Stage Presence, Thesis Exhibition for the Bard MFA Class of 2024, Presented by the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts
In its standard usage, the phrase “stage presence” refers to a performer’s capacity to command the attention of a room. The phrase was also used by art critic Michael Fried in 1967 to condemn minimalist artists’ rejection of modernist artistic values of autonomy and absorption. In Fried’s account the minimalists instead embraced “the situation” in which an art object and viewer existed together, reflexively confronting an audience with their relationship to viewing. Following Fried’s essay, the phrase has had many more lives within artistic contexts, from a postmodern reclamation to a contemporary embrace of its more commonplace associations.
When taken together, the distinct artistic practices of the Bard MFA Class of 2024 resonate with issues of stage presence. Experimentation with display structures; activations of text in space; investigations into mapping and absence; disruption of voice and conventional notions of authorship; emphasis on the scale of the body; and integration of theatrical techniques such as props or backdrops are just a few of the strategies by which these artists explore modes of presence, viewership, and relationality.
The Bard MFA thesis exhibition features works by MFA candidates Kaur Alia Ahmed, June Canedo de Souza, Francesse Dolbrice, Camonghne Felix, Christina Graham, Tallulah Haddon, Lara Carmen Hidalgo, Sam Lasko, Khan Lee, Lotte Leerschool, Eli Benjamin Neuman-Hammond, Mira Putnam, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Natalia Rolón Sotelo, Francie Seidl Chodosh, Sydney Spann, Allie Taylor, Lauren Tosswill, Nora Treatbaby, Marty Two Bulls Jr., Sam Wenc, Alexa West, and Drew Zeiba.
Stage Presence is coordinated by Marina Caron (MA ’23), a graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard). Caron is a curator, writer and researcher based in New York City. Her thesis exhibition, Bettina: The Fifth Point of the Compass, focused on the work of the prolific and under-recognized artist Bettina Grossman (b. New York, 1927; d. New York, 2021).
Post Date: 07-14-2023