Novel by Purchase College Professor Warren Lehrer Receives Accolades

Warren Lehrer update

Purchase College Professor Warren Lehrer’s latest book, A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, was just named Outstanding Book of the Year, Most Original Concept by Independent Publisher. Dubbed the IPPY Awards, they recognize excellence in independent publishing. In January 2014, the College Book Art Association (CBAA) awarded the book Best in Show in its juried exhibition.

Lehrer, professor of Art+Design in graphic design, is widely recognized as a pioneer in the fields of visual literature and design authorship. Nine years in the making, A Life in Books is what Lehrer refers to as an “illuminated novel.”

It’s a memoir of Bleu Mobley, fictional author, journalist, college professor, experimental novelist, and pop-culture pundit, who is whispering his entire life story into a recording device from inside the jail cell he occupies for failing to reveal the name of a confidential source. The autobiography/apologia is “illuminated” by the book jackets, catalog copy, and reviews of the 101 books he has written. Excerpts from 34 of those volumes serve to flesh out his story further.

While the physical book sits at the center, several offshoots of A Life in Books are in the works. The New York State Council on the Arts awarded Lehrer over $20,000 for the development and production of an enhanced e-novel and multi-media performance, “to take advantage of the tablet as a new medium for storytelling.” It will include animation, video, audio, annotations, galleries, an interactive timeline, and crowd-sourcing components.

Another exciting aspect of the e-novel project is the ability to crowd-source the completion of Bleu Mobley’s books based on excerpts provided in the novel. Lehrer invites writers of all stripes to submit short stories that will eventually be published as an e-book. Click here and then click “contest.”

A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley was published by Goff Books.

Follow links below to hear interviews with Lehrer on NPR-affiliate KCRW’s Bookwormand on NPR’s Studio 360.

KCRW’s Bookworm

NPR’s Studio 360

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Purchase College professor emerita Nancy Davidson is among 178 scholars, artists, and scientists awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2014

nancy davidson1

Purchase College professor emerita Nancy Davidson is among 178 scholars, artists, and scientists awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2014.

Davidson, who taught in the School of Art+Design at Purchase College from 1984 to 2008, is an interdisciplinary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation. She is known for her inflatable sculptures that wittily explore American iconic imagery and gender issues through abstract forms that suggest sensuous female figures.

In 1992, she began to refocus her work, “Using inflated weather balloons to challenge the notions of contemporary monumental sculpture while simultaneously repurposing comedic tropes of bodily mass, fleshiness and beauty,” according to her biographical statement.

Davidson’s opening night at the Robert Miller Gallery in 2001 fell on 9/11. She watched the World Trade Center towers fall from her studio window, which triggered a new body of work. Thinking about her past and personal mythology, she drew upon her memories of the cowgirl character prevalent in the 1950s. “What began as a childhood attraction to this archetypal American figure became an irreverent reinvention, celebrating and critiquing popular culture, comic humor, and our society’s fascination with the overblown and oversized,” her statement says.

The resulting exhibition, Dustup, was exhibited at the Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, in the fall of 2012 and an expanded version was exhibited at the Boca Museum of Art in Boca Raton, FL in 2013. Davidson is currently working on a book project Cowgirl: Nancy Davidson to be distributed by DAP Publishers.

In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship, Davidson’s honors include grants from the NEA; Anonymous Was a Woman Award; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; and Creative Capital.

In its ninetieth annual competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded 177 Fellowships (including one joint Fellowship) to a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists. Often characterized as “midcareer” awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or creative ability in the arts. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and extraordinary promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

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SUNY Purchase Faculty Members Donna Dennis and Sarah Walker Earn Art Awards

Donna Dennis Sarah Walker

Congratulations to SUNY Purchase School of Art+Design faculty members Donna Dennis and Sarah Walker for earning art awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The art prizes, awarded annually, honor both established and emerging artists. Winners were chosen from a group of 37 artists who had been invited to participate in the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, which opened on March 6 and continues through April 12, 2014.

Dennis, professor of Art+Design in sculpture, won the Award of Merit Medal for Sculpture, a $25,000 prize given to an outstanding American sculptor.

Walker, a lecturer in Art+Design, won the Jacob Lawrence Award of $10,000 which recognizes outstanding achievement in the visual arts. The Academy also purchased Walker’s 2012 work, C.M.E., as part of its Art Purchase Program. Since 1946, the work of talented, living American artists has been purchased and placed in museums across the country.

