New School Art Collection Inspires Writing Award
At a small reception Tuesday April 20, Carly Dintaman, Carmella Laughlin, and Dorothy Krajewski, three students from divisions across The New School, were honored for winning the Vera List Center’s Art Collection Writing Award. It is awarded to students for pieces of writing—nonfiction, fiction, and poetry are all admissible—inspired by pieces of art owned by The New School.
Tuesday’s reception was held at 6 E. 16th Street in front of Elaine Reichek’s Gauguin at the Harmonium, inspiration for Dorothy Krajewski, whose piece Foreclosure won second place for a creative response.
Reicheck joined the winning students to discuss her piece, which juxtaposes various images that embody American cultural conceptions of the exotic and tropical. Against the background of a palm tree are images of stereotypical natives, stills from the ‘70s-‘80s TV series, The Love Boat, even of the artist and her family at New York’s kitsch tropically styled restaurant Trader Vic’s, and of Gauguin, the artist mentioned in the title, who spent time in the tropics.
Krajewski, a second year student at The New School for Social Research’s Liberal Studies, was inspired to write about the piece before she knew about the contest. “I find writing very therapeutic, and I was reconciling a lot while writing this story,” she says. “[Reichek’s] work allowed me to explore the real in a creative way that not only gave me closure around past events, but also opened up possibilities for creative expression.”
First place for a Critical Response was awarded to Carly Dintaman, a design and management senior at Parsons. In her critical piece Tseng Kwong Chi: Alienated Tourist, Dintaman responded to Tseng Kwong Chi’s “Disneyland, California” located at 72 5th Avenue.
“I chose to write about ‘Disneyland, California’ for the writing competition because I was taking a class on art and tourism at the time," she said. "When I saw the piece (it features the artist with Mickey Mouse) I immediately began to connect it with ideas we had been discussing.”
Carmella Laughlin, currently in her first year at The New School for General Research’s Media Studies, won first place for a creative response for her poem “Kit Kat.” It was inspired by Kara Walker’s Event Horizon, which is on display at Arnhold Hall.
“I believe Walker's ability to combine the illustrative style one might find in a child's book with subject matter that seems to allude to a startling and even vicious past (real and imaginary, historical and ahistorical in my mind) is brilliant,” Laughlin says. “I hope that my poem was able to manifest a rhythmic attention to words (as we might when we are children) with a more startling and serious story that alludes to mature and even taboo subjects.”