Root Division biannually showcases the work of current MFA candidates in the Bay Area through an exhibition and archive project called MFA Now. For 2020, we are choosing to to highlight the many talented and successful artists who have opted out of the degree route for one reason or another, in a counterpoint juried exhibition called MFA Never. This will be the second iteration of MFA Never, which was first showcased in 2016 in response to the national dialogue on the valuation of advanced art degrees. Similar to MFA Now, MFA Never will include an exhibition and catalog publication. Jurors to be announced shortly.
MFA Never was conceptualized by Root Division's Curatorial Committee member, Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen, to create opportunity for underrepresented artists, those who are unaffiliated with alumni networks, and may have not had the debut opportunity offered by the MFA Thesis exhibition. MacFadyen is the founder of Black & White Projects and A Simple Collective, a contemporary arts organization dedicated to, "access, equality, ingenuity, creativity, and independence.l. The goal of the MFA Never project is to create room for dialogue around alternatives to the MFA route, especially in thinking about how higher education can be exclusive in terms of financial viability, and in representing artists of color, queer artists, "outsider" artists etc. We are looking to create visibility for artists who have found a life and practice in the visual arts outside of the academic machine.