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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Thursday
Dec022010

Staff Focus

Nick Battis 

Director, Department of Exhibitions

 

Perhaps you could start by giving an overview of the main gallery spaces at Pratt—how do they differ from one another?
The Department of Exhibitions organizes four exhibition spaces on campus. Pratt Manhattan Gallery is structured to be Pratt’s contribution to the cultural landscape of New York City. Much like a non-profit gallery, our mission is to present exhibitions of innovative and challenging work by artists, architects, and designers, from the U.S. and abroad. In addition to exhibitions, our programming includes an education program of lectures, publications, seminars, and conferences.

Schafler Gallery has evolved into the main campus gallery devoted almost entirely to providing students, faculty, and alumni with a professional exhibition space that reflects the diversity of our Pratt community.

The President’s Office Gallery showcases the work of faculty by invitation from President Schutte or by the Department of Exhibitions.

Now, we have a new gallery space, the Admissions Gallery in the new Myrtle Hall. We are excited to mount the first recent graduate exhibition in this beautiful space that has great natural light and that will serve to welcome prospective students and their parents to Pratt. 

How does Pratt Manhattan Gallery differ from other galleries nearby in Chelsea or in other parts of the city?
New York City offers a wealth of exhibitions, so to be unique is quite a challenge. When I first became Pratt’s Director of Exhibitions in January 2007, I spent some time trying to figure out what our role would be in the New York and Chelsea gallery community. As a non-profit space, we have to be careful not to duplicate what is going on in the commercial galleries. One way to do that is to organize more theme-based group shows. Though this in itself was not enough to establish a unique identity.

A clue as to how to distinguish ourselves came from our exhibitions committee, which recommended we pursue a political art exhibition to coincide with the 2008 presidential election. I had the pleasure of working with Eleanor Heartney and Larry Litt who guest-curated the exhibition “Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning.” Our goal with this exhibition, the political comedy series “Pratt Falls,” and the public art/voter registration center was to inspire the art and design student, who up until this point was apathetic towards voting. This combination of a strong exhibition with an added level of social responsibility emerged as a direction for our program. I also looked to Pratt’s own academic goals and realized that the gallery could also play a strong role in supporting sustainability and cross-disciplinary works. It turned out that the presidential election brought out more young voters than we anticipated. Even so, I saw a direction for our program begin to emerge.

Our gallery is also removed from the Chelsea scene geographically. For this reason, I don’t the think the Chelsea designation is that meaningful to us. Rather, I hope to see a new cluster form with our neighbors Parsons, NYU, the Rubin Museum of Art and other arts related organizations in the area. What I call “East Chelsea/Village.”

What have been the most memorable exhibitions in your time at Pratt?
Having watched Tower One of the World Trade center fall from the fourth floor of Pratt’s Main Building, I would have to say “9/11: Pratt Artists Respond” at the Schafler Gallery, was one the most memorable exhibitions I have worked on. I honestly don’t remember the work that much, most people were in a daze at that time, but the feeling of trying to aid in the healing of the campus community was rewarding. 

Photo: Diana Pau

Thursday
Dec022010

FACULTY AND STAFF NEWS AND NOTES

Lara Allen has joined the Division of Institutional Advancement as research manager. Prior to joining Pratt, she served as a research analyst at the International Rescue Committee. She has also previously worked for the American Folk Art Museum and Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

Lonn Combs, adjunct assistant professor, Undergraduate Architecture, spoke as part of  “New Practices 2010 Winner Presentation: EASTON + COMBS” at the Center for Architecture on November 4. Combs is currently a principal of EASTON + COMBS. 

A film by Lisa Crafts, visiting assistant professor, Film/Video and Photography, titled The Flooded Playground, was screened in the Big Screen Project on November 17 as part of the Curatorial Program of the New York Foundation for the Arts. Crafts’s film Desire Pie was recently screened at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. 

Nicole Ferree has joined the Division of Institutional Advancement as a new development associate. Ferree has a background in political fundraising and campaigning, and has worked on several political campaigns. Most recently she served as director of scheduling and special assistant to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Deborah Gans, professor, undergraduate Architecture is collaborating with artist Kiki Smith to create a stained glass window as part of the restoration of the historic 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side. The project was recently featured on CBS News Sunday Morning and WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show

Work by Haresh Lalvani, professor, undergraduate Architecture, is on display at de Castellane Gallery in Brooklyn. The work is an exhibition of sculptures inspired by designs in nature. He was also interviewed about his theories of genomic architecture by PSFK blog on November 8 in an article titled “Genomic Architecture Built From Simple Codes Of The Natural World.” 

“Oils and Water,” new paintings by Frank Lind, professor, Fine Arts, will be displayed at 210 Gallery through January 2, 2011. Click here to view pieces from the exhibition

Suzanne McClelland, visiting associate professor, Fine Arts, was awarded a 2010 Anonymous Was A Woman grant and $25,000 for her work in painting and visual art.

Photographs by Paul McDonough, adjunct associate professor, Film/Video and Photography, from Paul McDonough: New York Photographs 1968–1978 will be on display at Sasha Wolf Gallery through January 8. The exhibition opened on November 4 with an Umbrage Editions book launch in honor of McDonough’s newly published monograph.

Donna Moran, chair, Fine Arts, was elected to serve on the College Art Association’s Committee on Women in the Arts effective February 2011–2014.

Mark O’Grady, a practicing painter and chair of Pratt’s associate degree program from 1999–2010, returned to Pratt in fall 2010 as a tenured professor in the associate degrees program teaching Light/Color/Design and Painting. During his time as chair, O’Grady developed and implemented A.A.S. programs in painting/drawing and graphic design/illustration; expanded the Digital Design and Interactive Media (DDIM) major within the A.O.S. programs; served as a chair representative of the School of Art and Design on Pratt’s Academic Senate from 2004–2010; and chaired the Faculty Development Fund Committee. O’Grady is a board member of the New York Artists Equity Association and will serve as a national juror for the 2011 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. O’Grady’s artwork is housed in many private and public collections and has been exhibited internationally, most recently in New York, Boston, Barcelona, and Belfast.

Peter Patchen, chair, Digital Arts, was featured on BRIC Arts|Media|Bklyn network’s Neighborhood Beat show.  

Beth Warshafsky, adjunct professor, Foundation Art, participated in the “Follow The Sound” festival in Antwerp, Belgium, for which she created two animated video projections for collaborator Gerry Hemingway’s live performance. A retrospective of Warshafsky and Hemingway’s work since 1993 was also exhibited at this festival. This summer, their visual/sound collaboration, titled “The Visiting Tank,” was shown at the 9th Korea Experimental Arts Festival and at the BITT Festival at Artang Gallery in Seoul. 

Smarthistory.org, an online, interactive art history textbook founded by Steven Zucker, chair, History of Art and Design, was featured in a November 23 Chronicle of Higher Education article and a November 18 Huffington Post piece.