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‘NEXT’ Exhibition Showcases New Generation of Contemporary Artists at GW’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

Next: Corcoran Thesis Exhibition 2017
‘NEXT’ at the Corcoran Showcases Students’ Exploration of Virtual Reality, the Refugee Experience, Black Identity and the Intersection of Deaf Culture and Football
April 10, 2017

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Brett Zongker, bzongker@gwu.edu, 202-994-6466
Maralee Csellar: csellar@gwu.edu, 202-994-7564

WASHINGTON (April 10, 2017)—Emerging artists will explore the refugee experience, black identity, virtual reality and the intersection of deaf culture and football, among other themes in the new thesis exhibition, “NEXT,” at the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. The Corcoran will celebrate “NEXT” with an opening reception Wednesday, and the exhibition will be on display through May 21.

The annual showcase displays the artistic spirit of the Corcoran’s graduating students and provides a unique opportunity for employers, art enthusiasts and gallerists to observe the work of up-and-coming contemporary artists. The class of 2017 exhibition will be showcased in all seven of the Corcoran’s first-floor galleries as well as the full atrium.

The exhibition will feature the work of 24 graduating undergraduate students in digital media design, fine art, graphic design, photography and photojournalism, as well as 33 graduate students who will earn their master’s degrees in art education, exhibition design and new media photojournalism.

“This exhibition exemplifies the diverse creative practices that are cultivated at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design,” said Sanjit Sethi, director of the school. “‘In this thesis exhibition one sees the work of over 50 gifted artists and designers and their distinct vantage point on materiality, technology, memory and culture.”

HIGHLIGHTED ARTISTS
The Corcoran’s Bachelor of Fine Arts majors in digital media design, fine art, graphic design, photography and photojournalism and Master of Arts graduates in art education, exhibition design and new media photojournalism are represented in diverse forms of expression, including the following selected artists:

Jack Mead (“Spectrum,” Virtual Reality Game Design) – This project examines whether virtual reality can have an impact on the world of psychology and the treatment of phobias and anxieties in a fun and safe setting. For his thesis project, Mr. Mead designed and created a virtual reality exposure therapy game for mental health treatments of social anxiety. The game is particularly focused on children living with autism spectrum disorder. On display is a proof of concept for the simulation. The project takes participants through the first day in a new elementary school where they must confront several situations of varying intensities that normally would cause a new student some anxiety, allowing participants to work through their fears and improve their quality of life in a safe and controlled environment.

Hannah Chasen (“Finding Refuge,” Exhibition Design) – Ms. Chasen’s project explores ways to design a museum exhibit featuring Syrian artifacts as a means of preserving them and facilitating dialogue between Syrian refugees and citizens of the host countries where these refugees have found new homes. By focusing on community-centered design and development, the goal is to create an experience that portrays a specific culture, delivering a message of hope to members of that culture and establishing a connection between visitors of the featured culture and visitors of a different cultural background.

Mimi D’Autremont (“Anyone Like Me,” Photojournalism and Film) – Ms. D’Autremont’s thesis is a multimedia documentary project exploring the intersection of deaf culture and America’s favorite pastime: football. The Gallaudet University Bison of Washington, D.C., are the world’s only collegiate deaf and hard of hearing football team. About 90 percent of deaf and hard of hearing individuals are raised in families with no prior knowledge of American Sign Language or deaf culture. This project follows coach Shelby Bean, 25, a hard of hearing man and former Bison team captain. Mr. Bean, along with his players, say before they came to Gallaudet they shared the experience of marginalization for their perceived “disability,” and sports was often the only place they ever felt normal. When Mr. Bean came to Gallaudet as a freshman, he didn’t know anything about deaf culture or ASL, but through the football team he found his place within the culture and his hard of hearing identity. The narratives are told through a documentary film, photographs and an interactive website at www.anyonelikeme-project.com.

Khadijah Wilson (“Object of Neglect,” Visual Art) – Ms. Wilson is interested in the notion that the black body performs a kind of abstraction. By sewing the faces of two hoodies together, both subjects become visually indistinguishable from one another, covering up individual differences. As a result, the work presents a kind of paradox: the black body is simultaneously figural, yet it exists in a constant state of resemblance. “Object of Neglect” intends to convey feelings of intimacy, abjection and tension.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
“NEXT” celebrates the artistry of the Corcoran’s graduating students. Each degree program requires students to successfully complete a thesis project. Projects may take many forms—from written research papers to a series of paintings. Students exhibit their projects on the walls of the Corcoran’s historic Flagg building and present pictorial and oral presentations to an audience of their peers, faculty, arts professionals and the GW community.

For the first time this year, in addition to visual art, “NEXT” features performances by dance and music students as well as a museum studies symposium on May 5 and an art history colloquium on May 6. 

Admission for “NEXT” is free and open to the public. The exhibition is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., or by appointment. The Corcoran is located at 500 17th Street NW. Visitors should enter via the main entrance, located on 17 Street between New York Avenue and E Street NW. For more information, including a press kit, student portfolios and exhibition events, visit http://next.corcoran.gwu.edu. Follow “NEXT” on social media at #CorcoranNext.

-GW-