School of Art, Media, and Technology

Introducing the BFA Student-Curated NRM Gallery!

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Last Thursday, the new NRM Gallery, named after Nicki Ray Muller, a BFA Fine Arts student who passed away late last year, hosted its first show. We checked out the well-attended event (on the 4th floor of  25 East 13th), and caught up with the show co-currator and NRM Gallery  co-founder, BFA Fine Arts Senior Robert Hickerson, to find out more about the show and NRM Gallery’s hopes for the future.


The Photo Show curators Robert Hickerson (BFA Fine Arts 2013) and Chris Haney (BFA Photo 2013)

AMT: What’s the story behind the NRM Gallery? 

Robert Hickerson: I wanted to start a gallery of some sort for the BFA Program. Tara Long, Taylor Falco and I worked to convert three of the walls of the senior studio hallways into the NRM Gallery in order to allow anyone to curate shows, but also for outside work to be brought into the department. We decided to name the gallery NRM after our classmate Nicki Ray Muller, who passed away late last year.

AMT: Who all is involved?

RH: The Gallery was started by fine arts senior class representatives Tara Long, Taylor Falco and myself, with significant help from Don Porcaro and Anthony Aziz. Tara, Taylor and I monitor the gallery, and act as a panel to judge curatorial submissons. We also work together to organize shows and events.


Anthony Tafuro
“Strictly The Shadows”
Edition of 3
Photograph, 16×20 Inkjet Print
January 2013


AMT: What is your master/ideal plan for it?

RH: I am trying to marry the gallery space with a blog in order to produce a digital archive of what was accomplished this year. I would love to see the space become a part of the BFA floor, as a student run gallery for student curatorial work. Now artists are fulfilling the role not only of producer, but also of editor and curator, and it would be great to allow curatorial opportunities for upcoming classes within the BFA department.

AMT: What was the concept behind this show?

RH: I had really wanted to do a photography show for a while within the fine arts department. I have long believed that photography is a vital part of fine art, because not only can it be an art in and of itself, but it is also how work in other mediums are communicated – through the image. I also felt that a lot of fine arts majors didn’t know about what was happening in contemporary photography, or how photography can (and often does) align itself with fine art.

I met the co-curator Chris Haney (BFA Photo 2013) at an art show, and we got to talking about photography and decided that we wanted to put together a show of photo students’ work to help build a bridge between the fine arts and photography departments. We put out an open call for work from the photo and fine arts BFA and MFA departments, asking for work which was photography based. We then had the submissions juried by a panel of fine arts seniors. The top 15 images were then hung in the gallery. All entries were also invited to hang their work at the reception for a one-night only pin-up show.


Elena Montemurro
Artist Proof


AMT: How many submissions did you receive?

RH: We had 55 submissions, with over 250 images.

AMT: Did your curatorial vision get reshaped as you sorted though the submissions?

RH: Taylor Falco and I elected the panel, trying to choose people interested in images, not just photography. It was interesting to see what images they liked and didn’t like. I think they put together a really good selection. Chris and I didn’t want to put a theme on the show, because of the spectrum of contemporary photographic practices.  We wanted to see submissions from different realms of photography in order to create a more open dialogue for the viewers of our show.

AMT: How was the response from the attendees?

RH: Chris had said that he particularly enjoyed seeing viewers spend a lot of time at the show.  Ordinarily, people will quickly walk through a photo show, but it was nice to see the attendees hang out and talk about pieces in the show that they found interest in after they examined all the work.

Casey Dorobek
From the book, Los Corridos

AMT: What is your next show going to focus on?

RH: We are currently working on a tribute show for Nicki Muller, which should be sometime in March. After that Taylor, Tara  and I want to do an underclassman show of fine art work. We really want to form a community around this gallery, so we as a department can come together as creative individuals and not just as students.

Also, the blog for NRM Gallery is, which will blog one image from the photo show a day, for the duration of the exhibit.

AMT: Thanks Robert. Everyone, check out their tumblr, and stay tuned for the next NRM Gallery call for submissions!

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