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FA L L 2019




FA L L 2019






Leah Gipson’s Favorite Places in Chicago

5 NEWS 8


Painting Black History 17


In the Studio with Jade Yumang 18


At Commencement 2019 19





Ben Fain on His Obsessions


Ars Electronica


Belonging and Artist Collectives 16




AFRICOBRA Helped Reshape the Mindset of Black Communities 32 BELONGING, TOGETHER

Students Feeling Isolated Find Community Through Art 38 SHAKING IT UP

SAIC Alums Work to Create Equity in Museums 44 WHY I GIVE

Mat Devine 46 THE PROCESS

Robert Fieseler on His Process

Expert Advice from Anita Stubenrauch

School of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine Published by the Office of Marketing and Communications 116 S. Michigan Ave., 6th floor Chicago, IL 60603 Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Editor-in-Chief Scott J. Hendrickson Director of Marketing Sarah Gardner Director of Public Relations Bree Witt

Honoring Black Woman Space, Shani Crowe, 2019, performance at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago in conjunction with Dimensions of Citizenship exhibition commissioned for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago






Lee Godie

Editor Bridget Esangga Contributing Editors Doug Kubek Ana Sekler (MA 2016) Bree Witt Art Director Jeff Sanchez Contributing Art Directors Riley Brady Jenny Halpern Project Coordinator and Production Ethan G. Brown (Post-Bac 2019)

Design Riley Brady Jenny Halpern Patrick Jenkins (MFA 2013) Jeff Sanchez Illustrators Patrick Jenkins (MFA 2013) Sophie Lucido Johnson (MFA 2017) Contributing Writers Ethan G. Brown (Post-Bac 2019) Zoya Brumberg (MA 2015) Micco Caporale (MA 2018) Bridget Esangga Jason Foumberg (MA 2006) Adrienne Samuels Gibbs KT Hawbaker (MA 2017) Sophie Lucido Johnson (MFA 2017) Doug Kubek Ana Sekler (MA 2016) Bree Witt

Photographers Grace DuVal (MDes 2015) Allison Green (MA 2009) Lucy Hewett Hilary Higgins Tim Knox (cover) Stephanie Murano (MA 2020) Jerzy Rose (BFA 2008) Carrie Schneider (MFA 2007) Printing Graphic Arts Studio Inc.

From the President

YOU BELONG. AND EVERYONE ELSE DOES TOO. We belong to one another in a grand fellowship called humanity. So in a world that too often feels factionalized, divided, and unequal, I am glad that artists and designers persist in creating a space where we share ourselves, challenge our prejudices, and foster a sense of belonging that welcomes everyone. This issue of our magazine showcases how members of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) community have increased the scope of belonging on campus and throughout the world. Our cover story is an in-depth appreciation of AFRICOBRA, an artists’ collective formed in Chicago in 1968 to locate a Black aesthetic that could contribute to the civil rights movement and promote a positive self-image for the global Black community. Several of AFRICOBRA’s founding members are SAIC alums, including cover subject Jae Jarrell (SAIC 1959–61), and their collective action created an enduring sense of belonging

ENHANCE BELONGING is a strategic initiative for SAIC. To learn more about our strategic plan visit

that is being celebrated in the retrospective exhibition AFRICOBRA: Nation Time on view at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Also featured are current faculty members’ historic work in collectives such as Gregg Bordowitz, whose artistic practice was formed alongside his activist practice as a member of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP. Collective practices can even prolong belonging across time, as in the case of the recent commissioning of new performances inspired by the influential, though no longer extant, collective Goat Island (whose core membership included faculty Lin Hixson, Matthew Goulish, and Mark Jeffery) that provided a platform for Interim Dean of Faculty Jefferson Pinder. Belonging is also a goal that extends beyond how art is made. Many museums, galleries, and other sites where we engage with art, for example, strive to reveal the value of art to everyone. One of our features profiles alums who work to increase access to art as museum professionals. Wellness is also an essential part of belonging, as a disconnection from community has been proven to have a detrimental effect on overall well-being. SAIC’s efforts to promote wellness


through increasing belonging, including the faculty-, student-, and alum-led projects supported by our new Compassion and Belonging Grants, are also profiled in this issue. Projects like these truly show how art and design have the power to unite rather than to divide. I hope reading these stories makes you—whether a student, faculty or staff member, alum, or friend of SAIC—feel like you belong, because you do.


Follow President Tenny on Instagram at @saicpres.

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This summer Art on theMART, a riverwalk-facing video wall along the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, showed a collaborative projection from theater-maker John Musial and Lucky Plush Artistic Director Julia Rhoads (MFA 2004) on the building’s riverfront facade. The work, titled Limelight Parade, uses Rhoads’ choreography with Lucky Plush, a Chicago-based dance and theater ensemble she founded, reimagined within Musial’s layered and evocative projection design. Image of Limelight Parade by Julia Rhoads (MFA 2004) and John Musial. Photo by Bob Grosse courtesy of Art on theMART


Leah Ra’Chel Gipson’s Chicago


Columbus Park

When Leah Ra’Chel Gipson (MA 2010) moved to Chicago to study at SAIC in 2008, hope felt palpable; she was on a path to turn her passion for art, community engagement, and social justice into a career. Now an assistant professor in Art Therapy and a practicing art therapist, Gipson’s way of navigating the city is shaped by her love of open spaces and her professional path. This is her Chicago.




It’s a beautiful park, and it can be a really quiet place to unwind. There are geese that you have to move around because that’s their territory. Or there are golfers riding around or kids running around. If you’re up for it, you can jog. It feels really open, and that can be a break from a lot of the congestion in the city. That’s something I really love about the West Side: the parks and the amount of space.

This has become one of my favorite places because it’s a place where you get to see Black kids playing. It’s being rehabilitated right now, and you can see the life coming back to this beautiful community. I was walking around with a teen group I work with. It was kinda rainy, but we were taking photos, and one of the teens from the neighborhood just started tagging along with us. It’s a space that’s about joy and celebration and playfulness that contrasts a lot of negative stories about Black youth.

I go there for a radio show called Divisive that I do once a month with Craig Harshaw (MFA 1992). I think it’s a great place that says a lot about a space’s possibilities: exhibitions, radio shows, events. Sometimes the events and the radio shows are happening at the same time, and that can be interesting if you’re doing a live broadcast. Co-Prosperity Sphere represents a landscape of collaboration for me.


BROWN OR GRAY BUILDINGS The traditional places where therapy happens are not terribly exciting. While those spaces aren’t for people to visit and enjoy like other places in Chicago, they give a level of truth to who we are and where we are right now in terms of humanity. When I think about a brown or a gray building, people might not know what those buildings are for and that there are social services happening there. The invisible work that’s happening all of the time there—there’s space for us to talk about that or to transform the way that people’s stories are marginalized or silenced by physical space. Maybe we can make an intervention. 




Students and faculty at SAIC’s fourth annual Day of Service on March 29, in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood

SAIC’s Fourth Annual Day of Service On March 29, SAIC hosted its fourth annual Day of Service in the North Lawndale neighborhood at Homan Square, where the School operates a classroom space in Nichols Tower. Approximately 75 volunteers tackled numerous projects.

SAIC Named Martin Berger as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

President Elissa Tenny among Crain’s 2019 Notable Women Executives SAIC President Elissa Tenny was included on a list of Crain’s Chicago Business 2019 Notable Women Executives. The list of 75 women executives is the first of its kind for the publication.

SAIC appointed Martin Berger as the School’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. Berger previously served as the School’s dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs. Professor Jefferson Pinder has been appointed as interim dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs.

Rashid Johnson Debuted Film Native Son on HBO Rashid Johnson’s (SAIC 2003–04, HON 2018) first film, Native Son, an adaptation of Richard Wright’s famous novel, debuted on HBO on April 6. Adapting the 1940 novel to post-1977 Chicago, the film was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. At the film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Johnson explained why he thinks Wright’s book is still relevant. “His story Native Son—however divisive—is an incredibly complicated telling of how we’re to examine some aspects of the Black psyche,” Johnson said to NPR’s Morning Edition.

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Commencement 2019

On May 13, SAIC conferred degrees upon more than 900 students as part of its Commencement exercises. During the ceremony, SAIC President Elissa Tenny presented honorary doctorates to activist artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, who delivered the Commencement address, along with award-winning photographer Dawoud Bey, renowned British filmmaker Isaac Julien, and acclaimed cartoonist and author Chris Ware (SAIC 1991–93).

2019 MakeWork Showcase Winners Announced On April 11, students and alums competed in the MakeWork Showcase, which offers SAIC students and recent alums an opportunity to present business pitches for a chance to win up to $10,000 in start-up funding. This year’s winners were current students Nadia Kiblisky and Elisa Petersen and alums Soha Alattas (BFA 2018), Meredith Gleason (BFA 2012), and Lindsay Brock Coulter (MA 2016). Carole Frances Lung and Wu Tsang Awarded USA Fellowships Carole Frances Lung (BFA 2005, MFA 2007) and Wu Tsang (BFA 2004) were among the recipients of the United States Artists 2019 Fellowship Award, which grants up to $50,000 in unrestricted funds to artists in a variety of fields.

President Elissa Tenny and Chair of SAIC’s Board of Governors Anita Sinha Celebrated Alums in India In March, SAIC President Elissa Tenny and Chair of SAIC’s Board of Governors Anita Sinha traveled to Mumbai, India, for the first gathering of SAIC alums and parents in India. Sinha also met with parents and alums in New Delhi. Sonya Clark Presented American Truths through Textiles Sonya Clark’s (BFA 1993) recent exhibition Monumental Cloth: The Flag We Should Know at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia displays her inquiry into the history of the Confederate flag. Through her research, Clark encountered the Confederate flag of truce and reimagined it as a monumental textile, the largest woven cloth the Fabric Workshop has ever produced, 10 times the original size.

