Student News

Contest! do you love selfies?

new doc 2017-09-12 10.23.21_2

Now, #HADPratt is on social media we have a gift.

Too many  posters have been posted in different places on the Brooklyn campus. All you have to do to be the happy winner is:

1.       Find 3 of the posters

2.       Take a creative picture with it and add the hashtag #hadselfie

3.       Follow us on Instagram

4.       Like us on Facebook

*This giveaway is only valid for Pratt students. (We’ll verify that the winner meets the conditions)


Pretty easy right?
The contest will run from 09/12/17 to 10/06/17 at 11:59 pm ET.
Winner will be chosen at random on 10/10/17 from the list of entries received.

Happy second month to you all!


HAD Pratt

History of Art and Design department

Pratt Institute

Blog of the week! History of Sculpture – Professor Caterina Pierre’s class 9/12/17


Here is the space for all the students to participate and send their class works to be published! @hadpratt


This week we want to share Emma Seely-Katz blog post

Blog for 9/6: Sculpture That Moves Me

Paul Thek has been one of my favorite artists ever since I discovered his work and story in the book Aliens & Anorexia by Chris Kraus. In it, Kraus details the lives of several artists and thinkers she feels are misunderstood or under-appreciated by society at large. Reading about a work of art before viewing it is a very interesting experience for me–I was immediately taken by Kraus’ description of Thek’s series of sculptures entitled Technological Reliquaries: “wax replicas of animal and human meat encased in glass” and even more so by this quote from Thek explaining that his relationship to visceral imagery was not intended to shock, but to detach and recontextualize: “It delighted me that bodies could be used to decorate a room, like flowers.”

A sculpture that stands out to me from the Reliquaries is called “Birthday Cake.” Four layers of what appears to be bloody “meat” with a layer of human-looking skin on top are stacked like a cake and topped with fuzzy hairs and cheerful pink candles. The “cake” is ensconced in a glass pyramid with metal hardware and yellow striations. The colors grabbed me first: Thek’s characteristic use of paint on wax produces lush, shiny, vital-looking reds and pinks with tinges of blues and greens, as if he’d cut slabs of meat just for the piece and they were in danger of going bad if left out for too long. What really enchants me about this piece is the attempt at demystifying the human body through what can be read as inherently violent imagery: though the image of animal meat doesn’t faze most humans, there is an unspoken distinction between human lives and “other” lives that renders comparisons of human bodies to lesser meat a taboo. Thek breaks this boundary by taking this violent imagery and subverting it with additions that could be considered “domestic,” “feminine,” and even “holy.”

The image of a tiered cake calls to mind frilly wedding receptions and the pink of the unlit candles recalls a birthday party color-coded towards femininity–the juxtaposition of femininity and violence shakes the dichotomy we are entrenched in that unequivocally assigns violence to the domain of “masculinity.” The pyramidal case (evoking ancient holy imagery that Thek returned to again and again in his pieces) with its industrial metal contrasts with its soft, organic, fleshy contents–is this “meat” under protection? Or is it being held captive? How far do we take our obsession with the human body and our certainty in its intrinsic value?

The de-gendering and reverent display of the “cake” raises questions about the value of anatomical form which are addressed by the overarching humor of the piece. Thek does not take himself too seriously and has a similar relationship towards bodies–Kraus cites an incident where Thek visited the Capuchin catacombs, which are decorated with decaying corpses. He picked up what he’d thought was a piece of paper–it was a human thigh. Thek said “We accept our thing-ness intellectually, but the emotional acceptance of it can be a joy.” My senior year of high school, I took a field trip with my anatomy class to a cadaver lab. I was nervous about how I’d react to seeing someone without consciousness, flayed open, empty of all vitality and agency. However, after getting to hold human organs and see a body in a purely aesthetic sense with none of the political and personal implications that are inherent in viewing a live body, I had at least a moment of acceptance of our thing-ness, and it was a joy.

Emma Seely-Katz

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.

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).


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