Reimagining the M.F.A.

Close up of a person painting a brown image on white paper.
Christine McDonald (M.F.A. '22) in her studio in The Foundry. William Staffeld/Cornell AAP
students drawing at easels facing a figure model
Fine arts class, Lincoln Hall. Photograph. ca. 1900. photo / provided
Two people looking at a painting propped on a wall in a person's studio.
Visiting artist Stephanie Syjuco in studio with Kirk Henriques (M.F.A. '21). William Staffeld/Cornell AAP
Christine McDonald (M.F.A. '22) in her studio in The Foundry. William Staffeld/Cornell AAP Fine arts class, Lincoln Hall. Photograph. ca. 1900. photo / provided Visiting artist Stephanie Syjuco in studio with Kirk Henriques (M.F.A. '21). William Staffeld/Cornell AAP

Art at 100

As the Department of Art celebrates its 100th anniversary this academic year, join a panel and public discussion addressing AAP's Master of Fine Arts program, moderated by Art Chair Paul Ramírez Jonas and Assistant Professor of Art Leeza Meksin with guest panelists Catherine Haggarty, Teiger Mentor in the Arts Emily Jacir, and Yoshua Okón. 

This panel will be delivered in-person with an option to join online, please register here to attend the panel via Zoom.

To view the full programming of our anniversaries click here.


Paul Ramírez Jonas

Paul Ramírez Jonas is a Brooklyn–based practicing artist and educator whose work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include Museo Jumex, Mexico City; The New Museum, New York City; Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Aldrich Contemporary Museum, Connecticut; The Blanton Museum, Texas; a survey at Ikon Gallery (U.K.) and Cornerhouse (U.K.) in 2004, and a 25-year survey at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston in 2017. Selected group exhibitions at P.S.1; the Brooklyn Museum; The Whitechapel (UK); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Ireland); and Kunsthaus Zurich. He participated in the 1st Johannesburg Biennale; 1st Seoul Biennial; 6th Shanghai Biennial; 28th Sao Paulo Biennial; 53rd Venice Biennial and 7th and 10th Bienal do Mercosul. His projects Key to the City (2010) and Public Trust (2016) were presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York, and by Now & There in Boston, respectively.

Before coming to Cornell, Ramírez Jonas was an Associate Professor of Art at Hunter College in Brooklyn, New York, where he taught for nearly 15 years. Ramírez Jonas earned a B.A. from Brown University (1987 )and an M.F.A. in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design (1989). He is represented by the Galeria Nara Roesler in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and New York.

Leeza Meksin

Leeza Meksin is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, installation, textiles, public art, and multiples. She has created site-specific installations for The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, National Academy of Design, Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, The Kitchen, BRIC Media Arts, Regina Rex, and Brandeis University. In 2013 she cofounded Ortega y Gasset Projects (OyG), an artist-run gallery and curatorial collective in Brooklyn, which she continues to codirect. In 2015 Meksin received the emerging artist grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and in 2019 was awarded an artist residency at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Her work has been featured in BombThe New York TimesHyperallergicChicago Tribune, and The Village Voice, among other publications. Prior to arriving at Cornell, Meksin taught in the visual arts program at Columbia University School of the Arts (2015–21), where for three years she was the Director of the Graduate program as well as the head of the New Genres concentration. Meksin received a joint B.A./M.A. in comparative literature from University of Chicago; a B.F.A. from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art.


Catherine Haggarty

Catherine Haggarty is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Haggarty's paintings and curatorial work have been reviewed by and featured in Bomb Magazine, Hyperallergic, Artnet, Two Coats of Paint, Brooklyn Magazine, The New York Times, Maake Magazine, Art Maze Magazine, The Observer and Sound and Vision Podcast. Solo exhibitions include: Geary Contemporary, Massey Klein Gallery,  This Friday Next Friday , Bloomsburg University, One River School of Art and Design, Proto Gallery, & Look and Listen in Marseille France.  Select group shows include: The PIT (LA), Mindy Solomon (Miami), Morgan Lehman, Markel Fine Art and Hesse Flatow (NYC). Catherine has been a visiting artist & lecturer at Boston University M.F.A., University of Oregon, Pratt University, MICA, Hunter M.F.A., Denison University, MICA M.F.A., UCONN M.F.A., Cornell B.F.A.,  Purchase M.F.A., Brooklyn College M.F.A. & Penn State University. Haggarty earned her M.F.A from Mason Gross, Rutgers University in 2011. Currently, Haggarty is an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts (SVA). Haggarty is the co-founder and current Director of The NYC Crit Club.

