Devika Sen Makes Successful Presentation at Public Art and Activism Symposium

IMG_2890 (2)Devika Sen, an undergraduate student in Professor Joyce Polistena’s course “Radical Art and Activist Artists” (fall 2016) presented Printmaking Process as Active Protest, at the international undergraduate symposium “Public Art and Activism” sponsored by the art history department at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth on April 18, 2017. Participation by one of our undergraduate students in an national and international art history symposium is a first for HAD.  Speakers included the keynote, Lucas Cowan, Director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy (Boston) and students from UMass Dartmouth College, Purdue University Indianapolis, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Missouri- Colombia, and Pratt Institute!

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Devika’s paper focused on the political posture of Latina Artists Cooperatives and how this movement shaped her own work as an activist, as a feminist, and as a Latina artist. Some of her own prints were featured in her talk and, following the presentation, members of the audience were eager to learn how they might obtain copies! The symposium organizers arranged for overnight accommodations and dinners for the participants and Devika said it was a cool experience hanging-out with students from other art programs. Professor Polistena, who helped Devika prepare her paper and accompanied her to the symposium, admitted that she felt excited and proud for Devika’s success.

Save the Date: Master’s Symposium on April 6, Thursday, 5:30pm, Main 212

Refreshments will be served at 5pm.

Congratulations to Devika Sen and Professor Joyce Polistena

Devika Sen, an undergraduate student in Professor Joyce Polistena’s course “Radical Art and Activist Artists” fall 2016, has had her abstract accepted for a symposium on Activist Latina Feminists Artists Cooperatives at U MASS, Dartmouth. The symposium will be on April 18 and is international in scope. Professor Polistena saw the announcement and contacted Devika and she agreed to prepare and send her work. Many of you may remember Devika when she worked in our office—we miss her.

Congratulations to Devika Sen and Professor Polistena!

Click here for more information.

Activist Artists and Radical Art

“I can’t tell you how incredible it was to visit his studio, and to see an artist I can relate to…his success outside establishments that I too disagree with. I know many artists…but I have never been in the studio of one who spoke directly to me. … It reaffirmed my confidence within myself as an artist… I loved this studio visit.” M.P.

Activist Artists and Radical Art, a course developed by Professor Joyce C. Polistena, held class at a uniquely suited site, the studio of painter Robert Cenedella –A.K.A. The Art Bastard. Now known to many thousands due to the recent award winning film of the same name, Bob Cenedella is forthcoming, challenging and completely engaging. The film has been lauded in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, The Nation, The, and The NY Post among others. Bob Cenedella’s rebellious approach to the art world skewers the art market, the US government, American politics, and the cultural avant-garde of New York City. He passionately rejects the monetary behemoth that has become Art. Cenedella’s message to art students is all about maintaining integrity before pursuing fame: “you can bastardize everything else in your life, but if you compromise with your art, why be an artist?”

Cenedella spoke to the Pratt students about his long career as a radical artist and the excitement of having a film made of one’s life and career. In the 1960s-70s Cenedella’s figurative work countered both the abstract expressionist and Pop Art movements. He met with Andy Warhol and other lionized stars of the Avant garde art world but he cut his own path. Cenedella made clear that the artist he most admired was his revered teacher, the German expressionist painter, George Grosz. Additionally influenced by those politically engaged American artists of the 1920s -1930s “anarchist period”.

During the visit, Cenedella was charming and generous with his time and talents; he explained his painting techniques, his materials and his figurative style as well as those paintings which became notorious for their political truth-telling content. In what was especially inviting for the class, Bob Cenedella unveiled his latest work: a very large triptych painting (a private commission which cannot be shown here until it reaches its L.A. patron). It can be said with certainty that the painting is a tremendously important work; politically gripping and beautifully painted. Later, the students said that they found the visit “a privilege,” and the artist “inspiring, and thought provoking — reminding them to “always question everything.”

one(L- R) Polistena, Bob Cenedella, Mira Park, Tia Chinai, Devica Sen, Emily Marcus, Madison Polidoro, Lulu Johnson, Lori Quijano, Fiona Colon.

thirteen Susan Luss, Bob Cenedella, Mira Park, Tia Chinai, Devica Sen, Emily Marcus, Madison Polidoro (rear).



We are excited to share with you the details for the 2016 partnership exhibition between the Pratt Institute’s History of Art and Design Student Association and Pratt Artists League. The exhibition, WHAT ABOUT NOW?, will feature new work by eight second-year MFA candidates, and is curated by HADSA [Rebecca L. Armstrong, Kristine Allegretti, and Teresa M. Lundgren].

WHAT ABOUT NOW? presents an assortment of works by eight young artists examining the troubling relationships around us today, including class conflicts with self, family, nature, and society, updated with contemporary consumerist identities. All of the pieces can be understood as a response to the question, “What About Now?” searching for the meaning and stability in a tumultuous world. Fear of the unknown (Hyomin Kwon), memories of broken childhood (Taylor Kennedy and Dulphe Pinheiro Machado), and predictions for the future (Lia Kim Farnsworth) are skillfully displayed in painting, drawing, video, and installation. There is repeatedly little to no distinction between media, often intertwining surprising materials, such as chocolate on paper (Sabetty Heyaime), woven rope over canvases (Megan Porpeglia), and child-sized mannequins gaping at Day-Glo paintings (Chip McCall). Despite an exuberant exploration of meanings and materials, there remains a deep reverence for what came before (Jiang Ye) that firmly asserts their place in the unfolding timeline of art history.

Please see our attached poster and press release below for details and more information!

You can find the Facebook event here.

The exhibition runs from August 17-September 2, and is open to the public.

Opening reception will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2016, 6-9 PM. 

Gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 2-5 PM (DeKalb Gallery, Pratt Institute, 200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11205)


We hope to see you there!

Warm Regards,



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