MFA Painting Grads Bring First Exhibition to Renovated Art Gallery

BU Art Galleries - MFA Painting 2020

New doors, new walls, new light-sensitive windows opening the space up to Commonwealth Ave. The Stone Gallery at Boston University Art Galleries is re-opened to the BU community after a year offline for renovations, and the first show in the revamped space is a celebration of CFA’s own. Painting alums from the Class of 2020, whose time on-campus was cut short in the spring due to the pandemic, have their work on view this month. The show will then travel to Ortega y Gasset Projects in New York City at the end of the month, a professional launch for the alumni. 

The CFA School of Visual Arts’ MFA Painting program, ranked #6 in Painting and Drawing programs nationally in US News & World Report, also collaborated on a website in the spring to showcase the work of the Class of 2020.

The class of 2020 includes fifteen artists who use oil and acrylic paint, drawing, animation, papermaking, photography, casting, and even cultivate fungi, among their processes. “Some tell stories, visualizing histories that have been erased,” says Professor of Art and Chair of Graduate Studies in Painting Josephine Halvorson. “Others picture post-apocalyptic futures or allude to ancient symbols of life and language. For others, sensation is prioritized, where the mediumistic quality of paint traces interior worlds, rendering them tactile and proximate. For many, their work exists in response to real-time events and the shifting sociopolitical landscape. Definitions and re-definitions of globalization, gender, humor, and health are inscribed into the surfaces of these artworks, graphically, and in full color.”

As is to be expected from a year that has turned the world on its head, 2020 has been a challenging time for the newest graduates. Halvorson reflected on the students’ resiliency as artists during this difficult year. “Courageously, they have insisted on clear-eyed critical thinking,” says Halvorson. “They have followed their education through, forging new ways to create and sustain community and practice. They have shown that to make art is to make sense of the world, no matter how complex it is, envisioning a future through making.”

Can’t make it in to see the exhibition? Check out the virtual gallery walk-through.

MFA Painting: Class of 2020

October 8 – 21, 2020

This exhibition celebrates the work of the emerging artists from the MFA Painting class of 2020, including:

Jana Benitez
Anna Berlin
Liza Clement
Hana Yilma Godine
Yoav Hainebach
Kelley Harwood
Maggie King Johns
Julian MacMillan
Josh Richards
Mack Sikora
Alex Stern
Charles Suggs
Madison Vander Ark
Diana Walsh

Organized by Lucy Kim, Assistant Professor of Art – Painting and Interim Chair of Graduate Studies in Painting, and Lissa Cramer, Managing Director of BU Art Galleries

BU Art Galleries - MFA Painting

BU Art Galleries assistants install the 2020 MFA Painting Show in Stone Gallery.

Visiting the Gallery

BUAG has opened its new glass doors to BU students, staff, and faculty, with a few caveats. Due to the pandemic, visitors outside of the BU community are not permitted access, but virtual tours of the exhibitions will be available online. The gallery has also implemented new social distancing practices for this year, including a designated entrance, social distancing, and mandatory mask-wearing.

Follow @buartgalleries on Instagram for exhibition highlights, behind-the-scenes peeks at installation, and more!

Explore BUAG

Dedicated to serving the Boston University community, as well as the Greater Boston and New England public, the Boston University Art Galleries are committed to a culturally inclusive and interdisciplinary interpretation of art and culture. Located within walking distance on the Boston University campus, the Faye G., James, and Jo Stone Gallery and 808 Gallery maintain an ongoing schedule of temporary exhibitions that focus on contemporary international, national, and regional art development. For more information, visit


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