CHANGE // Create Chaos! // Anticipatory Urbanism // Slowing Time // Playing with Perception // The Inauguration of Rosanne Somerson
fall/winter 2015/16 rhode island school of design alumni magazine
inside FEATURES // 20
Playing with Perception
Building on 20 years in practice, Michael Maltzan BArch 85 is breaking new ground in changing the urban core of Los Angeles.
In his Dog & Pony Show series, Rob MacInnis MFA 13 PH questions whether he can change his and our sense of reality by making “animals disappear.”
When John Waters, the smiling “people’s pervert,” accepted an honorary degree and delivered RISD’s 2015 Commencement address, he wasted no time telling new graduates to pick up the mantle, shake things up and never ever stop provoking change.
Slowing Time Painter Bunny Harvey 67 PT/ MFA 69 takes the time to really
think through making, creating work that rewards viewers with a place to wander and explore for themselves.
DEPARTMENTS // 3 Comment
online, incoming, ongoing
changes over time
Throughout the inaugural festivities in October, President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID showed the grace and confidence to lead RISD into the unknowns of the future.
// 8 Listen
reflections, opinions, points of view
class notes + profiles
// 10 Look • big change
• new modes of making
// 60 Six Degrees
• cultural moments
connecting through the alumni association
// 52 Two College Street
// 66 Impact
campus community newsbits
who’s giving to risd + why
• telling stories
// 92 unraveling mystery abbreviations
sketches, thoughts, ideas in progress
// thoughts from the editor
Facing Change TH E R E’S NOTH I NG N EW ABOUT CHANG E —except
that it’s all about what’s new. Ever since the Big Bang (the event, not the show) a mindboggling 13.8 billion years ago, the universe has been in a constant state of change—and on our little speck of a planet, that includes both the good and the bad, like climate change. At an individual level, each of us is changing physiologically every day. Our cells grow, die or mutate and our bodies age, deal with viruses and bloom with bacteria. The very act of living is one of constant change. And yet most people aren’t especially open to change or comfortable with it. Most of the political wrangling that goes on around the world centers on either pushing for or resisting change—whether it’s confirming the right to same-sex marriage, pushing for a 2°C cap on global warming or striving to impose
Please share any responses to this issue by emailing email@example.com.
Sharia law. Change may be inevitable, but achieving it is rarely easy. And historically, it’s often contentious, scary and bloody. Fortunately, change is also both a noun and a verb: It’s a thing that happens to us and around us but it’s also something we can spearhead, if not control. We can take charge and make change—something artists and other innovators do when they push at the margins. In the spirit of this issue, which revolves around various ways RISD alums spark positive change, we’ve introduced a few changes ourselves. As John Waters hammered home when he spoke at Commencement, it’s the “job” of contemporary artists to question the status quo and agitate for change. “Refuse to isolate yourself,” he told RISD’s newest alumni. “Go out into the world and fuck it up beautifully.”
3D-printed Echo Hat by
Heidi Lee 05 GD (see page 14)
contributors E D ITOR / LEAD WR ITE R
Liisa Silander firstname.lastname@example.org 401 454 6349 LEAD D E S I G N E R / PR OD U CTI ON COOR D I NATOR
Elizabeth Eddins 00 GD CONTR I B UTI N G WR ITE R S
Robert Albanese Gillian Kiley Simone Solondz CONTR I B UT I N G D E S I G N E R
Sarah Rainwater D I R E CTOR OF ALU M N I R E LATI ON S
Christina Hartley 74 IL PR I NTI N G
Lane Press Burlington, VT Paper: 70# Opus Satin (R) FSC text and 80# Sterling Dull (R) FSC cover F ONTS
Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk and text face, Quiosco, designed by Cyrus Highsmith 97 GD COVE R
Guy Artist (2011, oil on canvas, 76 x 60") by Nicole Eisenman 87 PT
cover + Look (10) »
design refresh »
In the three decades since Nicole Eisenman 87 PT graduated from RISD, she has been making eye-opening figurative paintings and prints — and more recently sculpture — teaming with social significance. Using allegory, satire and stylistic references to art history, she explores issues of inequity, injustice, family dynamics and gender and sexuality. Now that the MacArthur Foundation has taken notice (see page 10), the Brooklyn-based artist’s life has begun to change significantly. Nicole’s painting Guy Artist feels apropos as a representation of mixed reactions to change and the role artists and designers play in provoking it.
Having worked as the lead designer for RISD XYZ and its precursor risd views for more than 15 years, Liz Eddins 00 GD has brought a breath of fresh air to the design and typography in this issue, while continuing to work Photoshop wonders on even the most marginal images. In addition to kicking this magazine into shape twice a year, Liz works with a wide range of packaging and print clients through her RI-based studio eddinsdesign. To keep screen time in check, she has become an avid runner, blasting past the 26.2-mile threshold in November to complete her first (but definitely not last) ultramarathon.
Since arriving at RISD almost a decade ago, Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH has worked for RISD’s Project Open Door and taught every year in the Photography department. She now also photographs on assignment for the RISD Media Group. Jo takes honest and compassionate portraits — preferring to focus on pregnant women, family members and adolescents, some of whom were shown in a recent series on Taylor Swift fans featured in The New Yorker online. She and her husband Thad Russell MFA 06 PH share a passion for both photography and their two young children, Polly and Curtis.
Listen (8) »
feature story (40) + back cover »
Poet, painter, short story writer and now novelist Rachel Glaser 05 PT is thrilled that the New York Times Sunday Book Review has already hailed Paulina & Fran (Harper Perennial) as a “gem of a novel [in which she] charts the obsessive, often hostile friendship between two similarly wild-haired undergrads at a Rhode Island School of Design-like East Coast art school.” The Times goes on to point out that “the novel’s mix feels fresh: nearly Gothic in its representation of its doubled heroines and their savage, fervent yearnings but satisfyingly specific in its minute, deliciously petty details.”
Photographer Rob MacInnis MFA 13 PH runs the new digital printing business Brooklyn Archival (brooklynarchival.com). Last fall, as part of The Arctic Circle’s interdisciplinary expeditionary residency program, he had the experience of a lifetime photographing and living on a Tall Ship with fellow researchers. In January the Dog & Pony Show images shown in this issue were featured in a solo show at Texas University’s Islander Gallery in Corpus Christi. In 2014 Juxtapoz Magazine named Rob’s “glamour shots” among the best of the year and one of his Farm Family photos made the cover of the July/August issue of Pacific Dissent.
Sketchbook (104) » “I want to create artwork that has a strong focal point, is occasionally humorous and is engaging and accessible,” says New Haven-based artist Michael Sloan 85 IL, who paints whenever he can and has freelanced as an editorial illustrator for more than 20 years. His work appears frequently in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Post and The New Yorker, among other publications. An avid musician, Michael plays bass guitar in the all-illustrator jazz band The Half-Tones, performing frequently at the Society of Illustrators in NYC.
R I S D XYZ
Two College Street Providence, Rhode Island 02903-2784 USA
risd.edu/xyz Published two times a year by the RISD Media Group, in conjunction with Alumni Relations. AD D R E S S U P DATE S
Postmaster: Send address changes to Office of Advancement Services RISD, Two College Street Providence, RI 02903 USA Or email email@example.com
comment REALLY? What were you thinking? In the last issue you sacrificed two full columns to Peter Mersky’s self-serving, rambling, lecture/critique of his RISD classmates and teachers [page 6]. He professes [to have] “mixed feelings about RISD” and observes “how very little his classmates seem to have accomplished” since graduation. He tells us that Jack Massey was a good teacher but Richard Merkin MFA 64 PT was not. He informs us that “Roger Pontbriand was always in the shadow of Harve Stein.” Could be. But Roger was a hell of a talent. I was sorry to learn of his passing in the XYZ Spring/Summer issue. Peter, meanwhile, works for that hotbed of creativity: the US government. He said he would like to hear from us. These are my thoughts. Mort Libby 61 GD Cincinnati, OH
HAPPENSTANCES In the Spring/Summer 2015 XYZ, you had two photos of happenstance art on page 4: anonymous postings, in a way left for others to stumble across while walking city streets. (Interventions...) Both caught my eye because they were pertinent to present concerns: I am having a concrete crack fixed in my Central Texas studio, and... I have a friend—a philosophy professor at the University of Texas at Austin—who is just finishing a book about unicorns and things we can’t see that hold sway in our imagination. I sent him a photo of the Missing Unicorn flyer....
// online, incoming, ongoing
INVITATION TO ASSESS From April 3–6, 2016, RISD is hosting a team representing the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one of seven regional college and university accrediting commissions in the US. Recognized by the US Department of Education, NEASC-CIHE reaccredits RISD every 10 years and also visits approximately 240 institutions in the six-state New England region on a rotating basis. NEASC accreditation is a totally voluntary process meant to assess the quality and efficacy of the education each institution offers. In preparation for the accreditation visit this spring, RISD faculty and administrators have been engaged in a comprehensive self-study for the past 18 months to look at our own effectiveness and adherence to the commission’s Standards for Accreditation. Now we’re inviting all members of the RISD community and the general public to submit feedback on the quality of the college. Comments need to address substantive matters as objectively as possible; the commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and the institution. If you wish to submit a comment, it will go directly to NEASC—not RISD—but you can’t comment anonymously. In other words, you need to include your name, address (email or postal) and phone number so that a member of the commission can contact you should questions arise. All comments must be received no later than April 6, 2016. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line: Public Comment on RISD. Or mail your comments to: Public Comment on RISD Commission on Institutions of Higher Education New England Association of Schools and Colleges 3 Burlington Woods Drive / Suite 100 Burlington, MA 01803-4514
photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
Madeline Irvine MFA 93 PT Austin, TX
Please send thoughts, sketches and updates to email@example.com.
Back to School At RISD the look this fall has everything to do with color. When students showed up in September, heads were turning to see just who had taken it to the next level.
IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE On November 17 President Somerson sent the following message to all members of the campus community and would like to share it with alumni as well. This fall we have all been saddened and troubled by the recent events that have unfolded in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad. I hope those of you with loved ones in those areas have found them to be safe. These world events echo other forms of violence and terror happening closer to home—ones that have been brought to light by the Black Lives Matter movement and, more recently, by the protests against systematic racism at the University of Missouri, Yale and other institutions of higher education. I am deeply committed to fostering a RISD community— both on campus and off—where every member feels valued and respected. Our community encourages you to use your unique talents and creative voices to express what may be difficult or even impossible to communicate elsewhere or in other forms. Ours is a community where all differences and individual identities are embraced—where indeed difference itself becomes the very fabric of who we are as a community. While I know that many of us focus on fostering this type of community, I also know that we do not always succeed. We have work to do. As we think about racism in the US and terrorism throughout the world, I want to urge us to not be passive bystanders but rather to use this as a moment for self-reflection and for action. In our studios and classrooms, we place great emphasis on expressing our ideals and individual perspectives. We also use critiques to question ourselves and our work—and to ask how we can grow and improve. Let’s apply that same approach to the community we are collectively creating every day. In what ways are we supporting, encouraging, standing with and productively challenging each other? How can our community become a model of artistic expression that celebrates diversity, inclusion and mutual respect?
On November 17 students and other members of the campus community gathered at the RISD Beach for a candlelight vigil in honor of the lives lost in recent acts of terrorism.
It is not always easy or comfortable to put the spotlight on ourselves, but I firmly believe that we are uniquely positioned to be leaders. We have the courage, the imagination, the resilience and the resolve to interrogate our own assumptions and acts. We can create an atmosphere of radical questioning and radical trust. We can reject the kinds of sharp social inequalities that lead to terror and violence of all kinds. And we can show others how to do the same. At this time of great empathy for recent victims of violence—when powerful alliances are challenging everyday, systematic forms of terrorism—I ask each of you to think about how RISD might lead this crucial conversation and produce change. I welcome your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can use our collective energy to activate positive change. Rosanne Somerson 76 ID RISD President
During his recent visit to Manhattan, Pope Francis paused to reflect on the tragedy in front of the installation Spencer Finch MFA 89 SC created for the national 9/11 Memorial Museum in NYC. Called Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning, the 40-foot-tall wall piece includes 2,983 individual squares of variously hued blue Fabriano Italian paper, one for each person killed in the 9/11 attacks and in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. 004
above: photo by Selene Means 17 FAV
Francis Faces a Wall of Blues
tracts Preciousness lies in the process, not in the material. Mariana Acosta-Contreras MFA 09 JM speaking about the Precious Waste course she teaches at Mexico’s Universidad Gestalt de Diseño
I am a constant experimenter with material, and my greatest friend and teacher in these experiments is failure. Matthew Szösz 96 GL/MFA 07 in winning this year’s Borowsky Prize in Glass Arts from Philadelphia’s UArts (11.12.15)
Working on a project is like rock climbing. I’ll go to the next spot and stay there safely until I make the next step. video/performance artist Kathy Rose speaking at RISD (11.2.15)
Comic Sans is the Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso, Hemingway and Mozart of graphic design. Mitch Goldstein 06 GD in Communication Arts (12.2.15)
A home is not a place where we happen to live. It’s a refuge from the outside world.
HOOKED ON A FEELING On October 14 the New York Times’ T Magazine published a piece by Michael Rock MFA 84 GD called Human Emotion: The One Thing the Internet Can’t Buy. Here are a few excerpts: We designers love to fashion ourselves as “problem solvers,” but let’s face it: the line between solving problems and creating them is blurry at best. What problem is being solved by a $1,500 pair of heels, or a $150,000 car, or a $150,000,000 architectural extravaganza in the Bois de Boulogne? The truth is—no matter what designers say— we have never simply answered problems. The act of design vacillates between the functional and the beguiling, often performing one while claiming the other. Le Corbusier dismissed the architecture of his beaux-arts contemporaries as cloying, while he looked longingly to the brutal utility of the grain elevators and factories devised by American engineers.
“In the battle between the head and the gut, the gut’s now cleaning up.” A half century later, Rem Koolhaas jettisoned function in favor of performance: “functionality is boring; performance is about what role the building plays and what kind of scene it triggers.” There has long been an ideological divide between the utilitarian and the emotional—between rational design and the decorative arts—but the balance of power is shifting: In the battle between the head and the gut, the gut’s now cleaning up. The empathy economy is booming. Facts are out, feelings are in. This is attributed, at least in part, to a kind of brand-mania that asserts that everything from your razor blade to your public library to the IRS needs to have a relatable personality.
Everyone is in the business of brand management: artists, designers, businesses, celebrities, politicians, museums, universities, armies, nations. (Is it only a matter of time before we’re debating our intergalactic positioning?) Branding is supposedly not about what something says, or what it means, but how it makes us feel. A brand is a promise. It’s the putative guarantee of the emotional payoff on an investment in a particular product, place or individual. So the new handbag makes us feel chic and knowing; the laptop, savvy and contemporary; the vodka, suave and sophisticated; the museum, refined and sensitive. When we talk about a strong brand, what we mean is that it consistently delivers the emotion it promises. The most successful brands, or at least the ones everyone emulates, have the knack for using design to produce an emotional coherence that spans from content to product to experience. Think Apple or BMW or Chanel…. [But] the question remains: Why we are all so susceptible to manufactured emotion? Why are we so needy? Perhaps this yearning is a reaction to the lurking presence of Big Data. As vast files of metadata and personal search histories are ferreted away in some server farm in god-knows-where, we crave the kind of anodyne, gauzy experiences that at least promise something warmer and more human. When everything is available all the time and we’re inundated with information in every way, shape and form, we’re left no choice but to favor what makes us feel.
Abeer Siekaly BArch 02 speaking about the refugee shelters she’s designing (Toronto Globe and Mail, 11.18.15) // RISDXYZ
fall / winter 2015/16
tracts We are RISD’s water and we can share it, we can spread it, we can use it to make things grow. senior class speaker Rachel Ossip BRDD 15 GD at Commencement (5.30.15)
Everyone is working their tails off just trying to survive— and also creating some of the most amazing work any of us has ever seen! Dennis Krawec 18 ID looking back on Foundation year
RISD STILL RESONATES In 1981 I applied to RISD as a transfer student and much to my disappointment—horror, actually—I was wait-listed. Undaunted, I made an appointment to see Ed Newhall BArch 74, who was—and still is—the director of Admissions. I met with him at Woods-Gerry, one of the most beautiful buildings on the historic East Side of Providence. After our meeting, I spent a long time in the main gallery and was blown away by the beauty of the student glass exhibition. I immediately fell in love with the place and knew instantly that I had to go to RISD because… well, I thought: I belong here. When I finally got accepted a year later it was partly due to help from an unexpected source. I had enrolled at the Art Institute in Boston to concentrate on improving my drawing skills and during my second semester I took a graphic design class with Michael McPherson MFA 66 GD, a RISD grad himself who was then an art director at MIT Press. When he noted that I had a good sense of typography and should consider applying to RISD, I told him with a wry smile that I’d already applied but didn’t make the cut. “Well, you can always apply again,” he said. That was my moment of epiphany. He was right. I’d never given it a moment’s thought because in my mind the RISD ship had sailed. But a year after my first attempt, I reapplied—and when an acceptance letter finally arrived, I sat there in stone silence reading it over and over again. 006
It’s now more than 33 years since I received that fateful letter. But going to RISD was a lifechanging experience, to say the least. As trite as it may seem, I really did learn how to think there—and not just about graphic design. It was the total immersion in art, design, typography, glass, industrial design and fine art all rolled into one amazing experience. Nothing has been as hard ever since—not even close. But when I think back to those years I know that everyone—in every department—was crazy talented. That meant that no matter what idea you dreamt up—and just knew was so hot—often paled when you saw someone else’s take on it. To me, that’s the magic sauce of RISD. Learning, understanding and accepting that there are many ways to solve a visual problem—not just your own—is what makes RISD an art school unlike any other. David H. Coulter 84 GD Attleboro, MA
We asked students to rethink the meaning of the word ‘museum’ as a place to address contemporary problems rather than to house artifacts. Architecture Professor Anne Tate speaking about a RISD studio project to design the country’s first Museum of Climate Change
Her work looks as though her whole body is moving through it. I see long strides, stillness— and maybe some tap dancing. Nanette Vonnegut (Kurt’s daughter) writing about the work of Anna Schuleit Haber 98 PT (The Take Magazine, 10.15)
She is precise in her making and in her words, and her coming here has definitely changed RISD for the better. Architecture Department Head Laura Briggs BArch 82 introducing Professor Kyna Leski at a talk about her new book The Storm of Creativity (11.5.15)
PARADISE LOST “My interest lies in the changing American landscape,” notes David Benjamin Sherry 03 PH, “and this new series of pictures reflects my unease.” The photographer’s latest visual commentary on “earth changes” (the title of his 2013 monograph) is called Paradise Fire, a series of more than 20 new photographs that was on view through December 12 at Moran Bondaroff in Los Angeles, where he lives. The title refers to a wildfire that burned roughly 2,800 acres of rainforest in the state of Washington earlier this year—a natural disaster with a suitably ironic name pointing to a paradise on fire. Sherry often focuses on the paradox of the strange beauty inherent in destruction—as in the 2015 photo below, titled Wildfire in Glacier National Park, St. Mary, Montana, August.
Calling All Origami Fans Building on her earlier Genesis Tree projects, Valerie Hird 78 PT is crowd-sourcing 3,000 origami cubes, cranes and
boxes for Genesis Tree New York, a 10 x 14' installation she’ll weave together this winter at Nohra Haime Gallery on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The idea is to create a functioning whole made of many disparate parts representing people of all ages, ethnicities, languages and cultures. If you’d like to fold bits of origami and can do it by early January, you’ll find details at nohrahaime gallery.com/genesis-project.html.
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// reflections, opinions, points of view
CREATING CHARACTER(S) PAI NTI NG S FI LLE D U P a whole wall salon style. Paulina studied them— messy landscapes and muddy, vague portraits—automatically critiquing them in her head. Which best created the illusion of light? Questions like this had been eerily placed inside her by a charcoal-covered man who awed them and taught drawing. The school was one entirely focused on visual art…. Here, any danceable music was exalted. A tidal wave of nostalgia knocked everyone over before anything even happened.
Far from the college, they walked past Portuguese bakeries and soccer fields of dead grass. Before she could see the house, Paulina felt the beat through her shoes. The house was big and crumbling in places. Dream catchers and colored glass hung haphazardly from the porch beams. A painting had been smashed into a tree and remained there, gathering rain and leaves, breeding mold. Inside, the house was hot from bodies. The living room was dark and empty of furniture. Paulina immediately separated herself from the group she’d come with. There was beer and she took one. Everyone looked good at the Color Club—everyone danced. No one hunched in the corner making small talk. A boy Paulina had once made out with was wearing a George Washington wig and making out with the Venus Flytrap. Paulina could hear Sadie speaking loudly over the music, again about the boy she’d met on the train, and how they’d kissed in their seats. Paulina ran to Dean, who was dancing in a crowd, his face coated in paint. “Paulina!” he shouted. “Sadie!” he screamed. Dean was nimble and high-spirited as a teenage girl, and revered like a gay Christ. Paulina hugged Dean and Troy and felt drunk. [She] searched the room for Zane, a boy so filled with good feeling that, using the bow on her dress, Paulina had once tied herself to him on the dance floor. The Color Club boys were exactly who Paulina wanted to surround herself with. Her whole life had been a search for charisma like theirs. Unable to seduce them, she’d tried to be their best friend, but the Venus Flytrap had gotten there first. She lived with the boys and rejected Paulina, once forcibly pushing her out of the house. Paulina made friends with
These passages are excerpted from the new novel Paulina & Fran, Rachel’s first. It has been reprinted with permission from the author and HarperCollins.
by Rachel Glaser 05 PT
the boys, but she was still unsatisfied. She wanted them to replace Sadie and Allison. She wanted friends she didn’t talk shit about to other friends. If such friends existed, they must be boys like these, who seemed famous. When cars drove by, Paulina saw the faces of her classmates in brief flashes of light. How necessary everyone seemed at a good party! People who’d looked lifeless at Angel’s looked vibrant here, and Paulina wanted to have sex with them all.
Dean and Troy danced violently until they crashed into a mirror. Paulina watched the shards fall in blinking pieces. Dean laughed hysterically. A girl danced in front of the mirror looking at her broken reflection. “Farm Girl Fashion Disaster!” Sadie shouted to Paulina. Paulina slowed to watch the girl’s crazed dancing. “Why ‘farm girl’?” Allison asked. “She caught a frog in the quad once, remember?” Paulina said without turning. “Her name is Fran,“ Allison said. “She’s in my painting studio.”
Since Matt Bollinger MFA 07 PT painted these two pieces, Join Us (far left, 2008, oil on canvas, 20 x 16") and The Ellipsis of M (left, 2008, oil on canvas, 48 x 60"), right after graduation, he has moved on to a different aesthetic (see page 100).
Paulina had never given this girl much thought when boy snoring in her bed. The Venus Flytrap joined Fran and they danced she saw her sashaying across the cafeteria or sleeping like their hair was on fire. through artist talks, but now she saw that the girl’s face “What a glutton for attention,” Paulina said, turning her back to the was beautiful. Her nose wasn’t simple. Paulina contem- crowded room. plated the bones of it. Fran’s green eyes looked lost. Light, curly hair whipped against her forehead. There was something innovative in the layout of her face, “You could never date a boy like that, who lives without needing to know but her expression showed no understanding of this. himself,” Gretchen told Fran, but Gretchen knew nothing. The girls walked Fran was absorbed in her jagged reflection. She out of the studios without looking at each other. Both wore patchwork wore a short dress with tiny hearts on it, and a man’s backpacks they’d bought at the hippie store freshman year. flannel. Paulina stared, realizing Fran was friends with Fran and Gretchen had become friends in Foundation Drawing one day one of Paulina’s enemies. Paulina couldn’t remember after Gretchen’s hair elastic flew through the air, narrowly missing the which girl. Her idea of Fran darkened. She wanted to model. Gretchen was understated. No hairdo announced her. She was a be her, or be with her, or destroy her. She watched graphic design major, which Fran found uninspiring. Gretchen wasn’t free Fran’s breasts bounce in her dress. No one in the room like the others. She danced, drank, and drew, but never gave herself over seemed connected to her. Her cheeks concealed things. to it. She never felt the light of everyone’s eyes upon her; nor did she crave Paulina felt dizzy and stopped dancing. She felt her this kind of light. own curls, now puffy and disorganized. She’s cool, a “He talks in a baby voice,” Gretchen said. voice said in Paulina’s head. “If brain-dead, naive Valley “No, he doesn’t. He just isn’t listening to how he sounds.” girls are cool,” Paulina said out loud, stalled in place. At the lecture, Fran and Gretchen watched a successful New York “Hey, I’m from the Valley!” Sadie whined. artist strip to her underwear and gnaw on a man-sized piece of chocolate. During the Q&A, students asked embarrassing questions and name Paulina mentally pushed beyond Sadie and Allison. dropped other artists. The questions were met with a collective groan, as Away with the fools that flock my sides, she thought, in if the student body were one body, one that couldn’t accept itself. After, a semiconscious daze. Fran danced in a corner seducing the artist put a curse on them, insisting: “Only one person in this room the wall. Fran, said a voice inside Paulina. For a brief, will make it in the art world.” exhilarating moment, Paulina forgot the name of the For more on Rachel’s work, go to rachelbglaser.blogspot.com.
fall / winter 2015/16
// big change
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
images courtesy of Anton Kern Gallery
“It was a really weak-in-the-knees moment for me,” Nicole Eisenman 87 PT (see cover) says about learning she’s one of this year’s MacArthur Award recipients — and the 10th RISD alum to have won a coveted “genius grant” in the past 18 years. The “no strings attached” award is given “in support of people, not projects” and comes with a stipend of $625,000 paid out over five years. Now represented by Anton Kern Gallery in NYC, Eisenman says that when she got the call from the MacArthur folks, she was in a supermarket. “It was just another day,” she explains. “And then everything shifts, everything changes. You get struck by lightning.” Long known for pushing on issues of gender and identity — as in The Breakup (2011), left, It Is So (2014), below, and The Artist (2011), cover — the Brooklyn-based artist is clearly comfortable with experimentation and readily admits that she doesn’t want to limit herself to any one way of making art. “Sometimes figures are clearly defined, sometimes it’s ambiguous or the question simply evaporates,” she notes in a recent interview with New York Times art critic Roberta Smith. “I’d like to tap into a universal human experience but know there’s no such thing; we all experience the world differently.” Given significant societal breakthroughs over the last decade — including the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the right to same-sex marriage — Eisenman notes that the conversation around queer politics has now shifted more to race and class. “That’s where I want the focus of my work to be,” she says. “There, and on trans politics as well.” antonkerngallery.com
New at the Top
above: photo by Chris Cooper | above right: photo by Rett Peek
Creative Catalyst In November pioneering glass artist Therman Statom 74 SC was named a USA Fellow, an honor that comes with a $50,000 unrestricted grant and “recognition as one of America’s most accomplished and innovative artists.” Based in Omaha, NE, where he works out of an 18,000-sf studio in a former window factory, the artist/activist is best known for creating enigmatic sculptures — often of houses, ladders and chairs — combining blown and sheet glass with found objects and painted imagery. For the past couple of decades, Statom has been increasingly involved in large-scale public art installations and arts education, working as a change agent who donates his time and talents to hospitals, schools and other community organizations. thermanstatom.com
Known for her elegant, inventive, bold and beautiful buildings, Deborah Berke BArch 77 will become the first woman to lead the 100-year-old Yale School of Architecture on July 1, 2016. In addition to running her NYC-based firm Deborah Berke Partners, the architect has taught at Yale since 1987 and has long recognized the importance of combining professional practice with teaching. Whether working on private homes, public buildings, facilities for the arts — like Bard College Conservatory of Music (left) — or distinctive hotels — see the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville in NYC (above) — she aims for what she describes as “a ‘knowing simplicity’— a fine and deliberate crafting rooted in how our clients will inhabit the places we design.” When Berke assumes her new position as dean, she will be the fifth RISD Architecture graduate appointed to head a North American school of architecture in the past six years. Richard Sommer BArch 83 has served as dean of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto since 2009. In July 2014 Rodolphe el-Khoury BArch 85 took over as dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture; in January 2015 Hashim Sarkis BArch 86 became dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT; and in July of this year, Nader Tehrani BArch 85 began serving as dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. dberke.com
fall / winter 2015/16
//////////////////////////////////////////////////// // telling stories
BOATLOADS OF INTEREST BARGE, the first feature-length documentary by Austin-based filmmaker Ben Powell 08 FAV, has been attracting attention at festivals this fall, including the big DOC NYC. “A meditative microcosm of the American Dream,” the 71-minute film focuses on the lives of men working on Mississippi River cargo boats. “Pride, passion, scars, a sense of humor”— all come through in their stories, Powell says. Produced by Dave Schachter 08 FAV, BARGE was an official selection at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, among others, and earned Best Feature Documentary at the Crossroads Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival. bargefilm.com
Marvelous Tome Best known for his 2008 Caldecott Medal-winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret — which director Martin Scorsese made into the film Hugo — author/illustrator Brian Selznick 88 IL has been hunkered down in his Brooklyn studio for the past few years working on his latest tour de force. In The Marvels (Scholastic, 2015) he again plays with the form he invented, weaving together two seemingly unrelated stories — entirely in pictures for the first 390 pages and then in words for the next 250. themarvelsthebook.com
Breathtaking Since June Sunshine Superman, a riveting documentary by Marah Strauch 00 GL , has been showing at a growing list of theaters across the country. A surge of critical praise welcomes the breathtaking film about adventurer Carl Boenish, the passionate skydiver who, in the 1980s, founded BASE jumping — the practice of flinging yourself off of impossibly high structures like skyscrapers, radio antennas,
bridges, cliffs and mountaintops. “More vertigoinducing scenes per capita than any other movie this year,” writes Rolling Stone, while Entertainment Weekly calls Sunshine Superman “gripping” and the New York Post proclaims it to be “a masterly debut by director Strauch… exhilarating [and] both unbearably suspenseful and elegiac.” magpictures.com/sunshinesuperman
Home Brewed After years in the making, a badass indie film written and directed by Colin Healey 08 FAV hit theaters this fall. Homemakers follows a feckless singer in an Austin punk band who relocates to Pittsburgh when her grandfather bequeaths her his rundown triple-decker. Distributed by Factory 25 and FilmBuff, the 85-minute film was produced “on a shoestring budget by an army of artist friends” including Dave Schachter 08 FAV, who co-produced and edited it; Ben Powell 08 FAV (see previous page), who pitched in as director of photography; and Seth Clark 09 GD, who handled production design, along with the design of the DVD and vinyl LP. Other alumni recruited for Healey’s creative “army” include Travis Rohrbaugh 08 GL , Izzi Galindo 09 FD, Nina Alexander 08 SC and Kate Nielsen 08 IL . homemakersmovie.com
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//////////////////////////////////////////////////// // new modes of making
HEADY STUFF Since 3D printing opened up a whole new world of making for Heidi Lee 05 GD, the Brooklyn-based designer has been producing fabulous hats that appeal to a wide range of fans — including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Anne Hathaway, G-Dragon, Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill. Her semi-flexible Vortex baseball caps (popular at this year’s Maker Faire in NYC) are the most high-res 3D-printed wearables on the market. Whether working in bamboo, glass or laser-sintered nylon, Lee makes head adornments that are futuristic, fanciful and functional. Her HEIDILEE Echo Hat (see also page 1) references the ancient Greek myths of Echo and Narcissus while offering a very contemporary commentary on today’s tendency to experience the world through the “echo chamber” of social media. heidilee.bigcartel.com
Playing with Thin Air Since founding Pneuhaus their senior year, Matt Muller 14 FD and August Lehrecke 14 FD have been leading a small collective in creating large-impact environments out of thin air. Their experiments with pneumatics have led to a wonderful series of inviting inflatable sculptures for art and music festivals and other celebrations. In August Pneuhaus took Playascape, their latest exploration of how people connect and react to specific spaces, to the Burning Man festival in Nevada’s high desert. Clad in close-fitting netting, the two-tiered inflatable invites people to climb high (in this case over the playa of Black Rock City) but moves and sways with the weight of each climber — making it utilitarian with an odd twist.
