“This pandemic is the reflection of a lack of willingness to take responsibility for the impact of our actions on the collective,” says Photography and Imaging alum Myriam Negre, whose Serpent VIII, a ceramic serpent curved into a heart shape and made using the Japanese raku process, graces the cover of Dot's Spring 2021 issue. "Hopefully, with compassion and supporting each other, we’ll create new ways for the benefit of all."
It's been more than a year since ArtCenter closed its campuses due to the pandemic. With nearly 2.95 million people killed by COVID-19 around the world (562,000 in the United States alone), the pain inflicted by the virus will reverberate for decades to come. "Yet even during these dark times, rays of light managed to shine through," says President Lorne M. Buchman in his introduction to the latest issue of Dot. "Here at the College, we created innovative ways to continue educating future artists and designers through technological solutions like Studio in a Box. We found new ways to stay in touch through initiatives like our Community Hubs in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzen and Seoul. And we asked ourselves hard questions about the systemic inequities of our institution, resulting in a renewed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan to correct those wrongs."
During this time, the institution also continued curating art and design exhibitions for the community. As highlighted in the issue, some of these exhibitions involved installing works in ArtCenter's street-facing windows, while others offered virtual interventions with works currently installed in galleries across the College. "These exhibitions offered us much-needed moments to contemplate larger questions, see the world through somebody else’s eyes or marvel in the beauty of an artist’s singular expression," adds Buchman in his introduction. "Such moments are what we live for during normal times, and they’re that much more important during the pandemic."
Also in this issue is a remembrance of Product Design alumnus Al Van Noy (BS 87), who passed away last November after battling cancer for several years. The global head of Adidas' Future Team, Van Noy left a multipronged legacy at the College, with which he had forged a deep educational partnership over the past decade. "Al was just so giving," says Product Design Professor Frido Beisert (MS 08 Industrial Design), one of several individuals interviewed for the story. "He loved to see young creatives succeed on their path to the industry. That’s what he was all about." Other interviewees include two Product Design alumni and members of Adidas' Future Team, Matteo Padovani and Jacques Perrault, as well as Van Noy's son, Ryan Van Noy (BS 17 Product).
Also featured in this issue is a story on alum Lee Friedlander, a legendary photographer and the recent recipient of ArtCenter's Lifetime Achievement Award; an introduction to Su Mathews Hale, the College's new Chair of the Board and the CEO of a bicoastal, multidisciplinary brand strategy and design consultancy; a story on disability rights advocate and Interaction Design and Designmatters Assistant Professor Josh Halstead (BFA Graphic Design 12), who this term taught a studio entitled Reimagining Accessibility; a showcase of the geometric and abstract work of Graduate Art alum Michael Rey (MFA 08); a profile of recent Environmental Design alum Chahn Chance (BS 20), whose life's journey took him from South Korea to Austin, Texas, to coming out as a gay man while a student at ArtCenter; and, in an online bonus, a profile of Negre, who creates ceramics, photography and video art with an emphasis on activism, spirituality, women’s empowerment and symbolism.
And for this issue's "From the Archives," we've selected an image taken by the only woman staff photographer in the College's history, Photography alum Irene Vermeers (then Gutterman), who took some of the earliest photographs in the archives and whose work serves as an important document of ArtCenter's 7th Street Era. Vermeers and her family have donated more than 200 of her original prints and negatives (as well as the camera and tripod she used as a student) to ArtCenter. The featured photo, a behind-the-scenes moment in which model Lileth Stanwood poses in a ballet costume for a student photo shoot, is just one of many works by Vermeer you can see by visiting the College's Virtual Archives.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Dot and that you and your loved ones remain healthy and safe.