Alumni Spotlight: Dasha Shishkin '06

January 02, 2018

The Alumni Spotlight is a place to hear from the School of the Arts alumni community about their journeys as artists and creators.

Born in Moscow, Russia, Dasha Shishkin '06 currently lives and works in New York, NY. She received her MFA from Columbia University, New York, NY (2006) and her BFA from the New School for Social Research, New York, NY (2001). In 2013 Shishkin had a major solo exhibition, erry icket, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara. Other recent solo exhibitions include I Surrender, Dear at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; SAMMY at Galleria Giò Marconi, Milan, Italy; BB5, Grieffelkunst, Hamburg, Germany; and Desparecido, Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY. Shishkin’s group exhibitions include One Torino: Shit and Die, Palazzo Cavour, Torino, Italy; Imaginary Portraits of Prince Igor, at Gallery Met, New York, NY; Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet UnionArt from Russia, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Idealizing the Imaginary: Invention and Illusion in Contemporary Painting, Oakland University Art Gallery, Rochester, MI; and Embrace, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO. Dasha Shishkin is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City, CA.

visual art

Was there a specific faculty member or peer who especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?

Gandalf Gavan is a wonderful vivid memory for me from my Columbia years.  He was a fantastic human being, super classmate and a remarkable artist!

I had first met him during the interview School of the Arts conducted for prospective students.  Gandalf was one of the interviewing committee members (already a first year MFA student), handsome, cunning, completely intimidating.

Meeting him accidentally at an art opening a month or so after being accepted into the MFA program I encountered a generous good spirit, welcoming and encouraging.

Gandalf was truly curious about the world.  His curriculum at Columbia probably included a class in every division.  His work reflected that curiosity and was awe inspiring by its hunger for discovery and subtle and not so subtle beauty.

Not a specific incident sticks to mind but an overall sense of "love this guy!" and that is only his fellow human traits.

His work is true inspiration.

What was your favorite or most memorable class while at the School of the Arts?

I would say VALS (Visiting Artist Lectures) were most memorable for me because within a relatively short span of time one was being introduced not only to the work but to the practice of an artist. As a student one had a chance to relate or not to the experience and to build upon the knowledge gained. It was great fun to realize at the end of the lecture that everyone present heard and gathered slightly different information.

Read more from the "Alumni Spotlight" series