Unbound: MFA Highlights

Unbound adj: not bound, not confined

As I write, the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the globe and this essay feels out of date by the hour. Unbound, a title selected long before our present reality, has taken on a multitude of meanings. It speaks to these six artists’ practices, concepts, and research; their collective capacity to resist limits in art. It can also reference the unbounded path of this virus, indiscriminate and virulent, clarifying the futility of politicized borders and identity-based boundaries between people. In this moment where our collective interdependence is clear, each of these artists compel attention to those people, places, and experiences that are often marginalized or ignored.

Throughout this process I watched the graduate students cope with resilience, humor, disbelief, and compassion for one another as they accepted the reality that their last quarter of graduate school would not look anything like they imagined. No timely physical exhibition. No classes in person. No access to their beloved studios. The group dispersed across the country to be with their loved ones as California “sheltered in place” while COVID-19 ran unbound on the world, devastating health care systems, economic structures, and the quality of life and connections. Within days, nothing looked like it had before. “Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.”*

This MFA class invites you to that boundless world, where art spreads across borders and BLACK LIVES MATTER.

*Muñoz, José E. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, 2009.

Terry Berlier, Associate Professor, Art Practice