January 20, 2020

Believing You

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Alicia Smith, I Believe You, 2019. Digital video. 


Femme and Nonbinary SVA Alumni in an Era of #metoo and #fakenews

The MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts presents Believing You, an interdisciplinary exhibition that features an all-women and nonbinary roster of artists, most of whom are also SVA alumni. The exhibition is curated by Risa Puleo and assistant curated by Carlos Rosales-Silva.

The title Believing You was generated out of a response to artist Alicia Smith’s new work I Believe You, a video that explores the possibility of recovery from trauma in the poetics of restorative justice. Believing You presents a range of formal, material and aesthetic response, by an all-women and nonbinary roster of artists, to an era increasingly defined by questions of belief, be they about believing victims of the system and interpersonal abuse that formed the foundation of the #MeToo movement, or in parsing the layers of partisanship and political lies that underscore the hashtag #fakenews. How might visual language operate as an intermediary when spoken language fails us? How does the space created by a work of art function as a site for reframing and navigating the complexity of the world in its present state? These artists leverage specific identity-based critiques of social structure that also prioritize strategies for coming together.

Artists include Leah Dixon, Nadine Faraj, Alison Kuo, Anette Millington, Dana Robinson, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Stacy Scibelli, Elyla (Fredman Barahona), Alicia Smith, Trish Tillman, and Emily Weiner.

There will also be a lecture performance by Elyla (Fredman Barahona) in conjunction with the exhibition on Tuesday, January 28, from 6:15–8pm, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery. Elyla (Fredman Barahona) is an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Bucknell University, supported by the Ekard Artist Residency.

The SVA Chelsea Gallery, located at 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, is open Monday through Saturday, 10am–6pm. Admission is free. The gallery is accessible by wheelchair. For more information, call T 212 592 2145.

The MFA Fine Arts program reflects the diversity of New York’s many art worlds. Together, the faculty and students form a community of established and emerging artists from many backgrounds who work across disciplines and modes of practice. Our main goals are to provide a stimulating and supportive environment in which students can thrive and develop as artists, to foster rigorous critical engagement with contemporary art and other cultural forms, and to produce an ongoing conversation, through work as much as through words, about what we make, how we make it and why. For more information, visit

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