Sonya Clark (BFA 1993), in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Reversals (performance still), 2019. Photo: Carlos Avendaño


Assistant Professor Thorsten Trimpop (Film, Video, New Media, and Animation), Yevgeniya Baras (Post-Bac 2005, MFA 2007), Sean Buckelew (BFA 2009), and Matthew Mazzotta (BFA 2001) were named Guggenheim Fellows by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants in the foundation’s 95th competition. Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival Received Esteem Award SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center’s (GSFC) Black Harvest Film Festival received an Esteem Award for Special Recognition from GSFC was honored for its inclusion of films to promote understanding and awareness by and for filmmakers of color, the LGBTQ communities, and people of color everywhere. SAIC Faculty and Alums Awarded Individual Graham Foundation Grants The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts awarded $462,800 to deserving projects and makers. Grantees from SAIC include Petra Bachmaier (BFA 1999), Sean Gallero (SAIC 1993–98), Lecturer Iker Gil (Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects), Rodrigo Brum (MFA 2016), Sama Waly (MFA 2017), Lecturer Anna Martine Whitehead (Contemporary Practices), Associate Professor Oliver Sann (Photography), and Lecturer Assaf Evron (MFA 2013, Contemporary Practices).

New Full-Time Faculty Hires SAIC welcomed four new full-time faculty members and nine full-time visiting artists for the 2019–20 academic year. New faculty included Kristine McWharter (Art and Technology Studies), Benjamin Larose (MDes 2016, Fashion Design), Rey Benedict Pador (Fashion Design), and Oliver Shao (Liberal Arts). The visiting artists include Peter Burr (Film, Video, New Media, and Animation), Christian Campbell (Writing), Giovanni Innella (Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects), Jason LaFountain (Art History, Theory, and Criticism), Sasha Phyars-Burgess (Photography), Jiwon Son (MFA 2007, Visual Communication Design), Joshua Stein (Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects), Ife Williams (Arts Administration and Policy), and Takahiro Yamamoto (Performance). In addition, the School welcomes two AICAD teaching fellows: Delano Dunn and Maryam Yousif. SAIC Students Awarded Year-End Fellowships The recipients of SAIC’s 2019 graduate fellowship competition include: Bryan Lebeuf, Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship; Latrelle Rostant and Branislav Jankić, James Nelson Raymond Fellowships; Seomy Ahn, Municipal Art League Fellowship; Ben Cabral, Carrie Ellen Tuttle Fellowship in Painting; Rian Allen and Rohan Ayinde Smith, SAIC Berlin Residencies; Catherine LaMendola, Clay Morrison Scholarship; Guanyu Xu, Weinstein Memorial Fellowship in Photography; Julie Boldt, Eldon Danhausen Fellowship in Sculpture; Katherine Wood, Alba Sonic Arts Artistin-Residence at Experimental Sound Studio; Junqi Qu (Merlin), Luminarts Graduate Fellowship sponsored by Kimberly Palmisano; Xiang Gu, NicNac Fellowship; Rylie Lu, Jack Shainman Gallery Graduate Fellowship; Guanyu Xu, ACRE Residency Scholarship; and Nathan Rennich, Schiff Foundation Fellowship for Critical Architectural Writing.

Compassion and Belonging Grants Awarded The Office of the President and the Office of Student Affairs offered grants for projects spearheaded by students, faculty, alums, and staff that enhance compassion and belonging: Johanna Tesfaye and Leah Gipson, BIPOC Makespace; Carly Newman and Jackie Saepoff, The Social Art Department; Erica Wang, Disability as Design Innovation; Meejung Soh, May Blossom Project; Tricia Park, A Live Musical Performance of Beethovenʼs op. 132: A Song of Thanksgiving by a Convalescent; Kathryn Fitzgerald, Navigating Disability in the Workplace; Xiaoyao Yao (BFA 2018), Building Community through Screenprinting; Allie n Steve Mullen and Emilio Williams, SAIC Community Engages Young LGBTQ Chicago Artists Who Struggle with Homelessness; Hyojin Im, KUT Film Production Student Group Compassion Film Festival; and Suellen Semekoski, the Art of Nonviolence Compassion Studio Workshop.



Four SAIC Community Members Named 2019 Guggenheim Fellows

Unlonely Film Festival On February 25, at SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center, the School’s Wellness Center in collaboration with the Foundation for Art & Healing hosted an evening of film and discussion responding to the growing awareness that the loneliness epidemic is affecting almost 50 percent of Americans. Several short films that explore the themes of creativity, connection, and health as they impact a wide variety of individuals and groups were screened. The program also featured a panel discussion with SAIC faculty, staff, students, and experts on loneliness, social isolation, and community health. 

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NOWHERE IN THE ART WORLD is the idea of belonging more visible than the work of artist collectives. In these pages, we show the work of Professor and Director of the Low-Residency MFA program Gregg Bordowitz, Interim Dean of Faculty Jefferson Pinder, and alum Young Joon Kwak (BFA 2008). In his career retrospective, I Wanna Be Well, at the Art Institute of Chicago museum, Bordowitz includes his work with New York’s AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). In his performance This is Not a Drill at Chicago’s Cultural Center in May, Pinder reacts to the work of Goat Island, Chicago’s legendary performance collective. And Kwak’s experimental music collaboration with Martin Astorga inspired them to form the Los Angeles-based Mutant Salon.

Gregg Bordowitz I Wanna Be Well—named after the 1977 Ramones song—marks the first comprehensive overview of Bordowitz’s nearly 30-year artistic career. Bordowitz developed a visual language to communicate harm reduction in his collaborative works and made his own videos and television broadcasts that juxtaposed performance documentation, archival footage, role play, and recordings of protest demonstrations, drawing influence from feminist conceptual art. He has increasingly introduced poetry and performance into his art events. I Wanna Be Well was on view April 4 to July 14, 2019, at the Art Institute of Chicago museum.

Right and following page: Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well, 2019 exhibition, installation view at the Art Institute of Chicago museum


Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well, 2019 exhibition, recreation of Bordowitz’s personal library at the Art Institute of Chicago museum FA L L 2 01 9

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Jefferson Pinder As part of the 2019 Chicago Year of Theatre, the Chicago Cultural Center presented an exhibition of the Goat Island archive, courtesy of SAIC’s Flaxman Library, along with a series of commissioned performances reacting to the group’s work. Jefferson Pinder’s This is Not a Drill was performed on May 10 and 11. The performance probes into close-order drill, shooter drills, boxing, and bo staff training to delve into communal strength and explore sites of violence and injustice. Considering training techniques used by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party, and US Marine Corps hand-drill training, performers find unity through ritualized physical routines. As they grapple with their own endurance and unite in the face of racial divides, the audience confronts the intensity of this struggle.

Opposite and below: Jefferson Pinder, This Is Not a Drill, 2019, performance at the Chicago Cultural Center


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Young Joon Kwak Young Joon Kwak creates sculptures, performances, and videos for display in a gallery setting, in addition to performing with their dance/noise band Xina Xurner, which they founded in Chicago in 2011 for the “queer/femme weirdos and noise freaks” outside of commercial art galleries. At Xina Xurner shows, after moving to Los Angeles, Kwak found a community of amazing queer, trans, people of color, womxn, and mutant artists and performers who inspired them to start Mutant Salon, a platform for collaborative performances and installations through which Kwak collaborates with their community to collectively imagine new futures that celebrate their survival, resistance, healing, and transformation. 


Left: Xina Xurner performance at Queens of the Night album release at Human Resources LA, 2018. Photo: KT Stenberg. Above: Young Joon Kwak (BFA 2008) Top: Preferred Pronouns, 2018, LED neon sign on the marquee of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Bottom: Installation view of Ceiling Vaginis Light Drip, 2018, from the CAVERNOUS exhibition at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, LED neon, and paint. Photos: Christopher Wormald

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Painting Black History SAIC and DuSable Museum of African American History Help Students Paint Their Respect



Photographer: Joseph Shen En Goh (BFA 2018)

YOU COULD CALL IT Chicago’s Great Wall. From 1967–71, the Wall of Respect stood on 43rd Street and Langley Avenue, a mural portraying images of inspiring Black leaders. In the same spirit, Chicago high schoolers painted a new mural at the DuSable Museum of African American History’s Roundhouse. “We spelled out ‘DuSable,’ with each panel receiving a letter,” says Asha Edwards, a Whitney M. Young Magnet High School student enrolled in SAIC’s Continuing Studies Early College Program


and learned each other’s style. course. “For example, the Then, it was time to make art. ‘U’ represents World War I, along with the violence Black “The most enjoyable parts soldiers faced returning home. were applying the history The ‘S’ panel represents the we learned from our studies first period of the Chicago and the professional artists Renaissance; there’s a jazz who worked with us,” scene, but we also have Edwards continues. Richard Wright’s Black Boy.” While the mural’s creation SAIC instructors and DuSable made an individual impact staff worked with a group of on each of the students, it Chicago Public Schools (CPS) also conjured the collective students from the South, energy of the early Black West, and Northwest Sides Arts Movement, which on the mural project. Over flourished in the spirit of the course of 10 weeks, the collaboration and respect. teens met every Saturday. For “I try to create a safe space the first five weeks, the group where students are protected discussed painting techniques

and supported. We had students from all over the city who didn’t know each other, who hadn’t worked on murals before—in order for them to work together, they had to feel safe,” Haman Cross III, the SAIC Continuing Studies instructor leading the class, says. “Regardless of whether we had students who were better painters or better illustrators, it was more important they worked together.”  Learn more about Continuing Studies courses for youth, teens, and adults at

In the Studio with Jade Yumang


“[Being in the studio] is a very vulnerable space for me. That’s the only time where I can let go. As an instructor, you have to be always on, and this is where I shut down.”