Airbnb cofounder and RISD Trustee Joe Gebbia 05 GD/ID spearheaded the project, reminding Pneuhaus
that Burning Man is an ideal platform for experimental architecture. The studio also tapped into the expertise of textiles artist Carmel (Dunlap) Snow 14 TX , who has been going to the offbeat festival since she was a kid. “Burning Man installations are traditionally made of hard materials — mainly metal and wood — so to design and build an interactive civic installation using soft materials and tensile structures was very refreshing,” Snow says. “It felt amazing to push material innovation and construction methods in such an experimental and extreme environment.” pneuha.us
Uplifting Transitions Fifteen years after they first met at RISD, two RISD alumni who work with designer Michael Singer have completed Uplifted Ground, the largest public art project ever commissioned by the city of Austin, TX. The permanent installation activates a transitional space at the city’s Bergstrom International Airport — a 300-foot-long walkway connecting the terminal to car rental facilities. Project managers Jason Bregman BLA 02 — who runs Singer Studio Sorth in Delray Beach, FL — and Jonathan Fogelson 02 ID — his counterpart at Singer Studio North in Wilmington, VT — have been working with the well-known artist/designer almost ever since he taught a class at RISD in 1999. “Jonathan and I have led the design and construction of many really innovative projects,” says Bregman, “including the
Sculptural Biofiltration Wall in Coconut Creek, FL and Queens Plaza in NYC.” Drawing on local minerals, geological formations and patterning from aerial photography, the Austin installation offers pedestrians a visual transition as they walk to and from the airport. Hundreds of ground-based sculpted elements — with textured relief patterns — give way to suspended cubic forms that morph horizontally and vertically depending on which direction a person is walking. The entire piece is designed to convert an existing parking deck into the equivalent of a pedestrian bridge. At a very specific threshold based on weight limitations of the parking deck, the cubes begin to separate from their base and lift up into the air suspended by steel cables — suggesting the uplifting feeling the title suggests. michaelsinger.com
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//////////////////////////////////////////////////// // cultural moments
CREATIVELY CONTAGIOUS This fall Shahzia Sikander MFA 95 PT/PR had multiple moments in the spotlight — starting at precisely 11:57 pm every night in October. As part of NYC’s Midnight Moment, her digital piece Gopi-Contagion took over the overabundance of electronic billboards lining Times Square for a precious few minutes in which art was allowed to usurp advertising. In Gopi-Contagion Sikander manipulates hundreds of digitally animated drawings of the silhouettes of hair from the Gopi — female worshipers of the Hindu god, Krishna. As they move and swarm on screen, the drawn silhouettes morph into insects, birds, bats or even particles, suggesting the collective behavior of cells in motion. “My process is driven by my interest in exploring and redis-covering cultural and political 016
boundaries, and using that space to create new frameworks for dialogue and visual narrative,” the Pakistani-born artist explains. In October NPR ran a great story on Sikander’s work as part of its series muslim artists, now. This fall her immersive animation Parallax was also on view from September through early December at Tufts University Art Gallery, which plans to publish a related book about her work this spring. shahziasikander.com
Fable for Our Times JooHee Yoon 11 IL offers a new take on The Tiger Who Would Be King, a fable of futility by James Thurber, as dense and gnarly as the jungle itself. “Each page teems with evocative images of animal life,” notes The New York Times in naming it one of the top 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015 (and already available in English, French and Italian). The effect of Yoon’s “electric red” and “cool blue-green blocky print-style” illustrations is “ferocious and ravishing,” the Times exudes, capturing “the beastliness of war along with emotions that include pride, boredom, shock and sorrow.” This latest recognition follows on the heels of the ADC naming her one of its Young Guns 13, a roundup of this year’s top emerging talents. jooheeyoon.com
Defying Existence In The Edge of Town, a solo show at Samuel Freeman gallery in Los Angeles, Martin Mull 65 PT/MFA 67 presents his latest series of paintings drawn from a 1950s middle American aesthetic. Like the paintings themselves, the title of the show suggests a place beyond the mainstream “where colors shift and cultures blend”— a place on the outskirts. In the catalogue accompanying the show, Mull’s friend and fellow actor and art lover Steve Martin writes: “Martin Mull should not exist, but clearly he does. “It would seem that no one who has been nominated for two Grammys, hosted The Tonight Show, received a Writers Guild Award for best teleplay, been the center square on Hollywood Squares and kicked a field goal for the Cleveland Browns could possibly be an extraordinary painter and illuminator of psychological darkness,” Martin continues. “It is just not done, and the person who did it would certainly vanish in a puff of smoke.” And yet Mull the painter is still very much with us, showing evocative work in LA through December 19. samuelfreeman.com/exhibitions/martinmull2015 // RISDXYZ
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// Create Chaos! • Anticipatory Urbanism • Slowing Time • Playing with Perception
Change may be inevitable, but it isnâ€™t always comfortable or easy to swallow. The features on the following pages look at various ways alumni explore new ground and promote positive change.
In accepting his first-ever honorary degree, the newly dubbed Dr. John Waters urges RISD graduates to “go out into the world and horrify us with new ideas. Out-outrage outdated critics…. Make me nervous.”
WE LCOM E AN D GOOD AFTE R NOON, President Somerson, Chairman Spalter, honored guests, parents, faculty, staff and mostly the 183 graduates and 486 undergraduates here today. I should say right off that I am really qualified to be your commencement speaker: I was suspended from high school, then kicked out of college in the first marijuana scandal ever on a university campus. I’ve been arrested several times. I’ve been known to dress in ludicrous fashions. I’ve always built a career out of negative reviews and have been called “the prince of puke” by the press—and most recently a title I’m really proud of: “the people’s pervert.” I am honored to be here today with my people. OK, I’m supposed to inspire you. How’s this? Somehow I’ve been able to make a living doing what I love best for 50 years without ever having to get a real job. “But how can you be so disciplined?” friends always ask when I tell them my job is to get up every day at 6 am Monday to Friday and think up insane stuff. Easy! If I didn’t work this hard for myself I’d have to go work for somebody else. Plus, I can go to my office one room away from my bedroom in my own house dressed in my underpants if I want to.
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You’re lucky. When I went to school, my teachers discouraged every dream I ever had. I wanted to be the filthiest person alive but no school would let me. I bet RISD would have. You can possibly even make a snuff movie here and get an A+. Hopefully you have been taught never to fear rejection in the workplace. Remember a “no” is free. Ask for the world and pay no mind if you’re initially turned down. A career in the arts is like a hitchhiking trip. All you need is one person to say, “Get in” and off you go. And then the confidence begins. Of course play is equally as important to your education as work. And in the fine arts, play is work, isn’t it? What other field allows you to deduct as business expenses from your taxes gangster rap, Gaspar Noé’s movies—even vintage porn, as long as you use it for research? Remember you must participate in the creative world you want to become part of. So what if you have talent? Then what? You have to figure out how to work your way inside. Keep up with what’s causing chaos in your own field. If you’re a visual artist, go see the shows in the galleries that are frantically competing to find the one bad neighborhood left in Manhattan to open
up in. Watch every movie that gets a negative review in the New York Times and figure out what the director did wrong. Read read read. Watch people on the streets. Spy, be nosy, eavesdrop. And as you get older, you’ll need youth spies who will keep you abreast of new music that nobody your age has heard of yet or body-piercing mutilations that are becoming all the rage— even budding sexually transmitted diseases you should go to any length to avoid. Never be like some of my generation who say, “We had more fun in the ’60s.” No we didn’t. The kids today who still live with their parents who haven’t seen them in months but leave food outside their bedroom doors are having just as much fun shutting down the governments of foreign countries on their computer as we did banning the bomb. Today may be the end of your juvenile delinquency but it should also be the first day of your new adult disobedience. These days everyone wants to be an outsider, politically correct to a fault. That’s good. I hope you are working to end racism, sexism, ageism, fat-ism—but is that enough? Isn’t being an outsider so… 2014?
“Think about it. I didn’t change; society did. Who would have ever thought that a top college like RISD would invite a filth elder like me to set an example for its students?” 022
// Create Chaos!
John Waters honorary doctorate 2015
previous spread and above: photos by Scott Indermaur
linquency but it de le ni ve ju ur yo of d en “Today may be the t disobedience.” ul ad w ne ur yo of y da should also be the first
“Refuse to isolate yourself. Separatism is for losers. Gay is not enough anymore.”
I mean, maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind, really shake things up and reinvent yourself as a new version of your most dreaded enemy: the insider. Like I am. Ha! The final irony: a creatively crazy person who finally gets power. Think about it. I didn’t change; society did. Who would have ever thought that a top college like RISD would invite a filth elder like me to set an example for its students? See? There’s hope for everybody. You need to prepare sneak attacks on society. Hairspray is the only really devious movie I ever made. The musical based on it is now being performed in practically every high school in America. And nobody seems to notice it’s a show with two men singing a love song to each other that also encourages white teen girls to date black guys. Pink Flamingoes was preaching to the converted but Hairspray is a Trojan horse. It snuck into middle America and never got caught. You can do the same thing. Listen to your political enemies—especially the smart ones—and then figure out a way to make them laugh. Nobody likes a bore on a soapbox. Humor is always the best defense and weapon. If you can make an idiot laugh, they’ll at least pause and listen before they do something stupid to you. Refuse to isolate yourself. Separatism is for losers. Gay is not enough anymore. It’s a good start. But I don’t want my memoires to be in the Gay section near True Crime at the back of the bookstore next to the bathrooms. No! I want it up front with the bestsellers. Don’t heterosexual kids actually receive more prejudice in art schools today than the gay ones? Things are changing. It’s a confusing time.
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“Not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today.”
This might be time for a trigger warning—the amazing concept I’ve heard about where you’re supposed to warn students if you’re going to talk about something that challenges their values. I thought that’s why you went to college. My whole life has been a trigger warning. But you have been warned. Don’t hate all rich people. They’re not all awful. Believe me, I know some evil poor people, too. We need some rich people. Who else is going to back our movies or buy our art? I’m rich. I don’t mean money-wise. I mean that I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich! Not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today. It’s OK to hate the poor, too, but only the poor of spirit, not wealth. A poor person can have a big bank balance but is stupid by choice—uncurious, judgmental, isolated and unavailable to change. I’m also sorry to report there’s no such thing as karma. So many of my talented great friends are dead, and so many fools I’ve met and loathed are still alive. It’s not fair and it never will be.
// Create Chaos!
John Waters honorary doctorate 2015
Parents, now it’s time to talk to you. God, these kids can be brats, can’t they? Entitled little bastards. Do they think you’re made of money? Can’t they give you a second to adjust to some social changes, sexual reassignment surgery, horn implants and the political rights of the adult baby community? And young adults, maybe today is the day you stop blaming your parents for every problem you’ve ever had. Yes, it’s a drag you were kept locked in a cardboard box under their bed and daily whipped with a car aerial, but it’s time to move on! We’ve all been dealt a hand. Deal with it! Whining is never appealing in a college graduate. And parents, vice-versa, you don’t get to order up your kids either. Maybe your daughter did tattoo her entire face. Well, work with what you’ve got. Think positively. Maybe she’ll open a fancy tattoo parlor in Paris. I’m touched to sometimes see distraught parents bringing their angry and defiant teenage children with them to see my spoken word show in a last-ditch effort to bond. At least both sides are trying. The truce of maturity will come to families if every member is patient.
I look back with wonder at how understanding my parents were. Doctor Spock didn’t have a chapter in his child-rearing book on how to handle your son if all he wanted to do was play car accident. Yet my mom took me to junkyards as a toddler and let me wander around fantasizing ghoulishly. My dad even lent me the money to make Pink Flamingoes and I paid him back in full, with interest. But looking back, did I really expect him to be thrilled that I had made one of the “most stupid, vile, repulsive films ever made,” as Variety called it? My parents made me feel safe and that’s why I’m up here today. That’s what you should try to do for your children, too, no matter where you get your children these days. Contemporary art’s job is to wreck what came before. Is there a better job description than that to aspire to? Here’s another trigger warning: Go out into the world and fuck it up beautifully. Design clothes so hideous that they can’t be worn ironically. Horrify us with new ideas. Out-outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living. Make me nervous. And finally, count your blessings. You got through college. You didn’t commit suicide, OD or have a nervous breakdown. And let’s remember the ones who did. It’s time to get busy. It’s your turn to cause trouble, but this time in the real world and this time from the inside.
“The poor of spirit...can have [big bank balances but are] stupid by choice— uncurious, judgmental, isolated and unavailable to change.”
For a video of Waters delivering this talk, go to risd.edu/news/2015/commencement.
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A NTI CI PATO RY
Building on 20 years in practice, Michael Maltzan Architecture is breaking new ground as it envisions a bright future for Los Angeles.
is that it is very difficult to deny,” says Michael Maltzan BArch 85, who leads Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) in Los Angeles. “As you walk around the city, it’s there. It is very present.” In the 20 years since Maltzan launched his own practice, MMA has itself become difficult to deny—especially in terms of its impact on LA. An intensely collaborative studio with a shared sense of social responsibility, the 25-person firm takes on work coast to coast, designing private homes, art centers, performance spaces, museums, bridges and parks—from MoMA QNS in Long Island City to the New Orleans riverfront to the Ju Gong Bridge in Chengdu, China. It has already racked up five Progressive Architecture awards, 35 citations from the American Institute of Architects, an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award and a Gold Medal for Urban Excellence from the Rudy Bruner Foundation, among other recognition. At the same time, Maltzan is inextricably drawn to “the complexity” of the city he has called home since he and his wife Amy Murphy BArch 87 moved to Silver Lake back in the 1990s (joining a lot of their friends from RISD). Seeing LA as a microcosm for what a city needs to be in the 21st century, he can’t help but throw his passion for large-scale problem solving into making Los Angeles a noticeably better place to live. “ON E OF TH E TH I NG S ABOUT ARCH ITECTU R E
URBANISM by Liisa Silander
“Rather than create a prototype and make it over and over, we’ve been working… to explore what’s possible.”
Since MMA began working with the Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) almost a decade ago, the firm has been at the forefront of revolutionizing public housing in major urban areas across the country. In this new vision for tackling homelessness and other negative effects of extreme income inequality, MMA and SRHT have partnered to build a series of beautiful apartment buildings replete with central courtyards, community gardens, running tracks and art studios. Each of the three complexes completed so far—with a fourth, a 64-unit housing project for formerly homeless veterans due to open next year—offers an undeniable point of pride for both the residents who live in them and the larger urban community that appreciates the positive impact of good design. The striking angular form of Star Apartments, a 95,000-sf affordable housing complex completed last year in downtown LA, is very different from both the curvaceous New Carver
// Anticipatory Urbanism
Michael Maltzan BArch 85
Apartments, a 53,000-sf residential facility that opened in 2009 as a beacon of hope right next to the busy I-10 freeway, and Rainbow Apartments, a 43,000-sf transitional facility that opened in 2006 to help house the homeless in the heart of downtown. “Rather than create a prototype and make it over and over, we’ve been working with the Trust to explore what’s possible,” Maltzan explains. Each successive commission has been more ambitious, “allowing us to reconsider how a building can be lived in, support its residents, fit into the evolving city and even be made.” Built to serve a particular community in very pragmatic ways, “these buildings also create very emphatic forms in the city that you can point to and say, ‘This community of formerly homeless people who have been largely anonymous in the city is here,’” Maltzan says. “It exists in a very real, tangible and positive way. That’s something that architecture can do.”
MMA’s design of the curvaceous New Carver Apartments (previous spread, above and right) stands in contrast to the blocky forms of Star Apartments (above right). Both residential complexes offer affordable housing for the homeless in Los Angeles.
For a new video on Michael, go to risd.edu/maltzan-video.
this spread and previous: photos by Iwan Baan
“One of the things about architecture is that it is very difficult to deny. As you walk around the city, it’s there. It is very present.”
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“It’s almost a piece of urban fabric as much as it is a building.”
TH E PROCE SS OF PROG R E SS
// Anticipatory Urbanism
Michael Maltzan BArch 85
Earlier this year MMA completed One Santa Fe, a forward-facing, mixed-use complex that is breathing new life into a four-acre strip next to LA’s rail yard.
right: photo by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
As Maltzan sees it, architecture can also do many other things— that in many ways anticipates the scale of the city”—that and he’s eager to keep pushing the possibilities. Consider tries to represent what the city might look like in 15 or 20 years. MMA’s $165-million project One Santa Fe (OSF), which was “That’s the thing about architecture,” Maltzan points out: just completed in March of this year. The striking red and white “It takes a long time to design and build it, and if you try to mixed-used complex sits on a four-acre strip next to the rail design a building for today, it’s already tomorrow by the time yard and is more than a quarter of a mile long. With a total the building gets built. I think it’s incumbent on architects of 510,000 square feet, it offers 438 rental apartments on six to imagine and aspire to making buildings that really meet the levels—80% market-rate and 20% affordable housing— future of a city.” above restaurants, offices and shops at the ground level, with Design critics tend to agree. “In recent projects like Star a huge public square in the middle. Apartments and now One Santa Fe, Michael Maltzan “It’s almost a piece of urban fabric as much as it is a building,” Architecture has shown it can create innovative solutions Maltzan notes. “One of the goals I had for that building was for starkly different populations—the formerly homeless to begin to take on some of the larger challenges that face Los at Star and mostly upscale professionals [at One Santa Fe]— Angeles and many contemporary cities,” he says, namely how finding the sweet spot for extracting a vital architecture to create more dynamic mixed-use spaces in a city in transition. from the city’s otherwise humdrum multifamily residential “I was trying to find a way of creating density in a very posidesign palette,” notes Russell Fortmeyer in the October issue of Architectural Record. “Well beyond the tired clichés of tive, contemporary and forward-facing way,” Maltzan explains, indoor-outdoor living and insipid midcentury-modern riffs, noting that LA’s historic suburban sprawl is beginning to shift Maltzan’s work explores the complicated history of LA while towards a denser downtown. Recognizing that the city is setting high expectations for a future in progress.” growing and changing rapidly, he wanted to make “a building
“I think it’s incumbent on architects to imagine and aspire to making buildings that really meet the future of a city.”
“There’s a funny combination of patience and impatience that goes into the process.”
“You need to feel comfortable with ambiguity… to feel comfortable with the fact that it’s going to take a while to understand it all.”
left: photo by Iwan Baan, above: photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
EXTRAOR D I NARY FAI LU R E S
Given the number of challenges facing the US—and the larger global community—in the 21st century, Maltzan believes strongly that artists, architects and designers need to insinuate themselves further into every aspect of social, political, economic and cultural life, including decision making. The complexity of the issues at stake calls for the problem-solving capabilities not of policy wonks and MBAs but of people who are so inculcated in the ways of the studio process that they know the best way to solve seemingly intractable problems is by taking risks and figuring out how to connect the dots. “It’s interesting that as I walk around the office and look at the piles of models—all of the different designs we’ve done on the way to a final design,” Maltzan says, “I realize that what most people take as signs of creativity are really indications of extraordinary failure. Each one of these models— each one of these experiments—was a failure. But what was so important about them is that they got you a little bit further to the final success, the final result, the final—in our case— building that gets built.”
For a new video on Michael, go to risd.edu/maltzan-video.
Translating this to a broader context, Maltzan points out that “the number of times you solve a problem instantaneously— or a group of people come together and automatically figure it out in an afternoon—is almost never.” Instead, he says, RISD helped him realize that “when you’re approaching a very complex problem, you need to feel comfortable with ambiguity, to feel comfortable with the fact that you don’t understand it all and that it’s going to take a while to understand it all.” And as most designers know, there’s “a funny combination of patience and impatience that goes into the process,” Maltzan says. You need both patience and confidence to know that you’ll eventually understand and make sense of what you’re doing but also the impatience and drive to keep pushing through both the stumbling blocks and the roadblocks you’re likely to hit along the way. “It’s always a process of speculation and iteration,” he says, “—of trying something, failing and learning from that process, and then getting up the next day and trying and failing again…until you solve a very complex, very challenging problem. That’s an approach to the world we live in that is invaluable.”
Star Apartments (left) and the model for the complex in Maltzan’s studio (above). The architect is shown (above right) speaking with a colleague in the midst of models for LA’s Sixth Street Viaduct project.
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“If you can find those spaces where very few people have operated before, very often it’s the place where you can have the biggest and most radical effect.”
TH E B EAUTY OF E LASTICITY
As the design architect on the Sixth Street Viaduct—an ambitious bridge and park project that is likely to become a lasting landmark in downtown LA once it’s completed in 2019—Maltzan has become increasingly more excited about the potential of his profession to reach beyond its traditional boundaries. Working with a cross-disciplinary team of engineers, urban planners and landscape architects, MMA has designed a series of 10 pairs of concrete arches to replace a bridge built in 1932 and unite the Boyle Heights community to the east with the Arts District and downtown to the west. It’s an elegant and efficient approach to the pragmatics of replacing the bridge while also creating an iconic structure with large areas for new recreational green spaces below with the flexibility to morph along with the city itself.
// Anticipatory Urbanism
Michael Maltzan BArch 85
“As the work of my practice here has continued to expand,” Maltzan says, “I have become more motivated to try to find a way to bring design to the infrastructural and engineering worlds.” These large civic projects “have such a huge effect on our day-to-day lives,” he says, but without the direct involvement of architects and designers, they often end up looking cold and anonymous. “They could be so much better, so much more productive and so much more beautiful,” he says. By partnering with structural engineers on large infrastructural and other major municipal projects, MMA’s evolving practice reflects the “elasticity” Maltzan himself says he first picked up at RISD. For him, RISD was “the place where the lights really went on,” where he gained “a deep sense of purpose—a way of making something of consequence that
MMA’s design of the Inner City Arts campus in LA (far left), the recently completed One Santa Fe complex (above) and a rendering of the Sixth Street Viaduct infrastructure project due to be completed in 2019.
For more information on Maltzan’s work, go to mmaltzan.com.
related to the way I interpreted the world.” And the effect proved to be so profound, that even 30 years after graduation, he says that much of what he learned as an undergrad “are all things that I keep trying to get back to on a daily basis. I keep trying to make RISD even here in the office.” Elasticity and cross-disciplinary agility are much on Maltzan’s mind as he thinks about the future of his profession. “At this moment architecture needs to have an elastic idea about itself,” he says. “What I mean by that is that architecture or any discipline doesn’t belong to just one type of work and culture. It can jump boundaries and borders, and expand its capabilities and its cultural influence.” And that, he says, is part of why he still marvels at what he took from RISD. “We would all be in studio together late at night—painters, glass blowers, graphic designers, architects, friends who were just interested in each other’s work—but the specifics of your discipline didn’t matter as much as the cohesion of your ideas and your beliefs. That’s what brought you together. And that was an incredible experience for me, to realize that it’s about your commitment to making something in the world and to taking on as many challenges and as many problems as possible and to bringing your creativity and intellect to bear on those.” One of the moments at RISD “when the lights really went on” for Maltzan was when Ted Weller asked students in his Foundation 3D studio to construct a one-foot cube out of anything and place it outdoors within a certain radius of the Waterman Building. Everyone in the class was then asked to try to find all the objects. “It was a camouflage problem,” Maltzan says, noting that “there were a lot of different approaches, and some of the boxes were found earlier than others. There was a great one that was basically this cube of mirrors that seemed to disappear into the environment.” His own response to the assignment was to reassemble a cardboard box he had found and put it on top of the dumpster next to Carr House. Needless to say, nobody found it. “I was excited about that because it was a funny success,” Maltzan says, “but there was a lesson there that has stuck with me for my entire career. And that’s that the things we do and don’t see—how we do and don’t see the world—are really the first part of the design process.” The more mundane an object, the more it tends to virtually disappear from consciousness. For architects and designers, Maltzan maintains, “trying to see that cardboard box in its full anonymity and understand that that was something that was made as well” is key to “understanding a bigger piece of the way the world works.” It also offers “a bigger space for you to work in as a designer or an architect,” he says. “If you can find those spaces where very few people have operated before, very often it’s the place where you can have the biggest and most radical effect.”
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Painter Bunny Harvey is most at home thinking through her work, which rewards viewers with a place to wander and explore for themselves.
by Liisa Silander
WH E N S H E FI R ST FOU N D PAI NTI NG, Bunny Harvey 67 PT/MFA 72
knew she had discovered something extraordinary: a way to think and process the world around her. Many people search for a similar touchstone their entire lives. She was 11 when she picked up that first brush. “I’m a painter because that’s the medium that gives my interior voice the widest range,” says Harvey more than half a century later. “I’m actually more of a thinker, but painting allows me to create a place where I’m at home thinking—and where I get the most dimension out of my thinking.” This fall, highlights from a lifetime of visualizing her thoughts were on view in Bunny Harvey: Four Decades, a retrospective at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum. The show culminated both 40 years of teaching at Wellesley and a prolific amount of making throughout those years. As someone who reads both the dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica as if they’re novels (she owns all 29 volumes of the revered 11th edition, published in 1910–11), Harvey has spent her life exploring a broad range of interests that eventually find their way into her paintings. The large body of work in this fall’s show— approximately 70 small- and large-scale paintings, along with drawings—follow the twists and turns of her intellectual curiosity over the decades as she explored aspects of archaeology, particle physics, biology, sound, the intricacies of nature, the joy of being. 036
Spanning three decades of work, Dragonfly Rumors (2010, oil on canvas, 64 x 66"), Listen the Birches (1986, oil on canvas, 76 x 68") and Many False Doors (1979, oil on canvas, 64 x 72") represent Harvey’s ongoing exploration of painting the unseen — from motion to sound to ancient beliefs. previous page: Sonorous Space (2006, oil on canvas, 66 x 66") and Website (1996, oil on canvas, 66 x 64")
“Over the past 40 years, my work has continuously evolved,” notes Harvey, who lives in an old farmhouse in Vermont and maintains a studio in Providence’s Jewelry District, where she established roots along with many fellow RISD artists. “Through all of my senses I allow myself the luxury of getting lost in seeing, in thought and in the exploration of paint itself. The visual vocabulary of these images explores connections between a direct and thoughtful observation, spontaneous sensual input—a sudden raven’s cry, a cool breeze, the smell of a nearby milkweed—and the pleasure of invention.” Now that she’s no longer commuting to Wellesley to teach full-time, Harvey doesn’t expect to slow down as much as switch gears. The granddaughter of a chef, she loves to cook and share good meals with friends. She needs to be outdoors and wander, get lost in thought, garden. And almost 60 years after picking up that first brush, she still needs to paint.
