The Penn MFA program presented the 2016 thesis exhibition in Los Angeles. The exhibition was the culmination of a five-month exchange between the graduate students and curator Hamza Walker. During their residency in Los Angeles, the students installed works created for the exhibition, visited artists’ studios, and engaged in this highly experimental exhibition project.
In recent years the Penn MFA program has organized exhibitions in Los Angeles and Berlin (2013), in Vienna (2014), and in Brussels (2015). The thesis exhibition project acknowledges that emerging artists work from a globalized state of culture and respond to a new perception of site specificity. The exhibition presents work impacted by a collective discussion on the premise that travel, cultural exchange and the examination of cultural relativism are all markers of a profound evolution in our vision of the world.
PennMFA Thesis Exhibition artists
chukwumaa, Keenan Bennett, Stephanie Elden, Shaina Gates, Rich Hogan, E. Jane, Olivia Jones, Doah Lee, Sarah Legow, Daria McMeans, Yue Nakayama, Heather Raquel Phillips, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Gonzalo Reyes Rodríguez, Fern Vargas Vargas, Marianna Williams
Exhibition curator Hamza Walker is Director of Education and Associate Curator for the Renaissance Society, the non-collecting museum of contemporary art at The University of Chicago. His 2008 curated exhibition, Black Is, Black Ain’t, explored a shift in the rhetoric of race from an earlier emphasis on inclusion to a moment where racial identity was being simultaneously rejected and retained. The exhibition was the subject of a 2013 symposium. Walker has written articles and reviews for publications such as Trans, New Art Examiner, and Artforum. He is currently on the boards of Noon, an annual publication of short fiction, and Lampo, a non-profit presenter of new and experimental music. This year he is co-curator the Made in L.A. 2016 with Aram Moshayedi at the Hammer Museum.
Penn MFA program
The Master of Fine Arts program at Penn is focused on the professional development of visual artists. Through workshops, seminar courses, international residency opportunities and interactions with curators, writers and artists, the program provides an open intellectual framework to foster independent methods of artistic research. In addition to seminars within the Fine Arts department, graduate students are encouraged to pursue topics of science and the humanities through an impressive selection of courses offered across the university.