Art and Design Forum

Department of Art and Design

Art & Design Forum is a speakers' series featuring notable artists, designers, art historians and art critics from around the world who come to campus to present their work and ideas in an open forum.  Admission is free and open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as the general public.

Past Art Forum speakers have included notables such as Chakaia Booker, Will Cotton, Aziz + Cucher, Inka Essenhigh, Judy Fox, Roxy Paine, Ursala Von Rydingsvard, and Seymour Chwast.

For further information and/or to confirm a scheduled date, call  973-655-4074.

Art & Design Forum Speakers: Current Schedule (see below)   l  Past Schedules             

[back to Visiting Professionals/Events]

Spring 2018

WEDNESDAYS 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Montclair State University; Sprague Library, Room 11
Open to the Public; Admission is free 


January 24 – Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation, and is the first person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Bill moved to New York City in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw. In 1987, he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short Your Face. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for his short Guard Dog. Push Comes to Shove won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d'Or; and in 2001, another short film, Eat, won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics' Week. After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike's, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he's made twelve feature films. Eight of them, The Tune, Mondo Plympton, I Married A Strange Person, Mutant Aliens, Hair High, Idiots and Angels, Cheatin', and Revengeance are all animated features. Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West and Weird Al Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects. In 2006, he received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from The Annie Awards.

January 31 – Kadija de Paula

Motivation of the Artist/Designer

Kadija de Paula is a Brazilian artist who combines food, text and performance, often collaborating with other artists to make self-organizing and alternative economical experiments. IMBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a BFA from OCAD University, both in Toronto. Was facilitator of residencias_en_red [iberoamérica], a platform of artist residencies in Latin America. Recently exhibited at FLUCA Austrian cultural pavilion, Plovdiv; Q21 frei–raum MuseumsQuartier, Vienna; Public Art Projects Melk; and Saracura, Rio de Janeiro. Is one of the 2018 artists in residency at Cité Internationale de Arts, Paris, together with her partner Chico Togni with whom she creates situations and happenings that question the value of resources and social practices. At Montclair State University she will talk about her trajectory merging cultural management, institutional critique, food, text and performance to develop a collaborative and socially engaged practice that questions the limits of life and art.  De Paula will speak about her trajectory merging cultural management, institutional critique, food, text, performance to develop a collaborative and socially engaged practice that questions the limits of life and art. 

February 7 –  David Antonio Cruz

What is the Artist Trying to Communicate to the Viewer?

David Antonio Cruz is an interdisciplinary, New York-based artist. Cruz fuses painting, video, and performance to explore the invisibility and silencing of brown and black queer bodies. Born in Philadelphia, Cruz received a BFA in painting at Pratt Institute (1998) and an MFA from Yale University (2009). He attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and completed the AIM Program at the Bronx Museum in 2006. Recent residencies include the LMCC Workspace and Project For Empty Space’s Social Impact Residency. Notable group exhibitions include El Museo del Barrio, BRIC, Performa 13, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.  He was awarded fellowships with The Franklin Furnace Fund Award and The Urban Artist Initiative Award. Recently he produced and performed How to Order A Chocolate Cake at BRIC and on The High Line Park and his operatic performance, Green,howiwantyougreen at The Whim Plantation and Estate in St Croix and the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico in San Juan. Recent press includes The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, WhiteHot Magazine, W Magazine, Bomb Magazine, and El Centro Journal. Currently, he is participating in the Queer Arts Mentorship/ Fellowship Program. The artist lives and works in New York City. Cruz will discuss the nuances of genderqueerness, race, in public and private spaces, and the invisibility of the brown/black body through the use of portraiture and opera-like performances. 

February 14 – Jacob Olmedo

Jacob Olmedo is a designer and artist who focuses on sustainability and the future of fashion through textiles and garments. He was awarded the Future Textiles Award in 2017 and the Role Models Competition for his work integrating fashion and plant life. Jacob practices in-depth research, experimental material development, user testing, and garment construction. All as a part of his continuing design work And The World Will Be As OneAnd The World Will Be As One showcases an array of important relationships we as humans have with our clothing and our natural world. 

