Community Board at Glasshouse: an MFA Art Practice Group Exhibition

By Simone Couto (MFA AP14)

Community Board is the collective exhibition organized by the second graduating class of participants of the MFA Art Practice Program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. The curatorial task of bringing all works together was given to the AP faculty member and deputy chair of MA Curatorial Practice, Jovana Stokic.

The exhibition reflects the group’s identity and the holistic nature of the program, conceptualized and directed by the curator, writer and former museum director, David Ross: a tremendously rich and diverse one. The artists come from multiple backgrounds. They work in several medias including film, performance, object production, investigations of biological and environmental art, and socially engagement art. Two threads weave their practices together: They are research oriented— an exhibition does not necessarily mean that the work is finished and most of these participants work interdisciplinarily towards installation formats.

The title “Community Board” suggests that this exhibition embodies community formation and culture production from the viewpoint of multiplicity. Since its exhibition at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn last year, rather than producing a show around a common theme or concern, the participants have been more interested in the collective engagement of their diversified works and practices and the unexpected outcomes. Community Board challenges the current Western notion of community formation and its myth of belonging, both based upon concepts of sameness and immunity. The sociologist Richard Sennett explains in his book The uses of Disorder how this process is done:

The “we” feeling, which expresses the desire to be similar, is a way for men to avoid the necessity of looking deeper into each other; instead, men imagine that they know about each other, and their knowledge becomes a vision of how they must be the same.“[1]

Because of its diverse nature, the exhibition also challenges the notions of hierarchy and power distribution within the community. Community Board’s curator Jovana Stokic describes it as “a self-organizational system as a process where some form of order arises out of local interactions between the components.” When Stokic writes “in order to keep this process spontaneous, it (the system) cannot be directed or controlled by any agent or subsystem. I am here only to contribute to this choreography.” This generous statement opens up her own function to new interpretations, which include an organic and fluid exchange of knowledge between artist and the curator.

An exhibition such as Community Board, which is based on the multiplicity of distinctions, is thought provoking. It instigates dialogue. It changes the role that artists play in contemporary art and society.

Board Picks or 3 Ways to Enter the Community: 

1. Alfredo Travieso


Hard-On, please! |  Plastic Reproduction of Christian Louboutin Shoe, Magazine | Dimensions: Variable  | 2014 2. Henry G. Sanchez

TOXIC TALISMAN: Egret Talisman | Contaminated Soil from English Kills, vitrine | 2013 3. Simone Couto

Água. Single Channel Video. 4 mins. Loop. Concept by Simone Couto and Production by Marcos Kuzka | 2014

[1] Richard Sennett, The Use of Disorder: Personal Identity and City Life, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1992, p.39

“…it is primarily a performance about rest and second chances; about revisiting the collective and individual past, and trying to heal it.”

Ernesto Pujol (AP Faculty) speaks about his upcoming “Time After Us” performance with Juliana Driever of Bad at Sports. 

Image: “Flux,” Ernesto Pujol with Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins & the Silsila Collective, Istanbul Modern, Turkey, 2013

Is quality in art subjective? How do you evaluate digital art? How can art affect social change? Is political art housed in a museum actionable? Must art be enjoyed? How is the monetary value of an artwork determined? How does monetary value relate to aesthetic value? Under what conditions is an object considered art or not art? How can the artist take responsibility for what becomes of a work after it’s sold? Should artists be concerned about the reception of their work? Should artists have to live up to their works of art? 

David A. Ross, self-described “recovering museum director,” current Chair of the MFA Art Practice program at the School of Visual Arts, and formerly the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of American Art, and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art will give his take on your questions about art. 

The “art world” is a conversation. Join the conversation. 

Please submit questions for consideration to artpractice@sva.edu and include “Ask a Recovering Museum Director” in the subject line. Selected questions will be published on the Art Practice blog and may appear in other SVA Publications. 

The world often celebrates idiots who lead with their ego. (Who cares?)
I am not interested in the story of your past I am interested in how you make up the story of your future.
Only when you go in as far as out will you ultimately end up in the same place yet forever changed.
What did you expect a meritocracy?
You are one of many and that is unique.
—  Robin Winters (MFA AP Faculty)