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Beyond the PaleRoski Senior Thesis Show Thursday, May 12th
Beyond the Pale signifies the return of the end of the year senior thesis show for the graduating class of USC artists from the Roski School of Art and Design. Comprised of a select group of dedicated artists transcending the role of ‘student,’ Beyond the Pale is organized and executed entirely independent of the institution. The content of the show is diverse, as Roski is an interdisciplinary art program within USC. Beyond the Pale includes design, painting, sculpture, photography, and intermedia works highlighting the practices of students who have continued to create despite having inadequate studio space and facilities during their time in residency. The work ranges from direct commentary about the current climate at Roski, to works that stand outside of the traditional context of critique, yet were produced within Roski during this time of turmoil.
The collective representational value of education for the 72 graduating seniors from Roski accumulatively estimates to around $13,417,200, yet few seniors expect much return on their investment. Even with consideration for the impact of this significant investment, the students at Roski face numerous educational setbacks, ranging from the aforementioned lack of studio space to poor leadership within the administration. Roski undergraduate students are not guaranteed the opportunity to show work in an exhibition format while in residency, as the curated gallery shows are juried and highly selective, and students have limited access to show work in a yearly open studio exclusively serving the USC community, as this event is not publicized by the school and therefore not attended by the public. This has manifested in a disinterest among students in sharing their work, which has had a significantly negative impact on the undergraduate community. This universal sense of disconnect has effectively resulted in an overarching feeling of disenfranchisement from the institution as well as a lack of engagement with the Los Angeles arts community at large.
Many of the artists involved in this exhibition have attempted to speak their truths to and share their sentiment with the administration, especially over the course of the past school year, in response to the tumultuous changes to the structure of the MFA program. In addition to the lack of studio space and seeming absence of leadership within the undergraduate program, a divided faculty has contributed to the students’ hindered attempts at pursuing and maintaining serious artistic practices at Roski; not only among the senior class, but within the undergraduate program as a whole. The graduates involved in organizing this show are attempting to redirect the power of creative control from the administration back to the students while expanding the conversation surrounding the current state of Roski’s educational environment in a way that will facilitate change and bring students, faculty, and administration together, establishing a level of transparency under which everyone can operate.
A senior thesis show has long been missing from the undergraduate experience at Roski; this exhibition is the accumulation of the ideas and identities of those artists who wish to extend their artistic discourse beyond the scope of a four-year degree. Beyond the Pale is a one-night event intended to set a new precedent for future graduates to operate outside the boundaries of the institution, as the participating artists wish to redefine assumed authority and instead emphasize artistic liberty and continued devotion to developing and maintaining independent artistic practices.
The show is set to take place on Thursday, May 12th at Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles.
“Beyond the Pale”Outside the bounds of acceptable behavior. A pale is an old term for a fencepost or a fence, thus a barrier. Those within the barrier were civilized because it was usually a large building, castle, tract of land, or town. Those outside the barrier, or “beyond the pale”, were uncivilized and not under control.