February 21 – Colleen Macklin, Gaming the System: The Political Potential of Play.

Cards Against Humanity. Minecraft, Stardew Valley. Tennis. What do they have in common? You’ll have to come to this talk to find out! A hint though, is that they are all political in some way or another. I’ll talk about how these popular games send political messages, and will share some of what I have learned in my own work in games for social change—most importantly, how to make them fun.


Colleen Macklin is a game designer, a Professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons School of Design and founder and co-director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab that develops games for experimental learning and social engagement. PETLab projects include disaster preparedness games and sports with the Red Cross, the urban activist game Re:Activism and the physical/fiscal sport Budgetball. PETLab has also designed game design curricula for the Boys and Girls Club and administers a design fellowship in reproductive justice with the Ms. Foundation. She is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, best known for their social card game, The Metagame. She was a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, where she collaborated on a series of games with students and faculty, including Microcultures, a social card game about the human microbiome. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time. She is co-author of the book Games, Design and Play: A detailed look at iterative game design and the online interview series "Iterate: Perspectives on Design and Failure" (

February 28 – Steve Russak

Russak began his career as an Industrial Designer and over the years developed a niche for himself within Design Strategy and Innovation.  He has created and led corporate design innovation groups, a tech startup and many years of design operations leadership with design firms. More recently, with Accenture, he was firmly assigned to an innovation team through an acquisition selling design thinking pitching digitally connected lifestyle and commerce ecosystems to existing Accenture businesses.  His charge was to look at industries and “unpack” the opportunities for a front-end design innovation service to identify new forms of revenue for Fortune 100 firms. All through design thinking, journey mapping, and stakeholder focus.  One thing Russak speaks about with passion is how the design innovation ethos is witnessing a renaissance in business like never before seen.  Designers are once again in demand in ways that firms are again only beginning to understand.  Just look at all the new design firm acquisitions by the likes of McKinsey and Accenture.  It’s a chaotic world of opportunity out there.

March 14 – Art Talk & Performance: Peter Morin @ the Montclair Art Museum


Peter Morin is a Tahltan Nation artist, curator, and writer. In his artistic practice and curatorial work, Morin’s practice-based research investigates the impact zones from when indigenous cultural-based practices and western settler colonialism collide. Please join us for a special performance based piece by the artist.


Song performance as a map to the land. a tape of grandma Eva Carlick performing Tahltan Nations songs. song performance across the country. Old Man Kulah Hung's song. consider that indigenous language is a GPS. a map to your land. consider the language as a sonic structure that allows you to perform Indigenous cosmology. the song allows us an opportunity to name the complicated realities of Indigenous knowledge. Grandma Eva was one of the best singers of Tahltan songs, along with an important practitioner of Tahltan performance art. on a recent driving trip to the Tahltan territory, Old Man Kulah Hung's song, sung by Grandma Eva, while driving through the exact part of the territory that inspired its creation. On the tape, the Grandma Eva's voice introduces the song before she sings. she has a performative language. she says, 'he dreamed this song from dead people... people going down to that valley. a bunch of people. that Tahltan. thats hows he dream. bunch of people. they sing this song. and that man go a head. this moment and this song, plus the articulation of its creation, brings my Tahltan body back into the landscape. 

March 21 – TBD

March 28 – Seph Rodney

Seph Rodney was born in Jamaica and grew up in New York City. He has an English degree from LIU, Brooklyn, a studio art MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and a PhD in museum studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. He is an editor for the Hyperallergic blog, writing about contemporary art and related issues. He has written for the CNN Op-ed pages, Contemporary AndAmerican Craft, and for Artillery Magazine. He is a current adjunct faculty member at Parsons School of Design. He is currently under contract with Routledge press to produce a book based on his ongoing research regarding the personalization of the museum visit. Rodney will discuss his approach to writing about art and culture, of doing what he calls “particularized” or “embodied” writing in two senses of the terms. The first is the sense of both recognizing and conveying in his writing that he is a particular person with a personal history that inflects how he sees what he sees and how he describes what he sees. The second is how the observation takes places in (and over) time and space, from a certain embodied position.

