For intellectual activity, according to me, is, and must be, disinterested— the truth is a two-edged sword– and if one is not willing to be pierced by that sword, even to the extreme of dying on it, then all of one’s intellectual activity is a masturbatory delusion and a wicked and dangerous fraud.
—James Baldwin, No Name in the Street, 1972

Artspace is pleased to announce our 17th annual Summer Apprenticeship Program and its affiliated exhibition Masturbatory Delusions.  This program aims to give a group of New Haven public high school students the opportunity to work alongside Lead Artist Nona Faustine. Over three weeks in July, the apprentices studied Faustine’s technique, process, and set of historical influences. They produced photographs that emulate her style, interest in self-portraiture, and questions relating to site, invisibility, and power.

Faustine developed the program’s curriculum to encourage the apprentices to explore self-portraiture as a strategy for communicating the times in which we’ve found ourselves.  Her local site visits and lessons helped apprentices think intensely about the fragile and ever-changing concept of democracy, making these questions available to viewers through the students’ works.

Lead Artists

  • Nona Faustine

    Nona Faustine (MFA ’13, ICP-Bard) is a Brooklyn-based photographer and visual artist whose work focuses on the points at which history and identity intersect. For her two most recent series, White Shoes and My Country, Faustine often places herself in the center of the image. In White Shoes, she photographed her nude body in marked and unmarked historic sites of slavery around Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, including a Dutch pre-revolutionary cemetery in Brooklyn where three enslaved people are buried among settlers; the Tweed Courthouse in Lower Manhattan, built on top of the African Burial Ground; and Federal Hall on Wall Street, a historic site of slave auctions. Her ongoing series, My Country, introduces a disruptive grey line that bisects iconic U.S. monuments around New York and Washington, D.C., including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty. The line questions the symbolic legacies we assign certain sites and recognizes that a commemorative site for one person may be a space of trauma for another.

Participating Artists

Leilanie Arce
Eva-LaRue Barber
Mia Cappiello
Renna Chambers
Ayah Simone Eldridge
Michael Jonathan Jimenez
Anton Edward Kot
Jennifer Lopez
Hazel Mencos
Alysha Molina
Benie N’sumbu
Daniel Ramirez
Anthony Simpson
Phoenix Taylor
Winter von Kohler