NYU students to host the first STILLLIFE art fair

After months of hard work and preparation, an entrepreneurial group of NYU students and alumni officially announces a three-day art fair.

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Several white fabrics and wooden amenities surround the viewing space in a concept image for the upcoming STILLLIFE Art Fair. (Image courtesy of STILLLIFE)

Yuna Baek, Contributing Writer

STILLLIFE, an art collective founded by NYU students and alumni, will host its first-ever art fair at a gallery in SoHo from May 28-30. The event will offer a physical space for artists to connect and celebrate each other’s pieces, highlighting the works of featured artists and hosting interactive workshops and discussions.

The idea for STILLLIFE came up during a casual conversation among a group of NYU friends during the height of the pandemic. Reflecting on what they wanted to pursue after graduation, these students aspired to create an opportunity and experience for the larger community of artists in New York. They came up with STILLLIFE, a collaborative art event meant to bring artists disconnected during the pandemic into a single space.

“In art history, ‘still life’ means inanimate objects — so paintings of bottles or something that’s not moving — and it kind of reflects our current life right now because of the pandemic,” co-founder and CAS senior Azure Zhou said. 

Zhou noted that the upcoming art fair was founded by a group of international students. Since part of their mission is to help artists gain exposure and network with one another, the founders decided STILLLIFE could serve as a non-traditional gathering.

“I think, personally, we have to try really hard and then fit ourselves with the typical gallery or art fair,” Zhou said. “We have to follow their rules, but I feel like there’s another way to do it. We thought, why don’t we just start by ourselves and then we can actually gather not only international students, but also local artists?”

STILLLIFE will be hosted by NYU students from a variety of academic fields such as computer science, business and art history. With each student possessing their own skillset, STILLLIFE emphasizes that fields of study outside of the arts are relevant to an artistic event.

“Art essentially is interdisciplinary,” said Snow Yunxue Fu, new media artist, curator, and Tisch Photography and Imaging assistant arts professor. “Even in its formation of ideas, or once it’s been presented, the discussion or the exchange that everyone wants to have with or around their artwork could be about anything.”

To artists, observing art is just as important as creating it. Events such as STILLLIFE allow individuals to gain a comprehensive sense of the world around them, as well as insight into why artists are doing the work they do.

“Essentially, I think artists are good examiners and can ask really good questions,” Fu said. “The way that we involve with culture, not only do we subscribe and participate, but we’re actually actively built. I think it’s always good to have no established assumption about what is going on at any moment, time and place.”

The art fair is only a few weeks away, and the STILLLIFE team is busy finalizing the event’s program, which will include DIY workshops, lectures and booths for art vendors to showcase their work. The team hopes that all participants will benefit from their programming.

“The goal is to get into the New York City art community as a team for us because we want to have the opportunity to socialize and network with other institutions, art galleries or corporations in the city,” said STILLLIFE co-founder, NYU graduate and current Parsons student Rebecca Chen.

This free event will take place at 484 Broome St. in SoHo with the first floor serving more than 50 artist vendors and the basement serving as an installation space. No advance registration or ticketing is required for entry. 

“The art fair is definitely the first testing step for us to see how people respond and if many students who are artists in the city are wrestling with this idea or concept,” Chen said. “We have a long-term plan for STILLLIFE in the future because we see the potential of this idea of building community and also giving artists a platform to network and showcase their work.”

The STILLLIFE team looks forward to expanding its outreach, hosting more events in the future and continuing to recognize the voices and talents of emerging artists.

For more information, visit stilllife.squarespace.com.

Contact Yuna Baek at [email protected]