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  • Monday, October 27 - Saturday, November 22

Masters Series: Marshall Arisman 

Images For Everyday Use

October 27 - November 22, 2003
Reception: Monday, October 27, 5 - 7pm
Lecture: Thursday, October 30, 5 - 7pm
Screening of Arisman Facing the Audience: Tuesday, November 18, 6:30pm.

Marshall Arisman celebrates his Masters Series Award on the eve of concluding four decades at the School of Visual Arts. In 1964, then only in his mid-twenties but already known for his distinctive work, he was hired to teach drawing in the Media Department. A naturally talented and dedicated educator, he went on to co-chair that department and, in 1984, to organize the MFA program Illustration as Visual Essay, of which he remains chair to this day.

Over the years Arisman's work has appeared regularly in such publications as Esquire, Time, Harper's, Omni, Playboy, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Nation and US News & World Report, creating a new, iconoclastic presence in contemporary visual communication.

As his Masters Series retrospective demonstrates, the printed work that made his public reputation has always been an outgrowth of Arisman's personal work: painting, sculpture and printmaking. He has consistently challenged the conventional division between fine art and commerical art, holding that a picture's intrinsic worth is what matters, not the medium or the context in which it appears. In fact, even as his illustration career flourished, he was continually exhibiting in New York, San Francisco, Munich, Basel, Tokyo and Guang Dong. His work is in many private and corporate collections, as well as in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Guang Dong Museum of Art.

The common thread that runs through all his work, whether on canvas or in print, is not only stylistic but also intellectual. The arresting quality of his images, by turns horrifying and haunting, springs from deeply felt social concerns founded on his readings in philosophy, history and mysticism. Steven Heller wrote in Graphis of the "logical extension" between Arisman's imagery and "his humanistic concerns." Heller notes that "this same pursuit is also evident in his commercial and personal work, which overlap, each profoundly informing the other." 

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