Emily Jacir

As poetic as it is political and biographical, Emily Jacir's work investigates translation, transformation, resistance, and movement. Jacir has built a complex and compelling oeuvre through a diverse range of media and methodologies that include unearthing historical material, performative gestures, and in-depth research. Her work spans a range of strategies including film, photography, sculpture, interventions, archiving, performance, video, writing, and sound. Her works have been widely exhibited, and she has been honored for her achievements with several awards including a Golden Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) for her work Material for a film; a Prince Claus Award from the Prince Claus Fund in The Hague (2007); the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum (2008); the Alpert Award (2011) from the Herb Alpert Foundation; and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome (2015).

Jacir has had recent solo exhibitions at Alberto Peola (2021); IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin (2016–17); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015); Darat il Funun, Amman (2014–15); Beirut Art Center (2010); and the Guggenheim Museum, New York City (2009); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2004); OK Offenes Kulturhaus Oberösterreich, Linz, Austria (2003– 04). Her work has been in major international group exhibitions and collections, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; dOCUMENTA (13) (2012); Venice Biennale (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013); Sharjah Biennial (2011); 29th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2010); 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006); Sharjah Biennial 7 (2005); Whitney Biennial (2004); and the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003). 

Jacir has been actively involved in education in Palestine since 2000 and deeply invested in creating alternative spaces of knowledge production internationally. She is one of the founders and was a full-time professor at the International Academy of Art Palestine in Ramallah from 2007 to 2017 (when the academy closed its doors) and she served on its academic board from (2006–2012). Jacir led the first year of the Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace Program in Beirut and created the curriculum and programming (2011–2012), she also served on its curricular committee from 2010 to 2011. Between 1999 and 2002, Jacir curated several Arab and Palestinian Film programs in NYC with Alwan for the Arts while also teaching several workshops at Birzeit University. She conceived of and co-curated the first Palestine International Video Festival in Ramallah in 2002. In 2007, Jacir curated a selection of shorts; Palestinian Revolution Cinema (1968 -1982) which went on tour internationally. Jacir formed a school, Live Free or Die, at the Firestation in Dublin in the summer of 2019. In conjunction with her survey show Europa at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin in 2016–17, she organized a two-week workshop titled To Be Determined (for Jean) for her students in Ramallah alongside Irish participants. She was the curator for the Young Artist of the Year Award 2018 at the A. M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah that she titled We Shall Be Monsters. She is the founder and executive director of Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research in Bethlehem, Palestine.

Yoshua Okón

Yoshua Okón was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives. His work, like a series of near-sociological experiments executed for the camera, blends staged situations, documentation and improvisation and questions habitual perceptions of reality and truth, selfhood and morality. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. His solo shows exhibitions include: Yoshua Okón: Collateral, MUAC, Mexico City and Amparo Museum, Puebla; Yoshua Okón, Ghebaly Gallery, LA; Yoshua Okón: In the Land of Ownership, ASAKUSA Tokyo; Salò Island, UC Irvine, Irvine; Piovra, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan; Poulpe, Mor Charpentier, Paris; Octopus, Cornerhouse, Manchester and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and SUBTITLE, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich. His group exhibitions include: Manifesta 11, Zurich; Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Antes de la resaca, MUAC, Mexico City; Incongruous, Musèe Cantonal des Beux-Arts, Lausanne; The Mole´s Horizon, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre; Amateurs, CCA Wattis; San Francisco; Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London; Adaptive Behavior, New Museum, NY and Mexico City: an exhibition about the exchange rates between bodies and values, PS1, MoMA, NY, and Kunstwerke, Berlin. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, London, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Los Angeles, Colección Jumex and MUAC, Mexico City, among others.


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