Far Away from Where?

Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
66 Fifth Ave, New York
February 16-March 5, 2017



March 2 — 6-8pm, artist talk: Hrair Sarkissian, followed by reception

March 3-4 — International symposium: “Making Home in Wounded Places: Design, Memory, and the Spatial”; keynote address: Lina Sergie Attar.

Tymek Borowski, Yana Dimitrova, Elzbieta Janicka & Wojtek Wilczyk, Simona Prives, Jayce Salloum, Hrair Sarkissian, and Daniel Toretsky, with a site-specific project by Parsons students: Mackenzie Drummond (Integrated Design); James Hernandez (Photography); Larisa Karamchakova (Urban Design); and Damien Karan, (Photography).


In an old anecdote, a man shares his plans to migrate to Uruguay. When his friend reacts, “Oh, that’s far away,” he responds, “Far away from where?” As migration, whether voluntary or forced, unmoors stable and anchored relations to place, proximity and distance become elastic and unsteady. Relationships to places “left behind” struggle to evolve as these places themselves transform, shatter, and are re-made. The radical mobility and digital connectivity that characterize our world — driven by desire as much as by destruction — underscore how emotional, psychological, social, and political distances are as profound as geographic and physical displacement. Locating and positioning ourselves in such a world necessitates agile, yet precarious, negotiation.

Far Away from Where? gathers artworks that constellate around the emotional, social, and geographical distances created when places suffer wounds: scarred by history, trauma, and transition. The artists are caught in the paradox between the urge to “get closer” to sites significant to them: to understand, feel, deeply experience them; and the impossibility of this endeavor, which relegates them to the role of mere spectator/witness. The question “Far away from where?” haunts these artists who navigate the fraught terrain between here and there in their personal expeditions through these wounded places.

New York, certainly a wounded place, provided a context for the work of Parsons students which is included in the show. New York in a Minor Key was a call for submissions announced in Fall 2016. All submissions are available on the website: www.woundedplaces.com Four works were selected for display in the gallery.

The reflection on wounded places will continue during the interdisciplinary symposium Making Home in Wounded Places: Design, Memory and the Spatial, which ends the exhibition.

Curated by Małgorzata Bakalarz Duverger, in collaboration with Rabia Ali, Anthony Cava, Ivy Lin, Charles Margaritis, and Rami Saab.

Special thanks to Barbara Adams, Jaime-Faye Bean, Daniel Chou, Kristina Kaufman, Karolina Koziura, Elżbieta Matynia, Agnieszka Rudzińska, Gloria Sanders, Radhika Subramaniam, Piotr Uklański, Daisy Wong, Susan Yelavich.



The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is an award-winning campus center for Parsons School of Design that combines learning and public spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The mission of the Center is to generate an active dialogue on the role of innovative art and design in responding to the contemporary world. Its programming encourages an interdisciplinary examination of possibility and process, linking the university to local and global debates. The center is named in honor of its primary benefactor, New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governor’s Member Sheila C. Johnson. The design by Rice+Lipka Architects is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.


Exhibition and symposium are organized in collaboration with Adam Mickiewicz Institute as a part of the Campus Project.

Organized thanks to the generous support of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and Arte East.