Sunday, April 18, 2021
4 pm EST

Columbia University Visual Arts MFA candidates and recent alumni present new video, sound, and performance artworks in response to We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz. This exhibition looked at how artists have historically responded to the rise of authoritarianism and xenophobia as well as racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry. It also addressed issues surrounding immigration, assimilation, and cultural identity.

This event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and took place virtually in Spring 2021. The artists presented their work in a live virtual program, and works are archived below.


Participating Artists:
Aika Akhmetova
Lindsey Brittain Collins
Baris Gokturk
Juan Hernández Díaz
Yifan Jiang
Joseph Liatela
Kate Liebman
Paula Lycan
Cara Lynch
Farah Mohammad
Yi Sa-Ra


Aika Akhmetova
EVERYTHING IS FINE
Video

EVERYTHING IS FINE is an infinite loop video experiment that toys with the commonly used words for calming oneself. The video attempts to put the validity and honesty of those words into question by absurding them through repetition, layering and transparencies inside the video.

Lindsey Brittain Collins
The Past is Not Past 
Video

This piece interrogates the purpose and placement of Confederate monuments in America. The artist’s experience of confronting the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, VA is narrated by a video of a projected light installation on Jonathan Horowitz’s piece, Untitled (August 23, 2017- February 18, 2018, Charlottesville, VA), that was on view at the Jewish Museum in 2020-21.

Baris Gokturk
Uniform
Performance

A mediation on two photographs about two events and two individuals who made different choices under parallel circumstances.

Juan Hernández Díaz
Here We Are
Soil screenprint and embossment on cotton paper

Here We Are is a print made of soil that uses language and material to explore issues of belonging, land claim, and identity. This work employs the use of pressure on printmaking techniques as a metaphor for the stress that governments and economic markets execute over the land and its inhabitants.

Yifan Jiang
One Sunday Morning 
Video

The animated short chronicles the events followed by humanity’s sudden loss of language on one unsuspecting Sunday morning. Told from the perspective of two protagonists originating from opposite sides of the world, the Fable-Esque tale is a thought experiment exploring the limits of language and human empathy.

Joseph Liatela
VITAL RESPONSE
Video

VITAL RESPONSE was filmed in New York City’s oldest gay bar, Julius, during the coronavirus pandemic. Dedicated to José Esteban Muñoz’s essay “Stages: Queers, Punks, and the Utopian Performative” in which he describes the empty gay bar stage as a utopic space embued with queer potentiality, this work investigates how we may choose to re-enter, re-configure, and re-imagine these necessary spaces of queer world making and collective movement. In our paradoxical moment of increased visibility of TLGBQIA+ people and heightened transphobic and racial violence, VITAL RESPONSE explores notions of surveillance, visibility, and glitches, while posing the question—how will we choose to gather once it is safe to dance together once more?

Kate Liebman
Legal Tender
Video

In a yearlong collaborative devising practice, collaborators Andalyn Young (performance), Kate Liebman (video), Kyle Dacuyan (poet/performance), and Michael Costagliola (music/sound) with Antigravity Performance Project (directors Michael T. Williams and Francesca Montanile) present Legal Tender. Exploring the relationships between information, consumer culture, labor, and borders – Legal Tender draws attention to our eroding news and media environments, and the places where fact, opinion, and falsehood settle unconsciously. Made partly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Tender is inflected with our more fully digital and remote present tense.


Paula Lycan
Untitled
Video

16mm film of their partner and collaborator, Cedar Kirwin. The film was developed with elements present in the filming such as spit, salt, and dust.

Cara Lynch
Dreamin’
Video

Dreamin'
is a performative installation documented through video, featuring a singing, dancing vase that performs Dreamin'by Johnny Burnette. While this song speaks to matters of the heart, of pining and longing, the lyrics also communicate a larger cultural portrait of America: a picture in which dreams and reality are not in alignment and we are consumed by our own desires. The work offers a romantic vision which spoils, corrupts, and eats away at itself, ultimately collapsing.

Farah Mohammad
Taang Arana
Screenprinted poster with hand coloring

The piece Taang Arana is a screenprinted poster. It is an extension of an ongoing project, Totewali, that I started with my sister, Inisyah Bergeron, in 2018. With Totewali we make literal representations of Urdu idioms, screenprint them on tote bags, and disseminate them. The idiom, “Taang Arana,” depicted on this poster literally translates to “getting leg tangled,” which means to interfere in another’s business.

Yi Sa-Ra
Always Returning
Essay

Always Returning is an essay inspired by my experience of visiting my mother in Korea after the Covid-19 outbreak when I was an international student in the U.S. Considering the societal, cultural and economic changes through a generation in Korea, this personal story of a mother and a daughter contemplates on the complex dimensions of trauma, survival and womanhood.

Read Always Returning︎

The presentation of We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz at the Jewish Museum is made possible by Audrey and Zygi Wilf, Jane and Mark Wilf, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, The Goldie and David Blanksteen Foundation, The TD Charitable Foundation, The Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc., Jane and Reuben Leibowitz, Nili Lotan, Rita and Charles Bronfman, Wendy Fisher, Goldman Sonnenfeldt Foundation, Brice and Helen Marden, Wexler Dermatology PC, and other generous donors.


Left image: Installation view on We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz, October 1, 2020 - February 7, 2021, at the Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Kris Graves

The Jewish Museum, NY ©2021