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Integrative 2: Seminar + Studio Final Reflection

Artists Statement:

Sofia Perevalova is a multimedia artist and designer. Throughout this semester she has worked on a installation, 2D, 3D and digital work for her studio class. Sofia experimented with Photoshop to create digital paintings which than transgressed into 2D pieces created using paint as well as gold leaf. She has also used Premiere to create a short film from found footage to support a larger installation piece. Sofia’s main focus throughout studio was installation work which she produced using materials such as plastic, mirror and ready-made objects. 

Sofia’s works stem from the readings done in Integrated Seminar. Texts by McLuhan and the film Oh Lucy! have played an important role in developing the concept of her pieces. As Sofia’s work is focused on gender, power and performance, her Seminar research has propelled her current and future projects as she continues to explore gender as a performance and the effects gender has on our society at large. 

As Sofia is passionate about fashion, her final installation piece was inspired not only by Western films, but also the Chanel Paris-Dallas 2013/2014 show. This is not her first piece inspired by her love of fashion, Sofia has also produced a series of diptychs focused on the Queen of England and her timeless elegance. As Sofia has lived in both England and Texas these works are personal to her as she references her cultural background. 

Sofia was born in Dallas, Texas and has lived in Moscow, Russia, London, England and is currently living in New York city. As a half Russian and half American Sofia has had a vast exposure to a myriad of art, people and culture. She is currently enrolled at Parsons School of Design and is studying to earn her BBA in Strategic Design and Management. 

Seminar Focus:

Visual Essay Collage:

Library/Whitney Research:

Selections from Research Paper:

“Drag is represented as a complex gender performance and impersonation. It is a way for the performers as well as the audience to explore their sexuality and gender identity. Drag Queens through this gender illusion they create as a result have been to pioneers in American society of gender identity and self acceptance. It is through their flamboyant, extravagant and charismatic performance the queens themselves as well as the audience have been able to let go of their self-imposed gender boundaries and be themselves. However, drag queens have not always been celebrated performers in our society. “

“The art has drag has enabled society to explore the realms of gender identity, self expression and sexuality. Through its recent commercialization and its previous influence on queer culture it has defined American culture and provided individuals with the freedom to explore who they are. Drag has altered pop-culture, performing arts, and has redefined gender. Its rise to prominence and acceptance is inspiring to all and shows the dedication and perseverance of these performers and artists. Whether it is the beauty industry, reality TV or simply human interaction the legacy of drag can be examined. While drag queens are still advocating for changes in our social justice systems regarding LGBT their influence on the youth is astounding. Drag has provided us with humor, an appreciation for the art of costume and makeup, and has enriched American history. “

Journal Entires:

Considering Fear:

What Really Eats My Soul

After viewing Tiravanija’s Untited 2017 flag, I began to thing what do I fear that eats my soul? As I compiled a list in my head of all the things I am afraid of, I noticed a patter. What I realized was that I was listing my superficial fears. I am afraid of things like big birds, spiders, snakes, mold, but I couldn’t help but think these can’t really be my deepest fears. These things are simply phobias, things that make me uncomfortable. I began to dig deeper. 

What I realized is that I fear disappointment, I fear rejection, fakeness and most of all I fear those who I love getting hurt. These fears to effect those around me even tho I surpress them, I often worry about my friends being mad at me, my parents disapproving of my work and ideas. My fear of fakeness has the biggest effect as it takes over my mind and makes me think those around me are not genuine, don’t really care about me and have hidden agendas. This paranoia is damaging to my relationships as it shows my distrust in people. 

My fear of rejection often leads to me not completing my plans as I worry they wont go the way I expected. I fear that I will make a work of art I believe is amazing, but not one else will like it. This leads to me dismissing my ideas and not pursuing them further. This fear is by far the most damaging as it makes me think about all the missed opportunities I have had that I was to afraid to pursue. 

Fear its away at my dreams and ambition. It is something that everyone must overcome to actively pursue what they believe they are destine to do. I believe once I let go of my fears I will be unstoppable. 

Tiravanija, Rirkit. Untitled. 2017. Creative Time Headquarters. New York. 


