Tucked away in the Barney Building’s first floor on Stuyvesant St., the bachelor of fine arts students in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development opened their exhibition “There Goes the Neighborhood” on the evening of Nov. 9. Curated by BFA students Olivia Chou, Jackie Monoson, Ila Krishnamoorthy and Iana Alcock, the gallery features works from 24 students in the program.
The exhibit is at once arresting and sparse; the blank white walls dominate the space, but instead of making the show seem empty, it makes each work seem even more starkly contrasted with its surroundings. Each artist gets a distinct space for their pieces, and viewers can appreciate each one by itself without being overwhelmed by the other pieces. The mediums range from video to painting to sculpture and video incorporated into sculptures.
What stood out about the show as a whole was the sheer variety of texture displayed. One piece by freshman William Adams was a large black tapestry with the image on it made with individual threads off of the fabric to create a bichromatic visual. Christine Searsea’s ceramic sculpture is incredible in its mastery of the textures that clay can afford. The surface had cracked and colorful glaze that made the sea urchin-esque work seem like it had been plucked from a tide pool.
Even the two-dimensional works were full of texture; Jenny Danou He’s piece had Chinese characters scrawled over a winding, pink expanse of something that could have been a sketch of a small intestine or a swath of fabric. It is projected above the stage in the western edge of the gallery — a piece that at once evokes the growing minimalist movement, the fascination with the grotesque and the complexity of the United States’ cultural relationship with China.
Throughout, “There Goes the Neighborhood” is a curious reflection — not necessarily on Greenwich Village or any New York neighborhood in particular, but the experiences we have in our neighborhoods. From peeling off white latex paint from one’s face (a la Clara Lu) to creating a triptych of a therapist’s pamphlet and accompanying images, the show is a scattered and absorbing trip through the experiences of NYU’s art students. From racism to sardonic critiques of Keith Haring, it’s fun and engaging the whole way through.
“There Goes the Neighborhood” is on display at the NYU Barney Building at 34 Stuyvesant St. through Nov. 20.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 14 print edition. Email Hailey Nuthals at [email protected]