// Slowing Time
Bunny Harvey 67 PT / MFA 72
Half a century ago, when she showed up for Foundation year, “RISD felt like a miracle,” Harvey says. “There was such a lively music scene and sense of community in Providence in the ’60s—and everyone at the school was really part of all that. It was a cool extension of my life in New York.” But it was also a time when all the professors in Painting were male. “I had no women faculty when I was at RISD, and I was the only female in the grad program,” she says. “I remember [Professor] Bob Hamilton 39 PT once told me: ‘Harvey, you should have been born a man!’” Intent on getting as much as she could from her professors, “Harvey” did her best to be one of the guys—or at least she made the attempt, eager to have faculty take her work seriously. “But intellectually I was suspect,” she says, “because I decided to paint figuratively when everyone else was painting abstracts. I knew I was an abstract painter at heart, but I was just going against the grain, being my ornery self.” In the end, she remembers learning a lot from David Slater in Illustration, who really pushed her to let go and experiment.
Today things have changed. At RISD women outnumber men—in the Painting department and everywhere else— by two to one. And Harvey herself ended up devoting decades of teaching to working with aspiring young female artists. “Throughout my career I’ve taken the role of mentor very seriously because I didn’t have one,” she says. “I loved subverting smart young women at Wellesley who found no support for making art in the world in which they had grown up. They need to know that creative endeavors have value whether or not they plan to go on to make a living as an artist.” Harvey admits that she never really planned to make a living as an artist, either. But she couldn’t help but paint, and over time found the ideal match for her peripatetic mind in the slow process of making complex, multidimensional oil paintings and teaching exuberant young thinkers to express their own thoughts through art.
“My paintings are like landscapes,” Harvey says. “They’re not representations of landscapes, they’re environments. I try to let everything come in—hearing, temperature, painting the unseen… they’re places to wander in and explore and come back to.” Although she needs to spend time outdoors—in the country—Harvey paints from memory, not direct observation. It’s all part of the process of sifting through and making sense of the endless stimuli around her. “Sometimes it amazes me when I look at my work to think ‘Oh my god. I made all this stuff?’” Harvey says. But just as quickly she adds: “I’m unconscious of it as ‘making.’ It’s just thinking.”
“I’m actually more of a thinker, but painting allows me to create a place where I’m at home thinking.”
For more on Harvey’s work, go to bunnyharvey.com.
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“We do not identify dogs in terms of their physical characteristics…. They’re identified in terms of our mental constructions, so they’re basically mental objects.” Noam Chomsky, from Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?
Is it possible to push the limits of my own reality? Can I make animals disappear? text + imagery by
Rob MacInnis MFA 13 PH
I R E M E M B E R A POTE NT THOUG HT I first had as a kid at my family’s cottage on the Northumberland Strait, sitting on cheap reclining lawn chairs one October night. I inhaled the cool air from the shore as my mind was blown by my cousin’s descriptions of the impossible heavens above. During a little silence, I had a big thought: What would it be like if the universe had never existed? I tried hard, but couldn’t quite imagine it. It was an odd thought, though a pleasingly impossible one that I tend to revisit with the same frequency as my attempts to learn the elusive art of whistling. “Could whistling create a portal to another universe?!” That may describe how I approach my artworks/projects/distractions/ displays-of-affection—throwing rocks as far out to sea as I can, resulting in ever-pathetic, humorous and inevitable failures that re-verify the limits of my own reality. The rocks always land somewhere between me and the waterfall at the end of the ocean, rubbing the real and the imaginary together.
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“Can we really only see our own creations and nothing else?”
Years later, as John Cage became the patron saint of my contrarian heart, I daydreamed that these failures were not inevitable. Every limiting parameter signified a space beyond its edge. The trick I learned from my smarter older brother— that it’s impossible to look at a word without reading it— felt more like a challenge than a rule. I wondered if I could look an animal straight in the eye and make no assumptions about its thoughts. I blew large, uneasy shiny bubbles—anti-photographs of animals. And if you looked closely in the right light, you would see contained within the apparition of perfected human bodies—along with the ability of photography to forever justify its exploitations. Lorrie Morre once said, “I would never understand photography, the sneaky, murderous taxidermy of it.” To be honest, I am shy and people frighten me. Animals only poop on your shoes.
// Playing with Perception
Rob MacInnis MFA 13 PH
Farm Family 3 (previous spread) and photos of Lindsay, Rachel and Julianne are part of The Dog & Pony Show series, as is the untitled image above.
Find more about ongoing projects at robmacinnis.com.
I wondered: If you project enough white light onto black, will it disappear? Will the result be the negation of both, something new or just the impartial, toothless arbiter? Could I ever see an animal? Or realize what seeing it means? I wanted to catch myself not seeing animals. If I made them look like us, simply by virtue of my sharp aim, my repetitive and singular approach, my stylish bag of photo tricks, what would be reflected? If I blew a bubble shiny enough, attractive enough, as impeccable as the polished mirror in a deep-space telescope, would it perfectly reflect us, richer than before? Can we really only see our own creations and nothing else? It’s truly bizarre to tell people you have never seen these animals, but have only thought of them—that they can’t see this donkey, posed as a fashion model, because everything inside of a photograph is a hallucination. Trying to make animals disappear is about as hard as imagining the opposite of the universe. But it’s well worth the effort.
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â€œAs an artist, I always felt that my best piece was the one that I was working on next. In that spirit, I pledge to work with you to create the best RISD yet.â€? President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID
R I SD Embracing Change Throughout the inaugural festivities in early October, Rosanne Somerson showed the grace, clarity, confidence and conviction to lead RISD into the unpredictability of the future. FROM TH E MOM E NT TH E FI R ST G U E ST S PEAKE R , RI Governor
Gina Raimondo, took to the podium to congratulate her friend Rosanne Somerson 76 ID on becoming RISD’s 17th president, it was clear that the
Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH +
Matthew Watson 09 FAV
October 9 inauguration ceremony would be an inspiring celebration of “girl power,” as the president herself quipped later in her inaugural address. “I’ve only been governor for about 10 months and one of the best things about it is that I started this job at about the same time Rosanne started her job,” Raimondo noted. “Now, I can’t say that I’m exactly objective, but I happen to think that now that we have a wonderful woman leading RISD, and a fantastic woman leading Brown, and a new woman leading Rhode Island, we’re gonna get some things done!” All three alumni guest speakers—a trio of incredibly accomplished women—underscored the impact they’re making as artists and designers. MacArthur Award-winners Janine Antoni MFA 89 SC and Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR, along with fashion icon Nicole Miller 73 AP, each offered congratulatory comments at the Friday afternoon ceremony. Antoni tried an experiment—a performance piece that called for the estimated 1,500 students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and friends in attendance to hold hands and transmit good thoughts via a sequenced hand-squeeze that pulsed forward to the stage to wish the new president well. “We give you this knowing you will give us your thoughtful leadership,” Antoni said. ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶
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“I proudly echo the calling of those pioneering women and their bold vision for an institution that promotes the essential importance of art, design and community.” President Somerson
▶▶▶▶▶ Walker spoke briefly about coming to RISD in 1992 as “a blank page—a tabula rasa” and said that open way of thinking has become something of a mantra for her (see page 49). Speaking on behalf of undergraduate students, Yelitsa Jean-Charles 16 IL noted with a big smile that she’s “like a mini-Rosanne” now that she’s president of the Student Alliance. She also thanked the female alums on stage with her for being such incredibly strong and inspiring role models. After her two daughters assisted with the official investiture—draping RISD’s ornate presidential chain over their mother’s robes—President Somerson spoke about feeling like something of a direct descendant of the “pioneering women” who founded RISD. Excerpts from her inaugural address follow.
// Embracing Change
And RISD is a very special place. This place where we gather today is literally the wellspring of Rhode Island. It is where Roger Williams canoed up the river, spied this beautiful site with its underground source of water, and built his home—a simple wooden dwelling. Here Rhode Island emerged from its swampy origins, becoming a magnet for free-spirited thinkers. Here visionaries became makers— making things to start a new life, celebrating their freedom and independence. And it is here where we still cultivate spirited makers and thinkers for today and for our future. Claiming the ground for RISD was not an easy task. The rival idea was for a public drinking fountain. There were those who felt that providing drinking water for local citizens was a more useful plan. But a group of women pressed forward to slake a different kind of thirst. And in creating this school they proved that women were quite capable of leading the charge, building something new when society was failing to address their needs. In an era when most doors were closed to them, they simply built … a new doorway. We have been walking through it ever since. One hundred and thirty-eight years later, I proudly echo the calling of those pioneering women and their bold vision for an institution that promotes the essential importance of art, design and community. TH I S I S A VE RY S PECIAL DAY.
Inaugural festivities began on Thursday evening with a student celebration on Benefit Street — where Stacy Chiou 17 ID is shown making a presentation — and a dinner for special guests, including the new president’s Aunt Betty. • A Pneuhaus (see also page 15) installation illuminated the river during Friday night’s afterparty. • In-house designer Micah Barrett 12 GD created the inaugural signage and other collateral materials, while faculty member Lane Myer took charge of making the interior of the tent feel festive.
RISD was a powerful force from its inception, educating the public about the transformative potential of art. Our founders knew even then that creativity is key. In the early days of RISD, Rhode Island was a hotbed of innovation and enterprise—in some ways the Silicon Valley of its day. Huge factories were humming around the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay, spinning out textiles for the nation. It was a design hub, where America’s best jewelers worked and where its talented tool-makers set standards for precision. Many of the amazing innovations that entranced the public at the 1876 Centennial Exposition originated from this small corner of New England. Most impressively, the entire Exposition was powered by an enormous steam engine built here in Providence, the Corliss Engine, standing 40 feet tall with a drive shaft over a mile long—requiring 71 train cars to carry it to the Centennial in Philadelphia. Like these prescient inventors, we, at RISD, helped to establish Rhode Island as a creative center. Our classrooms were open and inclusive. [From the time RISD opened its doors in 1878], there were children’s classes and night classes for people who worked during the day. In recent years I have met many in our community who tell me stories of how their grandparents’ lives were transformed by attending those early classes. In its earliest years, RISD’s entire library could fit into a single cabinet. But the new educational experiment quickly expanded, succeeding on every level—achieving its founding goals, while improving the larger society in other, unexpected ways. Here, in a city famous for tool-making, people were creating new tools to facilitate progress. // RISDXYZ
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“As artists, we start with nothing but intentions and optimism; the rage that burns within us is optimism at its best.” Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR
Woman power was in full force, starting with the stage party line-up of alums Janine Antoni, Kara Walker, Nicole Miller and Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn sharing a laugh with RI Governor Gina Raimondo. • Antoni poses with students Yelitsa Jean-Charles 16 IL and Chereth Hines-Channer MArch 17, who each spoke at the ceremony. • President Somerson’s daughters Annise and Isabel Mattia speak at a pre-inaugural event as Board Chair Michael Spalter listens intently. • Right after the ceremony, students and others expressed their concern for the environment through Plantón Móvil, a march organized by the Nature Lab’s Lucia Monge MFA 15 SC.
And now, influential leaders throughout the world recognize that they need artists and designers, not just for commercial reasons, but because they bring unique perspectives and talents. Top business leaders herald “creativity” as the number one leadership competency. Artists and designers know how to develop ideas and bring them to life in new and unexpected ways. They know how to challenge and rethink convention. More and more business studies are probing the elusive secrets of creativity…. Some of the world’s greatest figures relied first on underlying creative acts. Before Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, he designed and built a small laptop desk that he used to write it. Steve Jobs claimed that one of his seminal influences was a calligraphy class at Reed College, which taught him the power of elegant type design—a realization that ultimately contributed to Apple’s market success. Albert Einstein attributed his love of music to freeing his unconscious, key to his ability to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Einstein preferred imagination to knowledge, saying, “Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” 048
// Embracing Change
We have many successes behind us and many more successes in front of us. But RISD will always be measured by its core purpose—the teaching and learning that takes place in our classrooms and studios. Our reach extends throughout the world, punctuated by projects, exhibitions and collaborations. The torrent of creativity that is unleashed by the excellence of our faculty produces effects that last a lifetime. I promise you, we will never lose our emphasis on great teaching and on learning through immersive making, however broadly we define making. The buildings may change from one century to the next, but the classroom and studio experience will always be RISD’s heart and soul.
ON STARTING FRESH inaugural greetings from
plant parade photo by Thad Russell MFA 06 PH
Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR
The world’s need for art and design will only increase in the years to come. We live in a vast moment of instantaneous, global communication. The amount of content generated daily is staggering. In just one minute on the internet, there are 216,000 photos shared on Instagram, 1.1 million likes on Facebook, 2 million searches on Google, 70 new domains registered, 571 websites created and 204 million emails sent (half to my inbox, it seems!). That’s in one minute! There are 60 trillion pages on the internet. Google’s search index takes up 100 million gigabytes and it can typically interpret your query—search this massive index, rank the results and spit them back—in 3 hundredths of a second. At least that was as of last week. That’s a lot of information. No one yet knows all the implications of so much exchange and access, but opportunities are plentiful for clear, creative thinkers and designers to make sense of this voluminous content because, even with this unprecedented rate of change, human beings are still at the center.
RISD family, President Somerson, distinguished faculty and guests and all. I am standing in front of you with a blank piece of paper and a sketchbook in which I wrote very little: “blank page,” “tabula rasa,” “a clean slate.” I realized as I was writing those words that that’s how I arrived at RISD. I arrived here in 1992 with a full head of anxieties and ideas and no real clear way of articulating them. And I had this mantra: blank page, tabula rasa. As artists we are familiar with blank pages and empty canvases and kind of staring off into space without a clear idea exactly of what one is planning on doing but with an intention. It may be a very ambitious intention—of changing the world, or changing oneself, or changing this blank piece of paper into something. And there’s a great deal of optimism [in that intention] that I feel is really necessary for the world. Even though we may be artists who are angry and cynical and bitter about the world, we’re questioning and curious… And that aliveness—the rage that burns within us—is optimism at its best, because there’s a belief that you can do something, that you can change the world, that you can change your mind, that you can change the minds of other people, that you can change the way we see things, the way we do things, the way we make things, the way we are, the way we love.... I love coming back here because RISD is the place that nurtured that feeling in me—that possibility. So I just want to wish you well, Rosanne, with the blank page before you, and wish RISD well under [your] leadership. // RISDXYZ
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ON WISDOM, HUMILITY + RESPECT inaugural greetings from Professor Robert Brinkerhoff What a terrific pleasure and honor it is to celebrate your inauguration on behalf of RISD’s nearly 500 faculty members. In our quest for new leadership, faculty and trustees identified an absolute necessity: our president must acknowledge our academic community as the soul of this institution, as the engine of creative purpose that has propelled accomplishments in art and design for 138 years. Respectfully, affectionately, I may say that we have found this leader in you, Rosanne. Your relationship with RISD spans many years in many roles: as a student, a faculty member, a department head and an academic leader. With unrivaled intimacy, you know RISD, and the many alliances you have formed over the years will carry us forward with wisdom, vision and grace. RISD’s greatness is born of seamless partnerships, friendships and goodwill that transcend boundaries of creative discipline or stature. Our collective aspirations for shared governance—for working side-byside in this exuberant, messy and miraculous laboratory of expression and perception—will prosper under your leadership. Allow me to identify anecdotally three of your most esteemed qualities—aspects of your character my colleagues and I deeply admire. The first is your sincere respect for others…. You have always taken the high road, and in doing so you have been a paradigm for collegiality and mutual respect. The second quality is gentleness. Your soft-spoken yet firm conviction has long defined you as a leader whose kindness, warmth and good humor can quickly still turbulent waters…. Finally, we celebrate your humility. Your accomplishments as a designer, an educator and as an institutional leader have not eclipsed your lucid self-awareness.... As I relay greetings to you in your role as RISD’s new president, [I thank you for being] ever respectful of others, gentle yet wise in thought and deed, and humble in your every interaction with our community. 050
// Embracing Change
We can never forget that our privileges come with responsibility. While it’s impossible to solve all of the world’s problems, we can have a major impact on the future. We must use the new modalities of language in our work to describe and activate all of the virtues that RISD stands for: imagination, creative discipline and careful, ethical making. Along with making beautiful works of art and design, our students are taking their talents to new arenas such as healthcare design, social innovation and public policy. And they are challenging both injustice and traditional roles and identities…. RISD must never become too inwardly focused or lose sight of our unique capabilities to contribute to global ideals. Wherever imagination is lacking, we can help. I have seen the impact of a RISD education strengthen decades of students, but I also know this profound influence firsthand. I have been shaped by my education at RISD, from my arrival in 1971, to the adventure that is now beginning…. I have never felt that education finish; RISD keeps teaching me how much I can still learn…. I came here to study photography—in the days when photographs were developed in darkrooms. Prior to RISD, I had spent a summer in Denmark taking 4 x 5 large-format photographs, and developing them in chemical baths that I mixed from scratch. I was attracted to RISD because of photography professors Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. But [once I arrived] a different kind of chemical alchemy began to work on me as I felt myself pulled toward furniture making.
“RISD must never become too inwardly focused or lose sight of our unique capabilities to contribute to global ideals. Wherever imagination is lacking, we can help.” President Somerson
top: photo by Thad Russell MFA 06 PH
FAV Department Head Dennis Hlynsky 74 FAV was one of many faculty members to contribute outdoor installations to the afterparty. • Pauline and Stephen Metcalf represent RISD’s founding family. • Cannibal Ramblers (far left) and Lightning Bolt played at full volume to top off the night. • Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Tony Johnson 93 SC sang his heart out to bring the ceremony to a rousing close.
I know that a RISD education [provides] more than just a new set of skills. It [offers] a new way of seeing, understanding and participating in the world. Here I learned to develop my instincts—and to push boundaries — learning that failure is not an end, but a path to something new. Failure at RISD is an instigator that pushes us to dig deeper, redirect and discover something even better. Now, in a time when we are educating students to succeed, in many instances, at jobs that may not even exist yet, we need to provide the fundamental abilities for nimble thinkers to achieve beyond prescriptive paths—to invent a future that is a commitment of creative intention. Find video clips and other photos at president.risd.edu/inauguration.
I learned those lessons from RISD and then carried them into my studio practice, conceiving new pieces of furniture, thinking about the experiences of interaction, devising new forms and structures, and hoping to make something unique, aesthetically sound and beautifully built. These [are] goals that I now turn to the institution. As I have been fortunate in my own artistic and teaching successes, I can think of nothing more important than creating the conditions for new generations of artists, makers and problemsolvers to thrive…. In the years to come, I will honor the trust you have placed in me and give back what this institution has given to me. I will strive to make this inspiring transformation commonplace for the entire RISD community. As an artist, I always felt that my best piece was the one that I was working on next. In that spirit, I pledge to work with you to create the best RISD yet. Let’s activate the future together. // RISDXYZ
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two college street
// campus community newsbits
“Languages are perpetually in motion and in flux.” Maya Krinsky MFA 14 PH
LANGUAGE VS LANGUAGE
CULTURAL CONVERGENCES As prolific writer and cultural critic Lawrence Weschler led a RISD audience through a visualculture hall of mirrors, he demonstrated an insightful wit and a performer’s mastery of the a-ha! moment. “I want to see what happens when things look alike,” he proposed in a talk playfully titled In Defense of Loose-Synapsed Moments, or Toward a Taxonomy of Convergences, delivered as part of the Glass department’s fall visiting artist series. “The convergence is the rhyme and you have to write the poem that goes with it,” said Weschler, who has written more than a dozen books including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder and the National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences. “The nice thing about convergences is that it really doesn’t matter whether the artist intended the echo in question, consciously or unconsciously,” Weschler said. Since art lives on well after the artist, “there will be further witnesses, all the rest of us equally privileged viewers by virtue of the fact that we all draw equally upon and are all equally bathed in the confluences of cross-currents. Convergence, in that sense, is nothing less than another name for culture.” 052
The irony of the curator’s statement Maya Krinsky MFA 14 PH wrote for Language vs. Language, this fall’s inaugural show at Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery, is that it’s crystal clear. The exhibition looked at “the complexity of communication between and across languages,” wrote the recent alum, who teaches a course called Studio Languages in Graduate Studies. Krinsky set out to consider language through the lens of visual practice, a method of communication with an especially complicated relationship to linguistic modes of speech and writing. “Languages are perpetually in motion and in flux,” she notes, adding that through the exhibition she hoped to “meet them where they are.” The works included in Language vs. Language provided multiple staging grounds for such a meeting, challenging the hegemony of language—and English in particular—with sharp humor and stark seriousness, and through deft abstraction and direct confrontation.
Walking the Streets without Shame Despite chilly temperatures, many students stripped down to next to nothing for a Saturday morning Walk of No Shame in late October. As co-leaders of RISD SHARE (Sexual Health and Relationship Educators), Lucy Crelli 17 AP and Emmeline Franklin 17 ID (leading the group to the right) helped organize the march to “celebrate freedom of sexual expression” while raising awareness of victim-blaming “from a sex-positive standpoint.” Armed with signs, the group marched through the Brown Green and then up and down Thayer Street, where cars honked, people stopped to watch and one pedestrian shouted, “Sex matters! Sex matters!” After the march, the group gathered at Carr Haus for a discussion. Many students talked about their conservative backgrounds but agreed that they need to feel free to talk about sexuality and sexual assault. “Even if just one person saw our signs and felt empowered or understood — if one survivor saw a ‘Still not asking for it’ sign — I hope that small gesture means a whole lot,” Franklin said.
right: photo by Maria Bedoya 17 PH | above: photos by Max King Reice 17 ID
WISE WORDS On October 19 anti-racism author and activist Tim Wise kicked off a yearlong series of events at RISD focused on justice and equality. After leading two daytime workshops for faculty and staff, he spoke to the larger campus community in the evening—as part of the newly envisioned Martin Luther King, Jr. Series, which now presents a special guest each semester. During Wintersession former Ambassador Andrew Young will visit RISD, followed by artist Faith Ringgold in the spring. In a talk titled Uprooting Privilege, Wise first addressed an obvious paradox: that he is a white man speaking out about white privilege. “White people have always denied the existence of racism,” he pointed out, “and yet they still insist that they know more about racism and, for example, police brutality than black people who are dealing with it every day.” Instead, he urged everyone in the audience to really listen to what people of color are saying. “Artists are in a unique position to change popular perception,” Wise noted. “Activism is not just about meetings and marches. Your art is your activism. Make work that is socially relevant and speaks to our current condition.” Find more news about RISD people at our.risd.edu.
In late October RISD’s third annual Eat the World festival—organized by the student-run RISD Global Initiative (GI)—attracted Providence-area food lovers to Benefit Street on a Sunday afternoon. Exotic smells filled the air as students from Kazakhstan, Haiti, Guatemala, Iran, China and many other countries shared their food and culture with the community. Throngs of visitors crowded around as student performers from both RISD and Brown sang and danced in the street, while other international students served up local favorites from their home countries. “It’s interesting to see how this has grown over the years,” one student commented. “It’s tasteful diplomacy. This festival is about how nature meets culture— people getting together with food and having a good time.” // RISDXYZ
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“If we’re successful, it will not only revolutionize the way we design textiles, but will open up access to the industry and modes of manufacturing.”
VIRTUAL WORLD OF TEXTILES WATCH I NG TH E PIXAR MOVI E U P! a few years ago, Associate Professor of Textiles Brooks Hagan MFA 02 TX first began noodling over a seemingly simple question: How do animators make make-believe fabric look so convincing? By the time Brave came out in 2012, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. If the virtual textiles—“the tapestries, tartans, furs… even the hair, leather and metal”—in these films can look and behave so realistically on screen, why can’t Hagan and his students create equally accurate digital renderings of textiles? It’s a question he set out to answer four years ago, initially by searching for information about the technicalities involved and then by reaching out to scientists working at the forefront of verisimilitude in computational space. Now that Hagan has become a principle investigator (PI) on a research project that won a $1.2-million grant from the National Science Foundation, he’ll continue to probe for answers over the next four years, too. During the grant period—which officially began on September 1 and runs through August 2019—he will use the $244,236 allocated to RISD by the NSF’s CyberHuman Systems program to lead the Virtual Textiles Research Group (VTRG). Selected graduate students
// two college street
will support his work with the PI team of two computer scientists at Cornell and a Stanford scientist with expertise in mechanics. While recent advances in computer rendering have led to an explosion of virtual prototyping in all sorts of fields, intricately constructed woven and knit textiles are more difficult to render accurately, especially given subtleties of appearance based on light, shape, motion and more. So Hagan was thrilled when he “found experts in the somewhat arcane subspecialty within computer graphics, two of whom are Academy Award winners for their work on things like Gollum’s skin in Lord of the Rings.” Once he cold-called Cornell Professor Steve Marschner in 2011 to explain the need from a textile design perspective, they immediately hit it off and got mutually excited about the real-world potential for developing this new technology. Though their NSF grant proposals didn’t make it through the rigorous competition the first three years they tried, they got closer each time and finally got the green light this round. “I’ve had my eye on this and have been teaching state-of-the-art CAD programs for a long time,” Hagan explains. But despite working with the best software and amazing equipment—like RISD’s much-loved jacquard loom in the Metcalf Building and the Stoll machine in the College Building—students share the same frustration as professionals in the field, spending huge amounts of time fine-tuning CAD files only to produce a prototype that comes out “entirely unexpected.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Hagan is quick to point out, but it makes the process of producing fully realized fabric that adheres to the For more on this project, go to risd.edu/news/2015/virtual-textiles.
designer’s vision excessively timeconsuming and costly. In addition, because they can’t accurately “see” what they’re designing, students end up iterating based on limited information rather than on accurate simulations of textile designs that are able to capture dynamic properties such as lighting and draping. Through the four-year Virtual Textiles Research project, the goal is to teach computers as much as possible about the properties of textiles, the mechanics of weaving and knitting, and how fabric drapes, falls or crumples—all in the interest of allowing for “super realistic simulations that look and behave like the real thing,” Hagan explains. “If we’re successful, it will not only revolutionize the way we design textiles,” he adds, “but will open up access to the industry and modes of manufacturing.”
Several leaders in their respective fields are among the wonderful new faculty members who joined the RISD community this fall. Calef Brown, who has written and illustrated a dozen books for children, including most recently Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything, is a new assistant professor of Illustration (see work above). “The RISD students I’ve met so far are creating really sophisticated work,” he notes, “many of them mixing traditional and digital techniques.” Newly arrived from Paris, Assistant Professor of Apparel Design Gwen van den Eijnde (left) creates clothing, costumes and accessories that engage the viewer in an extraordinary fiction. “I’m trying to build mythology into my designs—to take people who see my work on an imaginary journey,” he explains. British designer and new Head of Apparel Design Neil Gilks (above left) came to RISD from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in NYC. “Education is where my heart is,” he says, “and there’s no other school where I’d rather teach.” Coming from a department of one at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, Arthur Hash is excited to join the RISD community as a new assistant professor of Jewelry + Metalsmithing. He likes “pairing old-world and new-world techniques” in his work and looks forward to new opportunities to collaborate. Before joining RISD as an assistant professor of the History of Art + Visual Culture, photo historian Jung Joon Lee taught at Queensborough Community College in New York. “RISD students are so engaged!” she exclaims. “And the freedom we have here is really great.” For faculty news updates, go to our.risd.edu/tagged/risd-faculty.
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FAST-PACED PROBLEM SOLVING In October all 95 undergrad and grad students in Interior Architecture took part in a five-day charette that called for intense collaboration. This year’s challenge: to improve a classroom for students with autism at Providence’s Anthony Carnevale Elementary School. Given strict budget constraints and the special needs of the “client”—second- and thirdgrade students and the teachers who work with them—the timed challenge demanded “superhuman effort,” noted Department Head Liliane Wong.