April 4 – Arda Yalkin

Arda Yalkin is 43 years old. If we don't count his archeology education which he left he didn't receive any art education. He learned everything by himself and had his first exhibition at the age of 37. Today he is one of the best known digital artists of Turkey. His work has been exhibited in France, Italy, USA, Russia, Spain and Greece until now. He has been featured in art events such as Loop Barcelona, Moving Image New York, Paris Fiac, Art Athena and Contemporary Istanbul. In his presentation Yalkin will talk about his self-learning process, his works which he creates by using many disciplines such as photography, video, 3D modelling, visual effect design and animation.

April 11 – Matej Knezevic

Matej Knezevic is a Croatia-based visual artist preoccupied with issues surrounding his personal environment, drawing on installation, video, graphic design and painting. In addition to his artistic practice, Knezevic is engaged in the work of several cultural non-profit organizations alongside his daily practice as medical doctor and urology specialist.

Fall 2017 

THURSDAYS 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Montclair State University; Calcia Hall 135
Open to the Public; Admission is free 

September 7 – Opening

Introduction, course overview, elevator pitch


September 14 – Andrew Nicholls

In collaboration with Residency Unlimited

Andrew Nicholls is an Australian/British artist, writer, and curator whose practice engages with the sentimental, camp, and other historically-marginalized aesthetics, and traces the historical recurrence of particular aesthetic motifs. He is especially concerned with periods of cultural transition during which Western civilization’s stoic aspirations were undone by base desires, fears or compulsions. While primarily drawing-based, his practice also incorporates ceramics, photography, installation, performance, and filmmaking. He particularly draws inspiration from heritage sites and museum collections, and his curatorial practice largely focuses on artists’ residencies in such locations, in addition to the very remote regional Western Australian landscape. Nicholls will discuss his ongoing interest in marginalization and imperialism, and how these have been reflected through the decorative and literary arts, historically. This will include an introduction to his recent residency projects in China, England, Italy, and remote regional Australia.

September 21 – Public Space Agency, Fei Liu and Francis Tseng

Public Science Agency (PSA) is a research lab and creative consultancy co-founded by Fei Liu and Francis Tseng. Together, they explore the possibilities of games and simulations as tools for illustrating how society uses technology, and how technology informs social behavior. In their presentation, Public Science Agency will talk about the work they do with computer simulations and expand upon the learning affordances of speculative and embodied gameplay. They will present Humans of Simulated New York, a participative & speculative economic simulation and game based on 10 years worth of New York Census data, as well as other digital and physical experiences designed in tandem with computer simulations.

September 28 – Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist, creative director, and organizer who develops cultural communities at the intersection of art, technology, and advocacy. She is currently the director of IDEA New Rochelle, Interactive Digital Environments Alliance (IDEA), dedicated to promoting, developing, and maintaining a vibrant new Arts and Technology District in the City of New Rochelle’s Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). She directs VR and immersive experiences which have been exhibited at festivals and museums since 2006. Amelia was a professor of time-based media art and performance art at Vanderbilt University for five years before returning to her roots in NYC creative technology, graduating from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2015. In 2016 she went on to found and direct the DBRS Innovation Labs, an applied ai research lab that specialized in developing creative uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.  Amelia is the founder of the Stupid Hackathon, which now holds events around the world.  She is a fellow of the  Sundance New Frontiers Lab 2017 , a 2017 Sundance Institute Time Warner Fellow, a 2016 Oculus Launch Pad Fellow, an Artist in Residence at Pioneer Works 2016 and has her video artworks as part of the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum and the McCord Museum. 

October 5 - Kickie Chudikova

Kickie is an Industrial Designer born in Bratislava, currently living and creating in New York City. Alongside her work as Senior Industrial Designer for Karim Rashid, she has developed her own line of products, Kickie Design. Fascinated by new technology and influenced by the arts, Kickie is in constant search for unique balance. Passionate when making and producing with her own hands as she does in 3D software. A color believer striving for perfection & simplicity with big attention to detail. Kickie learned from the best in the field. At University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Prof. Hartmut Esslinger taught her to rethink paradigms in order to create innovative solutions. Karim Rashid in NY, strengthened her ability to quickly generate beautiful objects and understand production methods and costs. She believes advanced technology, environmental caution and attractive shape is the winning combination for designing objects that can significantly improve our world. 

