Well well well… It appears the highly touted Art Students League (Manhattan, NY) is throwing a tissy fit over a paltry $31.8 million for air rights atop the old building at West 57th. 300 students go up against the 3,896 voting members as they’re not happy about the way they’ve been cut out of how the funds are to be distributed! Also long time teacher Gary Sussman was fired in 2014 for creating a hostile work environment for women. He is involved in a separate suit claiming his only offence was to sponsor a slide show of his visit to an “All Nude Beach” in Rio de Janeiro. He claimed he was set up and encouraged by the women in the ceramics section of the school who filed this bogus claim.
This is no slouch student association as the venerable league “claims Winslow Homer, Norman Rockwell, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mark Rothko among its alumni.”
Among the leading tilters at windmills are painter/printmaker Marne Rizika who’s obsession with farm equipment leads one to believe she is perhaps corn-fed as well as a part-time diesel mechanic. Richard Caraballo (Graphic Artist) is another outspoken student “Raging against the machine” and running for Vice President. He has been highly critical of the policies and practices of current President Salvatore Barbieri and is one the driving forces behind the rebellion.
Barbieri and his attorneys and the rest of the empire have never been in better shape financially and has laughed at the puny efforts of the 300 who continue to chant the adopted mantra of the league.. “founded by artists, for artists.” Barbieri is obviously in bed with Extell Developers and the students are pretty upset about it! They’ve had zero input as to how the money will be spent! At stake is the league’s constitution so it’s your typical “David versus Goliath” scenario with someone to receive a rock between the eyes.
Typically I tend to side with those individuals that excel at raising money for a good idea, but the presidency of the league is a non-paid position. I haven’t met Mr. Barbieri personally but highly suspect he resents the fact he doesn’t receive compensation from the league and in his little mind feels he deserves it!
Our little art community at the “Dry Ice Factory” is a fairly straight forward co-op and our only issue is how the ‘tip jar’ is split and seems petty by comparison. That said, the jar itself is owned by one of the senior members (old woman) and manages to run off with the money from our humble ‘First Friday’ offerings even though she brings nothing to the party but the jar! Now that I’m a resident there’ll be a reckoning of this egregious behavior and will bring a bigger and better jar.
This will not require litigation….I’ll simply remove her jar from the event thus solving the problem and no doubt elevate my position to ‘arbiter.’