A Fresh Civility: Queens College MFA Show

“A Fresh Civility,” the Queens College MFA Show curated by John Yau will be exhibited at LIC Artists’ Plaxall Gallery (5- 25 46th Avenue, Long Island City), April 13 - May 13.

“A Fresh Civility” draws timely connections between a diverse selection of artworks by students enrolled in the CUNY Queens College Masters in Fine Arts program (QCMFA). Their works reflect an array of contemporary personal and professional experiences, expressed through a variety of media including but not limited to painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, photography, performance, and social practice.

Curator John Yau writes: “A Fresh Civility is a group show in which the 16 artists focus on a series of questions: What does it mean to be civil in a world in which name-calling and inflammatory positions have superseded dialog and debate?

“How do you approach a world of sensory overload with a fresh perspective, with humor and empathy? How do you remain uncowed at a time when incivility, rumor, misperception and self-righteousness have blanketed the American landscape, like a foul-smelling mist? Working across a wide range of practices— including performance, video, painting, drawing, ceramics, and the making of quilts—the artists in this exhibition—all of them students in the MFA program at Queens College—bring a fresh and challenging viewpoint to these troubling times.”

Through explorations of identity, place, ecology, social equality, mental health, media, communication, and global politics, “A Fresh Civility” demonstrates a set of pertinent questions, often challenging mainstream perceptions of intimacy and community, asked throughout the emerging artists’ work.

Featured artists include Arber Dabaj, Paula Frisch, Eliesha Grant, Cody Herrmann, Tara Homasi, Zaid Islam, Cecilia Judge, Naomi Kuo, Marlon Lainez, Ed Majkowski, Melissa Misla, Ash Morgan, Uno Nam, Julian Phillips, Kathryn Sullivan, and Pedro Felipe Vintimilla.

In his catalogue essay, Yau expresses a contrast between QCMFA and the many academic art programs he has taught at or visited throughout his career, noting: “Ad Reinhardt famously said: ‘All art is political.’ I believe he was right...We might not agree on what constitutes effective political art and, without a doubt, we are not likely to agree on art’s ultimate purpose.

“Everything is up for grabs and this is the way it has always been...the experience of going to the studios at Queens College was an eye-opener.

“Everyone I talked with expressed a palpable enthusiasm and intense determination: they wanted to get something done. It was easy to feel their excitement and seriousness, a powerful combination.”

Join the artists for refreshments and performances at both the opening and closing receptions of “A Fresh Civility” on Friday, April 13, and Thursday, May 10, from 7 – 10 pm, respectively.

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2018-04-01 digital edition