Installation shot from Class of 2021 First Year MFA Exhibition

Visual Arts Program Presents the Class of 2021 First Year MFA Exhibition

BY Angeline Dimambro, April 20, 2021

The Visual Arts and Sound Art MFA Programs at Columbia University School of the Arts recently showcased the Class of 2021 in their postponed First Year MFA Exhibition. The in-person exhibition was delayed last spring due to the ongoing pandemic crisis. However, with limited admissions and strict social distancing, the School of the Arts was able to partner with the Wallach Art Gallery to exhibit the incredible array of works completed by current second-year Visual Arts and Sound Art students.


The First Year Exhibition prepares MFA candidates for the experience of the MFA Thesis Exhibition in the following year, which acts as the culmination of the artists’ course of study. The exhibition, which ran this spring from March 27 through April 10, 2021, encompassed work by the 23 artists who completed their first year of the Visual Arts MFA Program in 2020. The exhibition was curated by Carmen Hermo, the Associate Curator for the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. She curated Roots of The Dinner Party: History in the Making (2017), Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Are We Reading Closely? (2020), formed part of the Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall (2019) curatorial collective, and co-organized Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection (2018), and the Brooklyn presentation of Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 (2018), among other exhibitions. Previously, Hermo was Assistant Curator for Collections at the Guggenheim Museum. She received her BA in Art History and English from the University of Richmond and her MA in Art History from Hunter College.


The exhibition features work from three sound artists: current second-year students Avishag Cohen Rodrigues, Timothy Kwasny, and Yixuan Shao. While the exhibition has closed, you can still browse through the students’ individual artists’ pages to view their pieces up close. Accompanying videos also give viewers the chance to have the aural experience these pieces so thoughtfully create. In addition to the installation views available on the exhibition’s webpage, there is also a 3D tour of the gallery that allows you to virtually walk through the carefully curated exhibition.


The Class of 2021 first year show also features the works of the following visual artists: Sergio Miguel, MD Rasel Ahmed, Lindsey Brittain, Ivana Carman, Kevin Claiborne, Noga Cohen, Ian Decker, Juan Hernández Díaz, Priscilla Jeong, Bicheng Liang, Keli Safia Maksud, Farah Mohammad, Keika Okamoto, Diana Palermo, Ava Ravich, Denisse Griselda Reyes, John Rivas, Khari Turner, Raelis Vasquez, and Yuri Yuan


Read more about the Class of 2021 First Year Art MFA Exhibition and browse through the installation views of the presenting artists here.


The Visual Arts Class of 2020 will have work presented in the upcoming in-person Thesis Exhibition at the Wallach Art Gallery, which will run April 24 through May 22, 2021. You can find more information about the upcoming thesis show here.