Once students were assigned to one of 10 teams, leaders from each group visited the school to measure and assess the classroom, and meet with Special Education Teacher Shannon Caverly (above right) and her team to further discuss their day-to-day needs. The charge was to use existing furnishings but propose design interventions to transform the current classroom into “a joyous and safe space” for learning, while also creating an environment that would foster progress toward allowing autistic students to integrate into mainstream classrooms. “Working with clients brings this closer to a real-world proposition, which students really thrive on,” notes IA Critic Elizabeth Debs, who coordinated this year’s charette. Ana Morataya Quan MDes 17, whose team’s proposal was chosen for implementation, wholeheartedly agrees. “Creating something that will be a fundamental tool to help ASD students is incredibly gratifying,” she says. Quan’s teammate Sneha Sridhar MA 16 confirms that the effort was worth the 11-hour days in the studio. “As designers,” she says, “we all hope to translate ideas into actuality.” 056
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In early November RISD cohosted an international symposium titled Illustrator as Public Intellectual, the sixth annual meeting of the London-based Illustration Research Network (IRN). The gathering of illustrators from the UK, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Iran and elsewhere focused on scholarly reflection and critique, with participants consciously pushing against the growing tide of shallow or trendy output among illustrators. As the keynote speaker, British writer, critic and curator Rick Poynor proposed a set of
evaluative criteria to help define the central idea behind the two-day discussion—namely, that illustrators are not subordinate translators of texts but original, potent voices participating in public discourse. “Intellectuality requires thought and writing,” he said, “and a willingness to engage in discussion” with the public in a wide range of platforms, from essays and conferences to magazines and television programs. Significant panel discussions wrestled with the preponderance of racist and sexist imagery (historic and contemporary) that assaults us every day, the relationship between the illustrator and writer, the impact of data collection technology, and the differences between illustration and cartooning, a panel that included iconic Push Pin Studio cofounder Seymour Chwast, along with Anita Kunz and German illustrator Nora Krug. Recent graduate Chloé Bulpin 15 IL, who hosted several Bug Banquets on campus last year, was invited to speak about The Art of Conservation and Professor Robert Brinkerhoff presented a paper entitled Stereotypes and Paradigms: Revolutionizing Archetypes in Illustration. “The program was rich and really important,” notes Illustration Department Head Susan Doyle 81 IL/MFA 98 PT/PR. “The talks were top-notch and point to a growing interest among young scholars in connecting illustration studies to more established topics in art history and visual culture.”
photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
Open Studios As always, the open studios events on November 5 and 6 were a great way to get an overview of what’s going on in all 16 undergraduate departments at RISD. Students decorated their spaces and welcomed their peers to visit and explore work in process. In Ceramics students roasted marshmallows and baked pizza in a kiln. Glass majors showed off glassblowing in the Hot Shop while Jewelry + Metalsmithing served up sparkly, gemlike sweets. Illustration students created a forest in a gallery and Graphic Design welcomed visitors to a makeshift drive thru. The fun party atmosphere also gave way to dancing in a number of studios.
CLEAR POINTS OF VIEW and photographers contributing to the sports section, another on how much skin is revealed in the style section and a third on the race and gender of bestselling authors covered in the books section. As part of a team that analyzed the style section, Philip Glenn 17 GD focused on how much space was devoted to various items— eyeglasses, neckties, dogs— and then presented the data using virtually no text at all. “Creating infographics is far more technical in practice than [I expected],” he admits, “but the techniques we’ve used to solve problems and “No one should know more about you than you know generate ideas over the past three semesters really about yourself,” Nick Felton 99 GD (above right) came into play.” reiterated when he visited RISD this fall to lead a Although students looked wiped out at the final three-day workshop with juniors in Graphic Design. crits, Felton and faculty were visibly energized by His groundbreaking Personal Annual Reports, their work. “As a group, the class really pushed the meticulously tracking almost every aspect of his daily boundaries with this assignment,” noted Felton. routines, offer a memorable case in point. “I’m “Some used no text, others only text; some created inspired by the beauty I see in natural forms to visually the report digitally, and others handled the materials experiment with data,” he told students who came to by hand. It’s interesting to see things I’ve never hear him speak in the RISD Auditorium. tried showing up in these graphics.” For Felton’s workshop, students worked together Professor Lucy Hitchcock, who invited Felton to in small teams to analyze a section of the Sunday New visit, was equally pleased. “Now we have proof that York Times and present the content as a single-page the type curriculum is working,” she told students. graphic report expressing a clear editorial point of view. “Nothing you’ve made looks like you were raised One team focused on the dearth of female reporters by wolves!” For timely stories about members of the RISD community, go to risd.edu/news.
Faculty Newsbits Lost in the Bewilderness, a film by FAV Senior Critic Alexandra Anthony, earned an Odysseus Award for Best Creative Documentary at the 2015 London Greek Film Festival. Boston-based Studio Luz Architects — run by Associate Professor of Architecture Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony J. Piermarini — has won a 2015 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum’s European Centre for the design of a lovely green home in Roslindale, MA. In Forays and Follies, a summer solo show at Drexel University’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in Philadelphia, J + M faculty member Lauren Fensterstock exhibited an intriguing series of artificial gardens and grottos made of charcoal, shiny black plexiglass, paper and rubber-coated seashells.
When the Chicago Architecture Biennial closes in early January, a competition-winning 3,136-sf lakefront kiosk (above) designed by Architecture faculty members Aaron Forrest , Brett Schneider and Yasmin Vobis will be adopted by the Chicago Park District as a kind of pop-up restaurant along the shore of Lake Michigan. Intricate faux ocular contraptions by Sculpture Department Head Jane South stood out in Fractured: Works on Paper, a group exhibition on view this fall at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT. Drawings by EFS Assistant Professor Dawn Clements were also on view. // RISDXYZ
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When Now Is Night Martin Boyce: When Now Is Night, a major exhibition now at the RISD Museum, marks Scottish artist Martin Boyce’s first solo museum show in the US. In the past two decades, Boyce has produced a remarkable body of work — sculpture, installations and photographs — that has established him as one of the foremost figures in contemporary art. “Martin’s thoughtful observations on the intersections of art and design and the tension between our natural and manmade environments, as well as his multidisciplinary approach to art making, feel very much at home in the RISD Museum,” says Director John Smith. The Boyce retrospective continues through January 31.
MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE Writer, critic and honorary degree recipient Adam Gopnik delivered an inspiring keynote address at RISD’s 2015 Graduate Hooding Ceremony on May 29. A few excerpts from his talk follow.
// two college street
“Make art, take chances, delight in the act of making… since all the other acts that follow… turn out to be arbitrary and unfair….” You’ve spent this time as graduate students toiling hard and learning how to do things that are very hard to do—and you’ve learned to do them well. Knowing how to actually accomplish something—play a guitar riff, a guitar chord or build the guitar itself or make an etching or take a great portrait—all of those things are worth far more than ever having passed a test or gotten a good score on your GREs. You’ve spent the past few years learning that you never waste your time when you are making something. As my son Luke said simply and truly last night, “people who know how to do something well usually do other things well, too.” You have all learned how hard it is to do things well, and now you know how to do something well. So I wish you well. Go—and do it.
photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
I wish you all today, if I may be perverse for a moment, what I think of as happy obscurity. The one line that is unbreakable is the line between invisibility and obscurity. We are all obscure by the standards of the greatest accomplishments that have ever been—all obscure in the eyes of eternity. But the moment we make something—the moment we commit ourselves to writing a song, to digging a garden, to drawing a picture, to building a house—our invisibility ends. So, make art, take chances, delight in the act of making for its own sake, since all the other acts that follow—success, applause, failure—turn out to be arbitrary and unfair in ways that the act itself is not. And one other thing I can guarantee: small communities of readers and watchers and listeners turn out to be far more meaningful in your life than the largest imaginable anonymous audiences. Fifty people in a coffeehouse you are singing to will always count far more in your life than the largest audience you can possibly imagine.
Changing Nature of the Nature Lab Alumni who remember the Nature Lab as a quaint home to a quirky collection of natural history specimens may want to take a look at the new naturelab.risd.edu site, designed by Micah Barrett 12 GD and Mritjunjay Marol 14 GD. In addition to housing its classic core collection of skeletons, taxidermy, snakeskins and so much more, the lab offers advanced tools and support that enable students to explore climate change, ecology, biomimetics, biophilic design and more as they develop ethical, sustainable modes of making informed by natural systems.
top left: photo by Matthew Clowney MFA 08 PH | top right: photo by Michael Cevoli 04 PH
RISD STEAM ON PBS Just in time for the new academic year, PBS LearningMedia, a rich repository of free, classroom-ready digital resources for teachers, posted the first of two RISD STEAM lesson plans written by a team of RISD educators. A small but growing movement, STEAM advocates for adding art and design to the current national emphasis on STEM education (STEM + A = STEAM). Educators who take this approach agree that today’s students are best served if they’re encouraged to develop the creativity and critical thinking, making and problem-solving skills needed for the entrepreneurial and innovation-driven jobs of the future. “RISD’s new STEAM lesson plans focus on the importance of objectbased learning in encouraging the research, close observation and critical analysis that both artists and scientists share in common,” notes Dean of Faculty Tracie Costantino, who helped write the new curricula along with Neal Overstrom and Melita Morales from the Nature Lab and Sarah Ganz Blythe and Mariani Lefas-Tetenes from the RISD Museum. Find out more about the Nature Lab, visit the new site: naturelab.risd.edu.
When artist and innovator Theaster Gates visited RISD in October to deliver this year’s RISD Museum-sponsored Gail Silver Memorial Lecture, the RISD Auditorium was filled to capacity. Gates has revitalized Chicago’s South Side through the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, a block of rehabbed mixed-income residences that share the street with his nonprofit Rebuild Foundation, the Black Cinema House and the newly completed Stony Island Arts Bank—a massive building he bought for $1 and transformed into a lab and repository for African American culture. In his talk at RISD, Gates spoke about growing up poor and living far outside the white world of museums and contemporary art. Speaking with the rhythm and rhetoric of a sermon, he circled back to themes of community, race and spirituality. Gates showed little of his own work—though he did touch on his 2014 Tar Paintings installation at London’s White Cube gallery—and said that he’s more focused on engaging with people than making work for exhibition. “Reconstituting materials ain’t the art,” he said, slipping out of his pastor’s mien. “It’s our ability to see things other folks aren’t looking at. The work comes way before the end product.”
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// connecting through the alumni association
“Participants were really into the new format and many boasted record sales.” Katrina Ellis, Alumni Relations
This year’s outdoor art event at RISD by Design weekend took the form of a juried sales exhibition called RISD Craft. Artists such as Esme Shapiro 14 IL (above) and Peán Doubulyu glass (Elizabeth Pannell 81 GL and James Watkins MFA 81 GL) were pleased with the crowds of interested browsers and buyers.
Building on the celebratory spirit of Friday’s inauguration festivities (see pages 44–51), RISD by Design weekend (October 9–11) proved to be as packed full of inspiring demos, discussions and positive energy as ever. Plenty of parents and alumni mixed and mingled at disparate events spinning off the central draw of the popular outdoor art sale on Benefit Street. After a rainy Friday evening, Saturday dawned bright and sunny, offering a scintillating setting for RISD Craft, a new iteration of the sale in which a jury of alumni and faculty who are practicing artists and designers themselves selected work by 120 student and alumni exhibitors. “It felt like we had a record attendance at RISD Craft—probably due in part to inauguration,” notes sale coordinator Katrina Ellis of the Alumni Relations office. “Participants were really into the new format and many boasted record sales,” she reports. Whether buying or just browsing, everyone seemed to appreciate the work and “had fun” with voting for the People’s Choice Award.
above: photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH + Steven Rosen 81 IL
SUNNY SATURDAY ART SALE
Inside the Studio Process In Panoramic Collaborative, one of many hands-on workshops offered during RbD weekend, participants captured urban scenes on tracing paper as they looked out the window and then brought the scenes together in a giant panorama. In the Printmaking studios, Dan Wood 94 PR led a letterpress poster printing workshop, explaining the process to visiting parents and families.
SHOWING EXTRAORDINARY PROMISE
Given the high level of artistry and attention to detail in evidence at RISD Craft, visitors to the juried sales exhibition had a tough time selecting just one winner for the People’s Choice Award. Ultimately, The People picked Richard Haining 05 FD, whose exquisite woodwork drew a steady stream of customers eager for a closer look and wanting to chat with him about his work and process. The Brooklyn-based designer and maker says that when he was growing up in Atlanta his parents encouraged him to take control of his own environment and learn to do things himself—to make a better widget if the one that landed in his lap wasn’t up to snuff. At RISD Haining “learned to create with the intention of permanence— be it a chair or table, wood or metal, welded or joined.” Now, that same level of craftsmanship permeates his work. “Everything I build counters the attitude ‘buy it cheap, use it briefly, throw it away, repeat,’” Haining says. “I create pieces that I’d want to live with, handcrafted with a modern sensibility.”
The jury for this year’s RISD Craft sales exhibition selected Alice O’Neill 06 PR as the recipient of the first Emerging Artist Award presented in conjunction with the newly formatted show. Excited to show smoked glass cliché verre prints from her new SMOKE series, O’Neill creates the prints by drawing on plates with the smoke emanating from a lit candle. “Unlike an etching needle, you can’t really control smoke,” she explains, “which forces me to be a little bit looser and more experimental in my mark making.” O’Neill also exhibited cyanotype prints featuring images she creates with a large-format camera. “Shooting the film and then transferring the images onto the plates is a longer process, and it’s always difficult to find enough time,” says the Providence-based artist, who is also a RISD Printmaking faculty member. “The last couple of projects didn’t start with photos but with simple abstract patterns and images I found in the world around me.” For more on RISD by Design weekend, go to rbd.risd.edu.
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LOADS OF LAUGHTER
photos by Steven Rosen 81 IL
At this yearâ€™s 50th reunion gathering, alumni from the class of 1965 (plus a few earlier classes) enjoyed catching up at a luncheon at the Providence Art Club. As guest speaker, Dean of Liberal Arts Dan Cavicchi addressed the significance of the division he leads, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. After snapping loads of iPhone photos of each other (above left), alumni celebrating their 50th reunion also posed for a group shot (below). With the lure of Inauguration starting things off on Friday, more alumni than ever came back to campus for RbD weekend this year, with an especially strong turnout among the classes of 1995 and 2005.
For a link to hundreds of other photos from the weekend, go to rbd.risd.edu.
BEST BALLS IN TOWN
Balls photos by Matthew Watson 09 FAV
RISD by Design weekend was a great one for the fit young Balls to begin the basketball season by playing against alumni Balls. At the Friday night game the stands were filled with cheering students, alumni and President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID (below center) — still going strong just hours after her Inauguration ceremony. It was quite the game as young Balls continued to match their elders point for point. Throughout the game, fans were entertained by the hilarity of MC Adam Dalton Blake 16 AP, who offered enlightened commentary and a few sick dance moves at half time. Right to the very end, the young players ran the court hard and came back with a strong defense, sinking three points to make the more senior Balls suitably sweaty and doubting their prowess. They kept the score close, but with key free throws, rebounds and strong teamwork, the older Balls prevailed. Final score: 64 to 59. –Becky Fong 05 GD
CIRCUITOUS ROUTE TO CERAMICS Moving from architecture to apparel to ceramics, Adam Silverman BArch 88 has used the “nimble nature of a RISD education” to figure out a satisfying path in life. So said RISD Museum Director John Smith in introducing the Los Angeles-based artist as this year’s alumni keynote speaker at RISD by Design weekend. Silverman spoke to students and other members of the RISD community about the conflict he faced early on when trying make his way “as an artist” while “providing a service to clients.” After graduating with a degree in architecture, he felt compelled to “draft for dollars” when he moved to LA but was also drawn to throwing pots and making funky sheet-metal accessories for his own creative satisfaction. As a side gig, Silverman and fellow architect Ely Bonerz BArch 99 founded a line of urban apparel called X-Large, which quickly took off thanks to exposure from their friend, Beastie Boy Mike Diamond. As their retail business grew, Silverman earned an MBA at UCLA to keep on top of it all, but he admitted to having noticeably “less fun.” In 2002 he decided to radically shift gears and try making pottery full-time through his own studio, Atwater Pottery. In 2008 he began a six-year partnership with Heath Ceramics, where he sold functional “wheel-to-table” ware while also exploring new and larger forms and ever-more-textural glazes. Today Silverman continues to break new ground and exhibit his work in Japan, where he’s affiliated with Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo, and the US, where he’s represented by Cherry & Martin in LA and Friedman Benda in NYC. Despite the snowballing demand for his sculptural work, he avoids calling himself an artist. “The nice thing about calling myself a potter,” Silverman says, is that it “allows me to float” between art, design and craftsmanship “and try to claim some real estate in each—in the cracks in-between and the areas where the three bleed together.”
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Fall Gatherings Alumni in Texas kicked off a cool September with an autumn mixer in Houston, where club leaders Falon Mihalic MLA 12 and Katie Schon 05 ID hosted a stop at Space Montrose for wine and snacks before heading over to Café Brasil. In the Rocky Mountains, Phillip Mann MFA 09 FD and fellow RISD/Colorado members got together at The District in Denver for an autumnal happy hour. In the Pacific northwest alumni met over German food and drinks at Altstadt Bierhalle in Seattle. Club leaders Natalie Hyde BIA 03 and Chelsea Minola MID 07 are excited to roll out more get-togethers this winter. In Rhode Island the local alumni club got back in the swing of things with an event at Ogie’s, a beer garden in Providence that provided the ideal setting for reconnecting and enjoying a glorious evening under the stars.
Buddying Up in Hong Kong
OPENING UP AT MINDSHARE This fall more than a dozen alumni returned to RISD to talk with students and fellow alums about the ups, downs, do’s and don’ts of starting your own business. Oyster founder Willem Van Lancker 10 GD offered “a fireside chat” to kick things off at the Career Center’s 2015 Mindshare event on Saturday, October 24. Brooklyn-based knitwear designer Lindsay Degen 10 TX (above) spoke about why her two businesses, DEGEN and babyDEGEN, have really taken off in the last couple of years. Other engaging presentations followed throughout the afternoon, with talks from Cam Brensinger 02 ID, founder of the award-winning NEMO Equipment camping gear company in Dover, NH, and Brooklyn-based artist Mac Premo 95 FAV, who delivered a presentation called Stealing and Failing: How to Succeed at Things. Jonathan Glatt MFA 04 JM and Sara Ossana MIA 05, cofounders of O&G Studios in Warren, RI, were among the local business owners to offer perspectives on Making It in Rhode Island. 064
// six degrees
Many RISD/Hong Kong alumni remember the mix of excitement and nervousness they experienced as international students first coming to RISD. To help new students feel more comfortable about starting their first year at RISD, the group invites them to an informal get-together with current students and alumni prior to heading to Providence. “The program helps freshmen learn more about RISD and current students hear from alumni about potential career paths,” notes club leader Donald Choi BArch 82. This fall Maggie Ma BArch 04 and Caroline Chou BArch 11 gave brief presentations about their work to help both first-year and current students start the year “with confidence and a cheerful smile.”
London Calling This fall RISD/London club members teamed up with the Goldfinger Factory to present work focused on the theme “business as a force for good.” Mark Atkinson 90 ID, Alexander Dale BArch 14, Alexandra Groover 03 AP, Jennifer McNabb 98 AP and Steven Overman 90 FAV spoke about their work before the group continued talking over a dinner featuring British interpretations of RI classics like clam chowder and coffee milk.
Warm Welcome in Seoul In late October President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID began a post-inaugural tour with a three-day visit to South Korea. While there she and a small delegation of RISD faculty and staff members met with alumni, parents and educational partners at Ewha Women’s University. RISD parent and Honorary Trustee Se-Ung Lee hosted a sold-out dinner for the president at the hotel Shilla Seoul’s Emerald Hall, where approximately 100 RISD supporters shared warm conversations and exchanged gifts. Dr. Lee (left) presented President Somerson with a lovely lacquer-work nameplate.
REMEMBER LAUGHTER by Mike Fink Professor of Literary Arts + Studies
The timing was perfect: Daylight Saving Time giving us back a lost hour. I went to Columbus, OH to visit the homestead of the author of The Thirteen Clocks, written in Bermuda by my favorite American humorist and former cartoonist for The New Yorker, James Thurber. When my freshman roommate at Yale handed me Thurber’s children’s book (illustrated by Marc Simont), it changed my life. It was about his boyhood birthplace in the early 20th century, and I would read his funny little memoirs mixed with Aesopian fables aloud to whoever would listen—my brother, my mother and her friends, my dates. Nobody quite loved his sentences and scribbles as much as I did. So this fall I made my literary pilgrimage, purchased a few souvenirs in the gift shop and snapped memento shots of his fabulous townhouse, saved from a wrecking ball by a band of admiring and admirable antiquarians. I stayed at the Westin Hotel, which has a bar dedicated to Thurber and features his first and last sketches before he went blind. (I used to teach his books and illustrations, partly to emphasize that he couldn’t draw—and yet he did draw! And marvelously.) The logo of this Westin pub is simply an image of his eyeglasses, and the cocktails are named for the iconic author/artist. To suggest ideas for alumni events in your neck of the woods, email email@example.com.
I had other adventures. Columbus, O, of course, has a number of statues of Christopher C, and I have been pursuing the variety of ways painters, poets, sculptors and scholars have depicted the admiral: admirable or abominable? He once personified the American Dream— of bravely discovering new lands, or perhaps only fresh opportunities. In Sails of Hope: The Secret Mission of Christopher Columbus (1972), Simon Wiesenthal saw him as a rescuer of the victims of the Inquisition, seeking freedom from fear. Today, mostly, our mood and mode of thought emphasize the cruelty and oppression of his era—and even his motivation: The greed for gold, the contempt for the conquered. I was only in Columbus for one day—24 little hours—but they loomed larger than that for me. I asked my former student and projectionist Vincent Bonfiglio 15 TX (left) to join me to toast the writer-artist I had taught, and whose films he had screened for my class. My all-time favorite line from Thurber closes the aforementioned Thirteen Clocks. The “golux”—a wise elf—declares, “Remember Laughter. You’ll need it even in the blessed isles of Ever After.”
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// who’s giving to risd + why
A NEW HOME FOR RISD ILLUSTRATORS
ON SATU R DAY, OCTOB E R 10,
RISD opened the spectacular new Illustration Studies Building to the public. As part of the celebration, the bright new ISB Gallery was full of fabulous faculty work and buzzing with students, alumni, parents and supporters. Members of the RISD community gathered for an afternoon open house, tour and dedication to celebrate the completion of the three-year ISB renovation project. Thanks to clear planning and coordination by faculty and staff, and critical support from donors, “the Illustration Studies Building now matches the brilliance of our faculty and students,” noted President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID. The final component in the ambitious renovation project—which largely took place over three summers to allow the building to remain in use during the academic year—was completed in early September, just in time for the start of classes. 066
“The Illustration Studies Building now matches the brilliance of our faculty and students.” Department Head Susan Doyle 81 IL/MFA 98 PT/PR offered heartfelt thanks to the supporters who made it all possible. She also noted the brilliance and dedication of the team of architects behind the design, led by RISD alumnus Ed Wojcik BArch 88. At the heart of the project is a 5,600-sf glass addition encasing a newly constructed stairway, restrooms and elevator that makes the ISB fully wheelchair accessible for the first time in its history. Moving the former central stairwell to the rear of the five-story building allowed each floor to be
Banner Year for Giving After a 36% increase in giving during 2014/15 year, the Annual Fund is providing substantial budgetrelieving support this year for vital scholarships, faculty, advanced studio equipment and improved campus resources. “The announcement of President Somerson’s appointment last February spurred a lot of enthusiasm,” notes Annual Fund Director Sarah Sligo. “We hope to build on this momentum as her new vision takes shape this year.”
Architects reconfigured each of the five floors by moving the main staircase to a new addition to the ISB, which now better serves the needs of the department. President Myoyeon Huh of Seoul Cyber University (above left) represented Honorary Trustee Dr. Se-Ung Lee and the Korea Foundation at the dedication ceremony on October 10. Supporters Merrill Sherman and Bob Glass (bottom left) were among the donors President Somerson thanked in person.
thoughtfully reconfigured, transforming what had long been a complex warren of small, makeshift spaces into well-lit open studios and classrooms suited to the needs of a forward-leaning program. At the dedication ceremony, both Somerson and Doyle expressed enormous gratitude for the generous contributions of everyone involved and made special note of individual donors who supported specific spaces, including: • RISD parent and Trustee David Barclay and family for the Barclay Lobby and Reception Area • RISD parent and Trustee Bob Glass and family for the Glass Family Conference Room •
Trustee and Museum Board of Governors Chair
Stephen Metcalf and his wife, fellow Museum Board member Ewa Metcalf, for the Faculty Suite given in honor of Stephen’s sister Sheila Houghton Metcalf Cronin
• Honorary Trustee and Board Chair Emerita Merrill Sherman for the beautiful third-floor Wasserman Painting Studio • Gary and Kelli Glover for the Gretchen M. Gerlach and Ian W. Glover Student Home Space • Board Chair Michael Spalter for the fourth-floor Seminar Room • Malcolm Chace IV and family for the fifth-floor Painting Studio named in honor of Beatrice
Trustees Endow New Somerson Scholarship Fund The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that a new fund established in honor of RISD’s 17th president had already reached well over $1 million in gifts and commitments as of early November. Due to this incredible outpouring of support, the Rosanne Somerson Endowed Scholarship fund will benefit students during the 2016/17 academic year, with both undergraduate and graduate students eligible for support. “President Somerson is committed to increasing access — to allow the best students to benefit from a RISD education no matter what their financial circumstances,” says Board Chair Michael Spalter. “We are delighted to report that this is the first time in the history of the school that the board has created a scholarship of this scale to honor a presidency.”
RISD parent and Honorary Trustee Dr. Se-Ung Lee, the Korea Foundation and Douglas S. Lee 91 GD for the incredible Printmaking Studio across the street from the ISB at 20 Washington Place.
Secure gifts may be made online at risd.edu/give.
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// changes over time
SOMETIMES CHANGE TAKES CONVICTION art and design colleges in the country, RISD has always been something of a maverick. It was both founded and nurtured by women—in 1877, 40 years before women in America even managed to gain the right to vote. As many alums well know, it was the 34 members of the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission who voted to invest their organization’s surplus of $1,675 in funds raised in the risky venture of founding an unheard-of place called Rhode Island School of Design—instead of buying a new public drinking fountain for Providence’s Roger Williams Park. That was a pivotal moment of change—for Rhode Island, art and design education in the US, the local economy and the personal lives of the Metcalfs—the family that made RISD a reality. Long after Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf and her daughter Eliza Radeke poured their hearts and souls into establishing the school—providing leadership during its critical first 54 years—women continue to lead RISD with strength, vision and conviction. AS ON E OF TH E FI R ST
RISD’s first class of students (above) included the founders’ daughter, Eliza Greene Metcalf Radeke (seated to the far right). She went on to serve as RISD’s president from 1913 – 31 and is shown in the photo above, facing a portrait of her mother, Helen Metcalf, who first led the school. • Women at work in the Textiles department in the 1930s, in Sculpture in the late 1940s and in 3D design in the 1950s. • A portrait class in 1903 shows a preponderance of female students.
images courtesy of RISD Archives
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moving forward Normal Art
title of the first art ed program at RISD (1908)
// undergraduate class notes
Master of Science
first degrees awarded at RISD (1937)
first master’s degrees awarded at RISD (1958)
of Art Education
in Art Education
Scott Branfman 78 IL Rotterdam
Mary Shaffer 65 IL Marfa, TX
Toots Zynsky 73 GL Shanghai
John Peterson BArch 90 Boston Susan Osgood 78 PT Egypt Victoria Jamieson 00 IL
Japan Clifton Jaeger 86 PT Mexico Eliza Squibb 13 TX Mali
Miriam Borcherdt 95 AP Nami Payackapan 95 AP Melbourne
one of the first two subject areas taught at RISD
the second subject area taught here at the beginning
the two current division names that evolved from these 19th-century subject areas
Costume, Textiles + Clothing, Clothing + Fashion, Apparel Design
in Film Studies
Textile Chemistry Machine Design
name changes for the department in 1933, 1938, 1946 + 1952, respectively
a seemingly phantom degree offered at RISD between 1971 + 1977
among the RISD majors no longer offered
Drawing + Painting
# of students enrolled at RISD in 1878–79 (its first year)
Drawing + Design
# of graduate degrees awarded since 1958 (when RISD’s first master’s program started)
Architecture + Design
# of bachelor’s degrees awarded since 1937 (when RISD first granted bachelor’s degrees)
David Seccombe 52 PT Last winter David’s 16-foot-wide wall-to-wall installation was on view with 10 related paintings in the courtyard lobby at Westbeth Artists Community in NYC, where he lives.
Joan Gitlow 51 PT Now in her fourth decade of teaching life drawing, Joan attributes some of her success to “the depth and weight” of the sophomore drawing course she took with the late professor and former RISD President John R. Frazier 1909 PT/1912 AE . The NYC-based artist has developed a manual to help students better understand the principles and processes behind successful figure drawing.
1954 Jacqui Garabedian PT continues to paint, draw and exhibit her work from her home base in Bedford, MA.
1958 The Racine [WI] Art Museum recently acquired 34 works on paper from five series Merle Temkin TX* (merletemkin.com) made between 1995 and 2008. And the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University in Muncie, IN has added another of her pieces to its permanent collection: an oil on paper installation (2009–11) based on a fingerprint of her left index finger.
1960 Artist Mary Anne Case IL curated and contributed to The Cartoonists of Silvermine: Past and Present, a summer exhibition at the New Canaan [CT] Historical Society. The retrospective featured 80 reproductions by 17 cartoonists who at one time lived and/or worked at Silvermine, an arts center and community in New Canaan (where Mary Anne lives) that has been contributing creatively since its founding in 1908. Four pieces by Alba Corrado PT (Cranston, RI) were included in Clothing Optional: A Figurative Show, held in August and September at ArtProv Gallery in Providence. The sculptor and lettering artist is a longtime RISD faculty member in what’s now known as Experimental & Foundation Studies (née Foundation Studies, née Freshman Foundation). Art therapist, psychodrama trainer, licensed counselor and artist Jean (Prignano) Winslow IL* offered two art and drama workshops in September. At the Merrimack Repertory Theater Rehearsal Hall in
Please email class notes submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late spring paintings by Dinah Maxwell Smith PT were included in a three-person show at Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY, not
far from where she lives. Her depictions of naturalistic environments are in the loose painterly style characteristic of the Long Island School.
