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MAD Announces Fall 2016 Artist Studios Program Residents and Van Lier Fellow

Featuring artists Uta Bekaia, WonJung Choi, Carla Duarte, Jes Fan, Amal Khan, Sophia Narrett, and Rodger Stevens

New York, NY (October 6, 2016)

NEW YORK, NY (October 6, 2016) – The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) announces the 25th session of its Artist Studios Residency Program, as well as the second recipient of its Van Lier Fellowship. The selected artists, who will work in the Museum from October 2016 through January 2017, are Uta Bekaia, WonJung Choi, Carla Duarte, Jes Fan, Amal Khan, Sophia Narrett, and Rodger Stevens. Fan is the Museum’s Van Lier Fellow.
“We are delighted to have so many multidisciplinary artists coming to work with us,” said Carli Beseau, Manager of Artist Studios and Docent Programs at the Museum. “Many of the new residents use performance as a communication tool, and this will give visitors a great chance to see how the fields of visual and performance art can converge with craft-based practices.”
MAD’s Artist Studios Program assigns open studio space on the Museum’s sixth floor to emerging and mid-career artists and designers for four-month periods. These artists work in the Museum one day per week; the Van Lier Fellow, whose fellowship is supported by the New York Community Trust, works at MAD full-time. “Working at MAD positions me at an intersection of craft and contemporary art,” said Fan. “It’s a fertile ground for generating a meaningful dialogue on identity politics.”
Museum visitors are encouraged to stop in the studios, watch the artists as they work, and ask questions about their craft, process, and inspiration. This open dialogue offers the predominantly young, early-career artists the opportunity to learn how to talk about their work, and to interact and interpret their work for the greater public. MAD is the only museum in New York City that hosts working contemporary artists in studios open to the public at all times, offering an unparalleled experience for visitors. The Artist Studios Program has served more than 130 artists and designers since it started in 2008.
Additionally, residents and fellows have the opportunity to host one MADmakes workshop every residency cycle. MADmakes is a drop-in, hands-on educational series that invites visitors to learn the artists’ own methods and test their skills at art making and creative production. The series engages visitors in various techniques and ideas, facilitating greater understanding and appreciation of workmanship. Great for visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and interests, MADmakes workshops are free with Museum admission. They will take place as follows:
Thursday, October 27, 6 pm – Amal Khan
Thursday, November 10, 6 pm – Jes Fan
Thursday, December 15, 6 pm – Rodger Stevens
Thursday, January 19, 6 pm – WonJung Choi
The Artist Studios Pecha Kucha Talk and Closing Reception will take place Friday, January 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm.
The Fall 2016 Artist Studios Residents and Van Lier Fellow were selected from over 350 applicants by the Artist Studios Selection Committee, made up of Museum staff members and outside professionals in the fields of art, craft, and design.
The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship at MAD serves six emerging artists over two years. The fellowship is designed to reach young artists at a critical juncture when financial and professional support will allow them to take their careers to the next level. Fellows are offered a dedicated studio where they work alongside residents in the Artist Studios Program, in addition to other professional development opportunities. Both fellows and residents work in a live studio environment where visitors are encouraged to engage with artists as they work. The fellowship furthers the Museum’s commitment to providing engaging opportunities at the intersection of artist, object, and personal experience. Applicants selected for the fellowship at MAD presented a mature body of work that revealed a mastery of techniques, methods, processes, and materials, and that demonstrated developed concepts, ideas, and themes.


