MFA report: Hrag Vartanian finds “home” in RISD painting studios

Christian Berman

MFA exhibitions invariably must encompass a vast range of disparate material, and it’s a stiff challenge for a guest curator to create a unified show that frames a cohesive experience for the viewer. This year, the RISD MFA Painting Program invited Hrag Vartanian, the talented editor and co-publisher of Hyperallergic, to curate the MFA exhibition for its painting students. Vartanian decided to view the work through the lens of “home,” a notion that he feels has gained powerful symbolic value during a tumultuous and uncertain period for the nation and the world.

Installation view: RISD MFA Exhibition at Morgan Lehman
Installation view: RISD MFA Exhibition at Morgan Lehman
Installation view: RISD MFA Exhibition at Morgan Lehman
Installation view: RISD MFA Exhibition at Morgan Lehman

“These artists, like most in this exhibition, avoid clear narratives in favor of poetic moments of discovery and exploration,” writes Vartanian, who spent part of his childhood in the now war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo. “While many have an inward looking preoccupation with home, others are clearly looking to global power structures and their impact on people’s sense of security and safety.”

RISD MFA Painting,” curated by Hrag Vartanian. Morgan Lehman, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through August 18, 2017. Artists include Marisa Adesman, Christian Berman, Sanie Bokhari, Ada Goldfeld, Molly Kaderka, Arghavan Khosravi, Rebecca Levitan, Saif Mhaisen, Gina Palacios, Ohad Sarfaty.

Related posts:
Message to the MFA class of 2014
What MFA means in Detroit
Remarks to young artists at UConn’s 2013 Art & Art History Convocation

 

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