NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: Check back soon!

On May 31 Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.

June 27, 2012 - By Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013)
We are working very hard/late to meet our deadline for the exhibition on the 30th so we will send a blog after our excursion to an ancient water town which is after we clean, pack our stuff, and move out of our apartment which is right after our exhibition. 

We have a full schedule, but I think that writing a blog after the water town excursion would be a perfect time to wrap up our time in Shanghai. 

I'm up to bat so although it will be a collective effort like Megan's blog, you will hear from yours truly.

Thanks again for checking up on us and we very much look forward to sharing our experiences so far with everyone!!!

Reliving Picasso with Sir John Richardson

Installation view at Gagosian Gallery

There are few artists who rival the mythic place Pablo Picasso holds in history. His life was defined by a fervent work ethic and unflinching ambition. For most of us, historic figures like Picasso are destined to forever live in that mythic realm, and there are only a handful of people still alive who knew those figures so intimately. One such person is Sir John Richardson, an eminent art historian who came to know not only Picasso, but Francis Bacon, Fernand Léger, and Lucian Freud over the course of his career. It is through people like John Richardson that we may glimpse into the person behind the myth. Richardson was recently honored at the 20th Annual Take Home a Nude event, along with the acclaimed British painter Jenny Saville. He recently curated “Picasso and Francoise Gilot: Paris–Vallauris 1943–1953” at Gagosian Gallery in New York and invited a few of the Academy patrons along for a special tour of the show.

Following coffee and introductions, we were lead into one of Gagosian’s main galleries as Richardson launched into a discussion about a few of the works. Paintings lined the walls of the large room, many portraits of Gilot. She was an accomplished artist of her own right, as well as Picasso’s lover and muse from 1943-1953. The two floor exhibition is different from previous Picasso retrospectives in that it is an intimate conversation between Picasso and Gilot that we witness through paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramic works and prints created by both artists.

Their relationship blossomed in difficult times – Europe was in the throes of the Second World War and yet during this time Picasso experimented heavily with new mediums, notably ceramics, sculpture and lithography. Richardson told the group that his curatorial concern was with how Picasso transformed those methods, showing how his creative vigor and playfulness was re-channeled by these new mediums. Pointing to a sculpture of a bull’s head (
Goat Skull and Bottle), Richardson commented that this embodied the “terrible angst of the war.” In front of a painting titled Winter Landscape, 1950, our host revealed that it was a depiction of Matisse’s house and recounted a disagreement between Matisse and Picasso about trading paintings. When Matisse offered one of his in exchange for Winter Landscape, Picasso quipped “I don’t want one of yours.”

As we continued the tour we became privilege to more personal history between Picasso and Gilot. Richardson noted that Picasso was trying many new things in an attempt to bridge their gap in age and find common ground. And it is through this earnestness that we see Picasso’s quirky love for Gilot emerge. While looking at a series of 30 lithographs Picasso created while at the Mourlot Atelier, Richardson told us that he depicted Gilot wearing a smelly fur coat that Picasso brought back from a Communist rally in Poland.  He said the “Goat Coat”, as Francoise called it, exuded a fouler odor when wet. This anecdote was one among many that had us laughing as we imagined the back and forth between the couple.

After viewing several more lithographs and we came upon a selection of Picasso’s exquisite ceramic pieces created at Madoura Pottery while in Vallauris. As with his new sculptural work, Picasso’s style suffuses the pieces. Richardson shared with us that many of the ceramic works created by Picasso at Madoura were bought up very inexpensively after its close.

The tour concluded with the final gallery where Picasso and Gilot were shown together. Gilot’s work is undeniably strong and unique when seen with Picasso’s, and despite their relationship her work is very independent from his. With a laugh Richardson remarked that Françoise preferred Braque to Picasso anyway. After a flurry of last minute questions everyone departed and I realized how fortunate we all were to take part in that tour. To feel connected to art history so directly was an incredibly rare experience, one that I will think upon in days to come. 