Donna Dennis
Cataract Cabin 1993–94
Mixed media
144 x 144 x 144 inches

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Congratulations to Purchase College Alum and Professor David Grill ’86 on His Second Emmy Win

david grill

Congratulations to alum David Grill, professor and coordinator of the Purchase College theater design/technology program, for winning his second Emmy award.

His work on the Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show Starring Beyoncé earned him the top spot in the category Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special.

Earlier this summer, he reached a new level in his already storied career when he received two Emmy nominations in the same category. He had also been nominated this year for his work as lighting director on PBS’ Great Performances presentation Andrea Bocelli: Love In Portofino. He was previously nominated in 2008 and 2012, and won an Emmy for Outstanding Lighting Direction in 2002 for his work on the XIX Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.

“This is another terrific honor for Dave,” said Greg Taylor, Director of Purchase College‘s Conservatory of Theatre Arts. “Dave’s continuing accomplishments make us all proud and Purchase students are incredibly fortunate to learn from one of the top professionals in the lighting design and direction field.”

Grill earned his BFA in theatre design at Purchase College in 1986. He has taught at the college since 1998 and is coordinator of its Design/Technology BFA and MFA programs.

Purchase College Presents: PurchasePrintWeek2013

purchase print week

From its earliest form, printmaking has been a way to document, communicate, and convey written and visual information. To celebrate that printmaking is very much alive in what has become a very digital world, Purchase College announces PurchasePrintWeek 2013.

A week-long series of printmaking events will be held from September 30th to October 4th at the Purchase College campus. Most of the events will take part in the Visual Arts Building. Activities include demonstrations, lectures, hands-on workshops, and receptions.

Click here for the schedule of events for PurchasePrintWeek 2013.”The PurchasePrintWeek activities offer a fantastic opportunity for the community of Purchase College and the community at large to experience the visual art medium of prints,” said Stella Ebner, an assistant professor in the School of Art+Design, who is spearheading the initiative.

warren lehrer

PrintWeek 2013 will kick off with a presence at the prestigious NY Art Book Fair, September 19 to 22 at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, NY. There, art books created by Purchase College students, faculty and alumni will be displayed and offered for sale, and Professor Warren Lehrer will present a keynote address, discussing his book works, from his classics of typographic and design experimentation French Fries, I Mean You Know, to Crossing the BLVD, and his latest project – A LIFE IN BOOKS:The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley. 

Work of Two Purchase College MFA Students Chosen for Prestigious Optic Nerve 15 Video Arts Festival at North Miami’s MOCA

optic nerve

Purchase College graduate students Samantha Harmon and Juwon Lee are among the 14 artists whose work was selected by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami to be featured in Optic Nerve 15, the annual festival of short videos by artists. Harmon and Lee are both are pursuing degrees in the MFA in visual arts program in the School of Art+Design, School of the Arts at Purchase College.

“This kind of success is typical for our alumni, but less common for students still in school,” said Purchase College Dean of the School of the Arts Ravi Rajan, “Faye Hirsh, senior editor of Art in America and the coordinator of our MFA Visual Arts program, encouraged the students to apply for the festival as part of the learning experience of being a working artist. We were delighted to learn that not one, but two of our students were selected for this curated festival.”

Rajan added “this kind of professional experience is a hallmark of our MFA: a program that is taught by professionally active faculty members and augmented by visiting artists and critics each semester, together preparing students for professional success in the art world.”

MOCA’s Optic Nerve is recognized as an important forum for emerging artists working in film. A panel of world-class curators selected the 14 Optic Nerve 15 finalists and MOCA Curator and Interim Director Alex Gartenfeld will choose the winning work or works, which will be acquired for MOCA’s permanent collection. Optic Nerve 15 takes place on August 23.


Still from Juwon Lee’s work Hidden Stories of Super Mario Bros (part 3/6)

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Artist Sharon Horvath, Purchase College Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing, Receives Fulbright and Will Travel to India


Purchase College professor and artist Sharon Horvath finds the visual power and intimacy of traditional Indian painting inspiring. With a desire to study the technique, she will spend four months of her 2013–14 sabbatical in India as a Fulbright US Scholar.

“I wish to further my work as an artist through a study of Ragamala, a tradition of miniature painting intended as a visual manifestation of music and poetry,” she says.

The word ragamala translates as “garland of melodies” and the genre dates back to the 16th century. The paintings attempt to translate the emotion of a particular raga, or classical Indian melody, into intensely colored pictorial compositions.

“Their erotic subject matter was understood as metaphor for the yearning that characterized the relationship between human and divine in the realm of Hindu spirituality,” she adds.