Seminar has taught me a lot about the way I understand visual culture. The readings we were presented with greatly broadened my understanding of media, the McLuhan text in particular made me think about how I understand messages. I found all the readings and films to be very diverse in their content, however they all had a similar message. The in depth explorations conducted in and outside of class have changed the way I see and understand messages in my life. Bridges 1 and 2 made me much more aware of my surroundings and taught me to notice things I previously may have not. The final research paper was particularly educational for me as I chose a theme I was previously not educated in. Conducting this research showed me how relevant drag is and how this complex gender performance has impacted even meh daily life.

Studio Focus:

During studio I experimented with a myriad of materials from gold leaf to plastic. I found the diptych iterations helped me conceptualize my work and pay attention to detail. The final project required heavy attention to detail and iterations which I was prepared for because of the previous works.

Image Deconstruction:



The taxonomy made me branch out with my theme and investigate other instances of gender and power in society. Through the investigation I developed a specific aesthetic and became inspired by Western movies and my time in Texas. Through the collection of these images I was able to transform my idea into something unexpected in comparison to my previous works.


The Whitney research resulted in the development of my seminar research topic. While it did not directly influence my studio project it broadened my view of gendered art and helped me create a connection between my studio and seminar work.

Final Studio Project:

(clips from video)

Final Personal Reflection:

Key Bridge experiences: The final research and studio project have made me much more diligent and have forced me to pay extreme attention to detail. While these topics may seem completely opposite, through my research and conceptual analysis of the works I was able to see a strong connection between the two works. Each of these projects are based on gender and the notion of gender in performance. Another key experience in seminar and studio were the iterations of the diptychs which taught me attention to detail and how to fine tune and develop off of an idea. During seminar I found the research leading up to the final paper was extremely valuable as it forced me to think deeply about my paper and what I want the final outcome to be.

Thinkers, writers and artists: in Seminar I found the most important thinker and writer was Marshall McLuhan. Through his text I reconsidered everything I know about media, messages and mediums. This reading resulted in me reconsidering how I interpret visual art and the messages in my daily life.

In Studio the artists I was most influenced by were Damien Hirst and Rene Magritte. Both of these artist were crucial in developing my projects. I was also heavily influenced by the movies No Country for Old Men by Ethan Coen and Giant by George Stevens. This films were directly connected to my final project and continue to inspire my future work based on Texas.

Final Project IS2 – Visual Culture

Prototype April 6: I collected the key object for my installation piece – my mothers cowboy boots. I have also purchased other smaller elements of the piece such as doilies and a miniature cactus. I downloaded the video element from the movie Giant which I rewatched and chose the specific scene for my piece. I am currently researching how to make an oil like substance to reference the “masculinity” in Texas.

Seminar topic: significance of drag in American Pop-Culture.

Message: I am exploring the harsh gender boundaries in Texas through the use of objects and the depiction of Texans in Western movies.

I am making an installation piece using a carefully curated selection of objects. I will be placing the objects in a clear box to show how these objects are confined to a specific environment. To create bring this environment to life I will be using audio and visual elements. This will include a collection of clips from western movies where gender roles are heavily emphasized. I will also be using a recording of my Texan grandmother discussing the objects I selected and her personal memories from growing up in Texas.

The materials I selected are effective as they are very literal. The main visual element of the work is something from the environment I am trying to simulate in my work and the audio/visual part creates a cohesive installation piece.

Since last week I have looked for more objects I could use in the piece and researched how I can construct this box so that it looks as sleek and high quality as possible. This week I am planning on creating my recording. I am planning on working on my project for around 6 hours this week including the time spent searching for more video components and recording my grandmother.


Integrative Seminar + Studio: Whitney Museum Research

Sofia Perevalova

Integrated Seminar : Visual Culture

Whitney Museum Research


Part 1.


Part 2. Content

Recognizing a Work

2a. Gran Fury’s Women Don’t Get AIDS is a large bus shelter sign with ink on acetate. The purple plaster features an image of women in bathing suits taken most likely at a Miss USA or other nation-wide beauty pageant. The photo in the background was taken by Michael Baytoff and Blackstar. The background is covered in a transparent purple color which creates a striking contrast with the large white block letters and smaller orange text. The color of the piece is what originally caught my eye as there is such a high contrast. Another interesting quality of the work is is due of different fonts. The main message “Women don’t get aids they just die from it” is in large white, capital letters meanwhile the facts supporting this message as well as the credits to the sponsor and photographer are in a much smaller font. While it is still bold and in a bright color I found that it gets somewhat lost compared to the other text. The factual text is placed in the middle of the piece which forces the viewer to read it and take it in.

