Art Criticism and Writing | MFA Program

Saturday October 6, 2012
Filed under Events, Fall 2012, News, News, Events and Alumni

David Levi Strauss at Cooper Union, Saturday October 6, 4-6pm

Thursday October 11, 2012
Filed under Events, Fall 2012, News, News, Events and Alumni

Elaine Scarry at the SVA Theatre, October 11th at 7pm

Elaine Scarry
October 11th , 7pm
“Beauty and the Pact of Aliveness”

Elaine Scarry is the Cabot Professor of Aesthetics at Harvard University and is the author of The Body in Pain, On Beauty and Being Just, and Thinking in an Emergency. The lecture argues that beauty is a call to social justice. It draws on artists and philosophers from Plato to the present to show three different ways in which beauty presses us to repair the injuries of the world.

Thursday October 11, 2012
Filed under Events, Fall 2012, News, News, Events and Alumni

Open House October 11th at 5pm

On October 11, 2012 at 5 pm, join us for an Open House and Information Session. Tour our new facilities, meet students and faculty, and join us for the Elaine Scarry lecture at the SVA Theatre at 7 pm. Call us for more information and register for this event at

Thursday September 27, 2012
Filed under Events, News, News, Events and Alumni, Uncategorized

MARCUS BOON: September 27th at 7pm in the SVA Theatre

Marcus Boon
September 27th , 7pm
“Abject Future: Tyler, the Creator, Azealia Banks and the Politics of Vibration”

Scholar Marcus Boon discusses recent music videos by controversial Los Angeles based hip-hop crew Odd Future, including Tyler, the Creator’s (in)famous “Yonkers” and New York rap sensation Azealia Banks’ remarkable “212” as a starting point to examine the role of sound and vibration in politics and aesthetics. Through readings of Sigmund Freud, Julia Kristeva and Roberto Esposito, he explores the problem of violence and its relation to sound and propose a different way of thinking about vibrational ontology and what it would mean to think of vibration as a political problem.

photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann

Thursday January 1, 1970
Filed under Events, Fall 2012, News, News, Events and Alumni

Kurt Ralske (class of 2012) will present his work at the LISA conference held at the Guggenheim on October 21st

Thursday September 27, 2012
Filed under Events, Fall 2012, News, News, Events and Alumni

Faculty members Ann Lauterbach and Alan Gilbert will give readings at Futurepoem’s 10th Anniversary celebration

192 Books
192 Tenth Avenue at 21st St., Chelsea, NY
Thursday, September 27th @ 8PM

Readings by  MFA Art Criticism and Writing Faculty members Ann Lauterbach and Alan Gilbert, and Wendy Walters

Futurepoem books is an award-winning New York City small press that
publishes innovative poetry, prose and cross-genre literature. To
celebrate its 10th anniversary, this event brings together poet Ann
Lauterbach, a member of Futurepoem’s advisory board, and two
Futurepoem authors, Alan Gilbert and Wendy Walters.

Ann Lauterbach, poet and essayist, is the author of eight books of
poetry, an essay collection, and has collaborated with visual artists
including Ann Hamilton, Joe Brainard and Lucio Pozzi. Her most recent
book of poems, Or To Begin Again (2009) was a finalist for a National
Book Award. She is Ruth and David Schwab Professor of Languages and
Literature at Bard College, where she is also co-Director of Writing
in the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. Among her awards are
a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Alan Gilbert’s first book of poems, Late in the Antenna Fields
(Futurepoem, 2011) was a finalist for The Believer Poetry Award. A
second book of poems, The Treatment of Monuments, is forthcoming this
fall from Split Level Texts. He is the recipient of a 2009 New York
Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a 2006 Creative
Capital Foundation Award for Innovative Literature.

Wendy Walters is the author of the book of poems, Longer I wait, More
You Love Me and the forthcoming Troy, Michigan, from Futurepoem. She
is a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry. Her
poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, Los Angeles Review, Callahoo,
HOW2 and Seneca Review and her prose has been published or is
forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Bookforum, and Harper’s Magazine. She
is Assistant Professor of Poetry at The New School’s Eugene Lang
College in New York City.

Wednesday June 13th, 2012
Filed under Alumni, News, News, Events and Alumni

Charlie Schultz (class of 2011), Naked Art Criticism, taking off the text.

Methodology by Charlie Schultz

As an art critic I like to be well informed, maybe even the most informed. Being informed makes me feel secure, security makes me comfortable but comfort, eventually, makes me complacent. So I’ve created this little experiment to do what I do in a more vulnerable manner and see what happens.

Obviously the most pure form of NAC (if you haven’t gotten a grip on what nudity means on this blog pop over the About page) would be complete serendipity and total newness. You would stumble onto artwork you’d never seen, or heard of, in a place you didn’t expect it to be. ZOWIE! Those conditions might be feasible in a controlled lab experiment, but for a working critic in NYC it’s just not likely at all.

So, this methodology is the next best thing: choose a neighborhood, one or two artists who you  know, and one or two you don’t. Go see those shows. It’s imperative to refrain from reading any press whatsoever, no press releases or artist statements, and where the title of the work is not written directly on the work, that’s to be avoided too. Zero Text is the way we try to achieve Zero Extraneous Info.

