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Highlights, and a Sad Observation, From MICA’s Commencement Exhibition

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 15, 2017
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As a rule, we don’t generally discuss student work on the blog. There are plenty of reasons for this, but for me, one is simple: I am forever grateful no one from the art press ever saw the terrible work I was struggling through in art school.

Yet nearly every Spring, I am impressed by commencement exhibitions—how is it possible that so many college seniors have their shit together more than so many grown-ass artists? Thesis shows at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), my old alma mater, tend to be particularly polished and worthwhile.

This year, though, has been a rough one for students nationally. I can’t imagine dealing with Trump’s election in the Fall and inauguration at the start of the Spring semester, all while trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing with your last year of art school. So much work looks like students just gave up hope halfway through a concept—as if a collective trauma had left everyone dispirited and unable to focus. We at AFC can certainly sympathize. The situation is fucking unfair.

That’s why this year we’re covering the MICA commencement show, which closes today (go see it if you’re in Baltimore!). Although it’s overall less enthusiastic and high-caliber than years past, those who persevered through the crisis and turned it out deserve recognition.

Below, the stand-out highlights from the class of 2017. If they can survive pulling-off thesis projects this good in spite of (and often in reference to) the apocalypse, the art world will be a cakewalk.

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