Jonathan Beer is a New York-based artist and writer. He began to write critically in 2010 while attending the New York Academy of Art for his MFA in Painting. His paintings have been exhibited at Flowers Gallery, Boltax Gallery and Sotheby’s in New York. Jon is also a contributing writer for The Brooklyn Rail and for Art Observed.  To hear more about what Jonathan Beer has to say, visit Art-Rated the blog he co-writes with Lily Koto Olive (MFA 2013).

NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: Once Again Arrived in China!

May 31 - Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will be sharing their experiences here throughout the summer.

June 10, 2012 - By Megan Ewert (MFA 2013)

(L-R: Nicolas Sanchez, Kristy Gordon, Megan Ewert, Cory Dixon)
New York Academy of Art has once again arrived in China! Landing in Shanghai Nico, Cory, Kristy, and I were excited to explore Shanghai despite some jet lag. An hour-long cab ride (220 Yuan = $34!) to the apartment placed us within 15 minutes walking distance of Shanghai University.  The street we live on is always crowded with people, lots of food and shops.  There is a local farmers market that puts out all kinds of fruits and vegetables everyday and a street fair of food and merchandise (i.e. anything from laptop stands to "blu ray" DVDs and clothing).  There is a lot of traffic noise, cars tend to honk not to signal road rage but as more of a "hello, I'm right here, don't hit me". The streets are filled with bicyclists, rickshaws, three wheelers, and cars.  If you walk up to the street, two or three wheelers immediately start calling out "Hello! HI!" to you. We are highly visible here in Shanghai.  Everyone openly stares and is curious to our purpose here. Children are especially vocal. Parents often bring their toddlers up to us and try to get them to say "hi" to us. It seems our limited knowledge of Chinese--Nihao/hello and xie xie/thank you--is matched by their knowledge of English.

We have found several American comforts here in Shanghai. Our apartment is on the eighth floor with an elevator. We have not only a western toilet but air conditioning and a washer in unit as well. This apartment is instantly better than my New York apartment! Our apartment is centrally located in what I have dubbed the triumvirate of Americana: McDonalds, KFC, and Walmart.  That's right.  We are literally right across the street from a Chinese Walmart. Kristy was able to find a coffee shop she frequents with two friendly baristas. Unfortunately the coffee shop doesn't open till around 10am, but we suffer for the sake of our art! We also have bicycles to help us get around and with the weather being around 80-90F with humidity, so we indulge in cabs more than we would if in New York.

From the apartment, we literally walk down the street to enter the University campus, which is huge and beautifully landscaped--it doubles as a park where families and couples walk in the evenings. The facilities here are fantastic! The Fine Arts Building features gorgeous exhibition spaces and classrooms.  We have one large studio to house the four of us and two students from Shanghai. We each have secured one large section of wall and a desk to use as a work station.  Because the building is never officially shut down in the evenings, it is technically 24-hour access. 

Our translator and NYAA alum ('10) Wang Yi takes us around on occasion and shows us lots of good places to eat, although the four of us tend to go out on our own and hit up some restaurants on the street. Cory is especially adept at body language and has earned the most resourceful of the week award for his drawing of him losing his credit card in an ATM and managing to get it back from the Bank of China purely through his artistic prowess.

So far most of our excursions out into the city have been to gather supplies and get our studios set up to work. We did take a trip to the Bund, which is Shanghai's Times Square equivalent. Lots of designer stores like Cartier, Zegna, Armani, and Zara lined the streets and billboards and lights lit up the streets. Taking in the view right by the river, we saw one of Shanghai's most famous examples of architecture, The Pearl. 

A few days ago, Yi took us to the art supply store, which is literally like a Utrecht cramped in someone's five-room apartment in a gated apartment community. Apparently this is the warehouse for one of the most successful online art suppliers in Shanghai. Windsor Newton and a brand called Marie are common--and CHEAP! Each tube of Windsor Newton paint cost us 3-6 Yuan a piece (divide that by about 7 and that's the cost in dollars). All four of us practically bought the whole line of colors for about 200 Yuan which is actually only about $30 per person!!!. We have been amazed how far the dollar goes here in China ($1=6.5 rmb). We spent three hours there and got a ton of supplies including some absolutely beautiful brushes with hair ranging from squirrel to wolf. We also ordered custom pre-primed linen canvases that will be delivered to the University. I have yet to see one canvas at the University that is not linen!

