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Past Exhibitions


The exhibition program at SVA advances the College’s philosophy of integrating life outside the classroom with the teaching that occurs within. Becoming a professional artist entails more than just developing talent and honing skills; it also means gaining the practical experience and creative enrichment that come from showing work in a real gallery setting. SVA’s commitment to this objective is second to none: We employ a full-time staff of gallery professionals to hold over 50 exhibitions a year in our three exhibition spaces. There are two galleries on campus and one off campus. The latter, which also houses the Office of SVA Galleries, comprises four fully equipped exhibition spaces, as well as a terrace with a spectacular Hudson River view where outdoor sculpture can be shown. Matriculated students can exhibit their work either as part of a department show, organized by their department chair or a guest curator, or by applying to the Office of SVA Galleries for a juried exhibition. For each student exhibition held at SVA, the College hosts an opening reception at which the exhibiting artists can interact with the public and members of the arts community as well as celebrate their accomplishments with friends, family and colleagues. Some of the most important present-day artists first exhibited their work while they were still students at SVA. 


SVA’s exhibition program also affords students the opportunity to study the work of renowned artists and designers up close, hear them speak at lectures, or even meet them in person—all right here at the College. Since 1960, SVA has exhibited the work of some of the most significant figures in modern art, including Willem de Kooning, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Saul Steinberg, Mark di Suvero and Andy Warhol. Reflecting the breadth of its curricula, SVA has also exhibited prominent exponents of contemporary design, illustration and photography. In 1988, SVA inaugurated the Masters Series, an annual award exhibition to honor great visual communicators of our time. Silas Rhodes, the founder of SVA, conceived it as a way of bringing public recognition to groundbreaking designers, illustrators and photographers who are sometimes unknown to the general public—a public that has nonetheless responded strongly to their imagery and has been influenced by their work. Saul Bass, Seymour Chwast, Jules Feiffer, Milton Glaser, George Lois, Mary Ellen Mark, Paul Rand, Paula Scher and Massimo Vignelli are among those who have received the Masters Series Award. Exhibitions at SVA are also meant to engage students in understanding art-making in varied contexts as it occurs today. For instance, “Between Picture and Viewer: The Image in Contemporary Painting,” was a survey of recent work by a cross-generational selection of 19 established and emerging New York artists examining the relationship between contemporary painting and the notion of “the image” in today’s increasingly hyper-visual culture.  Among these artists, who work in abstract and representational styles, were Judith Linhares, Lisa Yuskavage, Ron Gorchov and SVA alumna Inka Essenhigh.  This College, a longtime proponent of artists’ social awareness, exhibited “Where Is My Vote? Posters for the Green Movement in Iran,” 150 political posters created in support of the protests that followed the latest presidential election in Iran. R. O. Blechman, Robert Grossman, Anita Kunz, Jennifer Morla, Woody Pirtle and Ralph Steadman were just some of the many graphic artists worldwide who contributed to this exhibition.


In 1988 SVA instituted the Masters Series, an annual award exhibition to honor great visual communicators --designers, illustrators, art directors and photographers-- of our time. As Silas Rhodes, founder and chairman of the College put it, "Though their achievements are lauded by their colleagues, the names of groundbreaking visual artists often go largely unrecognized by the general public even though many people have been influenced by their work and have responded strongly to their imagery. At the School of Visual Arts we feel that artists of this caliber should have the widest possible public exposure and recognition, which is why we offer this annual award and exhibition."


2018 Roz Chast
2017 Christoph Niemann
2016 Louise Fili 

2015 Michael Bierut
2014 Tom Geismar

2013 R.O. Blechman

2012 James McMullan
2011 Edward Sorel
2008 April Greiman
2007 Steven Heller
2006 Jules Feiffer
2005 Heinz Edelmann
2004 Ed McCabe
2003 Marshall Arisman
2002 Paula Scher
2001 Shigeo Fukuda
2000 Duane Michals
1999 Tony Palladino
1998 Paul Davis
1997 Seymour Chwast
1996 Mary Ellen Mark
1996 Saul Bass
1995 Ivan Chermayeff
1995 Deborah Sussman
1994 George Lois
1992 George Tscherny
1991 Lou Dorfsman
1991 Massimo Vignelli
1989 Milton Glaser
1988 Paul Rand

Past Exhibitions


School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587