Visiting Artists

Each semester, the School of Visual Arts’ Contemporary Perspectives Lecture Series invites renowned professional artists, designers and critics to engage with the SVA community. Undergraduate and graduate students benefit from exposure to the lecturers’ work, entering into dialogues about the art-making process, as well as benefiting from individual studio visits and critiques. Visiting artist lectures are free and open to the public.

2014-15 Visiting Artists


Josephine Halvorson
Monday, November 17, 6:30 pm
Jacob Sleeper Auditorium, 871 Commonwealth Ave.
Josephine Halvorson creates intimate paintings of objects from everyday life, seen close-up. Working on-site and finishing a painting in one session, Halvorson seeks a one-to-one emotional relationship between herself and the object, and between the painting and the viewer. Her subtle, muted images of doorframes, gravestones, blackboards, stoves, and industrial machinery carry a surprisingly human softness, as details and imperfections reveal themselves through the process of slow looking to address history, perception, and our relationship to the built environment.
Halvorson holds a BFA from The Cooper Union and a MFA from Columbia University. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Vienna, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Award. She currently serves as a Critic in the MFA program in Painting at Yale University.



Stefan Sagmeister
Thursday, February 12, 6:30 pm
Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave.
Stefan Sagmeister is a New York-based graphic designer and the co-founder of Sagmeister & Walsh, Inc. His bold style and careful sense of craft expands to photography, video, bookmaking, murals, installation, and more. He has also designed album covers for Lou Reed, OK Go, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, and Aerosmith.
Solo shows of Sagmeister’s work have been mounted in Zurich, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Japan, Osaka, Prague, Cologne, and Seoul. His exhibition The Happy Show, exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, explored the challenges of wellbeing and fulfillment in contemporary society through sometimes extreme, sometimes humorous self-experiments. Sagmeister is currently working on a documentary on the same subject, called The Happy Film. He teaches in the graduate department of the School of Visual Arts in New York and has been appointed as the Frank Stanton Chair at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York.



Mickalene Thomas (Tim Hamill Lecture)
Monday, March 16, 6:30 pm
Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave.
Mickalene Thomas is a New York-based artist whose paintings, collages, photographs and videos re-examine popular culture and art history through a highly personal lens. Predominantly working in acrylic and enamel, alongside unconventional materials such as sequins and rhinestones, Thomas employs vibrant colors and lush pattern-mixing in her wildly energetic compositions. Her portraits of black women and studies of interiors embrace cultural and spatial fragmentation, creating a kaleidoscopic vision that recasts traditional notions of beauty, gender, race and representation.
Thomas earned her BFA from Pratt Institute and her MFA from Yale University. She has exhibited widely at spaces such as The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; The Brooklyn Museum; The Santa Monica Museum of Art; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo; and The Studio Museum Harlem. She is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris.



Huma Bhabha
Wednesday, March 25, 6:30 pm
Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Huma Bhabha pushes the limits of human figuration with sculptures of grotesque dignity. Combining basic construction materials such as wood and Styrofoam with found objects, Bhabha explores the concept of the hybrid figure – natural and artificial, human and animal, aggressor and victim all compete for space in her totemic objects and visceral drawings. Her figures are powerful metaphors for the global citizen: precarious, unstable, prone to misinterpretation; yet highly frenetic, adaptable, and charged with a sense of fierce autonomy. Juxtaposing Western Classicism and Primitivism with a uniquely contemporary sense of urgency, her work reveals the nuances and contradictions of Power, urban decay, and the human spirit.
Bhabha received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from Columbia University. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Royal Academy in London, The Gwangju Biennial, the Paris Triennial, and the 2010 Whitney Biennial.



Janet Echelman
Thursday, April 2, 6:30 pm
Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave.
Janet Echelman is an installation artist who creates public sculptures on a massive scale. Her billowing, luminescent forms are created from intricately woven industrial netting, suspended above the viewer and activated by changes in light and weather conditions. They have nestled within cityscapes, filled museum atriums and concert halls, and hovered over urban green spaces at sites across the world including Singapore, Madrid, Rotterdam, Denver, Stuttgart, Seattle, and Kyoto, to name a few. Reaching across disciplines, Echelman collaborates with industrial manufacturers, architects and civic leaders to bring her creations to life. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages and been viewed by over one million people worldwide. Her upcoming project for the Rose Kennedy Greenway – her first installation in her home city of Boston – debuts in the spring of 2015.

Artist’s Lectures from 2006 and onward are available on the Boston University BUniverse website.