Newsletter Spring 2015

Interview with Dr. Ted Coons, February 15, 2015

Interview Conducted by Taliesin Thomas, Cohort ’13, IDSVA Newsletter Editor

Dr. Ted (officially Edgar Elliott) Coons is a Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University (NYU), arriving there in 1965.  As an undergraduate, he studied music composition and theory at Colorado College (B.A., 1951) and then—after a stint in the Air Force—again at Yale University (toward an M.A.).  There, however, he soon switched his career goals and, as a research assistant and, later, graduate student in the Yale Psychology Department, he got his Ph.D. in 1964 in what is now known as systems neuroscience.  In 1967, an encounter with the Electric Circus made a profound impression both on him and on it that became a lasting adventure to be unfolded below. With its mix of light shows, music, circus performance and experimental theater, the Electric Circus embodied the wild and creative side of 1960s alternative culture.

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Alfredo Jaar speaks at the IDSVA Commencement, January 2015

By Kate Farrington, Cohort ’11

Alfredo Jaar, one of the foremost international artists of our times, delivered this year’s honorary degree recipient address at a warm and celebratory graduation ceremony at the Eventi Hotel in New York during the winter residency. Jaar ended his talk with a curious slide – an image of himself wandering about on a New York street corner wearing a billboard emblazoned with the words “Teach us to Outgrow Our Madness.” As is our tradition, this talk served as a master-class—so what is his lesson for us?

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The First Annual IDSVA Student Exhibition, January 2015, NYC

By Rowynn Dumont, Cohort ’13

As former Chair of the Board for the 1st Annual Student Exhibition at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, I have been asked to write something about this very special moment during our January 2015 Residency. The idea for the 1st Annual Student Exhibition came about in a most impossible way. The previous year, Wilson Hurst and I were looking at some prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Viewing these breathtaking images inspired us to consider the subject of creating our own book of student works. I casually brought up the idea with George Smith, and out of the blue he said, “What a great idea! Why don’t we have a show to go along with the book?” In replied that I thought this was a famously wonderful idea and suddenly I found myself appointed to the position of Chair of the Board for the 1st Annual Student Exhibition at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. 

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Visit to Simonetta Moro’s Studio

By Louise Carrie Wales, Cohort ’13

The 2015 New York residency was peppered with visits to the finest collections and museums, punctuated by top shelf galleries and exhibition. The crowning jewel of the week, however, was cohort 13’s visit to Simonetta Moro’s rooftop artist’s studio in DUMBO. While I had listened to her artist lecture expertly delivered in Spannocchia last summer, and thus, was somewhat familiar with her oeuvre, seeing the visual manifestations of her ideas emerging in present moment was a truly treasured delight.

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Visit to Dia Beacon, NY

By Gabriel Reed, Cohort ’13

As a newbie Septemberist, I couldn’t think of a more perfect re-introduction to NYC than the IDSVA New York Residency 2015. I felt blessed to finally meet the faculty, staff, cohorts ’14 and ’13 while co-creating a continuous conversation of heartfelt inquiry throughout morning coffee and paper presentations (shout-out to the endless supply of lifesaver mints). Tucked between trains, museum visits and a Pace Gallery panel discussion on Happenings, the dialogue persisted as a continually present gift.

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Chris Ofili at the New Museum, NYC

By Keren Moscovitch, Cohort 14

IDSVA’s Winter Residency in New York City included an illuminating trip to the New Museum, an institution that has become a leader in the presentation of experimental practices and philosophically engaging exhibitions. Our visit began with a tour of Chris Ofili: Night and Day by Margo Norton, assistant curator, who gave an historical analysis of Ofili’s work and insight into the dynamics of his practice. A highlight was the painting Holy Virgin Mary (1996), a piece that had been the target of NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s wrath in 1999 during the Brooklyn Museum’s controversial Sensation show. 

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Visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC

By Jeff Siemers, Cohort 13

Gallery visits are one of the great components of IDSVA’s residencies. During the New York City residency, students spend the mornings presenting their research and their understanding of the role of the artist-philosopher, and in the afternoons they are able to visit some of the best museums in the world. One of the museums we visited was the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.  The exhibition on display was ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s.  This exhibition highlighted the German artist group named ZERO (which also expanded to other artists from Europe, Japan, and North and South America) that displayed works extending from painting to sculpture.  

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Seeking the Sacred at the Rubin Museum, NYC

By Christina A. Barber,’13

It was the first week of January and the air was crisp in New York City. Navigating the city with fourteen PhD students was Dr. Moro, pointing out architectural details, curiosities in the shop windows and saving students from the bustling traffic. We were on residency and we were reunited, walking in pairs down the street, sharing stories and ideas. We were searching the skyline for some passage in shared memory - recounting Marx, Nietzsche and Freud as we made our way to the Rubin Museum of Art. 

 

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ICP: International Center for Photography

By Lorena Morales, Cohort 13

IDSVA’s Cohort ’13 experienced the ICP’s Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition Genesis as part of the New York City Second Year Residency.  The photographs nostalgically document remnants of untouched halcyons that remain elusive to development, thus colonization.  Martin Heidegger would consider the dialectics of Salgado’s work through the poet Friedrich Hölderlin: 

But where danger is, grows
The saving power also...
... poetically man dwells on this earth

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Plurality of Learning: Experiencing Humanity

By Paige Lunde, Cohort 13

Reading a recent NY Times Op Ed article, I became distinctly aware of the ‘very real’ possibility that we might “be denied…to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth” (Heidegger 14). In “Digitizing the Humanities,” Armand Marie Leroi speaks about the digitization of the humanities, which equates to reducing the study of human culture to a monological form of data that can be accessible for scholarly study. 

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