“There’s so much excess creativity for me. I have to constantly get it out of my system because there’s so much going on.”

LOCATED IN A GREYSTONE in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, Jade Yumang’s home studio, packed with dozens of bright fabric sculptures for an upcoming show, could serve as a playground. A recent Chicago transplant, Yumang jokes that “once the cats move in, they are going to wreck [my studio]. I feel like I’m making cat toys!” Yumang, an assistant professor in Fiber and Material Studies, often

produces serial work, with 20 to 40 pieces per series. While Yumang looks for a larger workplace, his home is filled with 40 works testing the limits of his space. But even for a provisional studio, it is surprisingly well organized to help him track materials and techniques. “[My studio] is my lifeline. Play is so key to my work; a lot of it is futzing around with different techniques to see what hits. The studio is so integral. I don’t think I can live without it.”  FA L L 2 01 9



Street Style At Commencement 2019

FROM HONORING THEIR ANCESTORS and home countries to their artistic practices, students at Commencement 2019 paid homage to a variety of influences and inspirations. Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best fashions from graduation day. Why this outfit? I wanted to dress to the occasion, so I’m dressed like a king. I’m dressed like my ancestors, and I’m paying my respects to where I come from, Rajasthan, India, the land of kings. Favorite part? The scarf. I’ve worn it for four years now, almost every day. Before I had the rest decided, I knew that I wanted to wear this scarf. I make a lot of red art now, and I think it’s the obsession with this color that has slowly spilled into my art as well. What is your personal style? If it has pockets, I need it. I decide my outfit based on pockets, and without pockets, I’m not ready.


BFA 2019


BFA 2019


BFA 2019

Jazzi Sullivan Why this outfit? It was so last minute; my mom and two siblings picked everything out for me. It looks much more put together than how it was planned. Favorite part? I love my shoes. What is your personal style? Really bright and fun. Claire Lyons

Why this outfit? It’s an outfit from back home, an African print from Ghana. I can wear it now that it’s warm. Favorite part? The color. The yellow makes it pop, and I think it complements the color of my skin too. What is your personal style? Straightforward and easy to go.


Why this outfit? I didn’t know what to wear. I woke up at 10:30 a.m. and pulled it together really fast so I could make it here on time to graduate.


MFA 2019

Favorite part? The jacket, it was part of my senior collection. What is your personal style? Doesn’t match a lot of the time, fun, and kind of quirky. 



In the Museum with Drea Howenstein Tadao Ando Room

Tadao Ando room, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

IT IS DIFFICULT TO COME BY A MOMENT OF REPRIEVE in a world where we can reach or be reached by anyone at the touch of a button. Yet here in the Ando Room, the first United States commissioned gallery designed by Osaka-born architect Tadao Ando in 1992, the rhythms of modern daily life are rendered still. The dark, minimalist environment evokes the architecture of a traditional Japanese interior. Sixteen pillars suggest a forest through which visitors gaze at Japanese screens, ceramics, and other art objects in varying states of aging and decay. For SAIC Professor of Art Education Drea Howenstein, Ando’s room “offers a timely, transcendent reprieve from our 24/7 world. It requires us to leave our cell phone in our pocket, and sit and be quiet for five minutes.” For many students, this is an unusual request from a work of art. The subdued lighting directs viewers “to a changing world of material culture. Our eyes dilate, changing the way we see. Our pulse slows a bit; we sit on benches that encourage us to sit erect, and we hear the unique quiet acoustics,” she says.

Howenstein initially began her art career as a sculptor and ceramicist, but severe metal poisoning forced her to reevaluate and transform her artmaking practice. She moved her work toward ephemeral social projects to inspire critical dialogues. Howenstein brings this activist sensibility to her role as an art educator. She teaches sustainable design and communityengaged projects, inspiring her students to engage with the “ideology underlying the design of space.” In other words, art that may seem apolitical on the surface becomes political through its context in a human, social environment. When Howenstein brings her students to the Ando Room, they must place their daily lives aside to encounter an unfamiliar space. The carefully curated range of cultural artifacts, “fragile and vulnerable to deterioration,” present the social, aesthetic, and political contradictions of Japanese culture. Students situate themselves in another world, one that calls a dominant imperial perspective and approach to history into question. 

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Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor Amanda Williams, Just Practice Justice



WHAT DOES IT MEAN to build public monuments in response to issues of justice and injustice? Last semester, SAIC students explored this question as part of the course Just Practice Justice, taught by visual artist and 2019 Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor Amanda Williams and Juan Angel Chávez, assistant professor of Sculpture at SAIC. Established in 2006, the professorship brings an internationally renowned artist or designer to campus each year for a Visiting Artists Program lecture in the fall and to co-teach a course in the spring. Williams imagined Just Practice Justice as an art studio with Chávez, a sculptor, in mind to teach with her. “This professorship seemed like a great opportunity to do something unexpected, not to teach an architecture studio just because I have a background in that, but to leverage an opportunity to work with people


within the institution that I thought were grappling with similar questions of material and social value, and doing interesting work, but from an alternate lens—who would have me look at my own practice in a very different way,” says Williams, who was recently tapped to design a monument in Brooklyn to Shirley Chisholm, the first African American to be elected to Congress, and has explored themes of justice and site throughout her work. She and Chávez conceived the class as a nomadic studio where students traveled each week to a different site around the city that would expand and challenge definitions of justice. “You can’t fully embrace people in the notion of the injustices and things that have happened throughout history in the United States without seeing them,” says Chávez. For the second half of the semester, students selected a site of their own

and developed a proposal following the process they learned from Williams and Chávez. Iraq-born Noora Badeen responded to her personal sense of injustice and powerlessness from ISIS’ destruction of Assyrian artifacts during the war in Iraq. Without public monuments, she asks, “How can we explain our culture to the new generation who are now living in all parts of the world and struggle to understand our Assyrian history?” Another student, Yue Ren, imagined the sky as a site for her monument. She developed the idea of a clear flag that would frame the sky, symbolizing a safe space for community healing. Williams says in the beginning, she was intrigued with the idea of how students would embody her process. “I’m pleased with the level of seriousness with which they’ve taken the idea. They each owned it for themselves…really absorbing it and presenting something new,” she says. 

Expert Advice from Anita Stubenrauch (BFA 2003)

What did you study at SAIC? I went in expecting to study painting, drawing, and sculpture, and while I was there, I got really into screenwriting and filmmaking. What was the most important thing you learned from working at Apple? When you hire good people, they can do anything.

Which skills are necessary for arts professionals? Not identifying so strongly with themselves as an artist who only ever works in one medium or only ever does work in a particular way or with particular people or in a particular location. But, being open to the many different shapes and forms available, to all the different permutations that they can embody in pursuit of their work.


ANITA STUBENRAUCH (BFA 2003) is a writer, entrepreneur, and Apple Inc. creative veteran who often refers to her “accidental career” when describing her trajectory. From working on the floor of the Apple store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago to being the executive speechwriter for Apple’s former head of retail to authoring the tech giant’s new credo, Stubenrauch’s creative problem-solving knows no bounds. Today, after 13 years with Apple, she is helping purpose-driven organizations and leaders transform their stories through Cause:Effect Creative, and she recently founded The Land of Make+Believe, an empathy-centered retreat space. Stubenrauch spoke with SAIC students as part of Virtual Expert Exchange. Hosted by SAIC’s Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) office, the series gives students a chance to virtually engage one-on-one with alums, creative professionals, and business leaders from around the country to gain industry insight and career advice. This is an excerpt from our conversation with her.


What do you enjoy most about your work? Bearing witness to a transformation in someone else. And a transformation in which [my clients] now see the world differently and with more possibility. Whether it’s with brand identity work or being able to tell and own a story in a way that is more empowering than the way that they had ever told it before. Suddenly, the world is different, and their role in it is different. What advice can you give to aspiring creative entrepreneurs? Your biggest asset and your greatest limitation is based on what you think is possible. My lived experience tells me the opportunities that are available to me in this world to make my dreams come true are limited only by what I think is possible. 

Photographer: Anita Stubenrauch (BFA 2003). Photo: Lital Marom

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Ben Fain on His Obsessions (MFA 2008)


PJ Masks Metal Scraps BEN FAIN IS AN ARTIST, entrepreneur, and father who feels a little like Batman. “I have multiple identities I feel I’m switching back and forth between,” he says. When he’s not planning the opening of a bar, restaurant, and hotel in the upstate New York town of Catskill, he’s in his studio making art from found objects or spending time with his son, Hank, and his wife, Carrie Schneider (MFA 2007). Here’s a look at what’s currently feeding Fain’s creativity.


READING I’m opening a bar with my longtime friends Eric Amling and Reed Barrow (MFA 2006). The bar is literary-centric. We wanted to make a place to promote authors whose work we love and host readings and other programming. Our first author is Amy Hempel, who just came out with an incredible new book of short stories called Sing To It. Our next author is poet Ariana Reines. She writes a lot about the occult, computation, and the body. Reading her work you feel like you’re in a protest march in Second Life. Dana DeGiulio (MFA 2007)

just came out with a new book of poetry that I adore. Sarah Maclay is a favorite. I’m reading a lot of poets right now. WATCHING I have a four-year-old, so the shows I’m watching are mostly about dogs and cats fighting crime, like Paw Patrol or PJ Masks. I’m part of the Bachelor nation as well. I’ve been watching for almost 10 years, but I don’t think I’m going to watch this season [of the Bachelorette] because the new bachelorette is Hannah B, and she’s obviously in it for the fame and not really to find love.

