Art adviser Joyce Varvatos wasn’t planning to curate an art show this summer. She told New York Academy of Art president David Kratz as much this spring when he asked about her upcoming months during a recent trustee lunch. But despite telling Kratz she didn’t have the bandwidth to do a show, she pitched him on an idea during that same conversation.
“I said, ‘But I think I have an idea. I would do an exhibition with your fellows because I’m looking at their art, and it’s really, really good,'” Varvatos says. “And he just said, ‘Done, I’m in.'”
“Fellows: Past and Present” features 33 works by 11 artists, all recipients of NYAA’s fellowship program. The work on display spans painting, illustration, sculpture, video art and mixed media. When curating work to show, Varvatos looked for potential rather than considering a theme, although elements of figurative abstraction are in all the works.
“I look for artists who showed real potential to go a little bit farther than just being a student. I had no preconceived notion of who these artists were or where they showed and where they exhibited if they even in fact did,” she says of her selection process; she considered work from the complete list of past fellows, around 50 artists. “To me it was just finding the strongest artists. Because even if you’re a fellow, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have what it takes — like any business, it’s complicated to rise above.”
The exhibition is on view in Southampton from Aug. 1 through 4 at 30 Jobs Lane, and online at Artsy and Artnet. An opening reception will take place on Aug. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.
“There’s no reason to have something up a whole month and to sit around,” Varvatos says of the short run. “I feel like people will get excited immediately.”
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