The concept of depriving people of an arts education isn’t just endemic of the current repressive socio-political climate; budding Pollocks, Calders, and Rothkos have been fighting for the opportunity to pay to be mercilessly critiqued by educators for years. New York City’s Art Students League was actually at the vanguard of art student rights when it launched in 1875 – after those students learned that their current classes at the National Academy of Design would be cancelled due to insufficient funds.
Next month it celebrates 125 years in its historic landmark building on W. 57th Street. And since no one knows how to cut loose better than a starving artist, of course they’re throwing a party…or two.
While the League’s storied history revolves around classes and workshops in painting, sculpture, and more contemporary mediums, starting in the 1950s, the agenda also includes the throwing of elaborate and regularly scheduled Felliniesque bacchanalia. With hundreds of flamboyantly costumed revelers in getups to rival the Club Kids of the late ’80s, the parties have given the students the chance to be just as creative, and way more drunk, outside of the classroom.
On the weekend of May 11, the League is opening its doors for two days of events, including an auction, live demonstrations, and of course…the aforementioned bacchanal. Dubbed the ST[art]UP weekend, celebrations will kick off with a reception and auction where guests will be able to bid and buy artwork by League instructors, students, alumni and young artists, as well as explore the permanent collection – which includes works by such marquee names as Isabel Bishop, Alexander Calder, Will Barnet, James Rosenquist, William Merritt Chase, Charles Alston and others of similar note.
For our part, we’re already fashioning our costume for that Saturday night bash – and hope to see you there.
More details can be found here.