MAKING I have a relationship with a metal scrapper in Hudson who drives around and picks in the alleys. Whatever he doesn’t need, I ask him to drop off at my studio. I have this one rule: I will use whatever he drops off. It’s a lot of satellite dishes, old crutches, and kids’ toys, etc. I’m making these largescale outdoor wind chimes made of all that stuff. It started after I finished my 10-year project of making parade floats (at this point I’ve made over four dozen parade floats and been in about 30 parades). I was thinking about rigidity and immobility. 

Meet the New Class

Where are you from? I was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Trinidadian immigrants, but Atlanta has been home for most of my life. Describe yourself in three words: Imaginative, prolific, resourceful Why did you choose SAIC? I felt that it encouraged my multidisciplinary approach of making art. What are you passionate about? I am passionate about using my creativity for the sake of kosen rufu, which is world peace. I am passionate about disadvantaged populations and schools having access to art. Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration first in nature, in my Caribbean heritage, and from my experiences living Black and queer in America. Inspiration smacks me in the face every day. What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC? I am ecstatic about challenging and expanding my practice. I aim to form a solid understanding of how my work connects to art history and develop it to forge a path for the future. I look forward to becoming a better version of me.

WENHAN ZHANG (MArch) Where are you from? Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province in central China

TALLULAH CARTALUCCA (BFA) Where are you from? I am from Chicago!

Describe yourself in three words: Persistent, respectful, tenacious

Describe yourself in three words: Artist, environmentalist, historian

Why did you choose SAIC? I believe SAIC’s interdisciplinary approach will help me to think differently and research from various perspectives.

Why did you choose SAIC? I fell in love with the Art Institute of Chicago in first grade. I’m thrilled to be here because I believe the best way to learn about creating art is by looking at art.

What are you passionate about? After graduate school, I plan to embark on a career in interior design. With enough experience, I will start my own business in China. My lifelong goal is to have a great influence on China’s design field. Where do you find inspiration? Nature, history, and materials. I study everything that can help improve the living environment of human beings. What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC? I will strive in every studio class to produce excellent projects, and I plan to participate in design competitions.

What are you passionate about? Protecting our environment. We desperately need to focus on our most important pollinators: bees. I’ve been making artwork that talks about bees since Bombus affinis was added to the US endangered species list. Where do you find inspiration? I am inspired by my studies of science and history. My work contextualizes current environmental issues through an art historical lens. What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC? I want to expand my artmaking practice and processes by learning from exceptional teachers. I am also excited to formally study art history. I am certain that diving deep into history will have tremendous impact on my work.

ZAC NELSON (BFA) Where are you from? Eldorado, Illinois Describe yourself in three words: Past, present, future Why did you choose SAIC? I’ve lived in California and Oregon for the past 18 years and wanted to be closer to my family while expanding my knowledge of art and learning new techniques in various media.




What are you passionate about? Loving myself and others. Being grateful to be alive even in strife. Megalithic structures weighing tons that are cut with high technology precision. Exotic oils, music, sound, and experimentation. Where do you find inspiration? Being alive, metamorphosis, death, future space exploration, megalithic stonework of ancient prehistory, intimate love, nature, language, sound, and Graham Hancock. What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC? I hope to expand my knowledge and execution of multiple artistic practices while doing something I feel passionate about. Meet and collaborate with interesting people. Learn how to communicate about why and what I’m creating. 

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Ars Electronica: Students exhibit at the famed art and technology festival in Linz, Austria

“They gave me a dimly lit room in a THE MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE in giant bunker to show my work,” recalls Linz, Austria, is a capital of digital art. Santiago X (MFA 2018). The industrial Last September when SAIC became the setting allowed him “to contemplate a first US art and design school invited post-human world.” For THE RETURN to exhibit at its prestigious annual Ars (o:lači okhiča), he illuminated a gallery Electronica festival, a handful of recent corner to magically appear as a sky graduates from the Art and Technology portal. A soundtrack of the artist’s young Studies department leapt to debut their daughter speaking her native language hi-tech works halfway around the world. brought visitors back to Earth. The exhibit’s curator, Duncan Bass (third-year graduate student in the Dual The rest of the week, X explored the fest’s MA program) chuckles as he remembers digital art labyrinths. “I felt at home lugging hundreds of pounds of computers, there,” he said. Student Ziv Ze’Ev Cohen projectors, and technical equipment on (MFA 2018) agrees, “It’s the best place to the three-hour train ride from Munich. be. It’s the summit.” Bass brought together the work of six This summer, in celebration of the recent students for Disruptive Generation, Department of Art and Technology an exhibit in the fest’s Campus section Studies’ 50th anniversary, SAIC again alongside peers from London and Beijing sent a group of students to exhibit at academies. Bass’ theme was doubleArs Electronica.  edged, he said, celebrating technology’s To see more photos of last year’s exhibition, potential to “transcend bodily, societal, visit or terrestrial shortcomings,” while also criticizing its omnipresent role in our daily lives. The students responded to the dark exhibition theme by producing glowing light sculptures. A standout was The One that Shatters in the Air by C.Y. Ok (MFA 2018), where hundreds of loose fiber optics dangled from a ceiling to evoke the unseen realm of electrons. Ok developed his work while an artist-in-residence at the Fermilab in Illinois.


Top: Changyeob (C.Y.) Ok (MFA 2018), The One that Shatters in the Air, 2018, microcontroller, electronics, fiber optics, and LEDs Bottom: Li Yao (MFA 2018) Bunker, 2018, virtual reality



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TRUTH, ACTION, EDUCATION How artist collective AFRICOBRA helped reshape the mindset of Black communities By Adrienne Samuels Gibbs and Bridget Esangga

Jae (SAIC 1959–61) and Wadsworth (DIPLOMA 1958) Jarrell, two of the five founding members of artist collective AFRICOBRA



IT WA S 1968 , the tail end of the civil rights movement and the beginning of Black Power—a movement of artists and activists calling for racial pride, economic empowerment, and political and cultural change. Amid this atmosphere of activism and critique, five artists (four of them SAIC alums) formed a revolutionary collective that would create functional art expressing statements of truth, action, or education. They called themselves the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, AFRICOBRA for short. In the decades since, members of the group spread out across the country, raising families and teaching art. While they and their art have evolved, they never abandoned the group, which made headlines this spring with exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the Broad museum in Los Angeles, and at the 2019 Venice Biennale. “The things we said are just as relevant today as they were when we did it in the ‘60s. What AFRICOBRA was about was changing how art is looked at. We weren’t worried about it looking like mainstream White art,” says Wadsworth Jarrell (DIPLOMA 1958), a founding member of the group along with his wife, Jae Jarrell (SAIC 1959–61).

According to SAIC Professor of Visual and Critical Studies Romi Crawford, who co-authored The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s, the need for uplifting imagery in the Black community that led to the creation of AFRICOBRA still exists today, and that’s why many younger artists are gravitating to their work. The messages they present never lose power or interest, she says. The five original members—Wadsworth and Jae Jarrell, Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu (BFA 1964), and Gerald Williams (SAIC 1966–67)—began meeting after Donaldson asked them to stop by the Jarrells’ studio. Several of the members had worked together on the Wall of Respect, a mural depicting celebrated Black leaders that challenged the status quo while also boldly accentuating nation-building messages about self-worth and direction. It was a revolutionary idea to show the power of Black people. The mural, which sparked a community mural movement across the country, became a gathering space for the Black community, a site of music and spoken word performances.

“We’re doing the future. We’re doing uplift. It was beautiful because it was addressing and including Black people.”


Opposite (from left): Wadsworth Jarrell (DIPLOMA 1958), Wadsworth Jarrell Jr., Jae Jarrell (SAIC 1959–61), and Napoleon Jones-Henderson (BFA 1971). © Gerald Williams (SAIC 1966–67) Above (left): Gerald Williams (SAIC 1966–67), Malcolm, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 35 x 27 x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta Above (right): Jeff Donaldson, Soweto/ So We Too, 1979, mixed media, 39 x 30.5 in. Courtesy of Beth Rudin DeWoody Bottom: Jae Jarrell (SAIC 1959–61), Going to NYC, 1994, mixed media, 53 x 74 in. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta


Left: Barbara JonesHogu (BFA 1964), Rise and Take Control, 1970, screenprint, 23 x 35 in. Courtesy of Lusenhop Fine Art, Cleveland Below: Wadsworth Jarrell (DIPLOMA 1958), Homage to a Giant, 1970, acrylic on board, 48 x 90 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta Right: Wadsworth Jarrell (DIPLOMA 1958)

“We were trendsetters. We didn’t jump on bandwagons and make protest art.”

Following that success, the artists began meeting on Sunday afternoons in the Jarrells’ studio to talk about what was going on in the Black community. Conversations turned to the power of coming together as a group to address the suffering of the Black community by proposing solutions through art. According to Jae, making art was an ego-driven activity, until they considered joining together. “The reason we didn’t find our individuality threatened is because we each thought we could blow the world away. We felt accomplished, and as accomplished artists, you can do something for a hurting community,” she explains. “We retired our ‘I’ and attained a ‘we’ to be more impactful for our people. We’re doing the future. We’re doing uplift. It was beautiful because it was addressing and including Black people,” she says.

Members of AFRICOBRA have taken this message around the world with exhibitions in Europe and participation in the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in the ‘70s, an event described by the Tate Modern as, “the turning point in the development of a black global consciousness.” Closer to home, their work continues to have a profound impact on today’s students at SAIC. Jae returned to campus in 2015 to participate in a panel discussion, “The Women of AFRICOBRA,” organized by D. Denenge Duyst-Apkem (MFA 2004), assistant professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at SAIC, who has worked with Jae in her studio. Duyst-Apkem calls herself a “space sculptor,” and echoes of AFRICOBRA’s message of empowerment can be seen in her work. She teaches her students how AFRICOBRA empowered a nation to look at art in a new way.

