ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL
Mar. 26, 2010 

"MENTORS" AT SVA
Fancy a spot under the wing of youthquake photography superstar Ryan McGinley? What about with author-turned-Oprah foe-turned-art dealer James Frey? Or how about with brainy Artforum editor Tim Griffin? Well, those are the kinds of opportunities that 80+ School of Visual Arts photography BFA students got with the most recent round of the institution’s "Mentors" program. The pairings are set up by photography department chair Stephen Frailey, who chooses mentorships based on the direction of the student's work. As to the structure of the mentorships, it is described as "variable" in character, depending on what kind of sparks fly between participants. The artistic results of the 2010 collaborations are currently on view in a show at the SVA’s Visual Arts Gallery at 601 West 26 Street, Mar. 19-Apr. 3, 2010.

Worthy figures who donated their time as SVA mentors include critic-curators Vince Aletti (teamed with Aaron Boldt), Mia Fineman (Alex Bush) and Neville Wakefield (Nathaniel C. Shannon); artists Tina Barney (Dani Saul), Gregory Crewdson (Michelle Labriola), Tim Davis (Carly Planker), Liz Deschenes (Inga Moren), Adam Fuss (Katherine Schweitzer), K8 Hardy (Kelly Hopper), Laurel Nakadate (Kyle Ganson) and Taryn Simon (James Thomas Josephs); and dealers Jen Bekman (Elizabeth Ribuffo), Bonnie Benrubi (Anna DePalma), Yossi Milo (Matt Kushan), Yancey Richardson (Helen Ann Michelsen) and Julie Saul (Stephanie DelMonte).

SCAD OPENS HONG KONG GALLERY
As a prelude to opening its full Hong Kong campus, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has unveiled its SCAD Gallery in the Asian city’s central art district, at 30-32 Wyndham Street. The inaugural show at the art space is dubbed "Generation SCAD," Mar. 15-May 21, 2010, highlighting some 30 works by SCAD students, professors and alumni, in a range of media, from installation to animation to traditional painting. Look for the work of SCAD alumni Caomin Xie, a 2001 grad, who offers five paintings which play with notions of abstraction.

The SCAD Hong Kong campus opens September at the former North Kowloon Magistracy Building in the city’s Sham Shui Po district. The curriculum focuses on digital media. It is now taking applications. More information is available at www.scad.edu/hongkong

SOME MFA SHOWS
It used to be that only savvy dealers like Jeffry Deitch would troll the art school MFA shows to see what the up-and-coming talent looked like. But these days of increasingly web-savvy students and schools presumably hold the promise that we all get to take a peek (check the links):

* Opening Apr. 6 is the first of two MFA thesis exhibitions at New York University’s Steinhardt school, at 80WSE Gallery. The exhibition promises work that mingles "extravagance and contemplation," ranging from busy oil-on-canvas abstractions by Ji Yoon Koo to what look to be some great videos of people dressed up as wolves by Jason Martin. Other students in the show are Allan Bailey, Jennie Hagevik Bringaker, Alex Jovanovich and Allison Somers. A second part of the thesis exhibition, featuring students Sonja Engelhardt, Daniela Libertad, Joe Namy, Amelia Saul, Heather Sherman, Elaine Cameron-Weir and Gustabo Velazquez opens on May 4. As a bonus: The first part of the exhibition also coincides with the debut of a new window installation by Steinhardt alumnus Nate Lowman.

* The Massachusetts College of Art and Design presents its own "MFA Thesis Shows" in three parts: April 19-26; April 30-May 8; and May 14-25. On view in the college’s Bakalar & Paine Galleries, the exhibition promises work in a variety of media. Students are Jordan Bentley Ricks, Kim Bernard, Gretchen Burger, Stephanie Cardon, Amanda Joy Feagle, Beth Ireland, Courtney Lockemer, Sarah Lubin, Marc McNulty, Sarah Alice Moran, Adrian Negenborn, Anthony Oliveto, Johanna Warwick, Christopher Carroll, Olivia Glascock, Wilson Harding Lawrence, Laurel McMechan, Carrie Strine, David Thacker, Elizabeth Thatch, Kevin Thrasher and Gregory Vershbow.

PAFA HOSTS "ANNUAL STUDENT EXHIBITION"
Less web-savvy, but still interesting: The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) is set to host its 109th "Annual Student Exhibition," May 15-June 6, 2010, a chance for the school’s MFA and BFA students to strut their stuff, and for the general public to pick up a student work at "accessible prices." While there are no links to work by the various students (that we could find), some 38 MFA candidates will show work on the second floor of PAFA’s Hamilton Building, while "at least" 90 Certificate and BFA students are to be featured in the school’s downstairs galleries.

In addition to being a showcase, the "Annual" also serves as competition for a series of Travel Scholarships from the Women's Board of the Academy, which underwrites the exhibition. A "Preview Party" hosted by the Women’s Board to benefit these scholarships also serves as "first look" for the "Annual," May 13, 5-8:30 p.m. Tickets available at www.wbsecure.org

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