Here’s the key: choose shows from Andrew Ginzel’s list. Ginzel puts this list together for the School of Visual Art; it’s ideal for NAC because the only info Ginzel gives is the name of the artist and the gallery. That’s all you need.

visit Naked Art Criticism

Tuesday June 12, 2012
Filed under Events, News, News, Events and Alumni

Faculty member Alan Gilbert contributed an essay to Martha Rosler’s exhibition catalog

Martha Rosler’s Virtual Minefield
Book signing

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Free and open to the public

This new catalogue was produced by Location One to accompany Martha Rosler’s 2007 exhibition Virtual Minefield at Location One (April 13-May 25, 2007) and features an introduction by Rosler and essays by Alan Gilbert and Maria Lind.
Please join us in celebrating the publication release with a reception and book signing on June 12, from 6-8pm. Martha Rosler and Alan Gilbert will be on hand to sign your copy.
Martha Rosler
Since the early 1970s, Martha Rosler has produced seminal work in the fields of video, performance, photography, critical writing, and theory. Her incisive, often humorous and transgressive, renderings of the social scene reflect her strong commitment to an art that engages with wider publics beyond the privileged spaces of the art world. Accessibility has always been a major concern of hers, as is the role of the viewer in constructing the meaning of the work. She presses viewers to rethink the boundaries between the public and the private as well as the social and the political.
Alan Gilbert
Alan Gilbert is the author of the poetry book, Late in the Antenna Fields (Futurepoem, 2011), and a collection of essays and articles entitled Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight(Wesleyan University Press, 2006). His poems have appeared in BOMB, Boston Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, jubilat, and The Nation, among other places. His writings on art and literature have appeared in a variety of publications, including Artforum, The Believer, Bookforum, Cabinet, Modern Painters, Parkett, and the Village Voice. He has contributed catalogue essays and entries for a number of biennials, group shows, and solo exhibitions. He lives in Brooklyn.

Thursday May 31st, 2012
Filed under News, News, Events and Alumni

Faculty Member Nancy Princenthal Moderates a Panel Discussion: Meeting Environmental Challenges with Art in the Public Sphere

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Time: 6 to 8pm (panel program starts at 6:00 pm with discussion and reception to follow)

Location: Hunter College, Student Dining Room, Hunter West Building, 3rd floor,
Lexington & East 68th St., New York, NY 10065
Enter through the West Building Lobby on the SW corner of 68th Street and Lexington Avenue. (Photo ID required).

(646) 286-1593 or

PANEL: Meeting Environmental Challenges with Art in the Public Sphere:
perspectives on Mary Miss’s City as Living Laboratory for Sustainability in Urban Design and its project, BROADWAY: 1000 Steps

A moderated discussion of the implications of the installation at Montefiore Park

Panelists: Patricia Phillips, Dean of Graduate Studies, Rhode Island School of Design
Eleanor Heartney, art critic
Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director, The Queens Museum of Art
Niels Van Tomme, curator, critic and Director of Arts and Media, Provisions Learning Project

Moderator: Nancy Princenthal, art critic and former senior editor of Art in America

Opening remarks: Prof. William Solecki, PhD, Director, CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, Hunter College
Dr. John Fraser, PhD AIA, President CEO, New Knowledge Organization Ltd & Adjunct Faculty, Hunter College
Mary Miss, Artist and Founder of Mary Miss/City as a Living Lab, will introduce the installation.

Monday May 14th, 2012
Filed under Fall 2012, News

Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2012

The Art Criticism & Writing program at the School of Visual Arts is one of the only graduate programs in the world that focuses specifically on criticism and art writing. This program is not involved in “discourse production” or the prevarications of curatorial rhetoric, but rather in the practice of criticism writ large, aspiring to literature.

The practice of criticism involves making finer and finer distinctions among like things, but it is also a way to ask fundamental questions about art and life. The MFA program in Art Criticism & Writing is designed to give students a grounding in the philosophical and historical bases of criticism, to improve both their writing and their seeing, and to provide sources that they can draw on for the rest of their lives.

Critics cannot afford to be specialists, so our curriculum is wide-ranging. In addition to the foundation seminar, Bases of Criticism I & II, taught by chair David Levi Strauss, three levels of writing practicums, and the thesis seminar, we offer an array of continually changing electives taught by prominent writers and critics. We concentrate on the essay as form, as well as on shorter forms of review, and learn criticism by doing it. The thesis that students write at the end of their course of study is intended to be a substantial piece of criticism. We want students to come out of this program better prepared to write in the world.

From its inception, this program has had a special emphasis on the history and future of the image. The critics of tomorrow must study images in all of their manifestations in order to better understand how we are subject to them.

In addition to our exceptional core faculty, we invite many writers, critics, philosophers, editors, artists, and art historians in each year to give lectures and to meet with our students individually and in small groups. Recent guests include: Susan Buck-Morss, Sylvère Lotringer, Robert Storr, Avital Ronell, W.J.T. Mitchell, Lynne Tillman, Michael Taussig, Boris Groys, Cuauhtémoc Medina, T. J. Clark, Peter Schjeldahl, Ann Lauterbach, Michael Brenson, Bill Berkson, Lucy Lippard, Amy Sillman, Linda Nochlin, and Dave Hickey.

Our acclaimed lecture series at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea continues this spring with anarchist anthropologist and principal contributor to the Occupy Wall Street movement David Graeber on January 19th, art historian Anne Wagner on February 14th, and scholar and writer Joan Richardson on April 12th.

In January 2012 we moved into our newly built facilities (including a new library) on the 6th floor of 132 West 21st Street in Chelsea. It is obviously a big advantage to have such a program situated in the heart of New York City, amidst the greatest concentration of artists and art activity in the world.

Our students produce an online journal of timely reviews of current exhibitions in New York City and other writings called Degree Critical, edited by Nancy Princenthal. Read Degree Critical on our website, at

We are now accepting applications for the Fall 2012 term. If you cannot apply by the January 20th early admission date, we will be accepting applications on a rolling admissions basis until all positions are filled. Generous departmental scholarships are available on a competitive basis. To download an application, go to, or (212) 592-2408 for further information.

To see sample programs, faculty bios, news, the Degree Critical online journal, recordings of past lectures, and admissions procedures, go to

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