Their first exhibition focused on the Black family. Using their signature “cool-ade” colors, positive imagery, and text, the artists offered a new narrative about the Black community, one that showed pride and strength. “We were trendsetters. We didn’t jump on bandwagons and make protest art,” says Wadsworth.

Jae herself also taught for many years, sharing her passion for art with students, and her daughters Jennifer (BFA 1994) and Roslyn (SAIC 1991–95) became artists. And while she continues to create work and exhibit with AFRICOBRA, she has always maintained a strong individuality and encourages others to do the same. To today’s emerging artists, she says, “Trust your choices. Trust your mistakes and that you will make better choices. It’s all a refinement of self. You have to be fulfilled, otherwise you will tread and tread and tread without dynamic contributions.” ▪

The group remained committed to the tenets of direct messages, bright colors, and positive imagery even as it grew in numbers and broadened to an international vision. Napoleon JonesHenderson (BFA 1971), who joined the group in ‘69, explains the idea of “shine” that was central to the work and its connection to the Black community: “‘Shine’ is about being brilliant and being highly illuminated as an aesthetic element.”

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Students feeling isolated find community through art. Written and illustrated by Sophie Lucido Johnson (MFA 2017) The word “wellness” conjures images of lithe women at yoga retreats and smoothies with whole figs in them; hot rock massages and cucumber water hover nearby. But in truth, all the spa days in the world aren’t likely to solve the country’s epidemic of excessive loneliness, which diminishes wellness. Medical studies conducted by the Association of Psychological Science over the past few decades show unequivocally that loneliness, or the gap between the social connections we’d like and the ones we have, is detrimental to not just mental health, but to physical health as well. Loneliness shortens the average lifespan by eight years; the long-term effects of loneliness are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.


embarrassed. They don’t want The collective understanding to talk about it,” says Nobel. around this crisis is growing, and with new awareness come The rise of technology has new tools and techniques to made the issue of loneliness counter loneliness with a sense especially potent. Social of belonging. The UnLonely scientists agree that growing Project–the signature amounts of time spent looking initiative of the Foundation for at screens has led to deeper Art & Healing—for example, isolation. Millennials and seeks to find remedies for this Gen-Zers are particularly pervasive loneliness. Jeremy vulnerable. Nobel, a Harvard Medical “Loneliness is an issue on all School faculty member who college campuses, including founded the project, lists its objectives as raising awareness ours,” says Joseph Behen, executive director of the about loneliness, reducing Wellness Center at SAIC. stigma around it, and offering “We aren’t connecting in time tools and resources for the and space the way we have in reduction of loneliness. the past. The more time people “A lot of what drives loneliness spend on social media and is the feeling that you’re smartphones, the lonelier not worthy of the social they tend to feel.” connections that you have or want to have. People are


Graduate student Johanna Tesfaye received a grant to create a makespace for SAIC’s Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color community.

But Behen is hopeful. SAIC has implemented several initiatives to combat the effects of loneliness on campus, including mental health first aid training for students, which has trained more than 1,000 people; regular student-curated art shows on campus dealing with mental health issues; and a recent collaboration with the Office of the President and Campus Life to support a Belonging and Compassion Grants initiative, which funded 10 projects enhancing compassion and belonging among members of the SAIC community. SAIC graduate student Johanna Tesfaye and faculty member Leah Gipson (MA 2010), both in the Art Therapy department, received one of

these $3,000 grants to create a makespace for the School’s Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community. “I noticed there isn’t space for students of color to come together and share their experiences at SAIC,” Tesfaye says. Initially, students gathered to talk explicitly about these dynamics at the School, but something about those first meetings felt a little exhausting. “You go through school, and all day you’re doing that kind of work, and then you come to another space where you are continuing to discuss the things that frustrate you. That has a way of really wearing at you,” Tesfaye says.



After the initial meetings, the BIPOC Makespace prioritized the simple act of sharing space and building belonging among its participants. “The group exists so you know people have your back, and you know this is a shared experience, and because we are choosing to be in this space, we make it a space that works for us,” Tesfaye says. Faculty member Allie n Steve Mullen and Emilio Williams (MFA 2018) received another one of the grants. They proposed a project to exchange ideas and concerns with a Chicago group that supports LGBTQ artists struggling with housing and food instability. The group is called The Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP).

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Left: Allie n Steve Mullen received a Belonging and Compassion Grant for a project that supports LGBTQ artists struggling with housing and food instability. Right: Sandie Yi (BFA 2003, MA 2005) creates wearable items to spark conversation about disability as identity.

“What I see the Belonging and Compassion Grant doing is connecting the institutional power of SAIC with the kind of work being done by individuals close to the ground,” Mullen says. Mullen hopes that the funding can help support groups who have already identified their own needs. They are bringing SAIC students together around a shared compassion for others. “What that means is giving power of voice to the community the work is serving. How can we identify needs unless we are asking those in need?” Mullen asks. “This grant is allowing room for that kind of conversation. And that’s a creative act.”


“Art literally rewires our Engaging with creativity is brains and can reduce stress. central to issues of belongingIt allows us to feel better as-wellness. The UnLonely about ourselves and about our Project, whose stated goal is behaviors,” Nobel says. “to broaden public awareness of the negative physical and A lot of the work that Nobel mental health consequences of does has to do with helping loneliness,” explicitly uses art people to find self-acceptance making as an entry point for and self-compassion. belonging and unconditional Sandie Yi (BFA 2003, MA acceptance. 2005) was born with two Nobel says that the arts are fingers on each hand and two scientifically proven to be toes on each foot. She has powerful forces in aiding in spent the past several years belonging and connection. developing work around her The arts allow people to focus identity as a person with a their attention, bring thoughts disability and uniting with and feelings to the surface, other people with disabilities. provide a fresh way to express This work has just as much to difficult things, give insight do with self-compassion as it into complex topics, and does with connection to others. exercise and develop brains and imaginations.

“I am trying to make a “Disability can be a very cultural narrative. Instead of isolated experience due to the taking a more individualistic stigma. It is something we need to bring forward,” Yi says. approach—that disability is something you handle all by Yi creates elaborately yourself—we counter that with decorated wearable community care.” items—baby onesies, sets Mullen sees community care of gloves—that are created as essential for art making and for people with a variable for overall mental health. number of limbs. She says she’s disappointed with the “As soon as we take our eyes way people in the art world off ourselves and focus them and beyond shy away from outward, we’re fed. And it’s conversations about disability a practice. We don’t all do it as identity. instinctively, but we can all learn it,” Mullen says. “We all “People don’t want to talk have multiple interconnected about it. It’s something to identities.”  overcome, not to celebrate or identify with it,” Yi says.



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MU SE UMS RE F LE C T OUR PAS T, P R E S E N T, AND F UT URE . Through the objects they display, the audiences they welcome, and the staff who lead them, these repositories of culture are increasingly becoming models for more inclusive communities. While the anthology of art history has historically excluded women and people of color, cultural institutions today are opening up to a wider range of representation both in galleries and behind the scenes. SAIC alums are on the forefront of this movement to expand museum collections and audiences and move beyond diversity to approach equity and inclusion. The opportunity to establish new institutional practices drew Allison Glenn (Dual MA 2012) to Crystal Bridges, a young museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, which she joined last year as associate curator of contemporary art. In addition to championing the museum’s existing

initiatives to reach a broader audience, such as offering free general admission and using bilingual wall texts, Glenn works to showcase artists’ work while challenging visitors to consider the museum’s permanent collection in fresh, unexpected ways. Color Field is an outdoor sculptural exhibition developed by Glenn, which features a diverse mix of emerging and established artists including Assaf Evron (MFA 2013), Odili Donald Odita, and Amanda Ross-Ho (BFA 1998), who use lush colors and enlarged forms in their work. The exhibit invites the public to engage with outdoor sculpture in a new way, allowing visitors to dynamically learn about color field painting across the museum campus. “One of my biggest frustrations with art history has been how artists are siloed,” she explains. “I’m interested in a curatorial practice that brings multiple diverse voices to the table.”

Above and left: Allison Glenn (Dual MA 2012), Associate Curator, Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Photo: Kat Wilson. Perfume Genius performance at the Art Institute of Chicago museum. Photo: Maria Louceiro


A 2019 survey in Artsy of 18 prominent US art museums’ permanent collections revealed that, out of more than 10,000 artists, 87 percent were male, and 85 percent were White. Many arts professionals are shaking up permanent collections in museums to improve equity. Art museums are also working to shake things up by diversifying their staff. As of 2016, although women represented 48 percent of art museum directors, the positions they held were most often at smaller institutions with lower budgets, according to a study by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Two years later, the same study found, 12 percent of art museum leaders overall were people of color. “If we are proactive in removing barriers to participation, looking at ways where there have been historic disadvantages for some groups to the benefit of others—we can create new models

We’re trying to diversify… who gets to tell the stories of art now and in the future.” –Jacqueline Terrassa

and find approaches that mitigate those histories,” says Jacqueline Terrassa, the Women’s Board Endowed Chair of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago museum. This winter, Terrassa helped the museum attract a new, younger audience from more parts of the city and suburbs than the Museum’s typical visitation for a Pitchfork Midwinter event. In addition to welcoming a broader audience, the Art Institute of Chicago museum also focuses on addressing who accesses professional opportunities at the museum and what support they receive. Unlike many institutions, the museum provides paid internships, internally evaluates and expands where interns come from, and is developing resources to help interns pursue a career in the arts. Terrassa says: “We’re trying to diversify…who gets to tell the stories of art now and in the future.”