“I will spend four months studying the use of natural pigments and dyes in the tradition of Ragamala paintings and in the practice of contemporary artists and scholars with similar interests,” says Horvath. She plans to use social media and blogging to create a cross-cultural network of artists.

Furthermore, by participating in a traditional painting school, she hopes to understand a different paradigm of teacher/student relationship. Horvath is an associate professor of painting and drawing who’s taught at Purchase College for seven years and served as the head of the painting and drawing board of study for the last three.

Horvath has a number of professional distinctions including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Painting; the Rome Prize Fellowship in Painting from the American Academy of Rome; the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters; and the Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Purchase Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

While in India, she’ll be affiliated with the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in the northwestern state of Gujarat, and the Kriti Gallery Residency in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, a state in the north.

Referring to her Fulbright award, she says, “I’m exhilarated. I know it will change me.” Upon her return, she intends to create and show a new body of work. “My goal is to change, to transform my work in unforeseen ways, to be inspired.”

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Jan Groover Exhibition at SUNY Purchase – “Formalism is Everything”


The Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery at SUNY Purchase is pleased to present an exhibition of Jan Groover’s photographs. Jan Groover taught at Purchase College, SUNY, in the photography program in the School of Art+Design from 1979-1991.Hired to teach the first color photography class in the School of Art+Design, Groover ushered in a new era of photography to the Purchase community. Professor Emeritus of Art+Design Jed Devine, a colleague and dear friend, reflects, ” …attitude, a conviction and a desire to inquire and engage. She came to play and if you were in her class you had better be all in, because she was. Jan could be friendly, funny, and fierce at almost the same time. She could be tough, hot, but it was the fire of the forge steeling students to be stronger, sharper, better. And they loved her.”

Formerly trained as a painter, Jan studied at Pratt Institute and Ohio State University, buying her first camera (a 35mm Pentax) in 1967. Her early photographs, featuring triptychs and diptychs, captured street scenes of passing trucks and cars, and later included carefully composed fragments of suburban homes and storefronts.

Prominent in the exhibition are a series of kitchen still life photographs from 1978 – meticulously crafted compositions of everyday kitchen utensils such as forks, knives, cake pans and plants. Susan Kismaric, former curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, writes in an eloquent essay for the exhibition, ” Groover’s photographs revealed, above all, a bracing commitment to form, a commitment so intense that the ‘ subject’ of her pictures was elusive, if not seemingly non-existent. ‘ Formalism is everything,’ she declared.”

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1943, Jan lived and worked in NYC until 1991, when she and her husband, Bruce Boice, moved to Montpon-Menesterol France. She lived and worked in France until her death in 2012.
Jan Groover has had numerous solo gallery and museum exhibitions in NYC and in Europe including at Janet Borden, Inc. NYC; The Museum of Modern Art, NYC; the Musee de Periqueux, France; The Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase College NY; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. In addition, her works are part of prestigious collections at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, NY; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; The Neuberger Museum of Art,  Purchase, NY; and the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA. She is the recipient of awards including two NEA Fellowships (1978, 1983) and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979.

Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery
Exhibition Dates: February 25-March 29, 2013
Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm or by appointment

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 28, 6-8pm

SUNY Purchase Visual Arts 1001



SUNY Purchase Welcomes Kakyoung Lee: Printmaking Visiting Artist

SUNY Purchase School of Art+Design welcomes Kakyoung Lee on October 24th for a talk on her works with moving images, print, drawing, and installation. Lee received a BFA and MFA from Hong-Ik University in Seoul and an MFA from Purchase College, SUNY.

Lee’s work has been included in group shows at the Drawing Center, the Lower East Side Print Shop, the Museum of Modern Art, the Queens Museum, Mass MoCA, Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany, and the Seoul Arts Center in Korea, and recent solo shows at Mary Ryan Gallery in New York and the Brain Factory in Seoul. She was a participant in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, and also had residencies at Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY), the MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH), the Lower East Side Print Shop (NYC), and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (New York). Lee is a recipient of awards from the Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, the Korea Arts Foundation of America award for Visual Arts, and the AHL Foundation Visual Art Competition. Lee’s works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., among others.

The School of Art+Design Visiting Artist Lecture Series brings to campus noted artists, curators, critics and historians who share their perspectives and expertise on their own work and provide insight into current issues facing the contemporary artist and designer.

WHEN:     Wednesday, October 24th at 6:30PM

WHERE:  Visual Arts Building | RM 1016

COST:      Free & Open to the Public
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