My initial impression was that this was going to be another protest piece due to the setting and overall concept of the exhibition. Because I went in knowing this was going to be related to some historical event that resulted in protests it was easy to quickly contextualize the piece and estimate the time in which it was created without looking at the label. One thing I did not realize before thoroughly investigating the work its the materiality of it and this was originally a bus shelter sign. I assumed it was simply a piece of plastic that had been printed on.

2b. The material used for this work is a bus shelter sign that has been printed on using ink. Because the medium and materials used are very mainstream and generic this supports the content of the piece. The materiality of the piece supports the pieces ideas as the it is meant to educated everyone, not only the people who would see this in a gallery or museum. Using a bus shelter sign shows how this at the time was an epidemic people were faced with constantly in their daily life, the piece is accessible to the public which makes it a stronger work of art raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Part 3. Context

Contextualizing a Work

3a. Immediate context:

  • The text and graphics of the piece work together harmoniously in creating a work of art about women and the problems women face it life. The text draws attention to the cause while the image works as a symbol of how women are often mistreated. The image from the pageant makes you think about how women bodies are sexualized, as their faces are cut off, and women are often not treated as equals. The text and image of the piece work together to raise awareness about gender inequality and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US during the 1980s.
    • This piece is part of the Mourning and Militancy component of the Incomplete History of Protest exhibition. This piece a long with the other works in the room specifically relating to AIDS and the politics surrounding it create an eerie feeling. The majority the works in this room at first glance look similar to Pop Art and all feature bright, uplifting colors. However, once you look closer at each piece its context becomes clear. This work amongst the many others in the exhibition grabs attention initially with the bright colors and then draws the audience to look closer at the actual message behind the piece.

3b. Social/cultural/political context:

  • The materials in the work are generic and still used today so it is difficult to judge the exact time it was made if only looking at the materiality. However, because this piece is about AIDS it is easy to place it within a time frame by looking an the works content. The piece was created during the AIDS epidemic in the United States which began in the 1980s. During this time there was a momentous amount of protests demanding government intervention and support for the victims of this disease. The works created during the time all had a relatively similar aesthetic quality as they were mostly plaster and bright colored work to draw attention to the cause. The piece was created in 1991 according to the museum label.
  • Other information that would have been helpful in interpreting the work would be more information on weather or not this piece on a bus shelter sign was actually displayed on bus stops. This information would help with determining whether or not this work was really used to protest. Otherwise the information is easy to interpret as the piece is very factual.

Part 4. Significance

Understanding a Work


4a. Questions.

  • To what extent does the time the work was created influence the concept of the piece?

It is imperative to know the time the piece was created to judge its context. History is key component in art, knowing the time of the piece helps us decide if this piece is powerful in its content. By understanding the time of the piece the educated viewer can easily understand the works meaning and importance. This connects to my research issue as a large portion of my research relies heavily on history and understanding how to contextualize a specifically historical era.

  • What components of the work are most effective in supporting the idea? Materiality or visual content?

In some cases the material used to create the piece supports the idea far more than the actual visual content and vise versa. An example of this is Ai Wei Wei’s backpacks, in contrast to the piece I am looking at where the materialist of the work, while still relevant matters much less than the visual content. Distinguishing which aspect of the work is more important in understanding the context is a useful skill as it helps us form a stronger judgment of what the artist’s intentions. This is important to my research as the idea I am researching is highly materialistic in its nature, therefor understanding the importance of materials is relevant to me.

  • What are the artists intentions with this piece?

The artists intentions of the piece is to raise awareness to a cause that at the time was labeled taboo and there was minimum support to put an end to HIV/AIDS. Because there was lack of support, there was lack of information. In this case the artist is drawing attention to the fact that AIDS is not only a “gay man’s disease” and effects a large amount of women. This is relevant to my research as I plan to explore within my topic gender disparity and how certain aspects of gender have been branded taboo by society.

4b. Library Exploration II

Smith, Terry. 2010. ”The State of Art History: Contemporary Art.” The Art Bulletin 92, no. 4: 366-83. http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.newschool.edu/stable/29546137.

Reed, Thomas Vernon. 2005. ACTing UP against AIDS: The (Very) Graphic Arts in a Moment of Crisis. The art of protest :culture and activism from the civil rights movement to the streets of Seattle., pp. 179-2018. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Citation of Exhibition:

“An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017” 2017. Whitney Museum of American Art.


