A semester that began with the February 15 Main Building fire will end on a celebratory note as senior drawing and painting students affected by the fire prepare to show their thesis work in Flameproof, a group show to be held in Manhattan. The show was organized by Pratt with the assistance of prominent gallerist Larry Gagosian.
Fire recovery efforts are taking shape on campus as well. Last month, senior painting students relocated to temporary studio spaces constructed in the ARC Building, and all their salvaged art was returned.
Flameproof will display the works of 44 undergraduate students in the BFA program on the eighth floor of the iconic International Style skyscraper at 375 Park Avenue. As the New York Times reported, the high-profile show has been “an exciting watershed in a healing process,” motivating students to throw themselves back into their work.
“Having the senior Fine Arts exhibition in such a prime location in Manhattan is a dream come true for many of our students,” said President Schutte. “The caliber of work that will be on view at Flameproof illustrates their commitment to their work and the process. The Pratt community is grateful to Larry Gagosian, and we are very excited about the show.”
The gallery space has been donated by the building’s owner, Aby Rosen of real estate company RFR Holding, while the exhibition itself is being underwritten by trustee emeritus and alumnus Bruce Newman.
“It was important for me to get involved and help the Pratt students move forward,” said Gagosian. “I, too, have experienced loss due to a fire and was inspired by their perseverance to continue to create art.” (Gagosian lost many paintings in a fire at his Hamptons home in 2011.)
The students chose the show’s title, Flameproof, as an expression of their determination that—even in the aftermath of a disaster—their creativity will thrive. The work ranges from gestural and geometric abstraction to work that incorporates images from the Internet, mass media, as well as hip hop and skateboard cultures. The show is curated by Eugenie Tsai, the John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
The exhibition will feature drawings and paintings produced by students before and after the fire. In addition to the Institute’s own commitment, generous in-kind and monetary donations enabled students to begin creating new works right after the fire.
Meanwhile on campus, the cleanup of Main Building is almost complete, and the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees is in the process of approving an architectural firm for the renovation and restoration of the damaged structure, including its roof.
To see how senior painters have bounced back since the fire, please watch Painting Students Find Their Groove.
Thursday, May 9–14
11 AM-6 PM; on May 14, 11 AM-5 PM
375 Park Avenue (between 52nd and 53rd streets), 8th Floor
Text: Amy Aronoff, Bay Brown
Photo: Peter Tannenbaum