CCNY Inaugurates Community Art Lecture Series

Photographer Abelardo Morell Kicks off Series, Feb. 17

Morell Image 2_highway

Camera obscura image by Cuban-born photographer Aberlardo Morell who will speak at CCNY's inaugural Community Art Lecture Series, February 17.

The City College of New York Art Department’s inaugural Community of Scholars Spring Lecture Series commences at 12:30 p.m. today, Thursday, February 17, in Room 252, Compton-Goethals Hall. Abelardo Morell, a Cuban-born photographer, scholar and Guggenheim fellow, will be the first speaker.

The six-part series, which is funded by a grant from the Office of City College President Lisa Staiano-Coico, brings leading contemporary artists to CCNY to speak about their work within various interdisciplinary frameworks. Its goal is to introduce the college community and the public to the wide range of current artistic practices.

“Thanks to the generous grant from the President, the art department’s lecture committee was able to reach out to some very prominent and influential artists whose topics will appeal to faculty and students in different disciplines as well as members of the public,” said Professor Ina Saltz, chair of the art department.  

“City College sits in the middle of a community with a rich cultural heritage and a thriving contemporary arts scene,” noted President Staiano-Coico. “This lecture series supports my vision of CCNY as an anchor institution that brings the community into the College and goes out into the community to be part of that scene.”

Future speakers in the series include Artemio (mixed media artist), Michael Mandiberg (design and digital media), Tammy Rae Carland (photography & experimental video), Richard Minsky (book art) and Pepon Osorio (community art). All the lectures start at 12:30 p.m. and take place in Room 252, Compton-Goethals Hall, on the CCNY campus, 160 Convent Avenue, New York.
Lecture dates and synopses of the speakers and their topics follow:

February 17: Abelardo Morell, “Camera Obscura.” Mr. Morell is renowned in
the photographic community for his images made with a camera obscura – a lensless camera most often associated with Renaissance artists. As digital technology has dominated photography, artists like Morell are returning to the past, working with processes and instruments that are more than 100 years old. Mr. Morell’s life and work were the subject of a 2007 documentary, “Shadow of the House,” and a feature article in “New York” magazine in October 2010.

March 10: Artemio, “Experimental Multimedia.” Artemio belongs to the generation of Mexican artists who came of age in the mid-1990s, developing artistic alternatives in video, installation and performance that built upon the rise of neo-Mexican art and painting in the 1980s. His experimental multimedia work stems from the appropriation and reinterpretation of pop cultural elements. In 2010, Artemio contributed to the founding of SOMA, a new non-profit arts organization in Mexico City. He has exhibited widely at institutions in Mexico, San Francisco and Cuba.

March 17: Michael Mandiberg, “Shop Mandiberg.” Mr. Mandiberg is best known for selling all of his possessions online on Shop Mandiberg and making perfect copies of copies on He has also created Firefox plug-ins that highlight the real environmental costs of a global economy on In addition, he co-authored “Digital Foundations: an Intro to Media Design,” a textbook that teaches Bauhaus visual principles through design software. A former senior fellow at Eyebeam, he is currently assistant professor of design and digital media at The College of Staten Island. His work lives at

March 24: Tammy Rae Carland, “The Passionate Camera.” Ms. Carland primarily works with photography and experimental video. Her work has been screened and exhibited in galleries and museums internationally, including in New York, Berlin and Sydney. Her photographs have been published in numerous books including “The Passionate Camera; Queer Bodies of Desire and Lesbian Art in America.” She has collaborated on the record art of seminal underground music releases, and, from 1997-2005, co-ran Mr. Lady Records and Videos, an independent record label and video art distribution company. Ms. Carland is a professor at the California College of the Arts, where she also chairs the photography program.

April 14: Richard Minsky, “Material Meets Metaphor.” Since age 13, Mr. Minsky has spent his life exploring all aspects of the book arts. He is the founder of the Center for Book Arts, now in its 36th year in New York City, and helped launch the Book Arts Movement. An exhibition, “Material Meets Metaphor: A Half Century of Book Art,” a 50-year retrospective of Mr. Minsky’s work was at Yale University’s Haas Arts Library through December 2010. At CCNY, Mr. Minsky will narrate a visual presentation of his one-of-a-kind artist’s bindings, discuss his 2010 book, “American Decorated Publishers’ Bindings, 1872-1929,” and delve into the inception of the Book Arts Movement.

May 12: Pepon Osorio: “Kitsch, Community and Art.” Mr. Osorio is best known for large-scale installations that combine a baroque, decorative aesthetic with politically charged commentary on Puerto Rican life in the United States. His pieces, influenced by his experience as a social worker in the Bronx, usually evolve from interaction with a local community and have often included collaboration with non-art professionals, particularly youth groups. “My principal commitment as an artist is to return art to the community,” he says. Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1955, he was educated at the Universidad Inter-Americana in Puerto Rico, Lehman College and Columbia University.

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