Fury, Gran. Women Don’t Get AIDS. 1991. Whitney’s Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Library Database Searches

Page 1 of Sources

(ordered from Bobst)

Library Stack Explored (UC Library)





Gran Fury was an artist collective in New York which operated during the AIDS epidemic. This was a collaboration of 11 artists in New York that worked specifically on protest pieces and campaigns to raise awareness about AIDS. The group disbanded soon after this piece was created. Their other work features similar visual elements , Gran Fury used recycled objects like the bus shelter sign and placed their work in public spaces for to inform the public as much as possible. Their work featured text mostly as the aesthetic was simple making the context much more effective. The focus was on the actual message rather than the aesthetics as these work were all protest art. The final piece before the group fell apart was titles “Good Luck…Miss You, Gran Fury” in 1995.

The artist though these works are exploring strictly AIDS activism. This particular piece stood out to me because it was the only piece in the Mourning room, which was mostly AIDS related art, that talked about women and AIDS . This piece brought awareness to an element of AIDS that was even more avoided, the fact that women were also effected.

Final Project Proposal

Thesis Question: What does American Western Culture say about gender and status in the United States at large?

  • What does American money say about gender perception in the US?
  • What objects I need to explore to decipher why women are treated in a certain way in Western culture?
  • If I were to explore gender and power how much importance does money play in my research?

Images from Pop Culture (specifically Western movies)


Images I collected in Texas

Visual Images From Artists

Damien Hirst Pharmacy

Damien Hirst Snowblind

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Mediums: I plan on using the laser cutter, plastic, printing (graphics lab)


For my project I plan on creating a large scale installation piece which comments on gender and status in the West. I was inspired by Western movies and by my own connection to Texas. Through the research on this work and the production itself I plan on exploring my own cultural identity as I am half Texan.



Because my project consists largely of found objects, creating a prototype was not really possible. I so far have researched how to record a phone call, ordered my materials and am rewatching Giant to find the useful scenes for the background projection.  What is not working for me currently is finding “female” objects other than a doily related to Texas. I am also unsure how exactly I am going to present my project. I have sketched out several option, but think that presenting it in the class room will take away from the experience I am trying to convey with my piece.


Taxonomy Questions

20 Questions

  1. Image 1: Looking at Rocco portraiture, a status symbol at the time, what connection can I make with modern day status symbols?
  2. Image 15: By looking at this image which contrasts Medieval symbolism of wealth, status and the ideals of beauty with modern day art work which has become a key status symbol, is it possible to find a link to gender? Because artists creating these works are male what does it say about how it is considered a status symbol?
  3. Image 16: Is the depiction of women nude in art meant to be empowering or sexualizing depending on the gender of the artist/the women’s background?
  4. Image 17: How does an object become a symbol of status?
  5. Image 20: If I were to explore gender and power how much importance does money play in my research?
  6. Image 6: As gender I explore gender and status, what daily objects subconsciously dictate gender and status?
  7. Image 9: What does American money say about gender perception in the US?
  8. Image 32: If I’m going to explore gender and power, how much of my research will be influenced by history?
  9. Image 5: As I explore how status relates to gender, what do I need to know about how sexuality has dictated gender roles in the world?
  10. Image 29: If I am going to explore gender, more specifically women empowerment, what importance should the depiction of the body play in my exploration?
  11. Image 27: If I were to explore how identity connects to gender and power, how can this object help me understand the importance of identity?
  12. Image 25: If I were to explore women empowerment, how will paintings influence my topic?
  13. Image 19: How do sacred objects throughout history influence the perception of gender, as many of them could be considered gendered?
  14. Image 12: How do different materials and textures convey gender and status?
  15. Image 2: If I were to explore women empowerment, what questions should I ask myself about how the female body is constantly sexualized?
  16. Image 18: By exploring objects that relate to gender and status, what can be said about the actual importance of these objects?
  17. Image 33: To what extent does pop culture dictate the perception of gender and status in our society?
  18. Image 31: How do the relationships we form influence our “gender role”?
  19. Image 14: If I were to explore gender and status from a historical perspective, what questions do I need to ask myself about warfare and its influence on life?
  20. Image 23: How can technology influence gender?

What location did you visit for your visual research and what did you find?

I visited the MET as I am fascinated by Rococo portraiture and Ancient statues. In the MET I found that most objects meant to symbolize status feature  predominately male figures. This supported my research on the connection of status to gender. Other places where I found my images were at home, restaurants, the streets of New York and galleries.

