If you get a chance please check out this show my friend Michael developed in which he interviewed MFA students for the SFAI class of 2005 (myself included) to find out where they are now and what they are up to now. Really awesome project!
“What’s it like having a career as an artist?” Michael Zheng posed this question to his former classmates at the San Francisco Art Institute as they approached the five-year mark since graduating with MFA’s.
In preparation for his new show The Profession, the San Francisco based artist conducted extensive video interviews with thirty-seven alumnae to discuss their experience as artists since graduation. With just a fraction of art school graduates succeeding in the gallery world, Zheng expected to wade through depressing accounts of art world misery. However, while stories of maturation through struggle were common, surrender and a sense of failure were not.
“I was blown away,” said Zheng, “by the passion, resourcefulness and commitment artists in this class have to living life as artists, to making work however it can be made, and to seeing that it gets shown.”
Curated by Steven Wolf Fine Arts, and inspired by Michael Apted’s documentary series Up, The Profession will premiere at Marina Abramovic Institute West on Friday, May 21, and run through July 2.
The exhibition will consist of multiple video projections of subject interviews with Zheng and an interactive website calledtheprofessionproject.com which will go live when the exhibition opens. Viewers will be able to watch the videos, write comments on a blog and artists will be able to post a link to their own video narratives about life in the art world, which would then be screened publicly during the exhibition.
The Profession adds to a growing critical discourse on the contemporary art world as it expands and becomes more professionalized due to the proliferation of MFA studio programs. In the interviews, Zheng asks the artists a variety of questions—what are the challenges to maintaining a studio practice? What has been your experience with commercial galleries? How has art school prepared or failed to prepare you for careers in contemporary art? The breadth of these topics allow for a rare chance to see artists open up not only about their work but about their lives.