October 12 – Andrea Mastrovito

In collaboration with More Art

Italian-American artist and animator Andrea Mastrovito will be presenting his most recent project NYsferatu, an ambitious public art project that combines film, music, and community engagement to create a powerful and poignant statement about immigrant rights in today’s world. Taking the first step in this lengthy process, Mastrovito and a team of artists, hand animated Friedrich W. Murnau’s seminal 1922 film Nosferatu, itself an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s story, Dracula. Using the technique of rotoscoping, each character, gesture, and expression has been redrawn in the original film’s classic style while the background of contemporary New York City brings the film to the current moment. Each recreated background has been drawn 3 times in order to replicate the beautifully eerie flickering shutter effect of early cinema. In all, the artist has made over 35,000 original drawings to create this feature length hand-animated film.

October 19 – Chen An-An

In collaboration with Residency Unlimited

Chen An-An is a sculptor and installation artist based in Taiwan. Her recent works revolve around the loss of LGBTQ individuals – to mourn their loss and how they become forgotten by society. Through making art, she explores ways of expressing loss and reconsiders how gender/sexual discrimination in Taiwanese society is rendered invisible.

October 26 - In Burchfield's Wake:  Artists Respond to the Environment

In collaboration with the Montclair Art Museum

As the earth heats up and more and more people inhabit it, consuming precious resources and exploiting the landscape, we humans find ourselves confronting a need for significant change in the way we respond to our world.  Environmental artists Adriane Colburn, Ellen Driscoll and Marina Zurkow have made this question central to their art making practices.  On this panel they will discuss their work and address issues of resource consumption and its material lineage, as well as romanticized notions of wilderness, the alteration of nature by industry and climate change and the relationships between scientific exploration and exploitation. Moderated by MSU professor Julie Heffernan.

Adriane Colburn is an artist based in San Francisco, CA and New Jersey.  Her recent work, large scale installations that investigate the complex relationships between human infrastructure, earth systems, technology and the natural world, have been exhibited throughout the US and internationally at venues such as Smack Mellon and Parsons/New School in New York, The Luggage Store Gallery and The Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Artsterium in the Republic of Georgia and at the Royal Academy of Art in London. A penchant for research and direct experience has led her to participate in scientific expeditions in the Arctic, the Amazon and at sea. She has been an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Macdowell Colony, the Kala Institute and The Blue Mountain Center. Adriane is currently on the faculty at Bard College.

Ellen Driscoll’s work encompasses sculpture, drawing, and public art installation. Recent large scale installations include “CartOURgraphy” for Middle College High School and the International High School in Queens, "Night to Day, Here and Away" for the Sarasota National Cemetery, “Distant Mirrors” for the Providence River, “FastForwardFossil #2” at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, and “Revenant” and “Phantom Limb” for Nippon Ginko, Hiroshima, Japan. Earlier works include “The Loophole of Retreat” at the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, “As Above, So Below” for Grand Central Terminal (a suite of 20 mosaic and glass images for the tunnels at 45th, 47th, and 48th Streets), “Catching the Drift”, a restroom for the Smith College Museum of Art, and “Wingspun” for the International Arrivals corridor at Raleigh Durham airport. Ms. Driscoll has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute at Harvard University, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the LEF Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, a 2014 Fine Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a 2015 Siena Arts Institute Fellowship.  Her work is included in major public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art. She is Program Director of Studio Arts and Visiting Professor of Sculpture at Bard College. 

Julie Heffernan’s work explores mind’s eye imagery to create complex environments. She is represented by P.P.O.W. in NY and Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. Heffernan is a member of the National Academy. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout the world, including Hauser and Wirth in London and New York.  Heffernan has received numerous grants including an NEA, NYFA and Fullbright Fellowship and is in the collection of major museums including the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of FineArts.  Heffernan is a Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University.