Left: Jacqueline Terrassa, Women’s Board Endowed Chair of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago. Above: Sudan Archives performance at the Art Institute of Chicago museum. Photo: Kristin Pedersen



For museums to be relevant, they have to be more engaged with the issues of our time.” –Wendy Woon

Wendy Woon (MFA 1982), Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York. Photo: Peter Ross. Pablo Helguera (BFA 1993), Director of Adult and Education Programs, MoMa

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Gibran Villalobos (Dual MA 2015) in the MCA’s free public space, The Commons.

SAIC is also fostering diversity and inclusion among arts professionals through a Continuing Studies collaboration with the Joyce Foundation, which provides free education programs to help diversify the workforce in the arts. The program will launch with its first class in fall 2019. Other museums are looking at shifting how people think of the museum space. Gibran Villalobos (Dual MA 2015) explains his role as assistant curator, performance and public practice liaison at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago: “My job is to go outside of the institution and connect grassroots organizations with the museum. This isn’t for tours or audience recruitment. It’s trying to figure out how we turn resources within the museum into accessible resources for community groups.” One group the MCA works with is a collective of artists and art historians who meet to practice speaking Farsi in the MCA’s Commons, a free public space that encourages dialogue and interaction among the public. At the MCA, they’re able to enjoy contemporary art while speaking Farsi. When the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York decided to shut down for renovations this summer, Pablo Helguera (BFA 1993) and Wendy Woon (MFA 1982) were thrilled at the changes on the horizon: a broader

spectrum of artists showcased and a curatorial shift from emphasis on singular genius to examine how scenes of artists influence one another. As director of adult and education programs and deputy director for education, respectively, they say they were especially excited that MoMA’s education department would move from a wing of the museum to the center.



“We had been developing a type of open-classroom experimental space where many things could happen: conversations, workshops, experiencing materials and techniques,” says Helguera. “Now we’re presenting this to the public in a permanent form.” Both say they believe that art education departments often have the most diversity in museums with direct access to the public, so they’re on the frontlines of innovative programming. Through the Artists Experiment initiative, MoMA’s Department of Education invited artist Nina Katchadourian to the museum to develop an original approach to public engagement. The artist created Dust Gathering, an audio tour which combined the voices of curators, conservators, and building staff around the topic of dust accumulation in the museum, providing visitors a unique insight into the museum. “Culture is available outside the museum,” adds Woon. “For museums to be relevant, they have to be more engaged with the issues of our time.” n

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Why I Give Mat Devine (BFA 1997)



FOR A MID-CAREER ARTIST, Mat Devine (BFA 1997) has done some cool things.

published books, wrote a popular music blog for, and returned to LA to record a solo album.

He started his band, Kill Hannah, in SAIC’s residence halls as an undergraduate student. The band built a local following and was signed to Atlantic Records in 2003. They moved to Los Angeles and toured nonstop for seven years, covering the United States and Europe. “I always brought to bear things I learned at SAIC,” he says. “I studied photography, so I shot our album covers. For our merchandise, I loved designing our logos; I loved branding us.”

Today, Devine is head of music partnerships for the Chicagobased technology start-up Cameo, a platform that connects fans with celebrities through personal “shout outs.” He noticed the strong connection among the company’s founders to their alma mater and began looking for ways to give back to SAIC. He supported SAIC on Alumni Giving Day and says he wants to connect with and mentor alums.

In 2010, Devine scored a role in the Broadway show Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, with music written by Bono and The Edge of U2. He moved to the West Village in New York City and played the supervillain Grim Hunter for 140 shows. From there, he


When he heard of Cameo, he immediately knew he wanted to work there, so he reached out and created a role for himself. “That’s a lesson for [SAIC] graduates. Instead of canvasing job boards, start from a place that really speaks to you and pursue that with a laser-focused energy. In my case, it paid off.” 

From tees to totes to pins with inside jokes, snag SAIC-branded apparel and accessories at our online store.

Robert Fieseler on His Process (Post-Bac 2005)



When Fieseler was a student at SAIC, Writing POET-TURNED-JOURNALIST ROBERT professor Amy England told the young poet he was FIESELER (Post-Bac 2005) developed his lyrical style of nonfiction narration at SAIC. In his first book, “reporting” his poems and encouraged him to write nonfiction—advice that changed the path of his Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge career. He followed SAIC with Columbia University Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, Fieseler recounts Graduate School of Journalism, where he wrote the the stories of the 32 people who died in an unsolved proposal for Tinderbox. arson at a gay bar in 1973 New Orleans and the official silence in its aftermath that helped mobilize “I’m a subculture reporter and a gay person,” says the gay liberation movement. It was the largest mass Fieseler. “I was actually a closeted gay man into my murder of LGBTQ citizens in US history until the early 20s, so I knew emotionally what it meant to Pulse nightclub shootings in 2016. live in hiding…. I wanted to tell a story that would delve into that emotional terrain of what it was like when homosexuality was a big secret in America. We forget that it was once a secret subculture. I wanted to feature those generations of gay men forced to live in hiding, obliged to congregate and find love in clandestine havens like the Up Stairs Lounge.”


Above (right): Up Stairs Lounge survivor Stewart Butler describes the height of the flames surging from the bar.



Above: Historic photos of the Up Stairs lounge courtesy of Johnny Townsend

Once he had the interest of a publisher, he booked a flight to New Orleans. Fieseler tracked down survivors of the event and began the trust-building process required for them to recall the worst night of their lives. It was a night when many of the workingclass men who escaped the flames were subsequently “outed” by media, which led to religious censure and family estrangement. For those unable to talk due to lingering trauma, or no longer alive, Fieseler turned to published accounts in newspaper archives. In all, his reporting developed portraits of nearly everyone who was in the bar at the time of the fire. Fieseler’s writing process was disciplined. He determined that his golden hours for writing were between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and he wrote through lunch to meet his daily quota of 1,200 to 1,500 words, then stopped. Continuing would steal the following day’s energy, breaking momentum.

“I’ve discovered that writers who have momentum finish chapters, and writers who finish chapters can finish books,” says Fieseler. After writing, he’d check emails and do additional interviews to help get him out of his house. “Writing occurs in isolation, and I learned pretty quickly that cabin fever is real,” says Fieseler. He wrote the book sequentially, starting with the first line and ending with the last. His initial manuscript came in around 180,000 words, about the same length as Catch-22. He trimmed 2,000 words per day until he reached 90,000 words, shorter than Huckleberry Finn. Rounds of editing, copyediting, and legal review followed until Tinderbox was released in summer 2018, four years after the work began. Fieseler spent the next several months promoting the hardcover and paperback on tour. Then he began the whole process again for his next book. 

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Art Scene










2. FASHION 2019






May 3 / VenueSix10



May 11 / Block 37


March 11 / New Delhi, India



February 7 / Sullivan Galleries

July 8 / SAIC

April 26 / Sullivan Galleries

Class Notes

Newcity released its annual “Design 50” list along with a special “Design Hall of Fame.” Alums on the list include Sarah Azzouzi (BFA 2011), Sky Cubacub (BFA 2015), Zurich Esposito (MS 1998), Abigail Glaum-Lathbury (BFA 2006), Rachel Kaplan (MA 2015), Maria Pinto (BFA 1990, HON 2017), and Andrea Reynders (BFA 1971). Community members in the Hall of Fame include Jeanne Gang (HON 2013) and Theaster Gates (HON 2014). Tyler Blackwell (BFA 2013) was announced as Blaffer Art Museum’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow. Zoe Sua Cho (MFA 2014) coproduced and edited House of Hummingbird, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and won awards at the Berlin Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, and the International Istanbul Film Festival. Sky Cubacub (BFA 2015) was featured in the Chicago Tribune as “Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts 2018.” Isaac Facio (BFA 2001, MFA 2017) was announced as Fermilab’s 2019 artist-inresidence.

Gordon Hall (MA 2011, MFA 2011) was featured on Art in America’s December 2018 cover in addition to contributing a feature article to the publication on Bruce Nauman’s work.

Halle Butler’s (BFA 2008) second novel, The New Me, and her 2017 debut novel, Jillian, were the subject of an article in the Cut. Lucy Knisley (BFA 2007) released her graphic novel, Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos, which she discussed with Chicago magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

Newcity announced Cathy Hsiao (SAIC 2014–17), Benjamin Larose (MDes 2016), Emilio Rojas (MFA 2017), Amina Ross (BFA 2015), Chanel Chiffon Thomas (BFA 2014), and Derrick Woods-Morrow (MFA 2016) as “2019 Breakout Artists.” Tamara Malas (BFA 2012) was featured in Fashionista’s list of “13 New Plus Size and Size Inclusive Brands That Launched in 2018.”

Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Benjamin Larose (MDes 2016). Photo: Jim Prinz (MFA 1988)


Colin Self’s (SAIC 2009–10) second album Siblings was included in NPR’s “50 Best Albums of 2018” and Pitchfork’s “Top Experimental Album of the Year” lists.

Genesis Belanger (BFA 2004) was featured by the New York Times discussing her process and latest exhibition, A Strange Relative, on view at Perrotin gallery in New York.

Ayesha Singh (MFA 2018) was included in Forbes India “30 Under 30 Special Mentions” list.

Robert Bittenbender (SAIC 2006–07), Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995), Matthew Angelo Harrison (BFA 2012), Steffani Jemison (MFA 2009), Diane Simpson (BFA 1971, MFA 1978), Martine Syms (BFA 2007), and Derrick WoodsMorrow (MFA 2016) exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2019 Whitney Biennial.

Nyugen Smith (MFA 2016) was selected as one of seven recipients of the 2018 Franklin Furnace Fund, in support of his performance project Behold Your Horse.




