sfai news

November 04, 2013

SFAI Announces Appointment of Aziz + Cucher as Artists-in-Residence and Guest Faculty to Lead Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art Program

The San Francisco Art Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of SFAI alumni Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher as artists-in-residence and guest faculty to lead the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art program for Summer 2014. Known to the art world as Aziz + Cucher, the collaborative duo are renowned pioneers in the realms of digital media, photography, and multichannel video installation.

Left: Aziz + Cucher, Maria, 1994–95. C-print, 50 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Right: Aziz + Cucher, Chris, 1994–95. C-print, 50 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artists.

Graduates of SFAI’s MFA program (Aziz, MFA Photography, 1990; Cucher, MFA New Genres, 1992), the team earned critical acclaim with their breakthrough series Dystopia (1994–95), a series of portraits digitally manipulated so the subjects’ facial features appear to have turned inward. The work is considered pioneering as it was one of the first to use Photoshop in a strictly fine arts context, paving the way for contemporary digital explorations and other hybridized photography/new genres practices in contemporary art. Later works continued to conceptually engage the interplay between the human and nonhuman, and the natural and technological, with imagery drawn from landscape, architecture, and the body.

Aziz + Cucher’s work has been exhibited extensively, including at venues such as the 1995 Venice Biennale, the 1999 Biennale de Lyon, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, SFMOMA, and the International Center of Photography (ICP), among numerous other international centers of art and culture. Their work is represented by Clampart, New York; Gazelli Art House, London; and Artereal, Sydney. Both Aziz and Cucher are presently on the faculty at Parsons The New School for Design, New York.

The artists have noted their investment in SFAI, and their eagerness to contribute to an educational community that profoundly nurtured their own creative practices at formative and pivotal moments in each artist’s development. As students in the 1990s, the artists were drawn to the Institute’s legacy of experimentation and innovation, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum:

“It was a very welcoming community for people from all over the world to come together to discover and forge new paradigms of art-making. It was essentially a graduate laboratory that fostered a sense of real possibility, and at the time, there was not a lot of collaborative work being created in the art world; however, we were fortunate to discover synergies between our disciplines and disparate cultural backgrounds, and we were able to merge our practices into a single body of work. Because of the way the Institute was designed—and still is structured—that kind of unexpected synergy was able to occur.”

The artists commented further: “It is emotional for us to consider coming back and spending time at SFAI. There’s a sense of duty that we feel, having gotten so much as students, to be able to give something back and do something meaningful for the school and its current student body.”

To learn more about Aziz + Cucher, visit: www.azizcucher.net


The Program

SFAI’s Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art program provides an exciting interdisciplinary context in which emerging artists develop and refine their work while engaging the historical, theoretical, sociopolitical, and creative concerns of the contemporary moment. Founded on the principle that critical inquiry and experimentation are at the forefront of art-making, the program fosters students’ use of their own questioning to generate a sustaining and vital creative practice.

The three-year program offers the rigor of a full-time MFA program in a flexible format ideally suited for artists who wish to develop their work without sacrificing a professional career or commitment. Students work with faculty during intensive eight-week summer sessions in San Francisco, and independently—with guidance from artists in their home communities—during the fall and spring. Summer sessions combine critiques, art history and critical studies seminars, visiting artist lectures, and individualized tutorials to create a comprehensive studio- and research-based curriculum. The program culminates with the highly celebrated MFA Exhibition.

The priority deadline for applications for Summer 2014 is January 15, 2014. To speak with an admissions counselor, email: admissions@sfai.edu