In August, my cohort in the MFA program – ten artists representing seven countries – realized a major project together, a group exhibition at Flutgraben, an artist space in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood.
During our January residency together in Mexico City, we decided on the theme of co-a-lism – merging our interests in coalescing across boundaries of geography and media, our belief in the importance of coalitions, and our playful reference to the many -isms of art history. (Modernism, Expressionism, why not co-a-lism?) We worked with that theme for the next seven months, thinking together across time and space, and coordinating so many logistics. Jo+Michelle Piper designed the exhibition catalogue, for which two stellar colleagues, Susie Quillinan and Elena Marchevska, wrote essays. We printed the catalogue but it is also available online.
The experience on-site was so much greater than I had anticipated. We spent time together and we helped each other with installation. I spent many hours embroidering in the space, surrounded by my peers and by the recorded voices speaking my Letters to the Future. And the public exhibition opening, as well as our public MFA defenses and dialogues, were so well-attended that we were very pleasantly surprised. It was a day of surprises and emotion – a surprise engagement, a performance that nearly resulted in an arrest, a graduation celebration after the exhibition, and the joy and adrenaline and exhaustion that accompany such monumental efforts.
Since I returned to work 2 days after returning home from Berlin, I’ve hardly had time to process the experiences. But I am eternally grateful for the ways in which this MFA program transformed my work and my thinking, for the relationships that were forged through the process, and for the doors that it opened and will continue to open. I miss these people dearly and eagerly anticipate our next steps of working together.
I enjoy the way most of the work accommodates itself into the domestic environment! What a wonderful experience.