Yesterday we took the metro downtown to Yi's father's studio, where our work was professionally photographed for the catalogue that will be created for our show in Shanghai featuring 10 artists including the four current residents from NYAA, Wang Yi, John Jacobsmeyer, Harvey Citron, Laura Frazure, Jeffrey Wong, and Ian Cao.

The pressure is on! We were informed that we have one week to create as much work as we can for the catalogue before it goes to printing and then we will have one more week to finish before our show on June 29th! We are buckling down and look forward to the show as well as our trip to Yellow Mountain and Hang Zhou later this month.  We'll keep you posted!

NYAA/CAFA 2012 Residency in China: FIRST PHOTOS

May 31 - Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.

Originally posted in Discus(t)..conversations about Art.
by Cory Dixon (MFA 2013)


Harvey Citron (Sculpture Faculty) has arrived to Shanghai...Check back for more about his visit with our students.

NYAA Leipzig International Artist Residency (LIA) 2012 - Week 1

June 1 - Four Academy students arrived in Liepzig, Germany to start an 8-week Artist in Residence Program.  Brian Dang (MFA 2013), Robert Fundis (MFA 2013), Elizabeth Glaessner (MFA 2013), and Noelle Timmons (MFA 2013) will be sharing their experiences here throughout the summer.  Below is the first of many posts from Liepzig.

Originally posted in God in the Gallery
by Brian Dang (MFA 2013

Week 1: Willkommen in Berlin

Our Lufthansa airbus (2 store mega-airplane) to Frankfurt-Berlin  
Above: Brian Dang, Robert Fundis, Elizabeth Glaessner, Noelle Timmons
Technically we didn't get to sit with each other since our assigned seats were in different rows but thought this would make a great family picture. 

Berlin from above (Photo by Robert Fundis)
Funny story we got to Berlin at 5:30 am and our transfer connecting flight to Berlin leaves at 6:30. We almost miss our flight because we didn't realize how big Frankfurt Airport is from our arrival gate to the other gate. As well we had to go through German International Customs and security checkpoint again which by the time we got there they were preparing to close the gate but luckily we were able to board.

Anna-Louise Rolland with her baby Claude at Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch
(Photo by Noelle Timmons)
Anna was so wonderful to drive us from Berlin where she lived to Leipzig to drop off our belongings before the grand opening of Neo Rauch's foundation in a small town of Ascherslet (where he was born and raised) for the permanent collection where his graphic artworks will be store. 

While at the Spinnerei look what we found.  Picture of last year NYAA LIA residents (Alex Barton, Nick Holiber, Holly Sailor, Aleah Chapin). Apparently they keep scrapbook pictures of every residents that stayed at LIA. 

On the road to the Neo Rauch's event we saw tons of these wind turbines.
Apparently there are more than 21,607 wind turbines in Germany ever since Germany decide to be an eco-friendly country decommissioned 17 of its nuclear power plants and wanting to use more renewable energy. The US can learn a thing or two about renewable energy from Germany. 

Grafikstitung Neo Rauch
Photo by Robert Fundis
We had just arrived and immediately we were on what suppose to be 1-hour trip from Leipzig to Ashcherlet. It's my first time in Germany and I had heard that people travel to German just to drive super-fast on the highway. I learned quickly that driving 120 km/75mph or faster is the norm. We arrived and apparently everyone imaginable in Germany art world was there. Anna was pointing left and right art dealers, art collectors, gallery directors all of which I had forgotten their names. We were star struck to be shaking hands and eating side-by-side at the the after party with Neo Rauch himself. (Apparently Neo Rauch's personal studio is just the floor above our studio at the Spinnerei)

Yum! Noelle having her first bookswurst (German boiled pork sausage) at the outdoor vendor of Grafikstitung Neo Rauch.