Lowell, MA, where she lives, participants explored ways of integrating the arts into their personal and professional practices. In SoulCollage©, students created playing cards and suits, along with intuitive collages, based on “the language of symbols, dreams and archetypes.”
1963 People in the Navy, a solo exhibition of paintings by Wilma Parker PT, was on view in July at Gallery 44 in Portland, ME in conjunction with a Tall Ships event. In a talk titled Tall Ships—Tall Order: People and the Navy, the San Francisco-based artist outlined her experiences working as an artist within the institutional framework of the Navy.
Robert Cronin 59 PT When Galerie Gris curator Steve Isoz unearthed a treasure trove of Bob’s 25-year-old polychrome sculptures at his home and studio in Falls Village, CT, he was excited to exhibit them over the summer at his gallery in Hudson, NY, which regularly shows the artist’s paintings. “Could it be,” Bob wonders, “that they simply were made before their time?” // RISDXYZ
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RISD MEGASHOW Terry Seaman 69 PT + Heidi Seidelhuber 70 PT
Cornelius Edmund Sullivan 66 PT*/91 SC Angel of Plenty 2 (2015, oil on canvas, 36 x 48") is among the two dozen modernist figurative works Cornelius (cornelius sullivan.com) exhibited in Sacred Art and the Theology of the Body: Cornelius Sullivan Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings at Ave Maria University in Florida. He teaches at AMU, lives in Naples, FL and writes about art for the Roman newspaper The Italian Insider.
adapted from a story by Lisa Kristoff in the Boothbay Register (9.24.15) T H E R E C E N T R I S D S H OW Terry Seaman 69 PT and
Heidi Seidelhuber 70 PT organized at their Studio 53 Fine Art Gallery in Boothbay Harbor, ME is a case in point for Einstein’s observation that “logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” On view from September 2 through October 12, the exhibition offered a look into the imaginations of 39 alumni and a few faculty members — fantasy, impressionism, realism, abstraction in paint, clay, sculpture, metalwork, mixed media, collage, printmaking, assemblage and glass works — it was all there. Decades after they graduated, several of the artists at the opening still got excited talking about life and learning at RISD. Professors who made a lasting impression on those at the opening — and whose work was on view — include Dean Richardson 56 PT (aka “Mr. Cool”) and the late Richard Merkin MFA 63 PT, Robert Hamilton 39 PT, Gerald Immonen and Gordon Peers 33 PT. “RISD made me feel like I was born again,” said David Estey 64 PT, who had the “good fortune” of having Hamilton as a professor, calling him his “great hero.” Hamilton’s painting NYC Railroad, 3 Passengers (one juggler and one downed plane) is almost as large as the wall on which it hung and inspired a lot of discussion at the opening. “It’s just like old times tonight,” noted Victoria Wulff 69 PT, who had five paintings in the show. “I wish we could just stay up and paint and relive the ‘golden days‘ at RISD. It was just so much fun.” Ida Schmulowitz 74 PT, who has spent decades making oversized paintings on a bridge overlooking a highway in Rhode Island, exhibited Studio View Unstretched, among other works. “What I see in this show is all about the idea of color and design and abstract qualities,” she said. “This stuff is really dealing with concepts in a very real way and I’m proud to be part of this group.” For more on Studio 53 and a full list of RISD people in this recent show, go to studio53fineart.com.
Work by Nancy Crasco AE (nancycrasco.com), whose textile art is heavily influenced by Asian traditions and garments from around the world, was on view in three summer shows: Just Around the (Charles) Riverbend at University Place Gallery in Cambridge; Out of the Blue: Art Quilts at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell; and the juried New England Collective VI at Galatea Fine Art in Boston, where she lives. In May David Estey PT (davidestey.com) was the featured guest artist at the 13th annual Festival of Art in Belfast, ME, where he lives. Through a well-received talk, he detailed his journey from illustrator to abstract painter, along with the professional and geographic journey that ultimately led him back to his home state of Maine.
presented two bodies of work: fashion illustrations from his “youth in New York City” and recent oil and acrylic landscape paintings.
1967 In early June Anonymous Biographies, a retrospective of assemblages by Peter Chamberlain SC, opened the summer exhibition season at CRAFT Gallery in Rockland, ME, near where he lives in Rockport. The month-long show included boxes he designed and fabricated to hold vintage photographs, portraits and keepsakes that tell an invented story with lyricism and imagination. Bunny Harvey PT/MAE 72 (see pages 36–39) One day, one lovely vineyard setting, 25 years of work. On
September 19 Mary Curtis Ratcliff AE (marycurtisratcliff. com) held a pop-up solo show of mostly 2D works from the last two and a half decades at the Moulds Family Vineyard and barn in Napa, CA. In mid July visitors taking the Rock River Artists Open Studio Tour accessed the workspaces of the southern Vermont collective’s 14 artists, including that of Deidre Scherer AE (dscherer.com). One of her thread-on-fabric works, Arms Extending, is now on permanent display at the First Congregational Church in Wolfeboro, NH.
1969 The painting Sunrise On Ganymede by Ed Baranosky PT (Toronto) survived time in storage, restoration, a theft and retrieval in Ontario, along with
50th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016
Hiroshi Murata 64 PT
The Art of Alden Willard Cole was on view earlier this fall at The Watermark in Philadelphia. In the show Alden Cole AP
When not painting at home in Santa Fe, Hiroshi races motorcycles in Japan. He came in first in the Expert Class at the Fuji Speedway Clubman Roadrace 2015. In 2014, as the oldest rider competing, he was a class champion in the Normal Class, with the fastest lap record for two years running, riding a 1969 Y-FSI Yamaha 50.
its repatriation to the musician who originally bought it nearly 30 years ago. Bruce Cassidy, the musician-owner, wrote a song based on the painting and is now releasing a CD with Ed’s painting as the cover art. After serving on the board of the California Newspaper
James Meyer 64 SC James (jamesmeyerjewelry. com) has been working as a precious stones and metals jeweler for 45 years. Having closed his retail store in 1999, he now works out of a studio near his home in Williamsport, PA making one-of-a-kind pieces for his far-flung clientele.
Ben Larrabee 67 PH Nantucket Ferry Window #1 is among the photos Ben (benlarrabee. com) showed over the summer in Island Inspired Photography at Nantucket Looms on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. Moments of Grace, a second solo show on the island, featured his fine art family portraits at the Sconset Café in Siasconset. Ben works out of his studio in Darien, CT.
Publishers Association (CNPA) for more than 16 years, Dean Eckenroth GD has been elected president of the 127-year-old organization. He has owned Eagle Newspapers since 1990, publishing several papers in San Diego County, including the Coronado Eagle & Journal, Imperial Beach, South County Eagle & Times and CORONADO Magazine, along with their associated websites. Bruce Helander IL/MFA 72 PT (see page 75)
William Smith 65 PT below: Bill’s landscape photographs were featured in a solo show at the Longview [WA] Public Library’s Koth Gallery during the month of August. He lives in Kalama, WA.
In October work by Judith Unger SC (Saint Johnsbury, VT) was included in Art in Clay: Origins, a national juried show sponsored by the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition and held at the BWAC Gallery in Red Hook. In July Stage Screen and In Between with HELEN interviewed her in conjunction with Space 16’s “phantom exhibition” Convergence of Art & Style in Southampton, NY.
Elizabeth Ann (Sommers) Busch 64 AE In addition to painting and making museum-quality quilted pieces, Elizabeth (elizabethbusch.com) creates public art commissions. In September one of her large woven suspended kinetic sculptures was installed in the atrium space of the Maine State Museum in Augusta. “It’s hard to believe I’m nearly 72,” Elizabeth writes from her home in Glenburn, ME. “I can’t imagine ever ‘retiring’ from my career as an artist!”
Portraiture at Bates College’s Walker Art Museum. It had belonged to a longtime collector who passed away last year and left it to the museum. Dan Gosch PT (Franklin, MA) and Marc Kehoe 81 FAV* were
among the 11 painters who demonstrated their affection for the Big Apple’s Little Italy with a month-long installation at the restaurant Paesano on Mulberry Street in NYC. Marc, who lives in Manhattan, curated the show.
1970 Bob Acheson IL of Dixfield, ME recently learned that his portrait of Jim Diamond is now part of the permanent collection of American
Mary Shaffer 65 IL right: Yellow Hook (1972, slumped glass + metal, 11 x 9 x 3") was among the work featured in Mary Shaffer: Reflections and Contradictions, a 50-year retrospective on view earlier this fall at the American University Museum in Washington, DC. Mary (maryshaffer.com), who created a 125-foot tool wall installation for the exhibition and is known to have “brought art to glass and glass to art,” still loves making glass and divides her time between Taos, NM and Marfa, TX.
Please email class notes submissions to: email@example.com.
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John Ryan 73 GD John’s animation studio DAGNABIT! created this signature design for the 2015 Atlanta Jazz Festival, held over Memorial Day weekend. It’s “so evocative that you can practically hear the music flowing from [the trumpeter’s] horn,” raved the director of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs. John is based in Sandy Springs, GA.
year’s Meltdown, a two-week summer festival of edgy music at Southbank Centre in London. Memories of Inhabited Spaces, a solo show of work by Robert Dilworth PT, was on view for a month this fall at Rhode Island College’s Bannister Gallery in Providence.
To help make prospective built-environment improvements clear to participants in planning charrettes, Denverbased architect and urban planner Jim Leggitt BArch (studio-insite.com) devised an easy “overlay and trace” method utilizing his iPhone, laptop, tracing paper and
Colgate Searle BLA 71 Earlier this fall paintings by Andrew Stevovich PT (Northborough, MA) were on view in Five Artists at the Adelson Galleries in NYC. As his rep, Adelson Galleries also showed his work at the Seattle Art Fair in late July and early August.
After losing his partner in life and work, Cecilia Searle BLA , several years ago, Colgate recently relaunched his Providencebased landscape architecture firm as the Searle Design Group (searledesigngroup.com), welcoming two new partners: Taber Jossi Caton BLA 99 and Melissa Bagga MLA 10. Master planning, historic landscapes, residential gardens and the design of environmentally sensitive landscapes remain central to the group’s practice, but the plan is to also take on more projects related to school planning and residential and senior housing. Colgate also continues to teach at RISD.
1971 45th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016
1973 1970 continued When gallery director Adam Adelson visited Marcus Reichert PT at his home in France a couple of years ago, he was moved by a series of beautiful works on paper—
flowers Marcus had rendered during a time of personal sadness. The solo show Marcus Reichert & Les Fleurs was on view all summer at Adelson Galleries in Boston.
Artistic innovator, composer and musician David Byrne, who did his Foundation year at RISD in the early ’70s and founded the band Talking Heads with Chris Frantz 74 PT and Tina Weymouth 74 PT, guest directed and hosted this
A F T E R AC C E P T I N G T H E 2015 S M I T H SO N I A N
and serving as honorary chair of the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC last spring, Toots Zynsky 73 GL dove right back into her studio work, preparing for three solo shows — one in Taipei in November, another at Themes & Variations gallery in London (November 5–December 5) and a third opening in January at Liuli China Museum in Shanghai. Toots has been making sensuous fused-glass vessels for four decades, some of which are included in more than 70 museum collections worldwide. Known for stretching the limits of the medium, she co-invented a unique machine to digitally fabricate glass threads that she fuses together in a signature technique known as filet de verre. “I develop technology as I need it to make the work I want to make,” she says —“not the other way around.” V I S I O N A RY AWA R D
// undergraduate class notes
Toots Zynsky 73 GL
Toots’ fascination with glass began in the early 1970s when she worked with fellow glass pioneer Dale Chihuly MFA 68 CR at RISD and then helped him develop the renowned Pilchuck Glass School north of Seattle. She then headed the New York Experimental Glass Workshop (now UrbanGlass) before relocating to Amsterdam in 1983, living in Europe for the next 16 years and returning to Providence in 1999. Toots thrives on collaboration and loves working with a team of assistants in her Providence studio — built between the former locations of old haunts from her RISD days, Leo’s and Lupo’s. She still loves the unpredictability of glass, too. “Sometimes there are disasters along the way,” Toots admits with a smile. “If you push it too far — if you miscalculate — it’s done. Game over. But you get used to the idea that things break, and you learn that those ‘failures’ teach you the most. It’s like skiing. You can’t be afraid to fall.”
For more on Toots’ work, go to tootszynsky.com.
Bruce Helander 69 IL/MFA 72 PT In May Bruce moderated a panel on Art Market Trends at the inaugural Art Miami New York art fair, where he also exhibited new paintings. He recently exhibited at the Cornell [NY] Museum of Art, the Palm Beach Cultural Council Museum and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. He continues to write art reviews for The Huffington Post and spoke at the Yale School of Journalism in June. This photo of Bruce wearing his trademark hat at a spring opening at the wonderful new Whitney Museum ran in The New Yorker (4.27.15).
markers. He recently proved its efficacy at a one-day Downtown Assessment Charrette in Nederland, CO.
1974 In late August Candy Barr PT/ MAT 75 spoke about the connection between creativity
and confidence as the guest artist at an annual luncheon for the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, where she met VT Senator Patrick Leahy. Based in Montpelier, Candy donated 50% of the proceeds from the sale of 40 of her paintings to
Art for Shelter, which hangs works in shelters for victims of abuse. Therman Statom SC (see page 11)
1975 Drawing a Breath by Barbara Bernstein PR (barbarabernstein.net) is one of 10 essays included in Drawing in the Twenty-First Century: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Practice (Ashgate, 2015). She teaches drawing at the University of Virginia and is a resident artist at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst. In RoundSky, a solo exhibition of paintings shown last spring at Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong and in September at the Shenzhen [China] Art Museum, Emily Cheng PT (NYC) explored how the center and circle are used within each of the major religious traditions, questioning whether any single one might lead the way to wisdom.
In August Wendy Seller AE (wendyseller.com) exhibited six of her archive digital prints in Free Association at Kingston Gallery in Boston. In November she participated in the Wareham Street Artists Studios open studios event in Boston’s South End.
Phyllis Boudreaux Kellner 74 PH Falling Up was one of 100 pieces accepted to last spring’s Wide Open 6 exhibition hosted by the Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition (BWAC) at the BWAC Gallery in Redhook. Maneuvering her 5 x 28-foot panels into the exhibition space proved to be a real challenge, says the NJ-based artist.
Richard Kattman BLA 73 below: After a month in Tuscany with his family, Richard has a new enthusiasm for panna cotta. He also produced a new series of acrylic on canvas paintings done en plein air that will be exhibited in a solo show next May at ArtSpace in Maynard, MA, near where he lives in Holliston.
Meris Barreto 70 AE + Wendy Prellwitz BArch 76 above left: Landon Nordeman for The New Yorker
left: Three artists each visualized a current — wind, water or sky — for a fall show called CrossCurrents at R2 Gallery at The Launchpad in Carbondale, CO. Meris (Providence) interpreted the western winds with a three-piece modular sculpture, while Wendy (Cambridge, MA) created large monoprints exploring water flow. Lynette O’Kane, the third artist exhibiting, curated the show. Please email class notes submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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1976 40th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016 London-based artist Carolyn Gowdy IL had a busy spring, exhibiting her work at PUSHING THE ENVELOPE (celebrating the 175th anniversary of the postage stamp) at Hereford [UK] College of Arts, Draw II at the Cello Factory in London, the Hay-on-Wye Festival in Herefordshire and at the 12th annual Car Boot Fair in London, where she made whimsical portraits of fairgoers.
Stephen Talasnik 76 PT As the 2015 artist in residence at Manitoga/the Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison, NY, Stephen created Sanctuary, a small flotilla of reed and bamboo sculptures that bobbed atop a quarry pool at the 20th-century designer’s former home from May through early November. Dsgnfix, an online community of design lovers cofounded by Polly Carpenter 77 PT, co-hosted a tour of Manitoga while Sanctuary was on view.
runs through January 3 at Newport [RI] Art Museum and in Water, Water Everywhere: Paean to a Vanishing Resource, a traveling exhibition and film festival that made a stop at UConn’s Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art in Groton [CT] in October.
Deborah Berke BArch (see page 11) In Michael Glancy: Logetto Perfetto, an interview in the May 2015 issue of the Italian art magazine Juliet, RISD faculty member Michael Glancy SC/ MFA 80 GL says that he advises
1977 Earlier this fall work by Karen Rand Anderson CR (karenrandanderson.com) was on view at the Providence Art Club, the Art League of Rhode Island and AS220’s Project Space. Her work is also included in a group show that
Jorie Johnson 79 TX* Pieces from Jorie’s series Standing in the Fields: Lacquered Felt Vessels and Wool and Washi: Tea Series are on view through April at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Contemporary Craft Gallery. As an invited researcher with the Imperial Household Agency in Nara, Japan, she has been documenting the fiber and technical execution of the 8th-century felt rugs known as Kasen. Born in Boston, Jorie (JoiRae.com) has lived in Japan for several decades.
students “to embrace error, learn through mistakes and to never give up.” The accomplished glass artist has maintained a practice in Rehoboth, MA since he graduated. Peter Gregoire PH made a short film designed to introduce a Cuban audience to NYC (where he lives) and the Bronx in particular as part of the first collaboration in more than 50 years between an American and a Cuban museum. Wild Noise was on view from May to August at the Bronx [NY] Museum of the Arts and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, where his film greeted visitors at the entrance. Large paintings by Younghee Choi Martin PT are on view through December 31 in a solo show at the Bowery Gallery in NYC, where she lives.
1978 In After Genocide: Collected Stories, on view at Princeton University’s Bernstein Gallery from August to October, Aliza Augustine PT (West New York, NJ) showed more large-format photographs from her series Documenting the Second Generation: Children of Holocaust Survivors. After graduation Scott Bronfman IL worked in advertising in NYC for seven years before his interest in design and industrial heritage led him to volunteer at the National Trust for Historic
// undergraduate class notes
Madeline Sorel 80 IL Landscape (Nuno felt, 6 x 8") was among the works on view last March in Pastures and Pleasures, a three-person show at Purple Yam in Brooklyn, where she lives. Madeline hopes that Nuno felting, a technique created by Australian artist Polly Stirling, will become valued as a fine art form.
Preservation and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in the UK. There, he met the woman who became his wife and followed her back to the Netherlands, where he worked as a designer until returning to school in 2004 to earn a teaching degree. Since graduating from the Willem de Kooning School of Art in Rotterdam, he has been teaching college-level design and interactive media in Heemstede. Champlain College in Burlington, VT welcomed new faculty member Valerie Hird PT (valeriehird.com) by including one of her paintings, Tero Ascending, in the first exhibition at the college’s new Communication and Creative Media building. In addition to teaching and working on a new series this fall, in September Valerie installed The Genesis Tree at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI. Stuart Karten ID (Marina Del Ray, CA) and his firm Karten Design won a 2015 Edison Award for the Starkey Halo, a hearing aid that works
Please email class notes submissions to: email@example.com.
was featured in Yale University’s spring 2015 issue of LETTERS (lettersjournal.com).
Laurie Harden 76 IL Startled was among the work on view in Neither Here Nor There, a solo show of oils, pastels and charcoals held in September at ART @1275 Studio & Gallery in Fairfield, NJ. Laurie lives in Boonton, NJ and gave a painting demo and talk at a reception midway through the run of the show.
with an iPhone. Recognized for its human-centered design and innovation, the Halo earned silver in the “Hearing” category. Stuart contributed an article on the importance of creating medical devices “that create a positive experience, promote a positive self-image and give patients joy” to the June issue of HIT magazine. Ron Meick SC (Wilmington, DE) makes relief prints that incorporate common objects like hand tools, but rather than rest with the image, he often includes the original object in the work. A Washington Post
review of Ar-Ti-Facts, his June solo show at the Washington [DC] Printmakers Gallery, applauds Ron’s wit in work where “form and function blur entertainingly.” Every summer Susan Osgood PT (Brattleboro, VT), an archeological illustrator at the Epigraphic Survey of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, documents the reliefs and inscriptions of temples and tombs throughout Egypt. Her recent Library Card Series, drawn from catalogue cards discarded from the university’s outpost in Luxor,
In conjunction with the “Deflategate” controversy, the satiric “courtroom sketch” William J. Hennessy, Jr. PT did of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made the cover of the September issue of Sports Illustrated. Based in Ashburn, VA, he has worked as an actual courtroom sketch artist for decades, illustrating historic trials and high-profile politicians, and his illustrations are included in a permanent installation at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.
1980 Still Lifes, a solo show of paintings and drawings by Laraine Armenti PR (laraine armenti.com), was on view from August through early November at Gladstone, a fine jewelry shop in Manchesterby-the-Sea, MA.
In October intrepid traveler Kathy Hodge PT*, who has completed artist residencies in the fjords of coastal Alaska, the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest in Arizona, showed paintings and works on paper based on these trips in Glacial AIR at the Bert Gallery in Providence and Broken Ice, Connected Life at Deblois Gallery in Newport, RI. Now represented by the Charlestown [RI] Gallery, Kathy (kathy hodge.com) has started a new web design business (devaultdesign.com).
1981 35th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016 Arthur Beckman PT, who earned a PhD in political science from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2011, is a visiting
assistant professor this year at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs in Washington, DC. When not in DC, he makes his home in Weston, CT. 100 Paintings for 100 Years, a solo show of work by Trine Bumiller PR , was on view in August at the McNichols Building in Denver, CO, where she lives.
Kristin Schonfarber Street 80 TX WireWorks, a solo show of Kristin’s 3D work, was on view last spring at Van Vessem Gallery in Tiverton, RI. A visual art teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, she also exhibited work in ArtVenice Biennale 3, a May satellite show held in conjunction with the Venice Biennale.
Last spring Stephanie Roberts-Camello PT (Pembroke, MA) showed Drought at Minimal/Maximal, a national juried exhibition of encaustic works at the Truro [MA] Center for Arts at Castle Hill that coincided with the 9th International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, MA.
THE CATALYTIC POWER OF ART S I N C E 2 010 Laura [Smith] Goodwin 80 IL
has been running a carefully designed arts learning and production environment for young artists with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At A+ Art Club, one of several initiatives housed at the Northfield [MN] Arts Guild, professional artists and arts educators — assisted by volunteer peer-mentors from a local high school and college — nurture a comfortable sense of self and community through the experience of art. Building the program with the same attention to detail she gives her own artwork, Laura breaks down the creative process to individual, manageable steps that teach skills applicable well beyond the studio walls. And the program has proven to be a success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Having studied the Montessori method in London before she got to RISD, Laura taught children in RISD | CE’s summer program while she was an undergraduate and then for many For more on the autism programming Laura is leading, go to northfieldartsguild.org.
Laura [Smith] Goodwin 80 IL
years after graduating. But it was the raw experience of raising a child with ASD that led her to create an arts program much broader in scope than existing offerings. Even now — 25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law — day programs serving the needs of people with ASD and other disabilities are too often set apart from a core community, chiefly for economic reasons. Participants arrive at such a program by van and enter a building, where they have little or no contact with the larger community before returning home by van at the end of the day. In contrast, A+ members walk, bike or are driven to the Northfield Arts Guild’s downtown studio and theater spaces, often interacting with friends and other community members along the way. They also freely engage with this same community as they make, exhibit and sell their artwork. Laura believes that the location is a critical factor behind the success of A+. But clearly her thoughtful strategies for inclusivity generate an alchemic catalyst that has led to transformative and lasting relationships between club members, peer-mentors and guest artists alike. — Karna Hauck 99 MA // RISDXYZ
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Mimi Robinson 81 PT In Local Color: Seeing Place through Watercolor (2015, Princeton Architectural Press), Mimi probes the process of seeing and really feeling the palettes that characterize place. Based in Petaluma, CA, she has traveled extensively and worked with artisan communities in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caribbean.
1981 continued California-based video artists David Hodge ID and Hi-Jin Kang Hodge are showing three immersive video installations in Closer by the Minute, an exhibition that continues through December 6 at Santa Clara [CA] University’s deSaisset Museum. Niagara Falling explores the “ageless
miracle” of the falls in contrast to the eponymous city’s near-total economic collapse in the span of one lifetime. Life on Wheels questions our dependence on cars and their intrusion into the natural world and San Francisco—6th Street Corridor looks at a troubled urban neighborhood and income inequality.
1982 In late spring exquisite woodturning work by William Rae PH (Groton, CT) was on view at the South County Art Association in Kingston, RI. RISD adjunct faculty member, critic and curator Ben Watkins MFA 03 FD selected his work for the All Media Open Juried 1 Exhibition. Several thousand glass test tubes filled with everything from mundane debris to tiny
Lily Prince 84 PT Dream State: Paintings by Lily Prince, her first solo show, features new 22 x 24" watercolors inspired by en plein air drawings she did in Florida and is on view from January 2 – 30 at Naples [FL] Museum. “I attempt to take what I experience observationally in nature,” she says, “and translate it into a language of personal expression and universal significance.” Based in Stone Ridge, NY, Lily is an assistant professor at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.
yet fully realized art projects hung from the ceiling for Praesepe (Latin for beehive cluster), an early fall show at Providence College’s Reilly Gallery. The installation by Providence-based artist Sara Young PT and Tyler Budge, aka why be/e collective, ponders contemporary culture’s fixation on the individual work ethic, systematic group labor and the cumulative effects of mass production. In August Hand on Hip, a watercolor by Linda ZigmanKosoff PT, was on view in Spectrum-Gestalt 2 Show at bG Gallery Bergamot in Santa Monica. She lives nearby in Woodland Hills, CA.
1983 Last spring LLB Architects (llbarch.com) completed the design and construction of the URI Gender & Sexuality Center—the country’s first freestanding campus center for the LGBTQ community—at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. A residential-style building that includes a range of multipurpose spaces, R. Drayton Fair BArch says its
Janet Biggs 85 GL* A Brooklyn-based video artist, Janet tends to travel to extreme sites — the mines of freezing Svalbarden and volcanic Indonesia — to mine what she learns in those environments for her work, which considers the spaces we inhabit as humans. In late summer A Step on the Sun was among the pieces included in (Un) livable, a two-person show at Station Independent Projects in NYC. 078
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design “is inspired by themes found in history and daily LGBTQ life.” These include a stone facade recognizing the 1968 Stonewall Riot in Greenwich Village and a pergola that is representative of “how often the community has had to be hidden.” Drayton and fellow alum Christian Ladds BArch 84 are both principals at the Providence-based firm. Last fall LLB Architects completed the renovation of a new home for RISD Apparel Design at 189 Canal Street. Erminio Pinque IL, director of Big Nazo Lab, is hosting “Creature-Creation” workshops for children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence as part of a new artist in residence program sponsored by the One Mission pediatric cancer organization. An adjunct faculty member at RISD, Erminio is getting young patients excited about collaborating on puppet-creature fabrication and learning about movement techniques, character development and improvisation. Shari Wolf GD grew up in and makes her home in Beachwood, OH, where she was among the local artists who recently helped commemorate the town’s centennial by creating a six-foot-tall, double-sided fiberglass beech leaf to display at Beachwood City Hall and Beachwood Place. Each leaf was sponsored, with funds raised used to help replenish the beech tree population for which the town was named.
1984 Earlier this fall The New Yorker (10.5.15) ran an interesting story on Kenneth Goldsmith SC, questioning whether he went too far at his reading at Brown last spring
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(right after visiting RISD—see page 50 in the Spring/Summer issue). For a full half hour, the avant-garde artist, writer and self-proclaimed “word processor” read verbatim the autopsy report on Michael Brown, the African American teenager killed by police in Ferguson, MO in August 2014.
Madeleine P. Hopkins 82 IL Madeleine (mphopkinsstudio. com) had an especially busy summer exhibiting paintings like Parson’s Beach at Islesford Dock Gallery on Little Cranberry Island, River Tree Arts in Kennebunk and Barn Gallery in Ogunquit, all in her home state of Maine.
David Hajian BArch and Peter Diepenbrock BID recently collaborated on a synagogue renovation and new holocaust memorial project in Newton, MA. Working closely with the Congregation Beth El committee and its religious community on the sensitive project, Peter designed a memorial incorporating brass plates engraved with the names of towns of special significance to the congregation, while David and his brother Paul, of Hajian Architects Inc. (hajian. com) in Watertown, MA, focused on bringing light into the sacred space. Colleen Kiely PT (Medford, MA) showed paintings in the recent pop-up exhibition No Shake, Not Here at Montserrat College of Art’s gallery in Beverly, MA and in the exhibition FACES at Post Office Gallery in North Truro, MA. After more than 25 years of working as an administrator at Otis College and Art Center, Sarah (Chorney) Russin PR is thrilled to be the new executive director of LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), a nonprofit focused on experimental art forms and socially relevant content.
