SVA presents MFA in Art Criticism & Writing Spring 2009 Lectures/Call for Application

SVA presents MFA in Art Criticism & Writing Spring 2009 Lectures/Call for Application

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

February 2, 2009
SVA presents MFA in Art Criticism & Writing Spring 2009 Lectures/Call for Application


in the School of Visual Arts new venue:
Visual Arts Theater, 333 West 23rd Street,
between 8th and 9th Avenues

Free and open to the public

“Anonymous and Particular”
Thursday, February 12, 7 pm

Poet and critic John Yau will discuss the common motifs found in the work of artists Jasper Johns, Catherine Murphy, and Thomas Nozkowski. The reason for isolating and discussing these properties is to dissolve the barriers confining artists to such categories as Pop art, realist, and abstract art. The lecture will begin with Jasper Johns’ painting Green Angel (1990), in which the artist introduced a motif whose origin is unknown, and which he has thus far refused to disclose. Why did Johns, who first gained attention for his use of familiar and identifiable things (American flag, target, ale cans, and coffee can), introduce a motif that cannot be identified? Was he being deliberately hermetic? Was he trying to irk viewers and critics alike? Or was there another reason?

John Yau teaches at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, and is the author of The Passionate Spectator: Essays on Art and Poetry, A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns, and many other books of poetry, fiction, and art criticism.

“I Swear I Saw That”
Thursday, March 5, 7 pm

Anthropologist and writer Michael Taussig will speak on drawings in anthropological fieldwork notebooks and the sanctity of the image.

Taussig is a professor of anthropology at Columbia University and the author of many books, including Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America, Mimesis and Alterity, The Magic of the State, My Cocaine Museum, and What Color Is the Sacred? which examines the spiritual presence of color in contemporary life.

“Nietzsche Loves You”
Tuesday, April 7, 7 pm

Art introduces a vitality capable of hosing down the strictures of morality. The necessarily subversive force of art and play challenges the stability of morality as we know it, and when in concert with science, repels those life-depleting tendencies slavishly beholden to moralistic descriptions. Avital Ronell presents the dossiers of Friedrich Nietzsche, the most ferocious defender of art as a necessity, as an indispensable hotline for suicide-prevention.

Avital Ronell is a professor of German, comparative literature, and English at New York University, and the author of the Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech, Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania, Finitude’s Score, The Test Drive, and Stupidity. The UberReader: Selected Works of Avital Ronell, edited by Diane Davis, appeared in 2008.


The MFA in Art Criticism & Writing program at the School of Visual Arts is accepting applications for the Fall 2009 semester.

The Art Criticism & Writing graduate program at the School of Visual Arts offers a two-year course of study leading to an MFA degree.

For students who want to improve their writing and advance their knowledge of contemporary art, theory, and history, this program offers specialized instruction from practitioner-teachers led by the Chair of the program, David Levi Strauss. Current faculty includes Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, Robert Hullot-Kentor, Raphael Rubinstein, Tom Huhn, Ken Johnson, Suzanne Anker, Susan Bee, and Bill Beckley.

The core faculty is joined by visiting critics and scholars who come into the program in various capacities on a frequent basis. Publisher of the Brooklyn Rail Phong Bui, Art in America senior editor Nancy Princenthal, and poet and essayist Ann Lauterbach all visited our Thesis Seminar in the spring, and Leo Steinberg conducted a special seminar for our students this fall. Recent visiting lecturers include Bill Berkson, Carol Becker, W.J.T. Mitchell, and Susan Buck-Morss.

The early decision deadline for applications was January 15, 2009. We are now accepting applications on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.

To download an application, go to, or contact [email protected], (212) 592-2408 to arrange an interview or visit.

Image above:
Green Angel (1990) by Jasper Johns.
The painting is in the Collection of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

For more information go to:

RSVP for SVA presents MFA in Art Criticism & Writing Spring 2009…
School of Visual Arts (SVA)
February 2, 2009

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School of Visual Arts (SVA) will be in touch.


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