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Taking risks

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by Michelle Zis

Each year, only weeks before the BFA and MFA shows rumors begin to fly concerning one or two students whose work is called into question by SAIC officials. To show or not to show? That is the question. Although these students may feel like their work is being censored SAIC officials argue that they play a role in protecting the students and hopefully as Undergraduate Dean, Bruce Jenkins says, preparing students for the world.

This year, a video by MFA Photography candidate Donna Hurt came into question. For her piece The Eyes Are the First To Go, Hurt used a hidden camera while holding a sign on a street asking passers-by to donate money for a facelift. People actually stopped to provide handouts and chat, not knowing that they were being videotaped. Legal concerns about the surveillance aspect of Hurt’s piece alarmed some SAIC officials.

In Hurt’s situation, SAIC officials were concerned that she was taking a potential legal risk. Last year, SAIC officials were concerned with the health of a student who used toxic paint to cover the inside of a dumpster that he intended to jump inside; and once inside, read his writings. In general, when it comes to exhibiting the artwork Lisa Wainwright, SAIC Graduate Dean says, Often we are willing to take a risk. Last year’s dumpster diver did not get to perform his piece, but Hurt says, I have resolved the issue with the school and I am going to show the piece, whose work will be up at the MFA show at G2. She adds, I guess because we live in such a litigious society, it affects the school.

May 2005

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