1985 Allison Druin GD is taking a two-year leave of absence from the University of Maryland’s
Anna (Pulaski) Herrick 85 IL Soho is among the work Anna (annaherrick.com) exhibited in New York City & Environs, a solo show of paintings and collages at the 530 Harrison Ave gallery, which is part of the SoWa Open Market in Boston’s South End. The artist lives in Acton, MA.
iSchool to work as a special advisor to the National Park Service, helping to develop a comprehensive digital strategy that will help improve visitor services, protect and share NPS resources and engage the next generation of Americans in preserving and utilizing national parks. Allison has worked with the agency on and off for 12 years on projects for children and families, including the popular WebRangers program.
Lynne McCormack 87 FAV working at the forefront of the arts in Providence, Lynne McCormack 87 FAV has left her position as the city’s director of Art, Culture + Tourism to work as director of creative placemaking at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national organization that invests in distressed neighborhoods. Launched in November 2014 with a $3.5-million dollar investment from the Kresge Foundation, LISC supports pilot projects in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Providence, with planning grants in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Toledo, Phoenix, San Diego and the Bronx. As a tireless advocate for the arts in Providence, Lynne developed innovative approaches to strengthening community through art, design, music and performance, infusing the city with diverse cultural events
bottom, far right: photo by Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx
A F T E R A LM OS T 18 Y E A R S
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Joanne Kaliontzis GD (jkali.com) curated Drawing & Sparring, an early summer show at the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) Gallery in Boston (where she lives). The exhibition featured work by local artists inspired by the art of boxing, particularly as seen at The Club by George Foreman III (son of the famous boxer), a gym that opened in January 2014 in the nearby Midway Studios Artist Building.
and initiatives that have made it more arts-centered than ever. Her work has been recognized through significant grants from the NEA and its Our Town program, along with ARTPLACE America. In her new role, Lynne is leading the effort to incorporate creative placemaking strategies into the work of 30 field offices and a network of rural community development corporations across the country. “I have no doubt that my RISD education has been extremely valuable in my work in public administration,” Lynne notes. “It has helped me to innovate and solve problems, but has also given me the confidence and flexibility to adapt to changing environments, untangle complexities, identify underutilized resources, articulate common strategies and collaborate with non-artists including politicians, government policy makers and economic developers.” // RISDXYZ
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1986 30th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016 Last May Pro Se Productions released the action-adventure sci-fi short story EUDOXUS and COVER by Peter L. Brown IL , who lives in New Milford, NJ.
Chris Theiss 90 CR Dr. Doodle was featured on the cover of the 100th issue of Ceramics: Art & Perception in conjunction with a review of He Said, She Said, a two-person show at Redstar Studios in Kansas City, MO in spring 2014. The exhibition featured his layered sgraffito ceramic work — tabletop sculptures that Chris describes as “domestic landscapes.” He’s based in Mt. Vernon, WA.
File Not Found, a two-person show this fall at Gallery EOSS in Providence, featured work by Margaret Pettee Olson PT and Brian Kane 87 PT (see below).
1987 Nicole Eisenman PT (see page 10)
Carol O’Malia 86 IL No Holds Barred is among the new oil on canvas paintings on view in an early November two-person show at Stricoff Fine Art in Chelsea. In June and July, Carol (omalia.com) showed other water and train paintings in Going Nowhere, a solo show at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, UT.
1985 continued In addition to developing a signage system for the LeFrak Center in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Poulin & Morris, the Manhattan-based firm at which Douglas Morris GD is a principal, recently completed
the graphics program for Dineen Hall at Syracuse University College of Law’s new state-of-the-art facility in upstate NY. Michael Sloan IL (see page 104)
Melissa Poyet Borys 89 JM Though Melissa’s twins are now toddlers — born in Providence on November 5, 2012 — they’ve always been happy to flaunt their RISD affiliation. TJ, at right, is one minute older than his sister Alex.
Since he opened Gallery EOSS (named after his children, Edward, Oscar, Sophia and Samantha) last summer, Mark Goodkin PT has been showcasing work by fellow alumni in a renovated mill building in Providence’s Olneyville neighbohood. When a critic for Art New England pointed out that 70% of the artists he shows are women, Mark said that he hadn’t noticed; he just goes for quality, which is why so many RISD graduates show at his venue. Over the summer Brian Kane PT (Cambridge, MA) alleviated some of the stress associated with being behind the wheel with Healing Tool, a series of site-specific billboards meant to “restore and realign the surrounding landscape.” Presented along interstate highways I-93 and I-95 in Massachusetts, it was part of his ongoing series Art for Commuters. In recognition of his significant contributions to the field, Jeffrey Raven BArch (jeffraven. com) has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). The owner of RAVEN A+U is a specialist in sustainable and resilient urban design and an associate professor and director of the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Design at New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan. This fall Brooklyn-based artist Melissa Zexter PH exhibited work in Bold (Feminine),
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a month-long show at Marcia Wood Gallery: Midtown in NYC focused on perception and representation of women in photographs.
1988 Mallary Marks JM (NYC) is one of three RISD alums who participated in the summer exhibition RR30, a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Gallery at Reinstein | Ross in NYC. Watermarks, a selection of watercolors by John Ruggieri PT*, is included in the ongoing Boston Drawing Project hosted by Carroll and Sons gallery. The Project makes works on paper available for public viewing in flat file drawers in which each participating artist keeps six to 12 works. Brian Selznick IL (see page 12) Adam Silverman BArch (see page 63) Director Charles Stone III IL returned to the big screen in July with Lila & Eve, an intense drama starring Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez as grief-stricken mothers seeking vigilante justice for the senseless murders of their sons. His biopic Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story became the highest-rated original cable movie of 2013 and VH1’s highest-rated original movie ever.
1989 Last spring John Biggs PT (johnbiggs.info) helped power up a translucent dirigible that
Charles Rosenberg 88 SC Warning (2014, charcoal, metal leaf, paper mounted on board) is on view through April 24, 2016 in Hard Edged: Geometrical Abstraction and Beyond at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, where he lives. The show features the work of 46 African American artists with various approaches to geometrical abstraction.
Liz Jaff 89 PT This fall Liz showed her beautifully detailed paper sculptures and drawings on paper (about paper) in Brooklyn Bridge, a show at the Rochester [NY] Contemporary Art Center featuring work by five emerging artists based in NYC/Brooklyn.
flies (as it did at LACMA through late June) using a replica of a 1903 De Dion gasoline motor that he built over the course of seven years. Chris Burden: Ode to Santos Dumont was an homage to Burden’s inspiration, Brazilian aviator Alberto SantosDumont, who flew an airship around the Eiffel Tower in 1901. John’s careful operation of the piece was his own homage to Burden, who died in May. With a background in special effects and animatronics work for films as well as a foray into aeronautics, he maintains a studio practice at his home in LA, which he shares with Samantha Grisdale Biggs PT (samanthagrisdale.com). In July Matthew Bird ID participated in a month-long institute on the history of design at Drexel University that allowed him to return to his position as an assistant professor at RISD “full of ideas about how to make better use of history in… teaching [and]
introduce design history in broader, more inclusive ways.” A new program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the institute drew on expertise from six international scholars who conducted seminars on a range of subjects with 25 visiting faculty from across the country. In January Sara Kellner PT moved from managing the arts in transit program for METRO’s Houston Light Rail Expansion to overseeing Houston’s Municipal Art Collection as the agency’s director of Civic Art + Design. In that capacity, she now manages commissions, acquisitions and conservation.
James T. Williamson 89 IL The new children’s book Welcome to the Symphony, which presents an interactive musical exploration of the orchestra based on Beethoven’s Symphony #5, is the second book James has illustrated. He works as a special projects designer at Workman Publishing in NYC, which released the book in October.
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Last spring work by So Yoon Lym PT (North Haledon, NJ) was included in Weaving Time, the third installment in an exhibition of work by Korean artists practicing in America, at the Korean Cultural Service’s Gallery Korea in NYC. Last spring Kate Register PT showed two paintings in Water Works II, a group show at Porch Gallery Ojai [CA] and the Ojai Art Center. Kate lives in Santa Monica.
1990 Currently pursuing an MFA at Heartwood College of Art in Biddeford, ME, Kimberly Becker TX incorporates hand stitching into traditional mediums such as oils or watercolors. In February she did a residency at Brush Creek in Saratoga, WY, where she worked on developing stitched and French-knotted paintings and over the summer one of her fiber art pieces was on view in
the National Juried MFA Exhibition at First Street Gallery in NYC. During a July residency at Bascom Lodge on Mount Greylock—the highest point in Massachusetts—MA-based
artist Franklin Einspruch IL painted extensively and experimented with making his own gouaches. He also continues to write about art for publications including The Federalist and The Arts Fuse.
Clifton Jaeger 86 PT After first visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico as a RISD student, Clifton now owns a home there and designs residential property for a local and international clientele. For one of his latest projects, a 10,000-sf villa with a central courtyard and Moorish features, he also designed the furniture, lighting, doors and windows, working with local artists to create custom work and traveling to the Middle East to do research and source hardware. Now, the home graces the cover and fills a chapter of the new book Casa Bohemia: The Spanish-Style House (Rizzoli, 2015).
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Carolina Arentsen 91 IL Carolina’s dynamic, gestural paintings are on view through early January in The Loquacious Line, a show of work by Rhode Island-based artists at T.F. Green Airport’s Green Space gallery in Warwick. The jewelry she makes through Hint Studio — using recycled materials — was featured in Green Envy’s August fashion show in Newport, RI.
1991 25th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016
1990 continued After earning a Loeb Fellowship in 2006, architect, educator and activist John Peterson BArch—best known for founding Public Architecture—
has been appointed curator of the Loeb Fellowship program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He will assume his new post in January.
Liz Collins 91 TX/MFA 99 Liz Collins — Energy Field opened in October at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where it will remain through next fall. The first in a new series that asks artists to imagine what a museum community space can be, “it is a new age crystal cave viewed through a pop post-modern lens,” as Liz puts it. Intended to invite both prolonged exploration and rest, Energy Field is an outgrowth of her ongoing exploration of the boundaries between painting, fiber arts and installations meant to envelop the viewer/visitor.
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“For the next generation of fashion talents, the question is how to create something new when the Internet puts everything from the past at anyone’s disposal,” says Greg Foley AP (gregfoley.co), speaking about Crosswalk, the catchy cover image he created for The New Yorker (9.21.15). After helping to launch the art and fashion magazine Visionaire 25 years
ago, Foley is now a contributing design/creative director for V Magazine and its family of offshoots, including VFiles, a fashion-focused social networking site. As the 2016 presidential campaigns heat up, Brooklynbased artist Lauren Garfinkel AP has begun to revive her provocative food portrait series Edible Government (edible government.com). In July NPR posted a piece about her portrait of Donald Trump as a Circus Peanut—the right color, says the artist, to reflect the candidate’s signature tanning salon look. Lauren told NPR that she makes tongue-incheek sculpture as her own “way of participating in the political process.” Brooklyn-based artist Leah Oates IL participated in two recent shows at Susan Eley Fine Arts in NYC: Caught on Film: Finding the Extraordinary, a small group show of women
artists, and Leah Oates and Maria Passarotti: Recent Photographs. An interview with her ran in the July issue of Spry Literary Journal. Work by Mel Prest PT (melprest.com) was on view this fall in Orange on Orange, a three-person show at Peephole Cinema in San Francisco, where she lives. Keita Turner AP of Keita Turner Design / KT Design Solutions (ktdsny.com) was invited to partner with The Home Depot and Ebony magazine to pull together advertorials on home design trends. Drawing on the firm’s fluency in both interior and fashion design, the pieces highlight home design trends borrowed from this year’s fashion runways, and appeared in the May and September 2015 issues of Ebony.
1992 In October Arnor Bieltvedt PT exhibited his most recent
Katie Hutchison BArch 92 In The New Small House (Taunton Press, 2015) Katie presents small-house design strategies as well as wholehouse case studies from across the US and Canada. An abundance of photos and illustrations capture the trend toward smaller, more efficient and environmentally friendly living inspired by the recent recession and ongoing environmental concerns.
abstract expressionistic paintings, which speak to his experience as a native Icelander living in Southern California, at Pasadena [CA] ArtWalk. Shepard Fairey IL made a big mark on Detroit over the summer—both through his solo show Printed Matter at the Library Street Collective
gallery and on the street. In conjunction with the show, he created the largest site-specific mural he has ever attempted: an 85 x 185-foot painting focused on “peace and justice.” He also exhibited almost 200
works in the gallery itself, which he described as “a phenomenal embodiment of my entire practice as an artist,” but ran into trouble with authorities when he tagged a number of unauthorized spots.
1993 Elizabeth Ehrnstrom Paseler BArch (Forked River, NJ) won $10,000 plus materials costs in the 2015 Engage Toms River [NJ] Community Mural Project, a competition to create a
100-foot mural as part of the town’s revitalization project. With the help of community members, she painted the mural over the summer and celebrated it at the town’s fall Harvest Arts Festival.
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strips zoning maps of all immediate references to consider their meaning as pure shapes and colors. Field Guide, a solo show of glasswork by Laura Kramer GL (lbkstudio.com), was on view from May–July at Heller Gallery in NYC. Her Horns and Swells represent “the most elemental combination of breath and gravity formed during the glassblowing process” and were shown alongside two embellished paper wasp nest memento mori works. Laura is based in Pawtucket, RI and was also a finalist in the 2015 Martha Stewart American Made competition.
Rebecca Hannon 95 JM Having served as chair of Foundation Studies at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design for the past two years, Rebecca is on sabbatical this year. She completed a residency at the Banff Center for the Arts, is spending three months in Orissa, India doing a Raghurajpur International Art/Culture Exchange Residency and is heading to San Francisco next, where she plans to explore new digital possibilities for her work. Her jewelry was included in the summer exhibition RR30, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Gallery at Reinstein | Ross in NYC.
1994 In early September Torontobased architect Robert Glennie BArch 94 (urbano waysis.wix.com) presented
acrylic-on-wood board pieces in Art for Planners, a two-person show with Michelle Glennie at The ARTS Project in London, Ontario. In his artwork he
Charles C. Wilrycx BArch 96 Charles’ firm ARKITEKTUR (Nashville, TN) recently served as project lead on a massive renovation of a 7,000-sf private residence (for Chaica LLC) on the Venetian Islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.
// undergraduate class notes
Several sonic fabric garments by Alyce Santoro CEC (sonicfabric.com) were included in Texas Design Now, a fall exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Jennifer Shaw PH re-released her book Hurricane Story, a unique collection of photos and sparse prose recounting her sudden evacuation just before delivering her first baby. The new e-book includes an introduction by New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker, a radio interview with the author and an animated map showing her evacuation route and eventual return to the city she loves.
Miriam Borcherdt 95 AP + Nami Payackapan 95 AP After working on their own labels and for others in the fashion industry, Miriam and Nami are collaborating on kin studio (kin-studio.com), a women’s- and kidswear label with a strong focus on sustainable design. Based in Melbourne, Australia, they debuted their collection in August at Playtime in NY.
This fall Providence-based artist Anne Tait PR spoke about her headstone-inspired work at the NY Chapter of the Association for Gravestone
Studies in Queens and at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association in Philadelphia. Her show
Amy Putansu 95 TX Last fall Amy (putansutextiles.com) traveled to Shanghai and Hangzhou to exhibit her work and present a research paper on a weaving and dyeing technique called ondulé at the 9th International World Shibori Symposium. After she demonstrated the technique in this silk piece titled Diptych, the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou purchased it for its permanent collection. Amy teaches at the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC.
of prints, paintings and embroidered pieces inspired by 19th-century headstones continues through December 11 at Doug Adams Gallery in Berkeley, CA.
1995 Nests, a “drawing/painting” by Barry Beach SC, was included in Works on Paper—2015, a July exhibition at the Long Beach Island [NJ] Foundation of the Arts & Sciences. Barry lives in San Rafael, CA. In October Nadia Tarlow PT (Capitola, CA) premiered her documentary film Ocean Driven (oceandrivenfilm.com) in Santa Cruz, CA, followed later in the month by a special private screening and speaking event at the Academy of Sciences Planetarium in San Francisco. The film tracks South African big wave surfer Chris Bertish as he overcomes huge obstacles and enormous waves in pursuit of the Mavericks Invitational Big Wave Surf Competition in Half Moon Bay, CA. In 2010 Chris nearly drowned in the colossal waves at Mavericks, which swamped spectators on the beach.
1996 20th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016 Last summer Brooklyn-based designer Lindsey Adelman ID exhibited a new body of work
made in conjunction with her first-ever originally composed music video in Show Me, a solo show at the Manhattan outpost of the auction house Wright NY. The exhibition included specially crafted mirrors, jewelry and objects, and expands the boundaries of the designer’s practice beyond her well-known lighting works. In August Kristina Bell DiTullo IL (kristinabellditullo. com) showed three paintings in the highly competitive 24th Annual Juried Exhibition at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, CA. Work from her new series Beaming with Happiness was also on view in an August group show at San Diego Art Institute. A practicing art therapist who recently relocated to San Diego, Kristina draws from her knowledge of psychology and human behavior in developing a precise, controlled, repetitive visual language.
In September the Providencebased noise band Landed—featuring Shawn Greenlee PR (programs head in RISD’s newly renamed division of Experimental & Foundation Studies, Joel Kyack 95 PR and Björn Copeland 98 SC—played at UCLA’s Hammer Museum as part of ALL THE INSTRUMENTS AGREE: an exhibition or a concert. The two-day event
featured back-to-back performances by sound artists, music collectives and art bands from around the world.
sourced materials, seeds and soil in a way that supports biodynamic and traditional farming practices.
David Hanson FAV and his firm Hanson Robotics recently set up shop in Hong Kong and in June showcased its latest generation of artificial intelligence (AI) technology at the APAC Innovation Summit 2015 Series at Hong Kong Science and Technologies Parks (HKSTP).
In late November and December, Denver-based artist Lee Lee PT (lee-lee.com) returns to Haiti for the 4th annual Ghetto Biennial, where she’s presenting Sacred Soil—Cultivating The Urban Lakou. Her piece consists of small permaculture gardens to cultivate nourishment at the neighborhood scale, using
Last spring Karelle Levy TX (Miami Beach, FL) exhibited work in Felt, Sew, Knit, Bound at the Fat Village Project in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and in The Secret Life of Plants at the Clyde Butcher Gallery in Coconut Grove, FL. In early summer she created Quickie Couture pieces with her fashion knitwear line KRELwear in Oakland, CA.
Joanna Chen BArch 98 Joanna’s soft, warm illustrations work beautifully in Sanctuary (Marloe Press, December 2015), a lyrical poem in pictures that explores the variety of special places people find to retreat and recharge.
Freecell, the architectural firm headed by Lauren Crahan BArch and John Hartmann 95 Arch* helped Stefan Jonot open his latest restaurant, LES Enfants de Bohème, in NYC in July. The firm worked with him on space organization, design direction and permitting to adapt the commercial building dating from the 1920s. Freecell’s other recent projects include renovating a summer residence in Sagaponack, NY and a home in LA.
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fall / winter 2015/16
Lu Heintz 01 SC In Work/Love, an October solo show at Keene [NH] State College’s Carroll House Galleries, Lu showed sculptures and videos that mimic the processes of care and describe the ways labor and love converge in our lives. She’s based in Coventry, RI.
comedians Bobby Lee, Margaret Cho and Jon Lovitz, the series is based on “the cutthroat business of food trucks, fowl play and science fiction.”
Amanda McCorkle 98 GD Amanda runs the RI-based design studio ColorQuarry (color quarry.com) and also designs custom letterpress pieces through ColorQuarry Letterpress. She recently had the opportunity to issue a very special announcement: the birth of her second child, Magnus, in June. He and his five-year-old sister Ada live with their parents in Hope Valley, RI.
1998 As part of September’s Design Week RI, interior designer Kyla Coburn IL earned an Emerging Designer Award and was inducted into DesignxRI’s Hall of Fame. After working at frog design, Converse and Nike, three years ago Michael DiTullo ID moved on to Sound United, which owns three audio brands and designs everything from $20 ear buds to $5,000 premium audiophile speakers. As chief design officer, he oversees teams responsible for all 086
// undergraduate class notes
aspects of design—product, packaging, advertising, environmental, retail, mobile UI/UX and web. Since he arrived, Michael and his colleagues have rebranded the consumer and master brands, designed and built a new HQ in San Diego and helped Sound United enter four new product categories. Max Lawrence PT recently teamed up with amateur beekeeper Wynn Geary (now in his first year at RISD) to research colony collapse
and figure out how to create a “smart hive” able to electronically monitor his bees’ movements. The two met at the Department of Making + Doing, a maker space in West Philadelphia, and have managed to design an elaborate hive and hook it up to sensors that track methane, alcohol, carbon monoxide, temperature, humidity and noise levels inside.
from RISD. Last fall Clare and Barry collaborated on a show at Alessandra Bonomo Gallery in Rome and she continues a prolific practice as a solo artist, producing three public projects last year alone in San Francisco: a mural for The Luggage Store gallery, two mosaics at UCSF’s new hospital amphitheater and an enormous painting for the SFO airport.
An extraordinary New Yorker story (8.10.15) called A Ghost in the Family focuses on the oddly intertwined lives of San Francisco-based artists Barry McGee, his late wife and collaborator Margaret Kilgallen and his current wife Clare Rojas PR, who met the couple shortly after graduating
1999 LA-based writer, director and producer Gabriel DeFrancesco IL (gabedefrancesco.wix. com) is using a Kickstarter campaign to fund ChowFuhn, a ducky animated solo project with his studio Company One Productions. Featuring the voices of
Sandra Lea Gibson FAV and Luis Recoder (gibsonrecoder. com) set up a number of camera obscura situations while in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts last spring. Removing camera obscura from the realm of photography and using it for an immersive cinematic experience, their installations inspired fellow residents to make work commenting on and responding to the projections.
Victoria Jamieson 00 IL Since Victoria’s graphic novel for young readers, Roller Girl (Dial Books), was released in March, it has hit the New York Times bestseller list, received five starred reviews from industry magazines and was mentioned on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. The book follows the adventures of 12-year-old Astrid as she discovers the world of roller derby. Victoria herself uses the skate name Winnie the Pow when she races with the Rose City Rollers in Portland, OR.
Reykjavík. In July he also showed paintings in a two-person show at Reykjavik’s Gallery Bakari. This fall Alexander began a master’s program at the Royal Conservatory and Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag, the Netherlands.
2001 15th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016
Edie Fake 02 FAV Grey Area, a solo show of elaborate ink and gouache on paper drawings like Just a Stage (2015, 30 x 22") and Sugar in the Tank (2015, 20 x 30"), opened during PRIDE weekend and ran through mid July at Western Exhibitions in Chicago. Grappling with the meaning of queer space, Edie creates ink and gouache drawings of stages, parade floats and art deco buildings that both combine and conflate parts of his own “family history with aspects of queer history, reaching towards a personal, psychic geography of trans people in society,” as the gallery explains. He’s also among the seven MFA candidates at USC’s Roski School of Art who all dropped out in protest last spring when the university pulled a purported “bait and switch” having to do with promised funding.
In mid September Joseph Hart IL showed works on paper at the Halsey McKay Gallery booth at Expo Chicago. Through painting, drawing and collage—and layering, cutting and folding his abstract pieces—the Brooklyn-based artist aims to create “small moments that are alternatively calm and chaotic, hard and soft, that push and pull.” Two striking theater posters by Kelly Murphy IL are included in the new book Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters from Around the World (Chronicle Books) by Mirko Ili and Steven
Heller. In addition to her own practice, Kelly teaches illustration at RISD. Ryan Wallace IL (Brooklyn) titled his June–July solo show at San Francisco’s Romer Young Gallery LD50 as a means of exploring whether a composition can evade destruction if he uses his wide array of castoff and scavenged materials elegantly enough. Using everything from tape to window vinyl, he incorporates waste from his painting process to create the structure of his sculptures and vice versa— creating works that dodge the
“median lethal dose,” the technical term used by toxicologists to refer to the dose required to kill half of a tested population.
2000 In July Megan Biddle GL (Philadelphia) taught a workshop called Cross Pollinating Process at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA. In June her work was included in Creativity Ascertained: The Art of the Fellowship, a group show at the Museum of Glass at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, NJ. Marah Strauch GL (see page 13) Constructed Horizons, a series of paintings made by Alexander Zaklynsky SC during a residency at the Heima Collective in Seydisfjordur, Iceland, were on view in June and July at HARPA Concert Hall and Conference Centre in
Adella Ladjevardi PH (Brooklyn) worked hard to complete Icaros: a vision (icarosavision.com) directed by the late Leonor Caraballo 95 PH , who passed away before the film was finished. Loosely based on Leonor’s experience, the moving film follows an American woman with metastatic breast cancer who travels to the Peruvian Amazon in search of a miracle. It was one of 10 films selected by the Independent Filmmaker Project for the 2015 Independent Filmmaker Labs, which provide yearlong fellowships for rookie filmmakers. Four members of the film crew, including Adella, were awarded fellowships. London-based designer Stephanie Mähl GD recently cofounded Discover&Deliver (discoverdeliver.com), a luxury lifestyle site dedicated to finding the “most beautiful and sought-after furniture, lighting and accessories as seen in the best-designed hotels and
restaurants globally.” The site profiles architects, interior designers and product designers, paying homage to the heritage and history of iconic designs and accomplished designers and craftspeople. Last summer Alvar Sirlin IL (alvar.nyc) showed a range of ink drawings in the soccerthemed exhibition Off Foot at the Rabbit Hole gallery in Brooklyn, along with digitally composited and colored ink drawings at the finale of the SVA (School of Visual Arts) summer residency at the SVA Gallery in Manhattan.
2002 In The Landformation Catalogue (landformation catalogue.org), a spring exhibition at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Zaneta Hong ID and Michael Leighton Beaman (a RISD faculty member) examined how a systematic manipulation of the landscape by humans has led to the fastest geological transformation of the earth’s surface in its 4.54-billion-year history.
Caroline Adams 01 PR Caroline Adams — Departure, a summer solo show of landscape paintings at Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Washington, DC, preceded the artist’s move with her family to Germany. Caroline (caroline adams.com) expects to live abroad for the next four years.
Remi Thornton 01 PH Remi (remithornton.com) has earned a 2015 Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston. Known for creating eerie nightscapes such as this one, Car Wash, using natural lighting and a Digital SLR, he is using the grant to help cover travel expenses and equipment.
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fall / winter 2015/16
CREATING COMEDY Ryan Cunningham 02 FAV
it’s important to work on shows you enjoy watching,” says TV and film producer Ryan Cunningham 02 FAV. “Between rough cuts, dailies, sound design and everything else, I’ll end up watching stuff 30 times before it actually airs, which would be incredibly painful if I didn’t like the show.” These days Ryan spends most of her time producing for comedians Louis CK (Louie on FX), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central) and Jon Glaser (Delocated on Adult Swim). “Amy is absolutely awesome,” she says — “humble, smart…. She invites collaboration and has zero ego, which is not always the case.” Ryan co-owns her NYC production studio, Running Man, with her husband Troy Thompson, and does everything from consulting on scripts during preproduction to working on set during shooting and overseeing “pretty much everything that happens from the moment the camera stops rolling to the point when a show airs”— from editing, visual effects and sound design to music, color correction and mastering. But it took decade of hard work to break into the film and television industries, Ryan says. “No one is going to walk up and offer you a million “IN THIS BUSINESS,
dollars to direct a film right after graduation. First you need to work on a crew and learn how to collaborate.” Ryan began interning when she was still an undergrad, working with Geoff Adams 83 FAV on the live-action segments on the WGBH show Arthur, the hugely successful animated series for kids. “I worked as a boom operator, an assistant editor…. I did archival research, whatever was needed,” she recalls. “I ended up getting my first full producer position with WGBH’s The Electric Company and winning an Emmy.” As her reputation grew, the job offers came in more steadily. Now, in addition to working on Inside Amy Schumer and Louie, she recently completed a Schumer special for HBO and produced a full-length feature film called 3rd Street Blackout, a romantic comedy about a couple struggling to communicate after Hurricane Sandy left NYC without power for days on end. Ryan says that at RISD she “was exposed to every element of film production and post-production,” which still helps her today. And since she knows the importance of interning, she hires a RISD student at Running Man every summer. “Our interns are here to learn,” she notes, “not to get coffee,” as Selene Means 17 FAV, last summer’s intern, can attest. One of Ryan’s favorite moments as a producer is getting to see that first rough cut. “Sometimes it’s exactly what you imagined, sometimes it’s a total surprise and sometimes it’s a disaster,” she says. “But when it’s beyond what you expected, it’s thrilling. That happens a lot on Inside Amy Schumer. The sketches are just brilliant, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see things from a woman’s perspective.”
2002 continued In May Krista Ninivaggi BArch (NYC) and her firm K&Co collaborated with yarn bomb artist Hot Tea and Pilskin Architecture on a project that transformed a swimming pool on NYC’s Roosevelt Island into a joyfully vibrant color field (search for ‘swimming pool’ on brooklynstreetart.com). Nature Anatomy, the latest enticement from Brooklynbased artist Julia Rothman IL (juliarothman.com), is a follow-up to her book Farm Anatomy (subtitled The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life). The book allowed her to satisfy her own “hunger for more ‘green’ knowledge” by investigating and then visually translating the endless marvels of the natural world—from land formations to atmospheric layers and water bugs.
