Teaching and Learning

Gallery as Classroom

Many colleagues, I have been discovering, aren’t that familiar with the Shirley Fiterman Art Center (SFAC) and what we do. So what do we do, exactly? SFAC organizes exhibitions of contemporary art that are free and open to the public. Our mission is to present contemporary exhibitions that speak to the core BMCC values of equity and inclusion. We also emphasize the artistic and historic legacies of Tribeca and Lower Manhattan. Each exhibition engages with topics that speak to a broad range of disciplines.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 1 – 6 PM. In addition, we are open by appointment for BMCC faculty and staff. We are happy to to work with individual faculty to develop materials that relate to their courses.And we are happy to give tours tailored to your needs. ​We encourage you to bring your students!

Our upcoming exhibition, Double Portrait: Mimi Gross and Marcia Marcus, presents an overview of the work of two innovative artists. Artistically, the focus is portraiture, but the show also concerns issues of identity and representation—especially in regard to the history of Tribeca and to the challenges inherent to the work of women artists.

Marcia Marcus offers portraits of herself in which she poses, often in various costumes. She presents portraits based on different ‘types’ – including artist, tightrope walker, and goddess. As artists and mothers, both Marcus and Mimi Gross juggled various roles. Consequently, fashion and costume, as well as pattern and brilliant color, feature prominently in their work.

Double Portrait also offers a view of our shared neighborhood. Both women painted portraits of friends, family, fellow artists, filmmakers, dancers, and poets, creating snapshots of their Lower Manhattan communities. Many artists moved downtown when Tribeca was still a no-man’s land with big spaces that were available for cheap. Artists often built out their own spaces, with the help of friends.

Marcus (who was born in 1928 in NY) first lived and worked in the Lower East Side, moving with her family to Tribeca in 1975, where she was known for throwing theatrical loft parties. Gross (who was born in NY in 1940) moved into her loft on White Street in 1980 (when she left her studio at Mulberry and Grand) and is still there making work.

Double Portrait is designed to open a conversation not only about issues in contemporary art, but also about such topics as identity, women’s studies, and subjectivity and the self. We invite you and your students to contribute to this cultural conversation.

Double Portrait: Mimi Gross and Marcia Marcus opens on May 23 and remains on view through July 27, 2019.

Opening Reception
Thursday, May 23 from 6-8 PM

In Conversation
Thursday, June 6 at 6 PM with Mimi Gross, Kate Prendergast, and Anne Monahan

Shirley Fiterman Art Center
81 Barclay Street
New York, NY 10007
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 1-6 PM


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