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BFA Fine Arts Alum Bettina Banayan performs Thursday, 10/9 to welcome new AIRspace residents at Abrons Arts Center

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Cheers to new AIRspace Residents: Chelsea Knight (Parsons Fine Arts Faculty), JR Larson, Sean Micka, Rochelle Goldberg, Jessica Segall and Amanda Parmer who have just moved in for their 11 month residency. Studios will be open for view during the performance October 9th.

Join us at Abrons Thursday October 9th from 7-9 PM to celebrate the coming of fall and the welcoming of Abrons’ new AIRspace residents with a special food based performance by Bettina Banayan (BFA Fine Arts ’13): Nushejan Mehrgan – Nectar for your soul!

For more information on AIRspace, click here 


Nushejan Mehrgan – Nectar for your soul!

Mehrgan is one of the Persian-Zoroastrian name-day feasts dating back to the Pre-Islamic era of Iran. The ancient autumn festival of harvest is celebrated in the name of the Persian goddess “Mehr” who symbolizes love, commitment, friendship and kindness. To celebrate, a table is set of a variety of produce and objects symbolizing the time of harvest and agriculture. As well, it was customary for people to go to Persepolis and bring the king a gift based on what they loved and could afford. In return, the King would give away his old clothing and help the poor. In modern day, theocratic Iran, and in Iranian communities, Zoroastrianism is one of the most significant commonalities between different religions. Thanksgiving, the Secular American holiday of harvest and thanks, performs similarly as a communion and uniting of all people. Most importantly and relevant to

Bettina Banayan’s work, both traditions are centered around the giving and feeding of food as a gift. The etymology of Nushejan directly translating to “Nectar for you soul” can be understood as “cheers” or “Bon appetite.” Breaking down the wall between artist and viewer, Banayan will deliver the idea of food as gift and harmony via performance and celebration of her Persian heritage as it operates today.

First-generation American Bettina Behjat Banayan was born in New York City. She grew up on Long Island and attended Huntington School of Fine Arts in 2008. In 2013, she received her B.F.A. in Fine Arts at Parsons The New School For Design focusing in food as art via performance and painting. In the Spring of 2014, she received a Certificate of Culinary Arts from The French Culinary Institute in New York City. Banayan currently lives and works in Manhattan, New York as a cook and social practice performance artist.

More on AIRspace Residents:

Rochelle Goldberg was born in Vancouver Canada and lives and works in New York City. Institutional exhibitions include Descartes Daughter (2013) at the Swiss Institute, curated by Piper Marshall. Gallery solo presentations include The Links that Leak: Intraction #3, (2014) at Eli Ping Frances Perkins. She has also participated in group shows including Honey that Isn’t Real (2014) at Bed-Stuy Love Affair, curated by Jared Madere; Slip (2014) at Mitchell-Innes and Nash; and Gymnasia, 4:00 AM(2014) at Cleopatra’s. She has recently received her MFA in sculpture at Bard College.

Chelsea Knight was born in Vermont and lives and works in New York. She received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Knight completed residencies at the Whitney Independent Study Program (2010) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2008), and was a Fulbright Fellow in Italy (2007). She was a 2011-2012 Freund Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. Knight was a 2010-2011 resident at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program, a 2012 resident at Triangle Arts Association, and is a 2013-2014 resident at Smack Mellon. Solo exhibitions include: The St. Louis Art Museum, Abrons Art Center, New York, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, and Julius Caesar Gallery, Chicago. Knight has exhibited and screened her work in group shows including Nouvelles Vagues at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Anti-Establishment at Bard CCS Hessel Museum, the Young Artists’ Biennial, Bucharest, the 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial, Werkschauhalle Gallery, Leipzig, the Michelangelo Pistoletto Foundation, Biella, Italy, Harvard University, Art in General and the Kitchen.

JR Larson attended the Boston Museum School and Rutgers University where he studied under Peter Voulkos and Peter Callas, both famous masters of clay. Well-versed in traditional firing methods as well as welding, woodworking, photography and cinematography Larson’s multimedia practice blends a unique approach to geometric abstraction and pattern with an archive of personal artifacts. Raised in the Cajun South, Larson has a personal connection to ritual festivities including Mardi Gras and the mysticism surrounding voodoo. Now embracing a multitude of cultures, Larson focuses on the creation of spirited objects; his artworks are heavy with the weight of transformative powers: woven, torn, worn- through, pierced and burned. Larson has exhibited solo projects at Roger Smith Hotel, NY, Tool Analysis, Active Space, Brooklyn, Piggy Back in Boston, Massachusetts. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions across the United States and Canada.

Sean Micka was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program, Studio Program from 2012-13 and 2013-2014. Micka received his BFA from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University (AIB) in 2002. Recent projects and exhibitions include Storytelling at Gallerie Charlotte Lund, Stockholm Sweden (2013); BOOK MACHINE, at Le Nouveau festival du Centre Pompidou, Paris France (2013); $72M Sale Shatters Warhol Record at Die Ausstellungsstrasse, Vienna, Austria (2011); and After Images, at Dvorak Sec Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic (2009). Negotiations was published by Onestar Press, Paris France, in 2011.

Jessica Segall is a multidisciplinary artist living in New York City. With a mix of humor and elbow grease, her work investigates the link between creativity and survival; engaging current cultural attitudes towards adaptation. Segall’s work has been exhibited at the 10th Havana Biennial, The National Gallery of Indonesia, The Queens Museum of Art, the Aldrich Museum, The Inside Out Museum in Bejing and The National Modern Art Gallery of Mongolia. She is the recipient of grants including Art Matters, the Leighton International Artist Exchange Program, an Arts and Science grant from Chicago University and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Jessica attended artist residencies at Skowhegan, The MacDowell Colony, Sculpture Space, Kuenstlerdorf Schoppingen, Art OMI, Bemis, SOMA, Triangle Arts and Socrates Sculpture Park. She is a graduate of Bard College and received her MFA from Columbia University.

Amanda Parmer is an independent writer and curator living in Brooklyn. In 2014 she inaugurated PARMER—a space for exhibitions and programming related to feminism—by participating as one of thirty international Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon satellite sites that contributed over 101 entries of female artists to Wikipedia. She has presented exhibitions, programs and events in collaboration with e-flux; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, the New School; The New York Armory and Volta Shows; The Kitchen as well as Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn and Berlin. She has contributed catalog essays for publications issued by the CUE Art Foundation, Brandts Museum of Photographic Art and Whitney Museum of Art. She is also a contributing writer for Art in America, Art&Education, and BOMblog. Amanda graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.

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