 700 years old renovated building was the after party place of Neo Rauch's opening 
(Photo by Robert Fundis)

The Grauer Hober was home of Neo Rauch's opening of his foundation and what a treat it was to celebrate on our first day in Germany. Food of plenty and drinks & wine at this three-store restaurant dining with a fire-pit outdoors. We were invited to this private event and even had the opinion if we wanted to sleepover at a nearby prison which they turned into a loft but declined. 

Welcome to the Spinnerei. Spinnerei which means "Spinning".
This once was the biggest cotton spinning mill in the continental Europe will be our home for the next 2-months. The place is now home to 10 galleries, exhibition spaces, artist-in-residency buildings, communal art cultural center Halle 14, art library  for many who come visit. We are staying at the Gwangju Pavilion LIA. 

It feel like home when the building halls welcome you 
by automatically light up when you pass by
(Photo by Noelle Timmons)

Noelle and Elizabeth Studio
(Photo by Elizabeth Glaessner)

Robert and Brian Studio
(Above: While staying in Leipzig our main transportation will be our niffy bikes which LIA offer to give each one of us to use here).
I still can't imagine the space we were given. 13ft ceiling with two big 24ft walls with big glass windows which two of us share is a dream. If there is even a dream studio, it would look very similar to this. Imagine how much work we can produce here and the possibilities of upscaling our work. That is why I am working right now on this 138"x 63" canvas (biggest painting I had done yet). Hope I'm ready for this.

Graffiti SNOW
This graffiti SNOW is pretty popular around Spinnerei and Leipzig if you visit here. I have to find who's the tagger responsible for these. 

Noelle and Elizabeth covering up a graffiti BABIE

Flughafen Leipzig-Halle (Aero Park Aviation Museum)

Kaholische Pfarrel Liebfrauen 
(a nearby landmark by the Spinnerei if I ever get lost)
(Photo by Robert Fundis)

Center of Leipzig, City Festival on June 2nd
(Photo by Robert Fundis)

Garden by the Spinnerei 
where cotton mill workers used to grow their food, now used by locals

LIA family potluck dinner
(Not only are they talented artist but they can cook too!)
Above: On the left- Sarina Scheidegger, Noelle Timmons
On the far right:Brooke Tomiello
NYAA residents are not the only one staying at LIA. Other international artists are staying at LIA which we have the privilege of befriending. 

Sarina is from Switzerland and her practice is mostly performance art. She been here so far 2 months and will stay another month with us in June

Brooke unfortunately left today but we will be seeing her soon in Brooklyn. She practices mostly performance art and studied her undergraduate at School of Visual Art in New York. 

Marin de Jong not in the picture but another artist who will be staying with us in June is from Holland and his primarily practice is painting in egg tempera. 

Kanal River in Leipzig, Germany
Here what I learn about Leipzig so far. Leipzig was once an industrial city home of textile factories like Spinnerei but after World War II Leipzig became a ghost town with not much employment. Leipzig now though is one of the two largest cities in the state of Saxony, Germany. Although there's not much businesses still it is recuperating with artist that want to come and making it their home. It rival Berlin for Germany art and cultural scene with big names  such as Neo Rauch, Jim Whiting, Aris Kalaizis, Matthias Weischer and artists from  New Leipzig School. Since Leipzig is less populated than Berlin more artist prefer living here because of the cheap rent and artists can get free housing if they have a social art project proposed. 

Kanal Cafe
In the forest by the Kanal River by the Spinnerei. 

Guten Appetit
At the Kanal Cafe I had my tastebuds try an Easter German favorite soup: Solyanka (orginally a Russian/Ukrainian dish made with pork, cabbage, tomatoes, parsley and cream.

