Part 4: Fire Exit

Quinlan Maggio, Dusty Miller, sgp, Julia Taszycka, Alina Yakirevitch

Curated by Noa Wesley

Fire Exit is the culminating thesis exhibition for five artists in the MFA Program at Hunter College.

Through a collective process of imagining, Fire Exit presents a series of propositions:

To go to work and get glad with a giant sad lamp.

To inhabit the topsy-turvy world of a honky-tonk, cardboard bedazzled, dreamy drag bar.

To buy student debt and materialize one invisible value system for a visible one.

To see the objects of our ongoing disaster of more, more, more.

To climb in and be transfixed by ecstatic mark-making and enraptured incantations.

In this exhibition, the viewer will encounter works in a variety of media—installation, film, drawing—that are united by the artists’ use of found materials. Found materials have the convenience of being free, which is not insignificant in a pay to play MFA program. For Dusty Miller, cardboard becomes an imaginative surface, just as the about-to-be-scrapped car in Alina Yakirevitch’s film becomes the site of ritual. But many of the artists in the exhibition also draw on the specific uses and histories of found objects. Quinlan Maggio has made a series of reimagined vending machines, creating, for example, a book exchange and an on-demand meditation device out of a machine that was meant to spit out candy for change. For Julia Taszycka, the damaged objects she finds on the streets of New York City have been instrumental to her installations, which represent the cruel game of our global economic system. Similarly, sgp presents plastic school chairs teetering upside-down or deadened into cement to give material form to the abstract, intangible quality of student debt.

Each artist in this exhibition presents a way out. Whether through humor, enchantment, or materialization, their work is a testament to our collective need for alternative ways of being. The artists of Fire Exit demonstrate how art can bring us to the other side of the exit.

—Noa Wesley

Public Programs

Friday, May 20, 6:30pm

Performance Night in Dusty Miller’s Cardboard Cabaret

Take 2 of T.R.A.S.H. from May 15 at the Interference Archive in sgp’s RED HOT SHAME

Friday, May 27, 7pm

“Micro-white-noise-cinema”: a double feature of Jordan Lord’s Shared Resources and the 2010 science fiction flop, Repo Men in sgp’s RED HOT SHAME

Monday, May 30, 6pm

To the invisible: a closing meal and karaoke after-party

Quinlan Maggio is an artist and soon-to-be MFA graduate of Hunter College in New York. Quinlan makes installations and videos informed by a constant ongoing practice of performance. Quinlan's most recent project was a free community vending machine on the Hunter MFA campus, inspired by community fridges, free food in tech workplaces, and family history. Quinlan has exhibited at 205 Hudson Gallery, New York, fort gondo compound for the arts, St. Louis, and the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis.

Dusty Miller is the drag persona of Peter Macaulay, who was born and raised in Long Beach, California. Dusty Miller is not limited by conventional modes of expression and works in a variety of media ranging from portraiture to performance to conceptual based installations and sculptures. Dusty Miller performs in queer bars and is influenced by country music queens such as Lee Ann Womack and Dolly Parton and fictional feminine heroes like Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Through their work, Dusty Miller tells personal narratives of adventure and heartache, triumphs and tragedies, and the journey of discovering one’s own power. Past exhibitions include Hauser & Wirth Gallery, New York, Here Art Center, New York, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, University Art Museum of Long Beach California , and Art Exchange Art Gallery, Long Beach.

sgp is an anti-disciplinary artist living in New York. Having performed and written under many pseudonyms (including Sara Grace Powell, Kelsea Wollffllotterr, and Lee G. Rawls), sgp is primarily concerned with revealing connections between found objects—which include systems—to conjure both a real and poetic collapse. Currently, sgp is working on RED HOT SHAME, an open edition contractual performance selling (student) debt as an art object. Past exhibitions include Bortolami, New York, MoMA PS1, New York, Æther Arts Space, Sofia, As It Stands, Los Angeles, and the bus stop at 116th St. and Broadway Avenue, New York.

Julia Taszycka works multidimensionally. Her work addresses the idea of the game understood both from the perspective of the art world and the socio-economic system as such. While completing an MFA at Hunter College, she was a Fulbright Scholar from 2020 to 2022. She has had solo exhibitions at Stroboskop, Warsaw and Skala Gallery, Poznan. Other past exhibitions include Lokal 30, Warsaw, NCK, Kraków, National Museum in Wroclaw, and 205 Hudson Gallery, NYC.

Alina Yakirevitch was born in Russia in 1994. She is a multidisciplinary artist who works in film, installation, sound, sculpture and text. The recurring experience of migration, first from Russia to Israel, then from Israel to the US, serves as a catalyst to her process. In her films Yakirevitch uses rhythm and bodily interactions as points of focus. Past exhibitions include Hauser & Wirth Gallery, New York, Trestle Gallery, New York, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Gabirol Gallery, Tel Aviv.