he likes with what he typically sees in
Chelsea galleries. “The Chelsea stuff can be so generic in its failures. What I
like has a certain kind of blatancy to it. The failures are more flamboyant.” “All artists are self taught,” says Smith. “So much of what we do
is inborn- our handwriting, our voice… Artistry comes in many shapes and
sizes.” Saltz advises students to “follow your oddball obsession,” to make all
that art that we are specifically impelled to make. “Make your bad art. Honor
that part of your work. Do EVERYTHING. Don’t make PRODUCT.” In short, Saltz and Smith advise us to first understand the
variety of options we have as artists, then to make the art that is most
meaningful to us as individuals. Although they may not have known it, their
advice lines up incredibly neatly with the Academy’s mission. At the New York
Academy of Art, “We believe that rigorously trained artists are best able to
realize their artistic vision.” Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? One final note, from Saltz: “it
only takes a lifetime.”
To learn more about Claire Cushman (MFA 2015), take a peak at her bio and recent paintings. Remember, your thoughts are welcomed.
Tribeca Ball is an annual event produced by the Academy to showcase its stellar artists. The Academy
invites a tremendous amount of people who are all eager to visit the school’s artists-in-residence and see all of their work. As a student, you participate in the event by displaying your work for easy viewing or by simply
just working in your studio like any other day. It's a great opportunity for
emerging artists to gain experience in a social environment where your work is front and center. As
artists, we each have different goals, some of which may include meeting
people, introducing your work, and possibly selling a piece or two. When asked
by the Academy to give my top ten list of preparations and things to keep in
mind during the days leading up to the Tribeca Ball,
here is what I came up with...
Arrange your work. You can choose the "all over" salon style, the clean
selected works gallery look, or somewhere in between. Think about your goals
for the night and what arrangement will help your work shine.
Clean up vs natural work space. Again, you don't have to go through all of the
trouble of re-arranging your studio. Letting people in to your unique work
space can be just as interesting and exciting as organizing and exhibiting your
prepared. Have business cards, a sign-in book, your website updated, prices for
your work (price list), and a pen. Always have a pen in hand. You look amazing
with a pen. Preferably a ballpoint pen.
Dress good to feel good – not to impress. If
putting on a suit and tie or nice dress brings out the confident and outgoing
side of you, then great! If not, just don't be scraggly.
Practice your moonwalk before the event. Do whatever helps you shake off any
sweaty, shaky, awkward nerves. I may or may not give an "impromptu" dance
lesson before the event. Easy on the liquid spirits.
casa es su casa! Be a good host. Smile and welcome people into your studio.
7. Be engaging. Don't be afraid to highlight your work or yourself to let
people know a little something about you, especially if they are looking
intently at your work. Speak up! A conversation starter could be, "I made
that while on my residency in China.." or "Please buy that. I haven't
eaten in 73 days."
Don't start with the end in sight. Be open to any conversation about anything.
It may turn into a great opportunity OR an incredibly interesting fun fact
about their cat, either way, free yourself and the person you're talking to of
any expectations or forced commitments.
yourself, not that other guy...unless that other guy is very sociable,
positive, funny, smart, talented, incredibly good looking, and overall so much
cooler than you, then yea...sorta, kinda, maybe be a little like that guy.
Your closer- "Thank you so much for stopping by my studio. Enjoy the rest of
your night." Done.
There are many other helpful do's and don'ts for Tribeca
Ball. If you want more specific help based on your work, your studio location, how to feel more comfortable meeting new people, make the night
an overall positive experience, what pen looks great on you, dance moves, what hat to wear,
and goat sounds to make, I will be available anytime leading up to the event to visit your
studio. Holler! See you at the Ball!