128 years old cotton. What I learn about the history of the Spinnerei.
Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei  10 acre site in 1884 was once the largest cotton mill company on the continent with housing over 240,000 spindles. This place once employed thousands of women which helped produced sewing thread at the three Spinnerei. It was its own city within Leipzig with housing for their workers, training school, gardens for worker food, fire brigade, powerhouse,  doctors, etc. In 1993  when the company production came to an end a Western German buyer by Regina Lenk purchased the site. The owner allowed empty rooms to be used for alternative projects-architecture firms and few artists to give workshops. After Regina Lenk closed three owners Florian Busse (Heintz & Co.), Tillmann Sauer and Gertaim Schultz bought the place seeing the potential the space had for "tentants". The artist Jim Whiting in 2002 brought his project "Bimbotown" a robotic art environment to the Spinnerei. Soon a not-for-profit contemporary art center took over Hall 14, the largest of the Spinnerei buildings.  Artist-run galleries followed for this artist colony  with Dogenhaus, ASPN, Galerie Kleindienst and maerzgalerie. On May 1st, 2005 galleries opened their new space for the first time. Followed by international galleries once the Spinnerei gain reputation Brooklyn's Pierogi gallery and London's Fred gallery. Welcome to the Spinnerei.

Hal Le 14
Above:  Far left- Kristina Semenova, Robert Fundis, Elizabeth Glaessner, Noelle Timmons

Thanks to Anna's wonderful LIA assistant Kristina, she's so wonderful in giving us a tour of the Spinnerei today and other helpful things such as organizing LIA events and helping us fix our bikes.
Hal Le 14 is a public space where you can find a public art library, art events partnered by Columbus Art Foundation and Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. Also I discovered that former NYAA alumni Candace A. Goodrich is housing an art project at Hal Le 14 called One-sided Story as the director there from May 2012-April 2013 (she also was an artist-in-residence at the Pilotenkueche in Leipzig, Germany). 

Art installation at the Hal Le 14.

What to look forward to...

  • A new artist staying with us in July from Belgium by the name of Samuel (another fellow painter).
  • Jon Beer NYAA alumni 2012 will be staying at Spinnerei with another residency. 
  • Neo Rauch is expected near the end of June to do a mid-critique with the LIA residents (unless his schedule changes). 
  • Art fair June 14th Museums to see in Basel: Schaulager, Tinguly Musuem, Kunst Museum, Foundation Beverie

LIA is not the only international artist residency here at the Spinnerei. Looking forward to tomorrow we will be attending a barbecue (if it doesn't rain) with all the other international residencies for lunch. 
Look out for more blogs about my trip here in Leipzig, Germany and Europe....

NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: FIRST LOOK

May 31 - Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.  Below is the first of many posts from China, pardon us as we work through some technical difficulties as we them set-up.

Originally posted in Discus(t)..conversations about Art.
by Cory Dixon (MFA 2013)

(pardon the photos, we'll have better ones coming soon!)

Shanghai, China, Day 2:
Settling into Studios
Megan [Ewert, MFA 2013], Kristy [Gordon, MFA 2013], Nico [Sanchez, MFA 2013] and I arrived in Shanghai early Saturday morning where we were picked up from the airport by our guide Yi Wang. Since then Yi’s been guiding us through the process of getting set-up to live here. We settled into our new place, chose rooms, established an internet connection, explored our neighborhood, and experimented with food as much as possible considering we are unable to communicate without miming. 
A little grocery shopping upon arrival

In order to try and capture everything at the pace we are experiencing it, I’ve been shooting a lot of video. That’s taken a little longer to edit, but the slideshow  above here shows a few of the pictures I did take and some of the things in our neighborhood; the gate into our apartment complex, my makeshift fourposter bedroom that we divided off the living area (channels my inner nine year old princess), the view from our place reminiscent of Braque and Picassos red roofs, the hot pot buffet from Sunday dinner, a chilled raspberry sesame soup (ordered by mistake, but taster than what I intended to get), and a few of the sights from around our neighborhood [these photos will be added to future posts].

[the photos that accompany this post are taken by Yi Wang, more student photos will follow].
All these art supplies for $30!!!

Selecting bikes