December 20, 2012

Interdisciplinary MFA Program

University of Pennsylvania
University Telephone Operators, University of Pennsylvania, 1956.

Penn MFA students will participate in a studio thesis course this spring culminating in exhibitions in Berlin and Los Angeles, and also synthesized as an experimental online exhibition project. This course acknowledges that emerging artists work from a globalized state of culture and respond to a new perception of site specificity. As part of this course, the students will engage in workshops and studio visits with an appointed curator from each of the two exhibition cities. The students will later travel with the curator to the city of their exhibition to work collaboratively on the preparation of the exhibition. When they return to the University of Pennsylvania, each artist will deliver a public lecture at the Institute of Contemporary Art on their work and notations on this project.

This MFA thesis studio will present 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. Penn MFA students will address the prototype of the contemporary traveller whose passage through signs and formats refers to an experience of mobility and trespassing. The students will address the process of making artwork from a local vs. a transnational perspective, and respond to the fluctuating boundaries between these two ideas.

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.

PennDesign offers a range of tuition fellowships to recognize the merit and diversity of applicants to the program. Teaching Assistantships are offered to all incoming students. In addition, several students engage in Research Assistantships, working directly with the faculty on exhibition projects, or participate in a program through which they are mentored as they develop a syllabus and teach a foundation-level studio course at Penn.

MFA Program Faculty
Terry Adkins, Nancy Davenport, Matt Freedman, Ken Lum
Virgil Marti, Joshua Mosley, Orkan Telhan, Jackie Tileston 

MFA Program Senior Critics 2012–13
Carlos Basualdo, Michael Brenson, Michelle Grabner
Mary Reid Kelley, Helen Mirra, Yasmil Raymond, Alexi Worth

Visiting Artists
Not Vital, Wael Shawky, Jon Kessler, Fia Backström, Paul Chan, Wendy White, Steffani Jemison, Jules de Balincourt, Leslie Hewitt, Hamza Walker, Kota Ezawa, Spencer Finch, Stefan Sagmeister, Diana Cooper, Charlene Von Heyl, Moyra Davey, Matthew Day Jackson, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Anne Chu, Theaster Gates, Barnaby Furnas, Kamrooz Aram, Rick Lowe, Lauren Greenfield, Matthew Monahan, David Salle, Mika Rottenberg, Josiah McElheny, Stan Douglas, Amy Franceschini, Charles Atlas, Eleanor Antin, Gary Hill, Maira Kalman, Sam Durant, David Humphrey, Nina Katchadourian, An-My Lê, and Oron Catts.

To schedule a visit or for program inquires, contact: [email protected] or (215) 898-8374.

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