Marina Zurkow is a media artist focused on near-impossible nature and culture intersections, researching “wicked problems” like invasive species, superfund sites, and petroleum interdependence.  She has used life science, bio materials, animation, dinners and software technologies to foster intimate connections between people and non-human agents. Her work spans gallery installations and unconventional public participatory projects. Currently, she is working on connecting toxic urban waterways to oceans, and researching the tensions between maritime ecology and the ocean’s primary human use as a capitalist Pangea.


November 2 – Farideh Sakhaeifar

In collaboration with Residency Unlimited

Born in Tehran, Iran (1985) Brooklyn-based artist Farideh Sakhaeifar received her BFA from Azad Art and Architecture University, Tehran, Iran; and MFA from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. In her practice, Sakhaeifar aims to make social and political struggles visible. Her work functions as a memorial to collective memory and denounces the problematics of consuming mediated images and narratives. She invites the audience to question the imposing limitation that any discourse of power including hierarchies, terror and surveillance, religion, and state enforce upon nations. As an artist, she feels challenged by these concepts and assumes this opportunity to look past such forms of ethnic, political, and cultural control in order to reflect upon new forms of expression that highlight our struggle to establish an autonomous form of self-expression. Sakhaeifar aims to produce a translational understanding of social and political struggles that she has been involved in directly or indirectly.


November 9 – Manal Abu-Shaheen

Manal Abu-Shaheen (b. 1982) is a Queens-based artist born in Beirut, Lebanon. She received a MFA in Photography from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT in 2011; a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY in 2003; and attended Lebanese American University, Byblos, Lebanon in 1999. Abu-Shaheen will talk about the progression of her work in photography, leading up to her current series of black and white landscape and street photographs from her ongoing series Beirut. Shot in the city where she was born, this series considers connections between the imagery we see in contemporary Beirut and the city’s colonial past. The congestion of billboards reveals the city’s occupation by images of a different place and people, a euro-centric cultural dominance that asserts the necessity of its presence for the achievement of progress. In an arena outside of its origin, the dialogue around representation in western media takes on layers of new meaning, which become inextricably linked to the social history of a distant place.

November 16 - Tessa Mars

In collaboration with Residency Unlimited

Tessa Mars is a Haitian visual artist living and working in Port-au-Prince. She completed a bachelor in Visual Arts in France, at Rennes 2 University in 2006. Upon her return to Haiti the same year she started working as a Cultural projects coordinator at the AfricAméricA Foundation. She had her first exhibit in 2009 at the Georges Liautaud Museum in Port-au-Prince and since then her work as been shown in Canada, France, Italy and the United-States. Her recent work questions the role of history, customs and beliefs in the construction of the individual’s identity. Tessa Mars will present her current research project related to the construction of the Haitian immigrant identity. She will touch on previous work that explore notions of patriotism, national sovereignty and confronts them to the reality of an ever growing pessimistic view of the country’s future, a dependence on foreign funds and the idealization of a Western/American life style.

November 23 - Thanksgiving

November 30 – Vibha Galhotra

VIbha Galhotra is a recipient of prestigious Rockefeller Grant at their Bellagio Center, 2016. At present, she is an Asian Cultural Council fellow in the US, pursuing continual research on belief and reality to intervene on the subject of Anthropocene. Galhotra's practice ranges across photography, film, video, found objects, performative objects, sculpture, installation, text, sound, drawing, and public interventions. Vibha shares, that her art practice crosses the dimensions of art, ecology, economy, science, spirituality, and activism and constantly trying to create a parallel between belief and reality, absence and presence, construction or [De] construction within the social, political and economical domain of our constructed structures. The constant negotiation of human with ecosystem and win the mystery within that ecosystem, interest her to continue her practice based on research and intuitive imagination to understand and question the alienation of human in the atmosphere or the atmosphere in the human dominated world. Through her massive but aesthetic work (both philosophically and structurally) she tries to redefine her own existence and ownership in this commerce driven world.