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Visual Arts Students, Alumni to Participate in Venice and Prague Biennales

By Kristin Sterling

"Night Sculpting" by Dana Schutz

This summer the School of the Arts (SOA) will be represented at one of the oldest, and one of the newest international art exhibitions -- the 50th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition (June 15- November 2) and the 2nd Prague Biennale (opening June 28) respectfully.

One year after graduating from the School of the Arts Dana Schutz will participate in both exhibitions. She was selected for the "Clandestine" section within the Venice Biennale where she will have four oil on canvas paintings on exhibition: "The Breeders," "The Chicken and Egg," "Suicide" and "Lovers."

Schutz says the Clandestine section comprises younger artists who have various approaches to art. While it is not a cohesive group show, Schutz points out that this diversity fits with the Biennale's overall theme this year, which reflects on the idea of the 'large scale international exhibition,' questioning the validity of such an exhibition as representative of the current status of contemporary art.

At the end of June she will travel to Prague, where she will have three new paintings on exhibition in that Biennale: "Fifty Foot Queenie," "P.J. Harvey" and one unnamed work in progress.

"Prague is a new international art show with a lot of younger artists," says Schutz. "It will be a very energetic show."

"Beyond the Borders I" by Kamrooz Aram

She will return to New York in the fall when she will teach a figure painting class at Columbia's School of the Arts. In addition to Schutz, Visual Arts Professor Rirkrit Tiravanija is one of the curators at the 50th Venice Biennale and a recent recipient of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucelia Artist Award for his pioneering approach to the creation and presentation of art.

In conjunction with the Venice Biennale, Columbia is the only university in the United States invited to participate in a special student program. In the weeks leading up to the Biennale opening Will Kwan (SOA'04) and Rachel Foullon (SOA'04) are joining students from art schools in countries ranging from Australia and China to France and Slovenja in creating site-specific artworks to be displayed outdoors along the path between the two main exhibition areas: Giardini and Arsenale.

The title of the student show is "Recycling the Future," in which artists will work to create a street of possible worlds, physical places and renovated ideas from the past that will be relevant to the future. The entire project will be created while the students are in residence in Venice. The opening of this exhibition will coincide with the press opening of the Biennale, June 12, and participating universities will be represented in the official catalogue.

Prior to leaving for Venice, neither Kwan nor Foullon had ideas in mind for the project. "I want the experience of Venice to help fabricate the results," says Foullon. "I want to use materials and technologies that are available locally -- things that are specific to Venice -- rather than transplanting what I do here."

Kwan echos her sentiment. "Since it is a site-specific project, many of my decisions will be determined by responses to the site," he said. "Being trained as a performance artist, my intuition is toward something performative, event-based and ephemeral."

As Kwan concludes his four-week residency in Venice, he will head to Prague where he and Schutz will participate in the Prague Biennale, along with SOA students Kamrooz Aram, Jose Leon Cerrillo and Karel Funk.

For his project in Prague, Kwan has been working with a New York-based Lithuanian curator who has created a "Lithuanian pavilion" for the Biennale. Kwan's project involves trying to identify and communicate with Lithuanian expatriate/immigrant communities in the New York region. His installation in Prague will consist of research and documents related to his efforts to infiltrate these communities. This project will continue on to the Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, Lithuania, as part of the "24/7" exhibition.

Columbian Funk will have three untitled acrylic on panel paintings exhibited in Prague, while Aram will exhibit two 5'-by-7' oil on canvas paintings entitled "Beyond the Borders II" and "Beyond the Borders III." He sums up the feelings of many by saying, "This is the first time I am showing my work internationally and it is pretty exciting."

Published: Jun 16, 2003
Last modified: Jun 13, 2003

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