2020 Grads Share Work Virtually
From film premieres to the grad thesis show, graduating students are turning to alternative outlets for showcasing their work.
Paradigm, a live action film by Riley McClenaghan 20 FAV, is among the fresh work being screened in the FAV Senior Show.
Given the pandemic, all final crits this spring were conducted virtually and no end-of-year events and exhibitions could take place on campus. But students and faculty in every department have figured out alternative ways to share the incredible work they’ve created this year—under very extraordinary circumstances.
For the first time ever, Film/Animation/Video moved its much-anticipated Senior Show 2020—which features new live action and animated films by 41 talented young filmmakers—online, with nightly screenings from May 27—30, followed by a post-show live chat on YouTube. The FAV junior show followed in a similar format on June 5 and 6.
In terms of college-wide efforts, the much-anticipated graduate thesis exhibition originally scheduled for the last two weeks of May has morphed into Grad Show 2020, an online presentation of work that goes live on Friday, June 12. For seniors in departments unable to hold their final exhibitions at Woods-Gerry Gallery this spring, the RISD Senior Show 2020 is also moving online as of Friday, June 22.
The 19 students from disparate majors enrolled in RISD’s European Honors Program in Rome were the first RISD students to experience the disruption of the pandemic when Italy got hit hard in February and early March. Forced to return home, they finished the semester from locations all over the globe and are now sharing their work online in this EHP Final Exhibition.
In fact, all 19 degree-granting departments have worked to develop their own unique ways of applauding graduating students. Among the plans (many still in progress):
APPAREL DESIGN With runways now empty around the world, stylist Mel Ottenberg 98 AP critiqued seniors’ final collections over Zoom and each student is contributing to a larger-than-usual lookbook (expected out in late June) that sums up their individual and collective work for Collection 2020. Selected students also got their work and websites featured in roundups of 2020 graduates in various fashion media outlets such as WWD, Byronesque and Interview magazine.
ARCHITECTURE seniors organized a series of wonderful final exhibitions that were on view in the BEB Gallery during Wintersession and now both BArch and MArch grads are working on a forthcoming book with Actar Publishers.
Each graduating student is presenting several spreads of final work and the critics invited to final thesis and directed research reviews are contributing short essays to the book.
FURNITURE DESIGN MFA grads are showing final thesis work online at Dezeen and Site Unseen Offsite Online, while the 22 graduating seniors are exhibiting their degree projects in a Wanted online exhibition. “It has been an honor to work with this group of seniors through this challenging time,” notes Associate Professor Patty Johnson. “They have shown themselves to be generous, thoughtful, kind, funny, serious people with outstanding self-directed work ethics. Bravo!”
GRAPHIC DESIGN squeezed in its senior show (wearing masks) just prior to the shutdown, is celebrating the work of 2020 BFA graduates online and is working with MFA grads on a possible website. All thesis students also submit a book and website documenting their final body of work.
INDUSTRIAL DESIGN reports that its early spring senior show was a “massive success,” with “zero waste” after everything used at the opening was composted.
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE seniors opted to create an inviting augmented reality exhibition in the RISD Museum’s iconic Grand Gallery. Once it goes live at 10 am on Friday, May 29, it will be available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, a graduate-only program, is developing a remote exhibition and graphic kit-of-parts to celebrate its 2020 MLA grads.
PAINTING In addition to exhibiting in Grad Show 2020, Painting MFA graduates will continue the annual tradition of exhibiting together in NYC shortly after graduation. This summer their work will be on view in 20/20, an exhibition set to run from July 19–August 9 (and by appointment through Labor Day) at 1969 Gallery on the Lower East Side.
PHOTOGRAPHY is showing multiple examples of final work from all BFA and MFA graduates (with links to their own sites) at photo2020.risd.edu, thanks to industrious graduating students Erin Wang 20 PH and Travis Morehead 20 PH. Together they spearheaded the development of Thesis Shows 2020, a site that features work by hundreds of art students across the US and Canada who are earning their BFAs and MFAs this spring.
SCULPTURE In addition to exhibiting in Grad Show 2020, the five MFA recipients have each created amazing websites, with links forthcoming on the department’s site. Students in the Video Performance class are participating in an online exhibition curated by David Guerra and Laine Rettmer that opens on Thursday, May 28 at AREA Gallery.
TEXTILES is featuring Class of 2020 student work from both undergrads and grad students on its Instagram page.
Now in their final year, Sophie Chien and Benjamin Han curate a new series of exhibitions featuring student work in Architecture.
The graduate thesis exhibition offers an immersive and thought-provoking display of work by all 214 students earning master's degrees this year.
A partnership between the Furniture Design department and Mabeo Furniture in Botswana leads to spring exhibitions in Milan and NYC.