What is ARTSpeak?


ARTSpeak is a project created at the Fashion Institute of Technology – it’s intended to foster a conversation about the constant interplay between art and life. ARTSpeak  consists of a number of different forums, including, but not limited to: A lecture series featuring distinguished artists whose work speaks about their own diverse lives, an FIT blog site where anyone in the FIT community can contribute commentary, and exhibitions of FIT student artwork.

You can now watch videos on the ARTspeak blog! Go to the tab (at the top of this page) that says Watch Videos! and click on that.

ARTSpeak Lecture: Artist Yashua Klos

Artist Yashua Klos speaks on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022, 3-4:30pm, in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, 27th Street and 7th Avenue.

In his multi-media practice, Yashua Klos explores themes of identity, memory, and African Americans’ relationship to American labor, His large-scale works are created from the intricate formation of woodblock prints, representing ideas of Blackness through multi-dimensional , fragmented portraits. Unlike traditional collage arranged from ready=made source material, Klos creates all his collage material through woodblock printing and monotypes. His work reimagines the Black body as an alchemical being, surviving and existing with intertwined networks of history, myth and lived reality.

Yashua Klos was born in 1977 in Chicago, IL, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been shown in museums and galleries across the U.S. and abroad, including the Studio Museum of Harlem, NY; What If The World Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa; Tilton Gallery, NY; and UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles, CA. He has been awarded artist residences at Skowhegan, The Vermont Studio Center, and Bemis and was the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Fellowship and a NYFA grant.


ARTSpeak Lecture: Doron Langberg

Artist Doron Langberg speaks about his work in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, 27th Street and 7th Avenue, on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022, 3-4:30pm.

Doron Langberg’s vibrantly colored, sensual paintings celebrate queer pleasure, friendship, and intimacy. The artist blurs distinctions between abstraction and figuration, subject and setting in his work as he depicts his friends and lovers in translucent layers of oil paint. Since graduation with an MFA from Yale in 2012, Langberg has exhibited extensively in galleries in London, New York, Milan, Shanghai, and Berlin. In 2019, he was awarded the John Koch Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

ARTSpeak Lecture: Artist and Historian Nell Painter

On Wednesday, April 7th 2021, 5-6:30pm, artist and historian Nell Painter talks about her work virtually.

Nell Painter is a distinguished and award-winning scholar, historian, writer and visual artist. Author of seven books, her most recent, Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over (2018), recounts her experiences as an art student at Rutgers University (BFA 2009) and Rhode Island School of Design (MFA, 2011) after retiring as a professor from Princeton University. A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, her highly acclaimed book, The History of White People (2010), is a myth-destroying exploration of “whiteness.” Her most recent solo exhibition Freedom from Truth: Self-Portraits of Nell Painter was featured at the Smith Center, Harvard University, 2019.

ARTSpeak Lecture: Artist Derick Melander

On Wednesday, March 11th 2020, 5-6:30pm, artist Derick Melander talks about his work in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre in FIT’s Pomerantz Center, 27th Street and 7th Avenue.
Derick Melander creates artwork that examines the intersection between global consumerism and the intimate connection we have with what we wear. He creates large, geometric sculptures from carefully folded and stacked second-hand clothing. Sorted by hue, color, value or intensity, the garments are arranged to create patterns and gradients in the form of columns, walls, and enclosures. 
Recently completed commissions include The Chapman Perelman Foundation, Eileen Fisher, and Diesel, and he has created special projects for Scope, Miami; The City of San Francisco; Columbia College, Chicago; and The City of New York. Melander’s work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally, including exhibitions at The University of Maryland; Starstreet Precinct, Hong Kong; the YIA Art Fair, Paris, France; de Warande in Turnhout, Belgium; Museum Rijswijk, The Hague, Netherlands; and The Solyanka Gallery in Moscow, Russia.

ARTSpeak Lecture: Artist Naudline Pierre in Conversation with Curator Legacy Russell

Artist Naudline Pierre converses with Curator Legacy Russell, 
Tuesday, March 3, 5:00 – 6:30 pm, in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre.
The central subject of Naudline Pierre’s paintings serves as an alter-ego, an unearthly representation rendered in a spectrum of colors. As the artist has stated about her work, she is “acknowledging the incredible history contained with my body and transferring it to a visual language co-opted from the dominant Western art historical canon.” Pierre is currently an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem until September 1, 2020. The works produced at the residency will be presented at MoMA PS1 in the summer of 2020.

Legacy Russell is a writer and curator. She is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her ongoing academic work and research focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry, and new media ritual.  Her first book, Glitch Feminism, is forthcoming from Verso Books in Fall 2020.