2003 Jane Kim PR (inkdwell.com) recently completed illustrations for The Living Seashore, a new permanent exhibit at the Baltimore [MD] National Aquarium. She’s also working Find more on Ryan’s work at runningmanpost.com.
Jacqui Alexander 05 IL It poured at Jacqui’s June 27 wedding at Baldpate Mountain in Titusville, NJ, but she and her new husband Dave Hance took it in stride and danced in the rain, joined by family and friends, including several from RISD. She works as a freelance social media consultant in Princeton, while he works in the facilities department at The College of New Jersey. The newlyweds live in Pennington, NJ.
on a colossal Wall of Birds mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that will showcase the 375-million-year evolution of birds. A profile of Jane appeared in the June issue of Juxtapoz magazine. Chandler O’Leary IL and apparel designer Sonja Silver recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial production run of a women’s rain jacket that features Chandler’s handpainted illustrations printed on the lining. The coat is being produced by Bratwear in Tacoma, WA, where Chandler lives.
Adam Meshberg BArch 02 Last January Meshberg Group (meshberg.com) completed a stunning adaptive reuse project in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, converting a space that was originally a residence, then a longtime manufacturing site, into penthouse condominiums. Adam drew on his specialty in historic preservation to restore existing features and use reclaimed materials as much as possible.
In August the HP Lovecraftinspired picture book Goodnight Azathoth, an end-of-the-world parody of Goodnight Moon, debuted at NecronomiCon Providence, an “international festival of weird fiction, art and academia.” Written by Kenneth Hite, it features illustrations by Christina Rodriguez IL (christinarodriguez.com), who works in the Alumni Relations office at RISD. David Benjamin Sherry PH (see page 7)
2004 In The Ganges Water Crisis, an op-ed in The New York Times (6.17.15), architect Anthony Acciavatti BArch analyzes the “mismanagement, disorganization and corruption” that has led to chronic water shortages in New Delhi, India’s capital, and the surrounding region. In his book Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (published
earlier this year), he presents a decade’s worth of research addressing contemporary needs for managing the mighty river. Leah Brown SC is showing fanciful, otherworldly sculptural work in Transformation of Echo, World of Dreams, a solo show that continues through January 3 at Young at Art Museum in Davie, FL. Plastic Wiphala, a short documentary now on YouTube, looks at Aymar Ccopacatty SC (West Kingston, RI) and his collaborative project to create a large-scale Andean flag out of recycled plastic bags. Undertaken in Puno, Peru in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the piece examines Aymar’s ongoing work knitting and
David Sieren 02 GD David and his wife Jo-Nell are pleased to announce the arrival of Ava Gray Sieren, who was born on June 18 weighing in at 7 lbs 4 oz. Last year he and several friends founded One Design Company (onedesigncompany.com), a strategic branding and interactive agency in Chicago. The Post Family — an artists’ collaborative David cofounded that has done work for Basecamp, Pratt Institute, Levi’s, SOHO House and Cards Against Humanity, among others — recently launched thepostfamily.com so that new clients can find them.
weaving with the ubiquitous waste product. How Google Finally Got Design, a recent story in Fast Company (6.1.15) begins: “Eight years ago, Evelyn Kim GD was the first visual designer ever hired on a Google product team— a graphic designer….” The piece goes on to outline her key role in transitioning the company from one focused almost solely on speed to one that designs elegant software. “I have been married a few times, more than twice. I had less than 2 weeks off last year. I drive to work.” These are a few examples of the tweets the Twitter Bot created by Jia Zhang ID publishes at @censusAmericans. Part of an effort to find the person inside the data collected by the US Census Bureau, Jia’s project has been featured on fivethirtyeight. com and in other news outlets.
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Jason Herron 02 GD A senior art director at Ignition Print in Los Angeles, Jason created this series of character posters for the film Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 2. The images were released in early July — just in time to help build excitement for the conclusion of the series when they were shown at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
2005 A piece by Jamie Allen IL (Honolulu) was included in Possessions—Prized & Otherwise, an early summer show at the Attleboro [MA] Art Museum. Called Clipping, her piece references the many newspaper clippings her grandfather sent her about art. Rachel Glaser PT (see pages 8–9) Heidi Lee GD (see pages 1 + 14) Craig Strulovitz IA is celebrating 10 years with Glenn Gissler Design, the NYCbased firm founded by Glenn Gissler BArch 84. After first
interning there right after graduation, Craig is now the senior designer and an “exemplary” member of the team, as Glenn puts it. After exhibiting her tiny hand-sculpted clay cats (inside 2" acrylic cubes) at Providence’s Chazan Gallery last year, Joan Wyand CR (joanwyand.com) participated in CatConLA, the first-ever cat convention, in June. Customer feedback inspired her to expand her cat universe to include enamel pins and stickers, and a successful Indiegogo campaign in July is helping her to continue her Cat Cube Claymations project.
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DOGS DOWN UNDER D O G P E O P LE A R E N ’ T A R A R E B R E E D,
“Workings dogs are very important to New Zealand historically, economically and culturally,” Andrew says. “I drove from farm to farm, often working on the farm while photographing the dogs. I then branched out to dogs working in policing, airport security, as seeing eye dogs and doing search and rescue operations.” This fall the photographer exhibited the results of that intensive immersion, along with another canine-focused foray in Scandinavia, in The Shepherd’s Realm: The Dogs of New Zealand and Norway, a solo exhibition at Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art in NYC. The show featured 15 photographs
Andrew Fladeboe 06 PH
taken in New Zealand along with an earlier gem from Scotland and 10 he made in Norway prior to his Fulbright year abroad. Inspired by the tradition of British animal portraiture, Andrew also references the 18th-century paintings of George Stubbs and the 19th-century canvasses of Edwin Landseer in his work. The Victorian influences come through clearly in work that echoes the artistic practices and scientific investigation of the era, drawing from the ideals of Romanticism and celebrating the raw beauty of the natural world. “The camera is an instrument of science and facts,” notes Andrew, who’s now pursuing an MFA at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “So I want to [use it to] illustrate these animals as they truly are. But my work inhabits the realm between the accurate portrayal of nature and its emotional qualities.” Andrew’s eloquent portraits of animals have appeared in American Photography and The Vice Photo Book. They will also be featured in the forthcoming book Identities Now: Contemporary Portrait Photography. Since its release in September, New Zealand’s Working Dogs has already attracted attention from National Geographic, Slate, Buzzfeed, The Telegraph and, of course, true dog lovers around the world.
bottom, far right: photo by Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx
but most don’t go quite as far as Andrew Fladeboe 06 PH in showing their appreciation. After winning a Fulbright fellowship, he had the great pleasure of working in New Zealand during the 2013/14 academic year photographing working dogs — initially focusing on sheepdogs and eventually branching out to other breeds and happy mutts known for keeping their noses to the grindstone. A strong selection of images captured during that year have been collected in New Zealand’s Working Dogs (Potton & Burton), a striking new monograph released in September.
// undergraduate class notes
Find more about Andrew’s work at andrewfladeboe.com.
Institute of Technology and co-hosts a podcast on design (throughprocess.com) that recently posted an in-depth interview with RISD Graphic Design Department Head John Caserta and Professor Lucinda Hitchcock. Last winter Theo Richardson FD, Charles Brill FD and Alexander Williams FD—aka Rich Brilliant Willing—manned a session of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s DesignPrep program, a fiveday camp for NYC high school kids to help budding designers create their own lighting. In May Metropolis magazine ran a feature on the trio’s new NYC showroom.
Michelle (Jones) Baron 06 IL Michelle illustrated the new book Where’s Karl? (Random House), a fashion-forward parody by Stacey Caldwell and Ajiri Aki. Starring the industry’s most iconic living figure, Karl Lagerfeld, the book created a splash when it was released earlier this year. It follows a fictional blogger named Florence de la Sabine as she chases Karl and the international fashion flock through 15 cities over the course of a year — from Chanel’s Grand Palais show in Paris to Art Basel Miami Beach and Tulum, Mexico.
2006 10th Reunion October 7 – 9, 2016 Maureen Cambridge AR and Scott MacDonald MLA 11 are happy to announce that they got married on August 8, 2015 on beautiful Orcas Island, a ferry trip away from where they live in Seattle. Photographer Nelson Chan PH (NYC) is excited to have launched TIS books (tisbooks. pub), a publishing imprint he cofounded with fellow photographers Tim Carpenter and Carl Wooley. A dream that has been years in the making, TIS produces photo books that are “the offspring of a camera and a mind at work in the world.” An accompanying blog site—called this is sausage— offers snippets of writing about the world of photography. Previously an educator at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, Louisa Donelson PT now works as the associate educator for Youth Learning at the Portland [ME] Museum of Art. She develops and implements programs for youth, teen and family audiences that encourage
curiosity, exploration and understanding of works of art both inside and beyond the museum. After accumulating accolades for the materials-driven book covers they design together, husband-and-wife team Anne Jordan 07 GD and Mitch Goldstein GD designed the cover of PRINT magazine’s summer issue. PRINT also included Anne in its list of 15 Under 30 visual artists to watch and Communication Arts and It’s Nice That both ran recent profiles on her. The couple lives in upstate New York, where Mitch teaches at Rochester
Max Springer GD (lauren cherrymaxspringer.com) created an exclusive edition of sculptures for the first issue of CARLA (Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles), a quarterly magazine and online art journal (contemporaryartreview.la) that launched last spring. His work was on display
at the journal’s launch party at Human Resources in LA. Last spring Brooklyn-based artists Leah Wolff PR and Guy Ben-Ari—aka Meta Meta Meta—showed Fertility Objects in the exhibition In Response: Repetition and Difference at the Jewish Museum in NYC.
Janet Bruesselbach 06 IL Scarlet is among the large-scale, full-length oil portraits celebrating the beauty of trans women that Janet presented in Daughters of Mercury, a solo show in November at babycastles in NYC. In the series, she plays with the tropes of the female body in representational painting, collaborating closely with each individual to decide how she wished to be portrayed.
Prarthna Singh PH (prarthna singh.com), who lives and works in Mumbai, shot photographs for the 2015 Wallpaper* City Guide Mumbai (Phaidon) and over the summer completed work for Phaidon on a book on everyday Indian design. Entitled Saar: The Essence of Indian Design, it will be released next spring. Beth Slocum GD and Brian Mackey got married on November 15, 2014 and now live in Island Heights, NJ, where Beth is the owner and creative director of Woodhaus Studio, a boutique graphic design studio, and Brian is a singer-songwriter whose music has been featured in films, commercials and TV series.
Amanda C. Sweet 07 PT After earning an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Washington in June, Amanda participated in Tropical Lab 9: Island, this year’s International Artist Workshop in Singapore. As one of seven artists selected from the US, she also exhibited works such as What is Memory? (detail) in a show that ran from August to September at Brother Joseph McNally Gallery, Praxis Space and Project Space Gallery in Singapore.
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fall / winter 2015/16
2007 KEY CURRENT MAJORS Apparel Design
Arch Architecture CR Ceramics Digital + Media
FAV Film/Animation/ Video FD
GL Glass IA
IL Illustration JM Jewelry + Metalsmithing PH Photography PT Painting PR Printmaking SC Sculpture TX Textiles FORMER MAJORS Advertising Design
AE Art + Design Education LA Landscape Architecture MD
5 T H -Y E A R D E G R E E BArch Architecture F O R M E R 5 T H -Y E A R DEGREES BGD
BIA Interior Architecture BLA Landscape Architecture MASTER’S DEGREES Art Education (formerly MAE)
MArch Architecture MAT Teaching MDes Design in Interior Studies MFA
MLA Landscape Architecture OTHER
Continuing her fascination with the intersection of art, design and science, Melissa Armstrong ID (melissaarmstrong.com) lived and worked in the wilds of Alaska over the spring and summer, helping the National Park Service with invasive species management at Katmai National Park & Preserve. In January she will begin pursuing a master’s
degree in Zoology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Earlier this year Emily (Welsh) Behm AP launched Rabbit Rabbit Studio (rabbitrabbitstudio. com), an online shop where she combines her love of fashion and illustration by creating custom, one-of-a-kind illustrated portraits. Currently geared toward the bridal
market, she hopes to expand to other areas in the future. Emily is based in Maple Grove, MN, just outside of Minneapolis. Katryn McIntosh PT, a painter, machine knitter and programmer at MojoTech in Providence, spoke about women in tech at the RI International Film Festival’s August screening of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. Amanda C. Sweet PT (see previous page)
Seth Clark 08 GD In naming Seth (sethsclark.com) its 2015 Emerging Artist of the Year, the Pittsburgh [PA] Center for the Arts ran an exhibition of his sculptural work and 2D collages through November 1. The Pittsburgh-based artist is currently experimenting with a Studio Direct (studiodirect.org) model of art patronage similar to the Community Supported Agriculture idea: eight patrons prepay for a piece of artwork at a discounted rate, which provides them with lower-cost pieces and allows him to better budget for and sustain his studio practice.
Over the summer Martha Werman CEC (martha wermanart.com) exhibited a series of bold, colorful oil paintings of kitchen sponges at Dwelltime Coffeehouse in Cambridge, MA. One of her paintings was on view in September in RODDY at the Concord [MA] Art Association.
2008 In an August 8 survey piece, The New York Times highlighted the elaborately illustrated chalkboards Phil Ashworth IL (philashworth. com) makes for Gimme Coffee, the Williamsburg café where he works. Noted for their cleverness and described as “an analog art form perfect for our time,” the evanescent café creations have led to new commissions for Phil. As Serena Williams and the rest of the tennis world prepared for the US Open in September, Karl Baker FAV and his Portland, OR-based team at Anderson3 (anderson3.com) were pulling all-nighters creating promotional spots for ESPN. The company, headquartered in Connecticut, produces sports promos and “offers a full suite of production services, from computer graphics to audio to editing and beyond.” Julia Bland PT (juliabland.net) and Cheryl Donegan 84 PT
BRDD Brown/RISD Dual Degree CEC Continuing Education Certificate FS
enrolled for Foundation Studies only
* attended RISD, but no degree awarded
// undergraduate class notes
Peter Cangialosi 10 GD The Boston Athenaeum recently bought Mount Tom Power Station and five other of Peter’s monotypes for its permanent collection. He lives in Northampton, MA and makes gorgeous prints of New England roads and landscapes.
(cheryldonegan.com) participated in Improvised Showboat’s 12th exhibition, hosted by Gary Stephan at his Tribeca studio on September 5. Colin Healey FAV (see page 13) Remodelista extols the “modern Mayberry” vibe of the latest One Girl Cookies bakery/ café in Industry City, Brooklyn. Designed by Oliver Freundlich and his colleague Emily Lindberg IA of Oliver Freundlich Design, the homeymeets-industrial space features a palette of blues and creams and a large mural commissioned from Jing Wei IL . Ben Powell FAV (see page 12) As part of Design Week RI in September, furniture designer Asher RodriguezDunn ID earned an Emerging Designer Award and was inducted into DesignxRI’s Hall of Fame. Dave Schachter FAV (see pages 12 + 13) In November a new featurelength documentary coproduced by Keryn Thompson FAV premiered at New York’s DOC NYC film festival. Made over the course of two years and directed by Emily Abt, Daddy Don’t Go presents the stories of four diverse, disadvantaged men struggling to be good fathers. Work by Timothy Wilson IL (timothypowerswilson.com) was included in Everything Illuminated, a three-person summer show at Drift Gallery (run by Ali Goodwin 99 GD) in Portsmouth, NH. The images of land, sea and sky sidestepped “both gratuitous conceptualism and overt stylistic mannerisms,” according to Art New England’s Christopher Volpe, and wrested “meaningful experience from the banal.” Timothy is based in Portland, ME.
2009 In June Korakrit Arunanondchai PR (NYC) made a splash at the museum Palais de Tokyo (also home to the nightclub YOYO) during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. He describes his show, Painting with history
Wynn (Edwin) Bauer 09 CR In 2013 Wynn and his business partner Nate Mel launched Felt + Fat (feltfat.squarespace.com), a made-to-order ceramics studio in Philadelphia that also collaborates with chefs to make custom porcelain tableware for their restaurants.
Atlantic, Cartoon Brew, VICE, We Are Indie Horror) since she released it online in late September.
2010 Mackenzie Younger 12 PT In Mackenzie Younger: PICTURES, his first solo show in Manhattan, Mackenzie showed a series of paintings of pre-photographic American subject matter with the familiar iconography of smartphones framing each composition. The exhibition was on view in September at A+E Studios.
in a room filled with people with funny names 3, as a narrative about becoming and a connection of geographies and cultures. ARTnews took notice in a July story called Denim From a Drone’s-Eye View. In June Brooklynite Sarah Faux PT exhibited work in Richard Said, a group show at FJORD Gallery in Philadelphia. The works responded to writings by artist Alex Roth, who works in a coal mining community in Pennsylvania where daily interactions are “charged and tentative.” While doing a residency at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts ranch in Saratoga, WY earlier this fall, Canbra Hodsdon PH (Fairfield, ME) immersed herself in the rugged terrain and focused on a new series of landscape photographs. In mid July one of her works was on view in See|Me, a one-day show at the Louvre in Paris showcasing photographs from around the world selected for inclusion in the Exposure Award Still Life Collection,
which will also be presented in book form. Architect Liz McCormick BArch has won the Grand Prize in the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s 2015 Kate Goldstein Award for Emerging Professionals in Sustainability. Although she’s currently in Boston pursuing a master’s in Building Technology at MIT, Liz grew up in Houston and plans to focus on sustainable building for hot and humid climates. A certified Passive House consultant, she has volunteered with Boston’s Habitat for Humanity affiliate and recently co-chaired Houston’s Gulf Coast Green Conference. Earlier this fall Leah Shore FAV released her first entirely live action short film HALLWAY, shot in black light at a secret sex club in Brooklyn, after showing it on the international film festival circuit. Her film OLD MAN, which animates phone conversations with Charles Manson, has attracted a lot of attention (from The
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Nest Homeware by Matthew Cavallaro ID was a finalist in the Furniture & Home Accessories category of this year’s Martha Stewart American Made competition, which also included a handful of other alumni finalists in various categories. His cast iron cookware was noted for being “inspired by nature, a joy to use and made to last a lifetime.” Matt teaches at RISD. Ayako Maruyama ID, who completed a master’s degree in City Planning at Boston University, works at the Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI) in Boston. In May the studio lauched an unprecedented public engagement campaign called Go Boston 2030, which is designed to elicit public feedback on the city’s proposed 15-year transportation plan, in part through an interactive Visioning Lab created by Ayako.
April competition in LA, winning two awards for PacCan with their Make Hunger a Ghost installation: Best of Show and People’s Choice. The event raised $6,350 for the LA Food Bank, enough to feed an estimated 25,400 people in need.
2011 JooHee Yoon IL (see page 17)
Wen-You Cai SC (wenyoucai. com) spent her early years traveling the world with her mother and father—renowned Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang– as they installed exhibitions at major venues in countless countries. The documentary photographs she made of her father’s often incendiary work are central to When You Make No Art (Imaginist), her new memoir published in China. The idea for the book emerged in an independent study Cai did with Photography faculty member Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH at RISD. Having recently returned to NYC, Cai is now seeking an American publisher to release an English version of her memoir.
José Paix BArch 11 Last spring FOGPLANE was among the winners in the Market Street Prototyping Festival competition, an April exhibition of ideas bent on improving San Francisco’s main thoroughfare. José and his coworkers at the architecture firm HOK created the installation to create a sense of community by mimicking the city’s microclimates — and its enveloping fog — and encouraging interaction and exploration.
Charles Thornton BArch, who works at Steinberg Architects in Los Angeles, recently collaborated on creating a canned food sculpture for a local competition sponsored by CANstruction, a nonprofit that runs competitive events in various cities around the world to raise awareness of hunger, along with funds to address the need. His team entered the // RISDXYZ
fall / winter 2015/16
Rachel Jump 14 PH Daniel, Immersed (2015, archival pigment print, 16 x 20") is among the photos on view in Origins, a solo show that continues through December 24 at Alibi Fine Art in Chicago, where Rachel recently relocated.
DESIGN THINKING IN DC Hannah Koenig BRDD 14 PR
Hannah Koenig BRDD 14 PR , one of a growing number of graduates to have earned dual degrees from RISD and Brown, believes that attending both schools made her a natural interpreter — at home in new environments and at ease moving between creative communities with different modes of expression. Shifting between her Printmaking major at RISD and International Relations at Brown, she had to consciously switch gears, she recalls. “It was almost like speaking different languages.” That ability to cross disciplines has served Hannah well in her current position at the US Department of State’s Collaboratory in Washington, DC, which designs innovative ways to further educational and cultural diplomacy. As designer-in-residence, she uses human-centered design and digital communications tools to support the many educational programs run by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Hannah initially interned at the Collaboratory as a RISD Maharam STEAM Fellow the summer she graduated and first got hooked on the idea of integrating art and design into the realm of public policy during a Wintersession course focused on communicating about the Affordable Care Act. “That class really showed me how design impacts people’s lives,” she says —“their healthcare, how they vote, how they apply for a driver’s license or a college loan…. That’s what got me started on the path I’m on now.” Though she loves the environment at the Collaboratory, Hannah says that sometimes she still needs to respond to the misperception that art and design are about making things look good. “I explain that it’s more about the way something works,” she says —“that the visual ‘skin’ should not cover up something messy underneath. That’s a concept I learned at RISD: first make something smart, then make it beautiful.” Hannah was back on campus in August helping to run the first-ever Institute for Design + Public Policy, a weeklong program developed in conjunction with RISD | C E to introduce government strategists to the idea of using human-centered design to solve complex policy problems. “Human-centered design is bringing together projects and people from all kinds of organizations,” she says, “and those networks are doing incredible things.” Find more about Hannah and her work at hannahkoenig.com.
Katie Stout FD created an Instagram playground—an interactive space filled with oversized building blocks and cones made of braided rug— for Sight Unseen OFFSITE, an exhibition of works by independent design studios that complemented the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and NYC x DESIGN week in May.
2013 Cynthia Poon ID and Maeve Jopson ID, cofounders of Increment—a studio that creates sensory playthings for children with and without disabilities—were selected for last summer’s MassChallenge 2015 accelerator program, which provided them with mentorship, office space, networking and other resources of value to startups. In early September GAIA Vaccine Foundation Executive Director Eliza Squibb TX (Providence) spoke at the Slater Mill Museum in Pawtucket, RI about her work in Bamako, Mali, where GAIA partners with community clinics to educate local people about preventing the spread of HIV, Ebola and HPV. In early August Brian Inje Yeo IL got to glory in some stately recognition from President Barack Obama when he was invited to attend White House Demo Day, a high-profile soapbox for founders of US startups to showcase their innovations. He and his two business partners presented Waddle (gowaddle.com), a mobile discovery app–“a Yelp you can trust”—that helps users find
the best places to go based on friends’ ratings, recommendations and photos. This fall the team released a beta-version of the app focused on NYC.
2014 After easily raising $50,000 on Indiegogo, the fledgling furniture design company Greycork (greycork.com) is hoping to give IKEA a run for
its money. Combining the talents of Alec Babala ID, Bruce Kim 13 FD and Jonah Willcox-Healey 13 ID with a number of other alums, the homegrown startup offers inexpensive, assemble-ityourself sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves and chaises designed and built from their home base in Providence. As people across the US mourned the victims of the June shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, Sarah Green IL and Jia Sung 15 IL were among many artists and designers who made work to express their solidarity with
Isabella Mellado 18 PT With her first solo show — which ran in late summer at OBRA Galería Alegría in Old San Juan — Isabella became something of a media darling in the Puerto Rican press. Art critics, newspaper journalists and even Telemundo anchors were captivated by her large-scale oil and acrylic paintings of local celebrities and business leaders depicted in vulnerable states of mind.
Joseph Burhoe 13 TX If you’re thirsty in the backcountry, you can now (de)hydrate in style thanks to the Beeracuda, Burton Snowboards’ new sling-style can holder featuring an eye-catching colorway designed by Joseph (josephburhoe.com). Called Snowcophagus, it’s the result of a somewhat circuitous route for the textile artist and fashion designer best known for his swimwear.
the community. Their portraits of the nine people killed were included in the Huffington Post story The Incredible Ways Art is Helping Charleston Unite After Church Massacre (6.27.15).
August Lehrecke FD + Matt Muller FD (see page 15)
2015 In September apparel designer Chaz Aracil AP showed his
Dorothy McQueen Simmons
mesmerizing collection Spectral Cell at StyleWeek Northeast in Providence.
workshop at Domaine de Boisbuchet in southwestern France.
In early November Chloe Bulpin IL spoke about The Art of Conservation and participated in a panel discussion at Illustrator as Public Intellectual, a two-day research symposium sponsored by the Londonbased Illustration Research Network and hosted this year by RISD’s Illustration department. Through Creative Conserve, Chloe creates thoughtful, research-driven works that encourage education about animals and habitats, while suggesting positive steps to support conservation and combat further environmental degradation.
Fast Company credited Hello Velocity (hellovelocity.com), the digital marketing agency founded by Brown-RISD dual degree graduates Kevin Wiesner BRDD ID, Lukas Bentel BRDD FD and Jian Shen Tan BRDD FD as being
Nicole Buchanan 15 PH Two of Nicole’s beautifully direct portraits of RISD students created for a series called The Skin I’m In were on view this fall at Gallery Kayafas in Boston, with others being shown through January 22, 2016 at the Arnika Dawkins Gallery in Atlanta. “I wanted to give a voice to the students who identify as being African, African American and from the African Diaspora,” Nicole says of the series. “Race plays a role in the perception of our work whether we want it to or not.”
As one of seven finalists from top design schools, Julia Han AP (juliahanstudio.com) debuted her ethereal capsule collection of blue-toned Pima cotton eveningwear at the Supima Design Competition, a professional runway show held during New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Though she didn’t win the $10,000 prize, for Julia the thrill was seeing her work modeled on the runway at such a high-profile venue. Lauren Tedeschi BID and Joshua Primmer MFA 16 CR both won scholarships from IKEA to attend a Cooking, Eating + Designing summer
Georgina Traverso 51 PT of Ipswich, MA on June 3, 2015.
Eveline Toth 55 AP* of Bronx, NY on July 31, 2015.
James Clark 49 PT of Hartford, CT on August 29, 2015.
Arthur Bentsen 52 ID of Newton Upper Falls, MA on December 26, 2014.
Donald Roy 57 GD of East Longmeadow, MA on June 24, 2015.
Carol Glover 50 AP of Southbury, CT on August 5, 2015.
Beatrice Silva 52 IL* of Vineyard Haven, MA on May 23, 2015.
Judith Albert 58 Arch* of Cleveland, OH on August 24, 2015.
John Shalvoy 50 ID* of Fairfield, CT on June 2, 2015.
Mary Connally 54 IL* of Hartford, CT on July 20, 2015.
Ronald Campbell 51 GD of Flemington, NJ on May 29, 2015.
Mary Bogan 55 AE of Providence, RI on August 10, 2015.
Barbara Fellows 59 IL of Minneapolis, MN on September 27, 2014.
Arline Lavin 44 TX of Clifton Park, NY on July 4, 2015.
Charles Dvorak, Jr. BArch 51 of Centerport, NY on June 19, 2014.
Blanche Coyne 55 GD of Wakefield, RI on September 22, 2015.
William Sydlowski 60 ID of Rockport, MA on November 14, 2014.
Elizabeth White Gamba 48 IA of Litchfield, CT on April 19, 2015.
Constance Kirwan 51 GD/56 PT of Cambridge, MA on July 17, 2015.
Roger Ferriter 55 IL of Larchmont, NY on August 28, 2015.
Philip Briggs BArch 64 of Brooklyn, ME on September 22, 2015.
48 GD of Beaverton, OR on
October 26, 2014.
Jerome Corwin 34 GD of Providence, RI on April 3, 2015. Charlotte Church 37 AP of Bristol, RI on June 25, 2015. Dorothy Francis 38 AE of Cumberland, RI on May 19, 2015. Elizabeth Wyle 41 AE* of Margaretville, NY on March 10, 2015.
Please email class notes submissions to: email@example.com.
responsible for some of this year’s most viral fake projects, including sausage from cloned celebrity stem-cell meat (BiteLabs) and the McMass Project, which fooled design directory Core 77. With team member Susan Merriam 14 AP, Hello Velocity is currently developing a website and social media launch for an upscale restaurant in NYC.
Marilyn Faison 60 AP of Portland, ME on July 22, 2015.
George Germon MFA 69 CR of Providence, RI on October 27, 2015. Robert de Michiell 80 IL of New York, NY on October 12, 2015. Patricia Walker 85 PT of Savannah, GA on January 16, 2015. Lauren Beebe 89 CR of Killingworth, CT on November 25, 2015. Paul Andrade 90 SC of Quincy, MA on September 23, 2015. Leonor Caraballo 95 PH of New York, NY and Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 24, 2015. Satoshi Sakaguchi 13 ID of Southport, CT on May 13, 2015.
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// graduate class notes
1977 JENNY HOLZER: War Paintings, an exhibition of 26 silkscreened and oil-on-linen paintings Jenny Holzer MFA P T produced in the wake of 9/11, was on view at Museo Correr in Venice during the May–November run of the 56th Venice Biennale. Drawn from declassified and other sensitive government documents, the series offers an oblique critique of US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with America’s global “War on Terror.” ArtNews notes that in reproducing every work in the series, along with links to every (often highly redacted) document Holzer used, the catalogue accompanying the show “reads like a prosecutor’s book of evidence.”
