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New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU artists break barriers at new East Village art show

Seven NYU students showcase their work at the “Connected Cozmos” exhibition at the Cozmos art gallery and store.
Various works of art by NYU students were displayed at the Connected Cozmos gallery space on Oct. 19. (Courtesy of Rebecca Lipsitch)

“Connected Cozmos,” a new art exhibition curated by two NYU students, stands out from the plethora of gallery and museum exhibitions around New York City by centering young student artists and curators. The show brings the audience close, deep into the world of fine art, by creating an immersive viewing experience with young creatives at the forefront.

Located on 280 E. 10th St., the exhibition debuted on Oct. 19 with an opening party. The show is on display at the newly opened art store Cozmos, which aims to create real-world, communal experiences through art. Maria Rentel and Rebecca Lipsitch, curators of the exhibition and Gallatin juniors, transformed the store into an immersive gallery from floor to ceiling.

“Straying away from the traditional art world where everything is centered on a perfect white wall, we wanted you to walk in and be like ‘oh my gosh, I’m in a home,’” Lipsitch said. 

The pair curated a collection of artwork that spans various different mediums, including photography, painting, sculpture and textiles. The work featured is by eight artists, seven of whom are NYU students, including Rentel and Lipsitch. The wide range of pieces and friendly nature of the space created a welcoming and immersive environment.

Heavily influenced by Wolfgang Tillmans’ touring retrospective photography exhibition, “Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear,” Rentel and Lipsitch aimed to create a more personal space that invited visitors to not only view the art but to interact with it and the people around them.

A crowd of people inside a room with brick walls on the left side and white walls on the other. A large painting of feet and legs in multiple colors is on the left side wall and there is a picture of a child on the white ceiling.
Dozens of people showed up to the gallery during the evening of Oct. 19, 2023, to view the art and enjoy the space. (Courtesy of Anton Relin)

“What was most important to us was to really aim to make connections interpersonally between the art — between the viewer and the art, between the curator and the art, everything,” Rentel said. ”We wanted to think critically and intentionally about how we, as curators, could really foster that connection.”

In the midst of all the artwork was a sprawling food installation by Rentel. Consisting of seasonal fruits, cheese, baguettes, candy, and a silver bowl overflowing with potato chips, the installation beckoned visitors to not only view, but to also indulge themselves in the space beyond looking at art. This installation was the perfect addition to Lipsitch and Rentel’s vision of building community as guests gathered around the cornucopia of food to snack and chat. 

All artists are in roughly their early 20s, if not younger, and the exhibition provided a unique opportunity for emerging creatives. It is not easy to break into the gallery scene as a young artist, but this show gave the students a platform.

For many of the featured artists, including Tisch junior Finn Crawford, “Connected Cozmos” is the first opportunity to showcase their work in an art gallery. Crawford’s work focuses on abstract photography, playing with colors and textures rather than subjects. 

“It’s another side of me that a lot of people don’t know or have seen yet,” Crawford said. “I don’t know how to paint, so this is my way of painting.”

One common theme seen in many of the artworks is family. Gallatin senior Charlotte Giddings had several of her photographs on display, including a large print titled “Cornelia and Rasmus,” a photo of her two cousins.

“I’m very passionate about people and the way things look and the way things make me feel,” Giddings said. “I think I find a lot of that in children and beautiful candids of people, just important markers of life.”

Sofia MacDonald, another featured artist and a CAS junior, took to portraying family through painting. “Lineage,” an acrylic painting on a wood panel, humanized the concept of a family tree by depicting human bodies intertwined like a tree with an emphasis on the womb. 

As the night went on, it was clear that the exhibition space was not only a room filled with art but a space of connections and opportunity. The low lighting, loud music, and bountiful amounts of food made the experience feel like a visit to a friend’s apartment for a party. The buzz of conversation and laughter was as much part of the experience as the artwork itself. 

“It’s inspiring, especially as somebody who’s in conservation, where things are very standardized,” said Panagioti Tsiamis, an art conservator who came to see the show. “It’s fun to be on the ground floor of something that is very open to the public.”

“Connected Cozmos” celebrates young artistry, especially within the NYU community, by giving student artists and curators a platform. Through doing so, there is also an equal emphasis on the community that is built through art within its immersive environment. 

“Connected Cozmos” is located at 280 E. 10th St. and will run through Nov. 9. 

Jason Alpert-Wisnia contributed reporting.

Contact Shiphrah Moses at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Shiphrah Moses
Shiphrah Moses, Identity & Equity Editor
Shiphrah Moses is a sophomore studying Dramatic Writing at Tisch. She lives in the Bay Area in California, but is originally from Bangalore, India. She loves writing, acting, music and pretty much anything that involves storytelling. When she’s not doing any of the above, she’s either napping or doing her nails. You can find her at @shiphrahmoses on Instagram or contact her at [email protected].

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