The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) will present an exhibition of student artwork with an opening reception on Wednesday, April 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center, 81 Barclay Street in lower Manhattan. The exhibition will feature paintings, photography, drawings, sculpture, graphic design and other types of work, and will be on display through May 8.
"Much of the students' work came out of new, higher-level art classes that have been developed since BMCC's two Associate of Arts degree programs—Art Foundations: Art History and Art Foundations: Studio Art—came into existence in 2015," says Peter Greenwald, Professor of Art. "Specifically, visitors will see some thesis-level artworks in this show. The students propose and then execute a body of work within their concentration."
Through these capstone classes, he explains, students create a portfolio of work to support their transfer to top art and design schools, including Queens College, CUNY, with which BMCC has an articulation agreement allowing Art Foundation graduates to enter as juniors.
"The students are looking at their work in an increasingly critical way," Greenwald says. "They're cataloguing it, building their websites; all with the intention of presenting themselves as artists with a unique vision and relationship to their medium."
A growing curatorial team
As the last pieces of Year in Review were being installed, Curatorial Assistant Elsy Benitez came on board at BMCC.
“I’m excited to join the team at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center," Benitez says. "Seeing the installation for the Year in Review exhibition is a pleasant way to familiarize myself with student work and the art program at BMCC. From a curatorial perspective, student exhibitions are valuable for students to gain exposure and begin to understand the processing of curating and installing exhibitions.”
Benitez has more than 10 years of experience in curating exhibitions and working with a variety of institutions. She served as an artist assistant for Documenta 13, an international art festival in Germany, and assisted with the Laszlo Moholy-Nagy exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her M.A. in cultural studies with a focus on contemporary art from University of Leeds, England, in 2013 and a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Art History from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her research is focused on representations of intimacy, community and identity.
About the Shirley Fiterman Art Center
The Shirley Fiterman Art Center is dedicated to organizing exhibitions of contemporary art and cultural programming, through which it seeks to promote and enrich the educational mission of BMCC. The Shirley Fiterman Art Center provides a venue for diverse gallery programs, fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and cultural understanding, and serves as a resource for the BMCC and lower Manhattan communities. Artist talks, tours, workshops and other programs, as well as all exhibitions, are free of charge and open to the public.
The Shirley Fiterman Art Center is a not-for-profit organization housed in BMCC’s Fiterman Hall. The original structure, built in 1959, was donated to CUNY on behalf of BMCC in 1993 by Miles and Shirley Fiterman. Irreparably damaged in the attacks of 9/11, when Word Trade 7 fell against it, the building was rebuilt and reopened in 2012. Among other distinctive features, the Fiterman Hall features a spacious, ground-floor gallery that aims in part to honor the legacy of the Fitermans.
Leading philanthropists and collectors, the Fitermans amassed a collection based on a deep passion for art and artists, and a profoundly held belief in the transformative and inspiring power of art and culture. The Fiterman family has also demonstrated ongoing commitment to BMCC’s mission to serve students from New York City, across the United States, and from countries around the world, who are working to improve their lives through education.
For more information contact ShirleyFitermanArtCenter@bmcc.cuny.edu, or call (212) 776-6237, Tuesday through Saturday from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Shown within article, top to bottom: "Self Portrait" by Liz Cartagena and "Self Portrait" by Shuqi Li