Anne Sherwood Pundyk MFA 82 PT Shadow Realm was among the abstract paintings on view in a September solo exhibition at Samadhi Arts at Sky Gallery in Brooklyn, which presented the first ever floor-to-ceiling installation of her painting The Revolution Will Be Painted, created on a former drop cloth. Leah Raphael Curtis performed an improvisational dance piece at the opening. In early October, Anne (annepundyk.com) participated in the inaugural group show featuring artists represented by Christopher Stout Gallery in Brooklyn, where she lives.
1963 East to West: Recent Paintings, a solo show of work by Martha Armstrong MAE, was on view this fall at Bowery Gallery in NYC.
1967 Martin Mull 65 PT/MFA (see page 17)
1969 Slinky Chick Rocks, a polychromed steel sculpture by Perci Chester MAT/MFA PH (percichester.com), has been installed at the Cincinnati [OH] Children’s Hospital. Based in Minneapolis, she was also featured in a recent TV segment on MNoriginal, a 096
Twin Cities public television series that documents Minnesota artists.
stationed in the central highlands during the Vietnam War, David has worked to promote artistic exchange with the country, and in 2000 was awarded the first Vietnamese Art Medal for contributions by a foreign individual or country. At the September meeting he presented Chairman Hung with a painting of Ho Chi Minh, along with copies of his artists’ books on Ho Chi Minh and Agent Orange.
Arno Rafael Minkkinen MFA PH has earned a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship for outstanding work. His latest solo show, 78901, is on view through January 2 at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.
In July and August paintings by Christine Vaillancourt MAE were on view in a two-artist show at Lanoue Gallery in Boston, where she lives.
C. David Thomas MFA PT (hochiminh.org), who directs the Indochina Arts Partnership in Newton Centre, MA made a presentation to Nguyen Sinh Hung, chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, when he visited in early September. After being
Jim Kociuba MAE 84 In September Jim’s paintings were on view in three shows: the Fay Chandler Emerging Artist Exhibition at Boston City Hall, a pop-up group exhibition in the City Hall lobby and a group exhibition at Audio Concepts. He’s based next door in Cambridge.
Work by Stephen Petegorsky MFA PH (Florence, MA) was included in River Crossings, an exhibition that ran from May through November 1 at both the Olana State Historic Site and Thomas Cole National
Muriel Angelil MA 72 Works like this one from Muriel’s series MONOTYPES were included in a summer exhibition at the Newburyport [MA] Art Association exploring techniques in fine art printmaking. She lives in Amesbury, MA.
Historic Site on opposite sides of the Hudson River in New York state. The landmark exhibition highlighted the pivotal role played by Frederic Church and Thomas Cole, the artists who lived and worked at the historic properties, in shaping America’s contemporary art culture.
Roy DiTosti MFA 71 PH Mom’s Purses was included In Artifact, a group show revolving around representations of a particular person or experience. Roy’s visual tribute to his mother was among the works on view last spring at Art Space Gallery in Maynard, MA. Roy is based in Stow, MA.
healthcare industry, he spoke about several groundbreaking products currently in the works at Ximedica, including a wearable device for victims of traumatic brain injury that rewires the brain via electrodes placed on the tongue.
1987 1982 A professor of contemporary art and culture at Sydney College of the Arts in Australia, Brad Buckley MFA SC coedited the new book Erasure: The Spectre
Maryjean Viano Crowe MFA 81 PH In May Beauty and Terror won the 20th Anniversary Prize at Art2015, a juried show at Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, ME. Maryjean (mjvianocrowe. net) created the piece using a contemporary version of Scherenschnitt, a 16th-century German art form of cutting paper into intricate designs, and combined narrative scenes with lines from a Rainer Maria Rilke poem. She lives in Belfast, ME.
of Cultural Memory (Libri Publications, UK, 2015). He and his colleague John Conomos collected texts that explore the issue of aesthetic and cultural erasure—from Robert Rauschenberg’s renowned act of erasing a drawing by painter Willem de Kooning in 1953 to the impact of technologies like Twitter on family, class, sex, time, speed and space.
1983 Two mixed-media works by Linda DiFrenna MAE were selected for inclusion in NE Collective IV at Galatea Fine Art in Boston and Images on Grief and Healing at the Chandler Gallery in Cambridge, MA. Both shows ran in August, with the one at Chandler extending into early September. Linda lives in Swansea, MA.
1985 Ximedica’s Chief Innovation Officer Aidan Petrie MID joined forces with entrepreneur Hannah Chung for Better Health by Design, a lively talk presented as part of this year’s DESIGN WEEK RI events in September. Emphasizing the importance of human-centered design in the Please email class notes submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
RI Governor Gina Raimondo has appointed Kate Blacklock MFA CR , who teaches at RISD, to the board of the RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA). This fall Kate’s work was on view in Tangible Thinking, a solo show at the Vets Gallery in Providence.
installations, video work, sculpture and photography. Janine and Stephen have worked together since 2013 and will continue to blur their body-focused disciplines in a related project sponsored by The Contemporary Austin, which helped organize the exhibition. Spencer Finch MFA SC (see page 4)
1991 When she’s not in the classroom, California-based art teacher Sylvan Adams MAE spends as much time as she can
Meg Little MAE 84 Earlier this fall Meg (meglittle. com) exhibited one-of-a-kind rugs in The Way Forward, a solo show at the Jamestown [RI] Art Center. Her handtufted wool rug Fracas is one of several designs available via Artful Home.
shooting photos from her friend’s 1946 Luscombe airplane. Using primarily a Pentax K20D and Apple’s iPhoto, she creates jawdropping compositions based on patterns of light and texture as well as marks made by humans and nature.
1989 incubator, a collaboration between NYC-based artist Janine Antoni MFA SC and choreographer Stephen Petronio, was on view from May through July at Fluent~Collaborative & testsite in Austin, TX. The presentation featured site-specific
Rebecca Clark MFA 88 PH Work from Rebecca’s series Ladies in Waiting was on view in a September solo show at the Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, NY. A professor of art at the Community College of Rhode Island, she photographs details of old master paintings — from expressions to plants — and weaves the fragments into compositions that also include photographs of patterns, textures and colors shot on her daily walks. // RISDXYZ
fall / winter 2015/16
1995 Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook: SEED Methodology, Case Studies, and Critical Issues (Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2015), a new book co-edited by Lisa Abendroth MFA GD, presents the first stepby-step guide for public interest designers. It indexes 90 critical social, economic and environmental issues, providing case studies from around the world. A professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Lisa lives in Dumont, CO.
Daphne Minkoff MFA 91 PT 23rd Avenue is among the paintings Daphne combines with imagery photographed during her travels and exhibited in September at the faculty show at North Seattle Community College. Her work will also be on view in two winter shows at Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle (where she lives): the group show Seattle Seen in December and Peripheral Vision in January.
1991 continued On October 1 Philadelphiabased photographer Judy Gelles MFA PH (judygelles.com) gave a public lecture as part of the Visiting Artist Program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Known for work
that explores the issues of feminism, motherhood, childhood and family life, Judy spoke about her early Family series and her Fourth Grade Project, which has attracted ongoing attention since she first launched it several years ago.
1992 Although Frank Poor MFA SC is now based in Cranston, RI, the loss of the rural built environment of his childhood home in Georgia during a 1970s building boom influences the 3D architectural forms and prints on view in two solo shows this fall. Incorporating photographic artifacts, his haunting pieces graced the walls of the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery in Fall River, MA and the Van Vessem Gallery in Tiverton, RI. In October Frank’s work was also featured in a two-person show at the Pratt WMP School of Art Gallery in Utica, NY.
Heather Watkins MFA 00 GD only this once is among the new work Heather exhibited in This Is The Only One, a September show at PDX Contemporary Art in Portland, OR (where she lives). The piece is from her series Seeing Things, in which each work begins with a gesture — a meditation on variation using pigment, liquid, fiber and wood in sculptures and works on paper and cloth. 098
// graduate class notes
Anne Morgan Spalter MFA PT (Providence) is one of 25 artists from around the world whose work was selected for inclusion in the 2015 Lumen Prize Exhibition, a major global traveling show presenting the world’s best digital art. Called World of Water, the wonderfully mesmerizing piece she’s showing uses footage shot at Volcano Falls Adventure Park in northern Illinois, a place she describes as “a somewhat tacky but quite fun off-the-highway amusement park.” The 2015/16 Lumen Prize global tour kicks off in Shanghai in November, moves to NYC in December, then to London in January, Wales in March and finally returns to NYC for Creative Tech Week in late April and early May.
1994 Kara Walker MFA PT/PR (see also page 49) has been named Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. She began a five-year term this fall, hoping to “foster an environment of openness and willingness to live with contentious images and objectionable ideas, particularly in the space of art.”
During graduate school, Professor Michael Beresford presciently advised Steve Santaniello MFA SC (Milford, NH) that his sculpture was likely to change dramatically during the program. By the end of his first semester, Steve says he “had gravitated away from all my original materials and into film, video and wearable devices.” In 2013 Steve became the Director of Product Development for Corflex, where he creates technical post-operative braces, and brings innovative products and patents to market.
1996 Carrie Zaslow MFA JM has joined the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) board of directors. A Providence resident and program officer at Rhode Island LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), Carrie is the former vice chair of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
1997 Shahzia Sikander MFA PT/PR (see page 16)
1998 For the past 17 years, Liesel Fenner MLA has worked for nonprofit arts organizations in the realm of public art—first at the New England Foundation for the Arts, then at Americans for the Arts in Washington, DC. Recently hired as the public art program director at the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), Liesel is thrilled to be working close to home in Baltimore. “Much like Providence,” she notes, “Baltimore is a city that reveres its arts community. A lot is happening here.”
Katherine Gray MFA 91 GL In A Rainbow Like You, an outsized spectral rainbow projection and the title of her current solo show, Katherine reverses the premise of stained glass windows. The exhibition runs through early January at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art in San Bernardino, CA. In This Makes Me Think of That, a May-July solo show at Heller Gallery in NYC, the Los Angeles-based glass artist collaborated with master perfumer Kedra Hart on four “hot-shop evoking” scents and a sound piece in an attempt to create a simulated experience “for those who will never… set foot on a glassblowing pad.”
2000 Jeffrey Sarmiento MFA GL (jeffreysarmiento.co.uk) and Erin Dickson collaborated on Emotional Leak, a physical manifestation of a slowly leaking roof represented as a four-meter-tall black monolith made from stacked glass layers. The work was included in Glasstress 2015 Gotika, a major exhibition at the Palazzo Franchetti in Venice, in conjunction with this year’s Venice Biennale. Jeffrey is a Reader in Glass at the University of Sunderland at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK.
2002 Brooks Hagan MFA TX (see page 54)
2003 Kelly Salchow Macarthur MFA GD (elevatedesign.org), an
associate professor of graphic design at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, has elevated the generic utilitarian mailbox to a
functional object that relates to the architecture of the home it’s paired with. Her modern mailbox series won the 2014 Editor’s Choice IIID award from the International Institute for Information Design. An exhibition of winning designs is traveling to seven countries.
Angeles and at Lora Reynolds Gallery in Austin, TX—Colby Bird MFA PH started Frontispiece, an artists’ residency and exhibition space on the Hudson River in Coxsackie, NY. Colby and his cofounders Maureen Sarro and Jacqueline Robbins feel that “the pressures of the art market and the financial demands of the city actively prevent artists from creating certain works deemed too small or too simple.” To address this, Frontispiece (frontispiecehudson.com) encourages the production of artist’s series, or multiples, “as a means to explore new concepts and new directions in one’s practice.”
Carol Hahn MFA 93 PT Just in time for the early October Professional Squash Association tournament in McLean VA, where she lives, Carol created a collection of wearable art — necklaces and accessories for boys and girls — using squash balls. She was excited to present the line, which she makes to inspire athletes and encourage others to consider squash in a novel way, at the event.
Take, a new magazine “featuring New England’s new culture,” featured the work of Ben Blanc MFA FD, Aja Blanc MA 06 and Joseph Aaron Segal MFA 09 TX in the premiere issue. Ben and Aja run a business (benandajablanc.com) that spe-
cializes in minimalist, limitededition furniture, lighting and objects and is attracting plenty of positive notice in the design world. Take describes Pretty Snake, Joe’s ready-to-wear line, as full of “character, ingenuity and frank sophistication.”
2004 In addition to having two solo shows over the spring and summer—at Grice Bench in Los
Dana Matthews MFA 92 PH The Celestial Deep is one of two of Dana’s watercolors included in Shifting Ecologies II, a late summer show at the Athens [NY] Cultural Center. The exhibition surveyed how 38 artists react to the ecological crisis in general and in New York’s Hudson Valley in particular. Similar concerns about the vulnerability of nature animate the gelatin prints on which she draws and paints, and also showed in a mid-September exhibition at Wall & Rah in Millbrook, NY.
Please email class notes submissions to: email@example.com.
fall / winter 2015/16
Matthew Bollinger MFA 07 PT Matt exhibited recent paintings in Humeurs Noires, a summer solo show at Le Creux de l’enfer in Thiers, France. The Brooklynbased artist has also earned a coveted fellowship in Painting from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), which awards grants to give Fellows “the chance to create freely, support their communities, inspire their audiences and make our society richer in the process.” Matt’s paintings Icons and Neighborhood show the direction of his current work (vs his older paintings on pages 8–9), which is represented by Galerie Zürcher in Paris.
Montwori MFA CR (Brooklyn) for inclusion in the 85th Annual Open Exhibition, a spring show at the National Art League in Douglaston, NY.
California Handmade: State of the Arts, an exhibition inspired by the California design shows originated by the Pasadena Art Museum in the 1950s, is showing innovative sculpture, furniture, textiles,
jewelry and decorative arts at The Maloof Foundation in Alta Lomas through January. The show includes work from the Future Flags of America Project by Vic De La Rosa MFA TX, who lives in San Francisco.
Matthew Clowney MFA 08 PH Matthew’s Trans Family photo series offers a window into the life of Erica Tobias, a transgender mother of seven and grandmother of nine children. Wanting to be a more active ally for trans individuals, Matthew hopes his photographs help “introduce the subject to families and children in a way that makes sense to them.” So far the series has been shown at the Provincetown [MA] Library as part of the Cape Cod Family Equality Council’s Family Week in July and at the Boston Children’s Museum earlier this fall. Matthew teaches at RISD and is based in Providence.
If you’re interested in exploring Copenhagen in May, graphic designer Stephanie Grey MFA GD (West Somerville, MA) will happily be your guide. She and design educator Michelle Bowers are hosting a design study tour (stircopenagen.com) for everyone from designers and architects to farmers and fashionistas interested in diving deep into Danish design.
2005 Vanessa Eickhoff MLA recently became a senior associate at Coen+Partners, the Minneapolis firm that
collected the 2015 National Design Award for landscape architecture at the Cooper Hewitt’s October event. With extensive experience designing urban plazas, public parks, civic campuses and memorials—at her own firm in Kansas City, MO, with PLANT Architect in Toronto and at OLIN in Philadelphia—Vanessa is now a principal driver of Coen+Partners’ design process for engaging civic spaces. Imagine an immersive digital and kinetic installation based on singing, holding your breath and screaming. This is the basis of the Hold series by Robin Peter Mandel MFA SC, which was presented earlier this fall in a solo show at UMass/Amherst’s Herter Art Gallery, near his home in Northampton, MA. While Claudia Middendorf MFA GD and Vivian Neumann 90 TX were working together at RISD WORKS, they bonded over their shared interests in textiles and graphic patterns, which led to Shibori Baby (shiboribaby.com). Named for the Japanese tie-dying technique, their small startup offers handmade, 100% cotton baby blankets. Jurors selected a silkscreen on paper print by Dominic
// graduate class notes
Kari Giordano MAT has won the 2015 James C. Kapteyn Prize, a $10,000 award that honors teachers of “exemplary character, integrity and honor” who lead by example and have made a career commitment to high school teaching. She has taught art, design and photography at the Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield, MA for 10 years. In addition to challenging students with inspiring, often collaborative projects, she is also a coach, orchestra member, advisor and fundraiser at the school. Michele Gorman MArch (Brooklyn) worked with sound artist Alex Marse and graduate students in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Interactive Telecommunications Program on the project This is My House of Green Grass: The Raw Retrieval of the Civil War, which was open to the public in mid May. Using raw data to explore previously unknown relationships between the Civil War veterans interred in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, the project conveys these relationships acoustically and visually. In late September Monica Ong MFA DM (New Haven, CT) read from her poetic-visual hybrid collection Silent Anatomies at Ada Books in Providence. The work, which won Kore Press’ 2014 First Book Award in
Poetry, takes on the body as a cultural battlefield and scrutinizes the phenomena of cultural silences—shame that obscures the female body, the social stigma shrouding certain illnesses, as well as the cryptic stories of Monica’s ancestors.
2007 The Brooklyn gallery SARDINE presented BANKRUPT, a solo show by Jacob Goble MFA PT in September and early October. The series “steals” the icons, color and language of the television game show Wheel of Fortune to make analogies on “making art, the art world and life as a whole.” Jacob is based in Croton on Hudson, NY. Chelsea (Green) Minola MFA ID and James Minola 07 ID, now in their eighth year of running their socially conscious design practice Grain (graindesign.com) from Bainbridge Island, WA, recently helped found JOIN, a collective of independent design studios from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The collective’s studios combine forces for events, pop-up shops and tradeshows, as they did for the mid-August NY Now HOME/ Accent on Design show in NYC. Everyone Actually is Each Other, a solo show of work by Stephanie Williams MFA SC (Alexandria, VA), was featured
Jesse Burke MFA 05 PH Wild & Precious, a solo show of photographs, was on view this fall at ClampArt in NYC in conjunction with Jesse’s newly released monograph by the same name (Daylight Books). Both the book and exhibition present a collection of photographs made on road trips with his daughter Clover over the span of five years. Jesse teaches at RISD.
in July and August at Hillyer Artspace in Washington, DC. In the exhibition, she reflected on the work of eight separate creatives, from a DC-based
slam poet to a New Englandbased figurative sculptor, through interviews and instructional drawings. Over the summer, her work was also included in The Wassaic Project’s Summer Exhibition/ Festival in Wassaic, NY and in Spin, Dazzle, Fade at Grizzly Grizzly, an artist collective in Philadelphia.
2008 In October and November work by Jonas Criscoe MFA PT (jonascriscoe.com) was on view in a two-person show at Greyduck Gallery in Austin, where he lives. During the summer, he worked with a student in the Teen Artist + Mentor
program at Contemporary Austin on a project exploring the power and prevalence of “branding” and customer loyalty. The pair created CRISMOE, a co-brand with its own prints and apparel, which they exhibited at the exhibition Special Blend at Pump Projects in July. With support from the CuratorLab at Konstfack University in Stockholm, Curandi Katz, aka Nathaniel Katz MFA DM and his partner
Yong Joo Kim MFA 09 JM Transitions in Red II (2015, hook-and-loop fastener, thread, 35 × 29 × 4 cm) is among the works by Yong Joo (yongjookim.com) featured in the October/November issue of American Craft, which ran another necklace from the same series on the cover. The special edition highlights jewelry artists who use unusual materials — everything from animal teeth to coins to plastic. The Providence-based artist’s work is also included in Korea now! Craft, Design, Fashion, and Graphic Design, a major exhibition that continues through January 6 at Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. Please email class notes submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valentina Curandi, took over the living room of a private home in Stockholm in September, inviting audience members to dub the Japanese animation Panda! Kopanda!— the result of a denied license to adapt Pippi Longstocking for Japanese audiences— in Swedish. Entitled Panda Diplomacy, the project explores art practice as an empowering and de-colonizing gesture. Nathaniel and Valentina are based in Jupiter, FL. Courtney M. Leonard MFA CR participated in coLAB2: Decked Out, a late summer exhibition showing a series of six skateboard decks created by a small group of artists during a month-long collaborative project at Studio Central in Santa Fe. Courtney teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
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Eiman Rezaei MFA 15 JM New graduate Eiman is one of seven jewelry artists from around the world to earn this year’s Marzee Graduate Prize from the well-regarded contemporary jewelry Galerie Marzee in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The prestigious award goes to the most promising participants in the Marzee International Graduate Show 2015, an invitational that opened on August 23 and ran through October 28.
In May Yuka Otani MFA GL (NYC) was the Artist in Residence at The Studio at the Corning [NY] Museum of Glass. She continues to explore hybrid objects combining glass and sugarglass—a combination of isomalt, flavorings and food coloring—some of which she exhibited last spring in collaboration with Papabubble Japan, an artisan candy store in Tokyo. Last spring Michael Radyk MFA TX (michaelradyk.com)
exhibited in two shows focused on techniques and processes used by textile artists: Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture... then and now at browngrotta arts in Wilton, CT, and The Constant Thread at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences in Rabun Gap, GA. Michael lives in Kutztown, PA.
2009 Clement Valla MFA DM (clementvalla.com) exhibited work in Greetings from Lake Zwenkau, a May group show
M Benjamin Herndon MFA 16 PR Unititled on Wood (2014 – 15, found root, photolithograph on handmade Japanese paper, 20 x 18 x 12") was among the work by M Benjamin (mbenjaminherndon.com) in Making Meaning, a four-person exhibition curated by Ali Goodwin 99 GD at Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. A second-year grad student, he showed both recent and pre-RISD work in the late summer exhibition and was also selected for inclusion in RISD Craft, the juried sales exhibition held on campus during RISD by Design weekend.
at Fjord Gallery in Philadelphia. United by a single jumping-off point—the digital pictograms that signal defective or broken web links—the pieces in the show could all be read as placeholders for unseen narratives. Clement exhibited a piece that makes use of a webcam and an inkjet print on canvas draped over a table-like structure. Based in Brooklyn, he teaches at RISD. Three exceptional RISD talents, Lauren Tickle MFA JM , Mallary Marks 88 JM and Rebecca Hannon 95 JM , helped the Gallery at Reinstein | Ross celebrate its 30th anniversary by showing their work in the summer exhibition RR30. The NYC gallery exhibits progressive work in studio art jewelry, as well as fine arts relating to jewelry. Lauren lives in Brooklyn.
2010 Halsey McKay Gallery represents Ted Gahl MFA PT (Litchfield, CT) and in May showed his work at NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) New York. Ted’s overcast paintings “ambitiously explore the territory between the extremes of figuration and abstraction” and are pierced by protruding painted spikes or outside objects. To the delight of foodies everywhere, The Brothers Mueller (Kirk and Nathaniel) MFA DM , recently helped Gather Journal move into the digital space with a website and app. In July the twin brothers showcased their Studio
Mercury work to marketing and creative professionals attending the launch of the 2015 Adobe Digital Publishing Solution at the Morgan Library in NYC.
2011 In July Jason Huff MFA DM (jason-huff.com) took part in the first annual World Wide West Summit—a gathering of people who work at the intersection of art, technology and new media—in Point Arena, CA. Earlier in the year, he spoke at CalArts as part of a panel entitled Narrative Fragments: Art, Language, and Algorithm. Jason discussed new work and his project capturing the advertisements generated by the gmail algorithm when
Nayoung Jeong MFA 14 CR Travelers passing through RI’s T.F. Green Airport got to see Nayoung’s work (nayoung jeong.com) in Personal Space, which was on view from May to September. In July the Providence-based artist also exhibited in Habitats for Strangers, a solo show at the George Billis Gallery in NYC.
the entire text of Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho was emailed back and forth between two gmail accounts. In early October, Native American ceramist and mixed-media artist Rose B. Simpson MFA CR kicked off a series of talks by women artists at Western New Mexico University in Silver City and worked with students to create
Steven Pestana MFA 14 DM In GEOMETER, a fall solo show at GRIN in Providence, Steven questioned how the instruments, concepts and methods we use to understand the universe predetermine what we learn from them. Working at the intersection of art, science and technology, he uses his work as a vehicle to explore big-picture connections between disparate realms of everyday life and more general social issues. 102
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Jordan Taylor MFA 14 CR The Door is Ajar is among the recent work Jordan exhibited in The Door is Ajar, The Jar is a Door, a spring solo show at Laura Craig Galleries in Scranton, PA that included collaborative work with Adriel Tong MFA CR . Jordan is now working as a full-time artist in residence and lead craftsman in ceramics at Theaster Gates Studio in Chicago.
a mural using spray paint in the university’s McCray Gallery. Rose’s work responds to her daily struggle to integrate the traditional values of her indigenous ancestry and the perspective of colonization reflected in modern life. Her sculptures are on view through the end of the year at SITE Santa Fe.
2012 Harmony Murphy Gallery in Los Angeles represents Brooklyn-based painter Anthony Giannini MFA PT and showed his work at the Seattle Art Fair in late July/ early August. Aarti Kathuria MIA and Srikirti Sreedhar MIA originally developed Happttook, a 3D wallpaper that can be applied to any surface, in an Interior Architecture studio at RISD. Composed of dense plastic,
metal rivets and suction cups, the product is part wall covering, part sculpture and has been gaining attention from buyers around the world, including a daycare company in India with centers in several cities. Based in Providence, Aarti is principal of Hopskcotch (hopskcotch.com), a design and installation firm. Srikirti lives
in Boston and works as an architectural designer at RE Dineen Architects and Planners.
2013 Rob MacInnis MFA PH (see pages 40–43 + back cover) Ariane Van Dievoet MDes runs the Brooklyn-based modernist design studio Avandi (avandistudio.com), which showed its architecturally inspired tableware, jewelry and gifts at NY Now in August. Artist and designer Federico Pérez Villoro MFA GD recently founded Second Thoughts (secondthoughts.mx), a nonprofit educational program developed with Fundación Alumnos47 and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. The yearlong
Whitney Oldenburg MFA 15 PT As she was graduating last spring, Whitney earned two coveted honors based on the strength of her work: RISD’s Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship and a Fountainhead Fellowship in Painting + Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA. As a result, she’s now doing a nine-month residency at VCU, where she is also teaching and will exhibit at the culmination of her stay. Please email class notes submissions to: email@example.com.
series of lectures, workshops and panel discussions will feature international artists whose practices use graphic design as a medium of critical research and experimentation.
installed an audio/video piece at Boston’s Illuminus light festival and self-published a comic, The Fictionalist—A Science Fiction Manifesto, Part One (thefictionalist.com).
Maya Krinsky MFA PH recently curated Language vs. Language, a fascinating interrogation of “the complexity of communication between and across languages” that opened the fall season at RISD’s Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery. Maya is based in NYC, where she’s participating in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney, but also teaches a course at RISD called Studio Languages.
Over the summer Doreen Garner MFA GL presented visceral work she describes as “visually combative” in Pussy Don’t Fail Me Now, a three-woman exhibition at the Cindy Rucker Gallery in NYC. Organized to prove that women artists shouldn’t be underestimated and haven’t shown the limits of their powers, the show described itself as a “cheeky retort to the haters.” Based in Brooklyn, Doreen is doing an AIRspace residency this year at the Abrons Arts Center in NYC. When Ricardo De Lima learned he was one of the four winners of the 2015 James and Audrey Foster Prize show at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, he invited Jesse Kaminsky MFA SC to collaborate on it. Jesse installed his Field Service Radio console to broadcast music and discussion shows during the final four months of the exhibition, which ran through August. Earlier this fall the Providence-based artist also
This fall Aaron Pexa MFA GL exhibited work in The Lucent Parlor, a fall solo show at Cade Tompkins Projects in Providence.
2015 After earning a 2015 Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston, Tony Bragg MFA PT (tonybragg.com) has established a studio practice in Providence, where he’ll continue to explore the local “forests, abandoned places and cultures” essential to his creative process.
fall / winter 2015/16
// sketches, doodles, ideas in progress
REVERSING CHANGE? by Michael Sloan 85 IL
Please submit sample pages from your own sketchbooks. Our favorites will appear in XYZmail and/or the next issue of the magazine. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WH E N MY WI FE FI R ST SUGG E STE D that we move to Hong Kong for a year—with our three children—I was thrilled. What an adventure! Having visited before, I jumped at the chance to spend time exploring, sketching and developing an intimacy with the city. During our year in Hong Kong, I embraced the ways of a flaneur, wandering through neighborhoods in search of scenes that caught my eye. Living in the New Territories rather than the crowded areas around the harbor offered a new and very different experience of a city in flux. Friends introduced us to Tai Po and Mong Kok, neighborhoods with thriving outdoor street markets.
I consciously avoided the city’s maze of interconnected, impersonal mega-shopping malls in favor of these outdoor markets and their irresistible street theater robust with life and soul, chaos and smells. They capture a way of life that is rapidly disappearing in the rush to embrace development, efficiency and consumerism. In some small way, I hope that my sketches and paintings help support a growing interest in preserving Hong Kong’s traditions and heritage. Despite the inevitability of change, I want these outdoor street markets to continue to flourish and thrive.
For more on Michael’s work, go to illoz.com/msloan or michaelsloanillustration.tumblr.com.
fall / winter 2015/16
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street Providence, RI 02903 USA
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