ARTSpeak Lecturer: Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn talks on his artwork and life on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019, at FIT in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, located in the Fred P. Pomerantz Center on the northwest corner of 27th Street and 7th Avenue.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn (b. 1977) creates hybrid, fractured portraits on paper and linen
using charcoal, gouache, pastel, paint stick, and oil paint. His works are replete with art
historical references to Cubism, Surrealism, Francis Bacon, and others, yet his process is
also very personal, drawing from his memories, experiences, traumas, and family history
growing up in Chicago’s Robert Taylor housing project. Nathaniel Mary Quinn balances
the beautiful with the grotesque, the sinister with the benevolent, capturing the
complexity of human emotion in a way that is individual and also representative of the
human condition.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn has exhibited at galleries and institutions internationally. Recent
solo exhibitions include Half Gallery, New York; Luce Gallery, Torino, Italy; M + B Gallery,
Los Angeles; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Bunker 259 Gallery, Brooklyn; Pace
Gallery, London, England; and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
(MoCADA), Brooklyn, New York. He has also been featured in the group exhibitions at
Artist Space, New York; The Bronx Museum of Arts; Albertz Benda, New York; Satori
Gallery, New York; Susan-Inglett Gallery, New York; and Driscoll Babcock Gallery, New
York; and in A Process Series | Here He Come: Black Jesus, curated by Jessamyn Fiore,
Rawson Projects, New York. His work has been reviewed in numerous publications,
including the New York Times, The Independent (London), AFROPUNK, the Chicago
Reader, The Daily News, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Time Out New York.
He is the recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Artistic, Performance, and Fine Arts Award
and a two-time winner of the National Arts Club Prize. Quinn is included in the public
collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Sheldon Museum of Art and the Whitney
Museum of American Art, among others. Nathaniel Mary Quinn, a native of Chicago,
received his BFA from Wabash College and his MFA from New York University. He
currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s page on his gallery’s website is here.

ARTSpeak Lecturer: Ellen Altfest

On Thursday, February 21st, 2019, 6 – 7:30pm, artist Ellen Altfest speaks about her work in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, in the Fred P. Pomerantz (formerly D Building) of Fashion Institute of Technology, as part of the ARTSpeak 2018-2019 series, Artists and the New Muse. 

After receiving her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1997, Ellen Altfest has developed her own distinctive and devoted approach to figurative and representational painting.  The artist and writer David Humphrey observed that “Altfest’s paintings celebrate the way objects become engulfed by their surroundings and simple acts of identification multiply and transform.”  Altfest was born in 1970 in New York, where she currently lives and works.  In addition to graduating from Cornell University and from Yale, she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine.  She was awarded a studio space at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, New York, and she has held residencies at the Zabludowicz Collection, Finland, and the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas.  She led an artist workshop at the Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan.  Since her first solo exhibitions at Bellwether Gallery, New York, in 2002 and 2005, Altfest has had solo exhibitions at White Cube, London, and her work has been featured in exhibitions at the New Museum, New York, the Venice Biennale, and at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, U.K.  Her current exhibition, Green Spot, is on view at White Cube, Hong Kong, China.

This event is part of the ARTSpeak 2018-2019 lecture series, Artists and the New Muse, an interdisciplinary program presented by the departments of Fine Arts, History of Art, and English and Communication Studies.
ARTSpeak is made possible in part through funding by the FIT Student-Faculty Committee, with support from the School of Art and Design, and the School of Liberal Arts.

ARTSpeak Lecturer: Wayne Koestenbaum

On Wednesday, January 30th, 2019, 5 – 6pm, critic/poet/novelist/performer/visual artist/academic Wayne Koestenbaum gives a talk on his work in The Art and Design Gallery in the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center, 227 West 27th Street.

Wayne Koestenbaum is the author of 19 books, most recently Camp Marmalade (Nightboat, 2018), Notes on Glaze: 18 Photographic Investigations (Cabinet Books, 2016), and My 1980s & Other Essays (FSG, 2013). He contributes regularly to The New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, Artforum, and other periodicals and has participated in panels at the Whitney Museum of American Art. A Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center, he was a visiting professor in the painting department of Yale’s school of art from 2002-2011.

The 2018 – 2019 ARTSpeak Series has been made possible in part through funding by the FIT Student-Faculty Corporation with support from the School of Art and Design and the School of Liberal Arts.

ARTSpeak Panel: The Presence of Art History in the Artist’s Mind

ARTSpeak 2016-2017, a joint program of the Fine Arts and Art History Departments at FIT, presents a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017, 6:30 – 8pm, on the theme of The Presence of Art History in the Artist’s Mind.  The theme explores the impact of art history on the contemporary artist’s studio practice.  This series is open to the FIT community and the public.
Derek Fordjour was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to parents of Ghanaian heritage, and he received his MFA from Hunter College. He has exhibited his work in the US and Europe, and is currently Artist-in-Residence at Sugar Hill Museum, New York. Sharon Horvath received her BFA from Cooper Union and her MFA from Tyler School of Art. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rome Prize. She is Professor of Art at Purchase College, SUNY. Kyle Staver received her BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her MFA from Yale University. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize, Staver recently exhibited her work at Kent Fine Art, New York. Jennifer Samet teaches art history at the New York Studio School and the New School. She writes the column “Beer with a Painter” in Hyperallergic, and is co-director of Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York.
The ARTSpeak program has been made possible in part through funding by the FIT Student-Faculty Corporation, the School of Art and Design, and the School of Liberal Arts.