Penn MFA Thesis show in Vienna! Opening Tuesday, May 27th at the Franz Josef Kai gallery space

Penn MFA Thesis Show in Vienna, Austria - May 26th-June25th

Philadelphia Connection
»an ocean in between the waves«
young art positions of the Penn MFA program

Laura Bernstein, Carousel, 2014, Newsprint, papier-mâché, cardboard, Dimensions variable 

Press Conference: Monday, May 26, 2014 10.30 am 
Opening: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6 - 10 pm 
Venue: FRANZ JOSEFSKAI 3, 1010 Vienna 
Duration: May 28 - June 25, 2014 
Monday - Saturday, 2 – 8 pm (closed on Whit Monday) 


(Vienna/Philadelphia, May 8, 2014) The idea that travel forms an integrative feature of artistic 
praxis and creates an essential component of both experience and knowledge production, 
comprises the conceptual origin of the exhibition. In particular, a change of place in the 
paradigm of a globalized cultural geography contributes to the broadening understanding as 
well as the relativization and even the transformation of one’s own work. 
With the move from places of origin to new social and cultural contexts, different conditions 
automatically cause shifts in meaning-making, a process in which local conventions of reception 
also play a role. 
From this paradigm, the young artists from the interdisciplinary Fine Arts Department at the 
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia developed an independent model for presenting 
their latest work. For six months, they collaborated with curator Roland Schöny, and created an 
exhibition that fundamentally differs from any conventional student showcase. 
 We acknowledge that the artists have produced a large volume of work that embody 
discursive densities and represent a variety of visual strategies. Nevertheless, rather than 
merely displaying already finished works, the artists both selected individual pieces through a 
dialogic process and created new works according to the physical layout of the gallery space. 
As such, the project is situated in a transitional zone that lies between an institutional 
dependency and a continuation of the experimentation with articulations of form. Therefore, 
the exhibition space at FRANZ JOSEFSKAI 3 is the stage. 
Although the group of young artists from the Penn MFA program consider themselves 
personally connected through the production of internal alliances and collaborations that allow 
for critical confrontations and mutual exchange, the difference in their approaches through 
photography, video, painting, or performance, is significant for their work. In parts the art 
scenes of New York influences many of the artists. At the same time works manifest the 
narratives of actual pop culture such that the viewer can discover the sediments of filmsettings 
or specific class and gender codes as embedded in fashion. Some works raise personal 
questions regarding the reconstructions of political history while others visually interpret 
transculturally shaped forms of personal memory and biographical narratives through the 
media of photography and video. The experiences of migration and origins, from Santiago de 
Chile or Tehran, for example, influence such processes. Other artists explore the sense of 
emancipation through the theme of urban space as a field of action. While transmedial 
strategies are conspicuous throughout the exhibition, only few works focus on one visual 
format. Moreover, the potential of the gallery space has been questioned in many ways. As 
such, the artists open the architectonic features of the gallery’s interior space to the outside 
through visual links, which oftentimes reflects their political and critical consciousness. 
After MFA students participated in similarly structured exhibition projects that took place in 
Los Angeles and Berlin in 2013, this group of 13 students decided for themselves the location 
of this year’s show after receiving a mandate. Among their many options, they finally decided 
on Vienna as an approach to a significant European center of contemporary art. 
Artists: Marie Alarcon (*1978 Rhinebeck, NY), Laura Bernstein (*1987 New York City, NY), 
Claire Bidwell (*1988 Los Angeles, CA), Anthony Bowers (*1984 South Bend, IN), Sam Mapp 
(*1985 Chicago, Ill), Scotty Menesini (*1975 Pittsburgh, PA), Mohammadreza Mirzaei (*1986 
Tehran, Iran), Theo Mullen (*1979 Denver, CO), Evan Nabrit (*1982 Columbus, OH), Daniel 
O'Neill (*1979 Providence, R. I.), Maria Paz Ortuzar (*1985 Santiago, Chile), Gordon Stillman (*1984 
Poughkeepsie, NY), Joshua Zerangue (*1988 Lafayette, Louisiana)

Curator: Roland Schöny teaching position at Digital Arts Department of University of Applied 
Art Vienna, structured a public art programme as a permanent cultural initiative of the city of 
Vienna 2004 - 07, realized exhibitions in cooperation with ICA in SOKOL Moscow (2014), at OK 
Center for Contemporary Art Linz (2002-04) or Künstlerhaus Vienna (2000). As author 
cooperations with Centre Pompidou, Vancouver Art Gallery, Kunstmuseum Luzern or TBA21. 
On Saturday, 24 May 2014 from 2 until 7 pm the artist Laura Bernstein roams with her 
performance "Finding The Fall" streets in the inner districts of Vienna (a parachutist in search 
of the causes of landing here). 
The opening will take place in cooperation with Projektraum Viktor Bucher, Prater Street 13/1/2, 1020 
Vienna (Finissage of the exhibition "Dance with us", www.projektraum.at). 
Exhibition Participants 
Roland Schöny, Contemporary Art Curator and Author, Vienna 
Joshua Mosley, Professor and Chair of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania 
Ken Lum, Professor and Director of Undergraduate program, University of Pennsylvania 
The artists will be present. 
Press Conference: Monday, May 26, 2014 10.30 am 
Opening: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6 - 10 pm 
Venue: FRANZ JOSEFSKAI 3, 1010 Vienna 
Duration: May 28 - June 25, 2014 
Monday - Saturday, 2 – 8 pm (closed on Whit Monday) 
Information http://www.pennmfathesis.com 
Contact for inquiries Roland Schöny 
+43 664 815 61 14 
Penn MFA Program 
The Master of Fine Arts program at Penn is focused on the professional development of visual 
artists. Through workshops, seminar courses, international residency opportunities and 
interactions with curators, writers and artists, the program provides an open intellectual 
framework to foster independent methods of artistic research. In addition to seminars within 
the Fine Arts department, graduate students are encouraged to pursue topics of science and 
the humanities through an impressive selection of courses offered across the university. 
Download the PennMFA Program Catalog 
For program inquires, contact: mfa@design.upenn.edu or (215) 898-8374 

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