Sara Ludy (BFA 2004) was one of three digital artists selected to design the packaging for LIFEWTR, a brand of premium bottled water distributed by PepsiCo. Hyperallergic covered Jodie Mack’s (MFA 2007) film The Grand Bizarre, which was screened at the New York Film Festival. Sterling Ruby’s (BFA 2002) exhibition, Sterling Ruby: Ceramics, was held at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

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(BFA 1996) installation comprising hundreds of his signature kites.


Laura Mosquera (BFA 1996, MFA 1999) was one of 30 artists from Latin America with work in The Latin American Contemporary Fine Art Competition at Agora Gallery in New York in December 2018.

Ni’Ja Whitson (MFA 2007). Photo courtesy of LaMaMa Theater

Barbara Koenen (Post-Bac 1986, MFA 1989), Angelique Power (MFA 1998), Ines Sommer (MFA 1988), and Edra Soto (MFA 2000) were among 33 visionaries included in the 33rd anniversary edition of Newcity magazine, alongside SAIC President Elissa Tenny and faculty members. Holly Wherry (MA 2007) was acknowledged as one of Gambit’s “40 Under 40” in New Orleans for her local work in art therapy during 2018. Ni’Ja Whitson (MFA 2007) was awarded the 2019 Creative Capital Award and was nominated for a 2019 Bessie award for outstanding production for Oba Qween Baba King Baba.

1990s Petra Bachmaier (BFA 1999), Rodrigo Brum (MFA 2016), Assaf Evron (MFA 2013), Sean Gallero (SAIC 1993–98), and Sama Waly (MFA 2017) were among the recipients for

Jennifer Reeder’s (MFA 1996) new film Knives and Skin premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (MFA 1998, HON 2011) was selected as the winner of the Artes Mundi 8, the UK’s leading prize for international and contemporary art.

1980s Nancy Bechtol (MFA 1984), Jason Salavon (MFA 1997), Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975, HON 2014), and Siebren Versteeg (BFA 1995) were among 100 artists featured in

the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts 2019 individual grants. Sanford Biggers (MFA 1999) was honored at New York Foundation for the Arts’ (NYFA) 2019 Hall of Fame Benefit, which recognizes the sustained achievements of artists who received early career support from NYFA. Yanira Collado (SAIC 1994– 96) and william cordova (BFA 1996) collaborated on the show Penumbras: Sacred Geometries at Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas. Yanira Collado (SAIC 1994– 96), Elisabeth Condon (MFA 1988), Nyugen Smith (MFA 2016), and Brittney Leanne Williams (SAIC 2008–09) were among the recipients of the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Painters and Sculptors grants. Astrid Guerra (MA 2003) self-published a book of poetry in Spanish titled Peregrina. McDonald’s new Chicago headquarters features a large Jacob Hashimoto Jacob Hashimoto’s (BFA 1996) installation at McDonald’s Chicago headquarters. Courtesy of McDonald’s Corporation


In Memoriam

Chicago-based Gallery 400’s exhibition Chicago New Media 1973–1992. Sang-soo Hong (MFA 1989) was featured in the Korea Times about his latest film Grass. Deyana Mielke’s (BFA 1984) piece She Showed Herself to Me was acquired by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and selected to be exhibited in Hawaii State Art Museum’s show, State of Art: New Work, in Honolulu, through September 2019. Melanie Parke (BFA 1989) was featured in Urban Milwaukee for her exhibition Dew which was held at Tory Folliard Gallery. Rirkrit Tiravanija (MFA 1986) participated in a collaborative digital exhibition titled In Situ From Outside: Reconfiguring the Past in Between the Present, presented by Thailand’s Ministry of Culture as a means of using contemporary artistic practices to reimagine the Thai cultural past.

1960s Judie Anderson (BFA 1960) received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago.

Indira Freitas Johnson (MFA 1967) and Karl Johnson (BFA 1968) had their exhibition Intersections of Place and Time at Oakton Community College’s Koehnline Museum of Art. The exhibition The Hairy Who? 1966–1969 was held at the Art Institute of Chicago museum, representing the work of six SAIC alums: James Falconer (BFA 1965, HON 2016), Art Green (BFA 1965, HON 2016), Gladys Nilsson (BFA 1962, HON 2016), Jim Nutt (BFA 1967, HON 2016), Suellen Rocca (BFA 1964, HON 2016), and Karl Wirsum (BFA 1962, HON 2016). Jimmy Wright (BFA 1967) was inducted as a 2018 National Academician by the National Academy of Design.

1950s Amanda Crowe (DIP 1952) was honored on November 9, 2018, on Google Doodle as the figure who led a resurgence of Native American art. Ruth Aizuss Migdal (BA 1954) was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Donna Elbert (BFA 1974) was a research assistant to Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar at Yerkes Observatory. She coauthored several books with Chandrasekhar, and her calculations were cited in countless scientific journals. Charles Harrison (BFA 1954) was a celebrated designer and the first Black executive to work for Sears, Roebuck, and Co. He was credited with revamping the iconic ViewMaster among numerous other product improvements. In 2008, Harrison became the first African American to receive the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s Lifetime Achievement National Design Award. Between 2016 and 2017, New York City’s Museum of Modern Art added Harrison’s 1959 View-Master to its collection. His work was recently on display as part of African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce, and the Politics of Race at the Chicago Cultural Center.


Terry Dixon (MFA 1995) Frances Gander (MFA 1978) Joyce Karamas (BA 1951) Ruth Lewis (MA 1992) John Steve Mancini (MFA 1994) Patrick O’Hara (BFA 1992) Judith Roth (SAIC 1961) Marie Salwonchik (BA 1952, MA 1960) Don Rodney Washington (BFA 2019)

William “Bill” Talsma (BFA 1996) was a musician and artist most known for his work in Lucky Pierre, a Chicagobased collaborative group. A gifted drummer, bassist, and guitarist, he played in various bands and was the senior art director at Leapfrog Online.

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Exhibitions at SAIC are a significant resource for the School community and the city at large. The Sullivan Galleries, SITE Galleries, and temporary locations on and off campus are engaged as sites of interaction, experimentation, and dialogue among students, faculty, and alums, as well as places for collaboration with Chicago’s artists and other cultural institutions. Exhibitions are free and open to the public SULLIVAN GALLERIES

Constellation of Instances A August 27–October 19 Reception: Friday, September 20, 6:00–9:00 p.m. Re:Working Labor September 21–November 27 Reception: Friday, September 20, 6:00–9:00 p.m. Fall Undergraduate Exhibition November 16–December 6 Reception: Saturday, November 16, 12:00–­6:00 p.m.

33 S. State St., 7th floor 312.629.6635

Fall Undergraduate Exhibition 2018, Artwork by Mele Emeline. Photo by Pratyush Swarup

MA in Art Therapy and Counseling Exhibition January 25–February 15 Reception: Friday, January 24, 6:00–8:00 p.m. SITE GALLERIES

Hold My Heart (2018). Photo by Arnold April. Courtesy of #LetUsBreathe Collective.

Faculty Projects August 27–October 19 Reception: Friday, September 20, 6:00–9:00 p.m.


SITE Columbus 280 S. Columbus Dr., room 103 Gallery Hours Monday–Friday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Alternate hours by appointment For a schedule of exhibitions, visit Body Doubles August 30–September 21 Reception: Thursday, August 29, 4:15 p.m. SITE Sharp Looped September 20–October 12 Reception: Thursday, September 19, 4:15 p.m. SITE Columbus

Gallery Hours Tuesday–Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Closed: November 28–December 1 December 7–January 2 Envisioning Justice August 6 through October 12 Reception: Saturday, August 17, 2:00–5:00 p.m.

SITE Sharp 37 S. Wabash Ave., suite 106

Founded in 1994, SITE is a student-run organization at SAIC for the exhibition of student work. SITE, once called the Student Union Galleries (SUGs), has two gallery spaces: SITE Sharp and SITE Columbus. In addition to curating 11 exhibitions a year, SITE hosts installation workshops, proposal reviews, and a summer residency among other programming. For more information, visit

SITE CURATED October 4–26 Reception: Thursday, October 3, 4:15 p.m. SITE Sharp El Mantel y El Granero October 25–November 16 Reception: Thursday, October 24, 4:15 p.m. SITE Columbus A Discovered Garden November 1–9 Reception: Friday, November 1, 4:15 p.m. SITE Sharp Intolerant November 16–December 13 Reception: Friday, November 15, 4:15 p.m. SITE Sharp

Q&A with Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995)

Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995). Photo: Andrew Kist. Courtesy of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York

What attracted you to art? Probably moving around so much. It was kind of a flattened, consistent thing that I was able to bring with me everywhere. When we would move some place new, we would oftentimes end up in the museum as a kind of introduction to where we were living. I’ve been drawing since I was a toddler, and it’s something that I think my mother encouraged. How does your Native American identity and growing up overseas affect your practice? When I would come back to the United States, race always played a much bigger role than in any other country. In other countries, it was always important that I was American. The Native American side of my heritage would take a back seat. I could engage in a different way. Also, I think just the nature of traveling: you pick up influences and experiences that are outside of your norm and your home life, and it impacts you.

Were there any SAIC faculty members who influenced you? Students would sign up for [Maureen Sherlock’s class] semester after semester. She was incredible and would always oversubscribe her class, so we’d all be packed into this tiny classroom. She preached to us about everything from what she read in the paper that day to something that happened 100 years ago. People who responded well to her were people who had a sense of idealism and wanted to do something with social change. She was the kind of person you hope to meet in an art school.