Amal Khan

Amal Khan is a multidisciplinary artist from Saudi Arabia. She utilizes multiple image-making processes, video, and sculpture to explore gender and identity politics, and to critique the idea of power and privilege in a male-dominant country. Her work explores how symbols and stereotypes within a system can be redefined through actions, performance, and imaginative play. At MAD, Khan will use the kaffiyeh, a traditional Middle Eastern male headdress, as an object to question what it means to  abstract, appropriate, and reuse heavily loaded symbols. Her process will include removing individual threads from the fabric and using them as a new material. Khan received an MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design and a BFA in Studio Art at San Francisco State University. She has exhibited nationally and lives and works in Brooklyn.
Sophia Narrett
Sophia Narrett makes embroideries driven by fantasy and desire. Her recent work explores role-play, the emotional results of escapism, and the evolving nature of identity. With a mixture of vulnerability and satire, Narrett collages images gleaned from the Internet into new narratives, describing her own feelings while building a larger commentary on gender, the social implications of images, and our collective unconscious. Her allegorical approach to emotional and existential experiences opens the work to each viewer’s projections. At MAD, Narrett will be creating a piece that will connect multiple scenes within one embroidery. The juxtaposition of images will tell a story that points to the immersive and potentially transformative experience of love, and collaborative emotional and sexual play. Narrett received an MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design and a BA with Honors in Visual Art from Brown University. She has attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and has exhibited nationally.
Carla Duarte
Carla Duarte is an artist, writer, and gardener, whose interdisciplinary practice includes performative sculpture and design inspired by the teachings found within Eastern philosophy. At MAD, Duarte will be working on an emergent body of work utilizing wool from local livestock. She will be felting over slabs of wood and continuing to create her soft sculptures of wool and sand. Duarte received an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after studying textile and ritual in Southeast Asia. She is actively engaged in consciousness research and has taken part in various residencies and apprenticeships. Duarte lives and works in New York.
Uta Bekaia
Uta Bekaia creates multimedia performances and installations featuring wearable sculptures. His work explores his own historical and cultural background, genetic codes, and cycles of the universe. He experiments with various media and has most recently been fascinated with his Georgian culture, specifically the country’s carpet and tapestry tradition. At MAD, Bekaia will work on an ongoing project entitled “Finding Paradise,” which explores mysteries of numerology and codes in language, such as South Caucasian Georgian. He will create, or reinvent, a costume inspired by tribal, sacred, ritualistic costumes of Caucasus to be presented as a sculpture, performance, and video. Bekaia studied Industrial Design at Tbilisi Mtsire Academy and has worked on numerous theater and movie projects as a costume designer. He was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and currently lives and works in New York.
WonJung Choi
WonJung Choi investigates the process of mutation and evolution undertaken by diverse organisms in order to adapt to their surroundings. Her paintings, drawings, and installations explore the power of her ever-changing identity. At MAD, Choi is further developing her sculpture armor for fish, made from antique silverware, chain mail, and other antique metal parts. This work is a continuation of earlier works, in which Choi created fish that took on different traits and characteristics, adjusting to their evolving environments by creating “hybrid” identities. Choi received an MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, as well as an MFA and a BFA in Sculpture from Hongik University, Korea. She has been featured in US and international exhibitions, and her work is in permanent and private collections in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Korea.
Rodger Stevens
Rodger Stevens is a sculptor whose principal medium is wire. His work, though abstract in nature, is firmly rooted in narrative and draws heavily upon literature, history, and personal experience. The objects he makes embody carefully wrought stories—notions—and, through composition and form, are intended to speak to their viewer. At MAD, Stevens will focus on wearable objects, involving drawing; the shaping, hammering, and riveting of brass wire; and a tremendous amount of thinking. Stevens earned degrees in both Economics and Fine Art and spent six formative years at the Sotheby’s auction house in New York. Born in Brooklyn, he is now an internationally exhibited artist, and his work resides in numerous collections.


Jes Fan
By navigating intersections of identities, Jes Fan’s work embodies the pliable space between binary categories. Fan uses materiality to understand otherness, as it relates to identity politics including gender, race, and labor. As a Van Lier Fellow at MAD, Fan will be casting a 150-pound barbell into silicone and aqua resin, which will eventually be embedded into a glass sphere. Fan will also be working on a new project pushing the boundaries of a glass technique previously employed in the piece WHATNOTS. For this project, Fan will work with public-access glass studios in Brooklyn and New Jersey, and will engage with visitors about the process of mold-making and glassmaking techniques. Fan received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Fan has exhibited in New York City and internationally and is a recipient of various fellowships. Fan currently resides in Brooklyn.
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. The Museum will be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee 60th Anniversary this year.

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