sfai news

April 20, 2012

SFAI Presents 2012 Graduate Events

The San Francisco Art Institute, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious contemporary art colleges, is proud to showcase an impressive body of student work during the 2012 Graduate Events. Continuing the school’s legacy of innovative thinking and experimentation, this year’s events offer an exciting opportunity for nearly 100 emerging fine artists to unveil publicly their work in painting, photography, printmaking, film, sculpture, installation, digital media, and performance. 

SFAI will stage its Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Graduate Exhibition and Vernissage Preview Party at the Phoenix Hotel in the Tenderloin from May 10–13; the MFA Film Screening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) on the afternoon of May 11; and its Master of Arts (MA) Thesis Symposium at SFAI’s historic Russian Hill campus on May 7. These unique events give the public a chance to engage with new talents in the Bay Area art scene at some of the most prominent art venues in the city.

MFA Graduate Exhibition

SFAI’s graduating MFA students will transform the iconic Phoenix Hotel for four days, displaying their art—including many site-specific pieces and collaborative installations—in guest rooms, poolside, and throughout the hotel. Their diverse, ambitious work will highlight distinct points of view as well as new, cutting-edge directions in art today.

“The MFA Graduate Exhibition is one of the most exciting times for SFAI’s Graduate Program, when we see in one place the manifestation of two years of labor, sacrifice, and commitment by a new generation of artists ready to contribute to the landscape of contemporary art and culture,” says Tony Labat, Director of MFA Programs. “The Bay Area has always been at the forefront of artists and curators seeking alternative spaces for exhibition and production, and this exhibition continues that important tradition.”

The public is invited to purchase tickets to SFAI’s exclusive Vernissage Preview Party, the premier annual fundraiser for the nonprofit institution, held in support of student scholarships. Guests will be the first to mingle with and view the work of the graduating artists, while also enjoying food, drinks, and live performance art.

Preview Party ticket-holders at the patron level will receive early entrance and a guided tour of the exhibition by a curatorial guest from one of the region’s top museums, including Lucinda Barnes, Chief Curator and Director of Programs and Collections at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; Julian Cox, Founding Curator of Photography for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Chief Curator at the de Young Museum; Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Betti-Sue Hertz, Director of Visual Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; and others.

Location: The Phoenix Hotel
601 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Preview Party: Thursday, May 10, 6–10 pm
Tickets start at $200. Call 415.749.4512 or purchase tickets online.

Vernissage Opening Reception: Friday, May 11, 6–8 pm
Free and open to the public

Exhibition Dates: Friday, May 11 to Sunday, May 13
Open daily noon–10 pm
Free and open to the public

MFA Film Screening 

SFAI partners with SFMOMA to showcase works by graduating MFA Film students. From an experimental documentary about the Occupy movement to an animated short starring an otter and lemur living in a submarine, the films highlight the artists’ engaged and idiosyncratic approaches.

“In the 21st century, it is our mandate to create groundbreaking, original, and hybrid storytelling,” says Lynn Hershman Leeson, Chair of the Film Department. “We are proud to screen works by students who incorporate the spirit of experimental cinema, which artists at the San Francisco Art Institute pioneered, into unique and compelling cinematic visions.”

Location: SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
151 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Date: Friday, May 11, 1–3 pm
Free and open to the public

MA Thesis Symposium

Graduating students in SFAI’s Master of Art Programs in Exhibition and Museum Studies, History and Theory of Contemporary Art, Urban Studies, and the MA/MFA Dual Degree will present selections of their completed theses in a day-long public event. Engaging a diverse range of topics across global contemporary art practices, the Thesis Symposium represents the capstone of a two-year process of research, critical inquiry, and writing. This year’s cohort has taken up such subjects as the place of the Iraqi National Museum in the public imaginary, the resituating of Ana Mendieta for contemporary Cuban artists, and the “crude politics” of aesthetic radicalism in the post-Soviet context.

Location: San Francisco Art Institute, Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Date: Monday, May 7, 10 am–5 pm
Free and open to the public