In-Person & Online: Presenting Hunter College’s MFA & MA Exhibitions

10 May 2021

Beginning 14 May, the gallery will present ‘We Were Already Gone’, an exhibition at our West 22nd Street location in the Chelsea Arts District, organized in collaboration with Hunter College. Curated by graduate students in Hunter’s Department of Art & Art History, this exhibition will showcase the work of artists currently enrolled in the school’s MFA Program in Studio Art.

Chris Berntsen Erotohistoriography Riis 1955/2017 2019, Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Anthony Cudahy 2021, Photo: Néstor Pérez-Molière

‘We Were Already Gone’ spotlights the diversity and holistic approach that have situated Hunter uniquely among American institutions devoted to higher education in the arts. The show will present an array of works across mediums, with sculpture, painting, and videos that confront the global cultural and political reckoning underway.

Hunter College’s acclaimed MFA Program in Studio Art is deeply rooted in and nourished by its engagement with the cultural ecology of New York City. For decades, its alumni and faculty have helped to shape the landscape of contemporary art, making significant contributions to the field as artists, critics, curators, and educators.

Our ongoing collaboration with Hunter College reflects the gallery’s longstanding commitment to arts education and community building.

Artist Firelei Báez, Hunter College MFA ‘10 says, ‘When I went to Hunter, it was this wild thunder dome of possibilities. It was a place for unlearning all the things I mastered before, of really examining and recontextualizing my place in the Western canon. And I’m very grateful to professors like Susan Crile, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and Nari Ward, for teaching me to expand beyond and acknowledge and revel in the stories in the places I grew up in, and to give room and open new doorways for people after me, just like they did. Following in their footsteps. I’m very grateful and proud to be an alum.’

As part of our ongoing collaboration, Hauser & Wirth artists Matthew Day Jackson and Rashid Johnson did studio visits with 3rd year MFA thesis candidates. Of the experience Day Jackson noted, ‘It’s the responsibility of us, the older generation, to be a resource to the younger students as they navigate these times, along the way we might learn something too.’

Matthew Day Jackson at Hunter College. Photo courtesy Phillip Spradley

Installation view, ‘We Were Already Gone’ at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street. Photo: Thomas Barratt

‘The invitation from Hauser & Wirth to set up an online platform for the thesis shows came during the first summer of COVID. At that point, we were, to be frank, panicking about what we were going to do so the thought that we would be able to have this platform that students could have their work seen was absolutely incredible.’—Carrie Moyer, Director of Hunter MFA Program

Sydney Shavers Rose Mount Rose 2021, Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Sisi Chen 2021, Photo: Néstor Pérez-Molière

About ‘We Were Already Gone’

‘We Were Already Gone’ was conceived and curated by the students of Hunter’s graduate class, ‘Curate, Create, Critique,’ taught by curator and professor Joachim Pissarro. For the exhibition, the participating students – who come from both the Art History and Studio Art departments – chose to focus upon the effects of the year 2020, with its global pandemic accompanied by political unrest, learning through a virtual sphere, and lack of human touch and connection. Impacted individually and collectively by the turmoil of last year, the students found their organizing principle in Jacques Derrida’s term ‘hauntology,’ which refers to the persistent presence of the past in our current moment. The works on view in ‘We Were Already Gone’ form an invitation to assemble remnants of the past into a new foundation for a hopeful future.

At our building on West 22nd Street, the exhibition will unfold across the gallery’s clerestoried fifth floor space. The paintings, sculptures, drawings, and video works on view explore questions of memory and notions of the avatar or virtual self, and survey the effects of absence and isolation. Some of the participating artists are contemplating the past, using their work to define the ways memory shapes life in the present day. Others are questioning how – and if – we can individually and collectively dismantle outdated, inherited systems in order to rebuild anew.

'We Were Already Gone' was curated by Hunter MA and MFA students Dana Notine, Jonas Albro, Daniel Berman, Dante Cannatella, Anna Cone, Sarah Heinemann, Mercedes Llanos, Amorelle Jacox, Liza Lacroix, Kimberly Nam, Joseph Parra, Lorraine Robinson, and Sigourney Schultz.

Hunter College 2021 MFA Thesis Online Spotlight

In addition to the physical exhibition, the gallery will feature the graduating students from the Hunter College’s MFA program in Studio Art, in a follow-up to digital spotlight presented in Fall 2020. This new online showcase for Spring 2021 will include texts from each artist, as well as photographs and videos that further illuminate the working processes and vision behind their practice.

In addition to this digital exhibition that launches on 14 May, Hunter College will continue to host physical presentations of the MFA Thesis candidates this spring. For more information on the Thesis Exhibitions and the MFA Program in Studio Art at Hunter College visit:

About the Hunter College MFA in Studio Art

The Hunter College MFA Program in Studio Art offers students the time, space, and critical framework to develop their artistic practice. Located at 205 Hudson Street in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, the affordable, three-year program provides exposure to the changing ideas and forms of contemporary art. Students have unique access to an array of opportunities in the New York art world. Hunter's educational goal is to develop professional artists capable of sustaining their practice once they leave the structure of an academic environment.

- To learn more, visit Hunter College MFA.