How did the locations (museum/gallery/etc.) you visited expand/broaden/deepen your understanding of your topic? (this could be visual, contextual, historical, material based, etc.)

I believe that my visit to the MET provided an interesting contrast to the modern images I collected from my daily life. The MET allowed me to explore my topic from a historical point of view, which would have been difficult to do otherwise. This was important as my the core of my topic revolves around history and how our society has developed over time to form these ideas about status and gender. The Whitney was also influential in my research as the contrast between modern and classical art provided me with more insight on how our society has evolved with its perception of gender. Exploring the objects at home allowed my to see how much of my own life is dictated by these ideas. Since the other places I collected my images from were also places I spend a lot of time in recreationally it was challenging to find objects relation to my topic. However, this was also interesting as I was able to explore these places from a completely different angle and with a purpose. These places deepened my understanding of my topic as it made me realize just how ingrained gender and status are in our society not only from an artistic/pop-culture point of view, but on an individual scale as it dictates a large portion of our daily lives.

List the symbols, metaphors and visual references you put in your taxonomy and explain how/why they are relevant/important to your topic.

Portraiture was a major component of my taxonomy as though the investigation of how the individual is portrayed in the piece shows how gender has been represented in art throughout history. The miniature portraiture on the snuffboxes I saw at the MET created a strong link between portraiture and status as they were a major wealth symbol in France.  Through portraiture the artists also created sacred objects for example the two African pieces in my taxonomy. This provided me with an interesting perceptive on how gender plays a role in sacred religious practices.

Another visual reference seen in my taxonomy is clothing. This is significant as clothes are some of the most gendered objects in the world and are also a big status symbol for many. Through my investigation of clothing/accessories I was able to take my research to a new level as previously it was mostly based on art, which made it harder to apply to daily life.

A third symbol which I found significant was color. My taxonomy featured several images that were predominantly pink. Color is something that has over time becoming gendered, what surprised me was that I was naturally drawn to the objects featuring the color pink – a color that is often considered a very feminine color. This made me curious if colors actually have a gender and what perspective that could provide on my topic as colors have so much symbolism behind them already.

What did you learn from Monday’s critique about your taxonomy that was new or helpful?

Because my theme is so broad I found critique very helpful. I was provided with a variety of ideas on how I could make my research more specific, what themes I could look at and even possible outcomes for my final project. An idea that appealed to me is looking at Western American culture, specifically Western movies and investigating how gender is portrayed. This appealed to me as I’ve wanted to do a project where I explore the other half of my cultural identity in some way as I am half  Texan. I also found critique helpful in simply hearing how my images were decoded by other, creating a new dimension to my taxonomy.

Project Deconstruction

During the first semester for Studio I was assigned by Frank Holliday to create a self portrait. The focus of the project was to create a work of art the reflected me as person and accurately portrayed how I see myself. The intention of the project was to make us think of how we wanted ourselves to be viewed. The guidelines were broad therefore I wanted to create a portrait as unconventional as possible.
I began thinking about the possible ways I could create this self portrait as I wanted to create a three dimensional piece. My goal was to create a work that portrays me not only in the physical sense, but also who I am on the inside. After sketching out my ideas I decided I was going to create something similar to a time capsule, containing objects personal to me. I have always collected small objects that I thought were sentimental and reminded me of small events in my life that have in some way influenced who I am today. These objects are typically receipts, tickets, photographs, notes and letters.
For this piece I used objects that I felt helped describe me and show what is important to me as a person. For the piece I used a hospital band as it contained information about my identity, for example my name, age and gender. I used a caviar tin to show my cultural background. I used family photo of me, my grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins as my family has played an integral role in my life and having a large family has strongly influenced my personality. I used a small drawing I did of myself to show how I see myself and contrast it with the way others see me by looking at the piece. I also used cutouts from postcards I’ve received as I have a personal attachment to each sender.
Once I collected the objects I constructed a box using plexiglass and a mirror as the bottom. The mirror is meant to further the idea of “self reflection”. I used thread to hang the objects inside the box to create an illusion that they are floating. The natural movement that occurs from this has made this piece more of an installation, than simply a 3D self portrait.
This project was meaningful to me as I was able to explore the idea of identity and self. It helped me figure out what is actually important to me and how I would describe myself. This project also thought me more about working in 3D as my previous work is mostly two dimensional.