2 Month Countdown

It’s officially two months from today that graduation from UC Berkeley will occur, and two months from today that our MFA Thesis exhibition opens, as well! I am hunkering down, big-time.


(“Hunkering” can often be misinterpreted as messiness.)

Lindsay Benedict, Joe McKay, Bill Jenkins, Kara Hearn, Ali Dadgar and Alicia McCarthy are the other 6 members of our tiny cohort. Our culminating project is the MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum. Much as we all like each other and get along, all 7 of us have drastically disparate practices: while we all make strong work, the two times that we’ve had small group shows together, it’s felt utterly disjointed. There’s little to no way to weave a curatorial thread through what we each do so well individually.

Miki Yoshimoto, the museum curatorial assistant, has been very diligent and patient with us. Having done MFA studio visits along with Liz Thomas, the curator, Miki then asked us to come up with a title related to time and slowness, since she felt that this was the one thread she found linking our works together. It was a pretty good call, since left to our own devices, we were coming up with Cal Bears-related winners like “Bad News Bears,” “Bear-ly Legal“, etc etc. We spent a couple of weeks batting similarly dumb (but highly self-entertaining) titles back and forth, until Miki’s guidance helped us out a bit. Yours truly came up with the winner. Result?

Our MFA Thesis Exhibition is called “FERMATA.”

A fermata (or hold or pause) is an element of musical notation indicating that the note should be sustained for longer than its note value would indicate. Exactly how much longer it is held is up to the discretion of the performer, but twice as long is not unusual. More importantly, it’s also the title for my favorite Nicholson Baker book.

Now, for those of you who aren’t Nicholson Baker fans (yet), I implore you to entertain yourself with at least one of his books. The Fermata was the first book of his that I read, and is still the one nearest and dearest to my heart. It’s just so deeply funny, twisted, perverse, sublimely detailed and strangely sweet, that since having it foisted upon me by a friend, I’ve paid it forward xfold, having foisted it upon numerous friends since first reading it back in 1998. Baker’s Fermata has utterly nothing to do with our MFA show, but I’m just beyond tickled to have the association, nonetheless.

More MFA prep hijinks to follow soon.

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