JEFFREY GIBSON (BFA 1995) is an interdisciplinary artist who addresses issues of identity in his work, which involves installation, performance, craft, and painting. A member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Gibson pulls from his cultural heritage and his experience growing up in urban areas around the world, from Korea to Germany, to create his multifaceted works. Gibson returns to SAIC for his Distinguished Alumni Visiting Artists Program lecture on October 28. For a full listing of VAP lectures, see


Do you have words of advice for current students? If you put your ego down and make work from a genuine, earnest place that you think belongs in the world, I guarantee you someone out there is your age, your generation, your mindset, and looking for that kind of representation. A long time ago someone said to me, “Why don’t you support the people who support you?” Now I really think about that. 

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Lectures Mierle Laderman Ukles, Ceremonial Arch IV, 1988‒2016, 5,000 gloves, steel cages, steel rods, six columns with agency-emblematic materials. Installation view at Mierle Laderman Ukeles:

Maintenance Art exhibition, Queen’s Museum, September 18, 2016‒February 19, 2017. Courtesy


of the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York

VISITING ARTISTS PROGRAM Formalized in 1951 with the establishment of an endowed fund by Flora Mayer Witkowsky, the Visiting Artists Program (VAP) hosts public presentations by some of today’s most compelling practitioners and thinkers to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture. All events are free and open to the public. Learn more at or 312.899.5185. Nayland Blake: Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor Monday, September 9, 6:00 p.m. The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr. Established in 2006 by a generous gift from Bill and Stephanie Sick, this distinguished visiting professorship enables internationally renowned artists and designers to visit and teach at SAIC.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles Tuesday, September 24, 6:00 p.m. The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Re:Working Labor at the Sullivan Galleries from September 21–November 27, and curated by Daniel Eisenberg and Ellen Rothenberg, Faculty Research Fellows in SAIC’s Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice Park McArthur Tuesday, October 1, 6:00 p.m. The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr. Presented in partnership with the Society for Contemporary Art Eddie Opara Tuesday, October 15, 6:00 p.m. The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995), Without You I’m

Nothing, 2018. Photo: Pete Mauney

Nayland Blake, Magic, 1990–91, puppet, steel, paper, wood, nylon straps, artificial flowers, and carrying case, 33 3/4 x 42 5/8 x 41 3/4 inches. ©Nayland Blake, Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery, New York


Jeffrey Gibson: Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series Monday, October 28, 6:00 p.m. The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr. Presented in partnership with SAIC Alumni Relations

Aaron Williamson Tuesday, November 5, 6:00 p.m. The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr. CART captioning will be available on any personal device with internet access OTHER LECTURES Liberal Arts Lecture Series: “From Science to Perspectivism: Nietzsche on Art” presented by Guy Elgat Thursday, September 12 4:15–5:45 p.m. SAIC Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave. 31st Annual Norma U. Lifton Lecture in Art History Monday, September 16, 6:00–7:30 p.m. SAIC Ballroom 112 S. Michigan Ave. Writing Department Visiting Artist: Eduardo Corral Monday, October 7, 7:00 p.m. Poetry Foundation 61 W. Superior St.


Department of Art History Noon Talks Wednesday, October 16, 12:00–1:00 p.m. MacLean Center, room 707 112 S. Michigan Ave. Liberal Arts Lecture Series: “Microcosm; The Hidden Universe in the Ocean” presented by Michele Hoffman Trotter Tuesday, November 12, 4:15–5:45 p.m. SAIC Ballroom 112 S. Michigan Ave. Department of Art History Noon Talks Wednesday, November 13 12:00–1:00 p.m. MacLean Center, room 707 112 S. Michigan Ave.

CONVERSATIONS AT THE EDGE Organized by the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation in collaboration with SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center and SAIC’s Video Data Bank, Conversations at the Edge is a dynamic weekly series of screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists. For more information, visit Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State St. 312.846.2800 ADMISSION $12 general public $7 students $6 members $5 SAIC faculty, staff, and the Art Institute of Chicago staff Free for SAIC students

Zach Blas (Post-Bac 2006), Contra-Internet:

Jubilee 2033, 2018. Image courtesy of SAIC’s Video Data Bank


African Americans in Europe: London, Copenhagen, and Paris Wednesday, October 16, 4:15–6:00 p.m. SAIC Ballroom 112 S. Michigan Ave.


Zach Blas Thursday, October 10, 6:00 p.m. Presented in partnership with SAIC’s Video Data Bank Narcisa Hirsh: Contact Zones Thursday, October 17, 6:00 p.m. Introduced by curator Federico Windhausen

Shengze Zhu (MFA 2017), Present.Perfect., 2018. Image courtesy of the artist

Shengze Zhu: Present.Perfect. Thursday, October 31, 6:00 p.m. Hiwa K Thursday, November 7, 6:00 p.m. Presented in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Chicago

Selina Trepp (BFA 1998), I Work With What I Have, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist

Selina Trepp: I Work with What I Have Thursday, September 26, 6:00 p.m. Presented in collaboration with the live performance with Tomeka Reid, Jason Roebke, and Dan Bitney New Films from the GLAS Animation Festival Thursday, October 3, 6:00 p.m. Presented by curator Jeanette Bonds Rachel Rossin Thursday, October 24, 6:00 p.m.

Filipa César: Spell Reel Thursday, November 14, 6:00 p.m. Presented in partnership with SAIC’s Video Data Bank Image Employment Thursday, November 21, 6:00 p.m. Introduced by curator Aily Nash. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Re:Working Labor at the Sullivan Galleries curated by Daniel Eisenberg and Ellen Rothenberg, Faculty Research Fellows in SAIC’s Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice FA L L 2 01 9

Other Events



OTHER SCREENINGS 25th Anniversary of the Black Harvest Film Festival August 3 through 29 Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State St. Abbas Kiarostami Retrospective September–October Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State St. Viewing Positions September 3–December 10 Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State St. 5th Annual Irish American Movie Hooley September 27, 28, 29 Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State St.

Roger Brown Staging America September 7–8 Museum of Arts of Design 2 Columbus Cir. New York, NY

Graduate National Portfolio Day Saturday, November 2 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Columbus Drive Building 280 S. Columbus Dr.

SAIC Booth at EXPO Chicago September 20–22 Navy Pier

BODIES: SAIC Intro to Designed Objects November 15, 2019–February 16, 2020 Reception: Friday, November 15 5:30 p.m. International Museum of Surgical Science 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.

/DIALOGUES at EXPO CHICAGO Presented in partnership with EXPO CHICAGO, /Dialogues offers panel discussions, conversations, and provocative artistic discourse with leading artists, curators, designers, and arts professionals on the current issues that engage them. /Dialogues takes place at EXPO CHICAGO on Navy Pier. For more information, visit expochicago. com/_dialogues. More Speech: Citizen Artists Forum Tuesday, October 1, 6:15–7:30 p.m. Harold Washington Library 400 S. State St. Graduate SAIC Day Saturday, October 5, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.SAIC Ballroom 112 S. Michigan Ave. Undergraduate National Portfolio Day and Saturday with SAIC Saturday, October 19 3:00–6:00 p.m. Sunday, October 20 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Columbus Drive Building 280 S. Columbus Dr. Open Studio Night Friday, November 1, 5:00–9:00 p.m. Columbus Drive Building 280 S. Columbus Dr.


Trisha and Homer (2018), Sahand Afshar, Amanda Maraist, and Cherrie Yu, New Blood XII. Photo: Ji Yang

New Blood XIII: Festival of Student Performance, Live Art, and Time-Based Media Saturday, November 23 Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave. For all SAIC events, persons with disabilities requesting accommodations should visit

From the Archives

LEE GODIE, OUTSIDER ARTIST, made work that gives us a glimpse into a life lived on the margins of society. Though many of Chicago’s collectors have sought her work, Godie remains something of a mystery. In 1968, at the age of 60, she began selling her work on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago museum. Faculty and students at SAIC first came to know Godie here, frequently purchasing her work and chatting with the creator. During this time, the artist was homeless and lived in the vicinity of Michigan Avenue, stating that she “preferred to be independent.” Godie’s drawings were most often portraits depicting various friends, passersby, and celebrities of the time rendered in her singular style. The artist also used photobooths to take self-portraits

and edited the resulting pictures with watercolor, pencil, and marker to create new and unique images. In 1975, Godie held a gathering in Grant Park unofficially dubbed “The Red Party” to display and sell several of her recent drawings. Attendees, including Roger Brown (BFA 1968, MFA 1970), gathered early in the morning to eat breakfast and buy artwork directly from the artist. The picture here, taken by Brown, shows many of her regular customers holding works bought during the Red Party.


Lee Godie’s Red Party, Grant Park, Chicago, spring 1975. Photo: Roger Brown. Courtesy of SAIC’s Roger Brown Study Collection

Although she was considered an outsider artist, Godie eventually gained enough popularity that the Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago staged several solo shows of her work. Her work continues to be sought after by collectors today.  FA L L 2 01 9

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ON SAIC.EDU/MAGAZINE This issue of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine explores the notion of belonging and underscores the importance of community in creating shared experiences. In June, world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma collaborated with SAIC, the City of Chicago, North Lawndale Sesquicentennial Committee, and civic leaders for a Day of Action using culture and community to confront gun violence. Ma performed alongside Civic Orchestra of Chicago fellow Alexandria Hoffman. Behind the performers were five shovels made from melted guns confiscated in Chicago—a 2017 work called Palas por Pistolas, or Guns into Shovels, by artist Pedro Reyes. After the performance, SAIC President Elissa Tenny joined Ma, Reyes, and local residents and volunteers to plant trees in the park. Learn more about the people and stories featured in this issue, view slideshows of additional photos, and access previous issues by visiting STAY CON N ECTED

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School of the Art Institute of Chicago Magazine, Fall 2019  

The Fall 2019 issue of School of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago Magazine, Fall 2019  

The Fall 2019 issue of School of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine.

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