Announcing the spring 2013 Art in the First Person lecture series

The spring 2013 schedule of events in SVA’s Art in the First Person lecture series is now available on the SVA website. As many of you know, Art in the First Person is an ongoing program of events in which artists, historians, critics, writers, and curators come to SVA to speak on a wide range of topics, including studio practice, art history, art criticism, philosophy, and various social and political issues that continue to transform the contemporary art scene. The spring 2013 series features a program of 16 lectures, panel discussions, and artist talks sponsored by SVA’s MPS Digital Photography, BFA Fine Arts, and BFA Visual & Critical Studies programs.

As part of the spring 2013 series, the Visual & Critical Studies program is sponsoring two lectures and two panel discussions. Here are descriptions of each of these events, quoted from their listings on the SVA calendar (to see the complete list of events, click on the link directly above).


Tuesday, January 29, 7:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Does It Need to Be Called Art?
209 East 23rd Street

When art is made or used as a tool of social or political activism, is it still best described as “art”? Critic and curator Saul Ostrow moderates a discussion on the topic with artist Maureen Connor, academic and activist Stephen Duncombe, curator and Percent for Art Director Sara Reisman and artist and urban designer Damon Rich.


Saul Ostrow is an independent critic and curator and art editor at large for Bomb magazine. Since 1987, he has curated over 70 exhibitions in the United States and abroad. From 2002–12, he was chair of Visual Arts and Technologies at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He currently serves on the board of directors of the College Art Association.


Maureen Connor’s work combines installation, video, interior design, ethnography, human resources, feminism and social justice. Her exhibition venues include the Akbank Sanat, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, International Artists Studio Program (IASPIS), Momenta Art, Antoni Tàpies Foundation, Queens Museum of Art and Wyspa Art Institute.,

Stephen Duncombe is an associate professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University, where he teaches the history and politics of media. A lifelong political activist, he co-founded a community-based advocacy group in the Lower East Side and works as an organizer for the New York City chapter of Reclaim the Streets, an international direct action group.

Sara Reisman is the director of New York City’s Percent for Art program, which commissions permanent public artworks for newly constructed and renovated city-owned spaces. She has curated more than 40 exhibitions and projects for institutions, nonprofits and art spaces including The Cooper Union, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Museum of Contemporary Art Republic of Srpska and Smack Mellon. She was the 2011 critic-in-residence at Art Omi, an international visual artist residency in upstate New York.

Damon Rich is a designer, artist and the urban designer and waterfront planner for Newark, New Jersey. His work represented the United States at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale and has been exhibited at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, MoMA PS1, the Netherlands Architecture Institute and the Storefront for Art and Architecture. He founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy, a nonprofit that uses design and art to improve civic engagement, in 1997.,


Tuesday, February 19, 7:00 p.m.
Mark Lilla: The Artist, the Autist and the Fool
SVA Theatre, 333 West 23 Street

Despite the irony, cynicism and calculation that govern the making and selling of art, viewers remain drawn to works that seem to come from “beyond”—such as so-called outsider art, the work of autistic or mentally ill individuals. Academic, philosopher and writer Mark Lilla discusses this long-held fascination and its roots in primitive religion and ancient philosophy. A professor of humanities at Columbia University, Lilla specializes in intellectual history, with a particular focus on Western political and religious thought. He has taught in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and at New York University. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he is also the author of The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (Knopf, 2007), The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (New York Review Books, 2001) and G.B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modern (Harvard University Press, 1993). He also edited The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin (New York Review Books, 2001), with Ronald Dworkin and Robert Silvers, and The Public Face of Architecture (Free Press, 1987), with Nathan Glazer. He is currently writing a book titled Ignorance and Bliss and another on the history of the idea of conversion.


Tuesday, March 12, 6:00 p.m.
Paul Schwaber: The Fate of Tragedy
133/141 West 21 Street, Room 101C

Paul Schwaber is professor of letters at Wesleyan University and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the author of The Cast of Characters: A Reading of “Ulysses” (Yale University Press, 1999), which brings a clinician’s attentiveness and a scholar-critic’s literary commitment to the study of characterization in James Joyce’s Ulysses.


Thursday, April 4, 7:00 p.m.
Freshly Minted: A Discussion on Post-BFA Life
133/141 West 21st Street

This panel discussion, moderated by fine artist and SVA faculty member Peter Hristoff, examines the challenges that post-BFA art-school graduates face. Artists Timothy Bergstrom, Sophia Dawson, Elan Jurado, Cassandra Levine and Kenneth Rivero discuss issues such as: “the MFA dilemma” (whether or not to pursue an MFA, and when); post-graduation “survival” tactics, including repaying student loans, renting a studio, managing living expenses and finding the time to make new work; the undergraduate/graduate experience; and strategizing a career. Participants discuss how these concerns affect their artistic practice and give brief presentations of their recent work.


As the semester progresses, I will post additional updates and announcements for each of the events listed above.

To see a calendar of all of the entries in the Fall 2012 Art in the First Person Lecture series, visit the the Art in the First person page on the SVA calendar. It includes a full schedule of all of the talks in the series, with links to more detailed descriptions and information on locations, dates, and times.

The Art in the First Person lecture series is free and open to the public.

Visual & Critical Studies