M.F.A. Exhibition: Meditations in an Emergency

For emerging artists today, the environment in which they create is one marked by distraction and preoccupation. Meditations in an Emergency — whose title is borrowed from Frank O’Hara’s 1954 poem — suggests how to make work in a time of disruption. The studio, whether it be in a physical room or lodged in the mind and imagination, is a space to pause and think, a generative space that does not run counter to the world at large, but is positioned at a certain distance and remove from it. It provides a way for an artist to create in a time of crisis, moving beyond gut reaction to a headspace that is more contemplative and insightful.

Meditations in an Emergency brings together 11 candidates of Cornell University’s M.F.A. program who, through their varied approaches, reveal individual notions of what art can be. Some give primacy to the materials employed while others are led by research-based methods, and still others play off the tension between subjectivity and authorship, content and form, or the power of the image and its ability and inability to convey meaning. The exhibition aims to make tangible what O’Hara describes as “the ecstasy of bursting forth” — a sense of birth and renewal. By bringing together the individual work into one exhibition, each artist contributes to dialogue about art and its making that extends beyond their immediate communities, into a larger conversation that is inherently international in reach and multigenerational in scope.

Featured Artists: Robert Andrade, Piotr Chizinski, Amie Cunat, Gabrielle Jesiolowski, Gabriela Jimenez, Daren Kendall, Baseera Khan, Ruth Oppenheim, Benjamin Rubloff, Farideh Sakhaeifar, Bernard Yenelouis

Organized and curated by Christopher Y. Lew, assistant curator of MoMA PS1.