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The School’s internationally-recognized Marathon programs were developed in 1988 by Dean Graham Nickson, initially as a measure for the rest of the semester at the start of the program year. The program has since expanded to become a core component of the School’s curriculum. Meanwhile, intense outside interest led to the extension of the Marathons to a wider audience of participants outside of the full-time student body. Renowned artists, art historians, dealers, collectors, art educators, writers, journalists and students of all levels and affiliations have since experienced the intensity of the program.

The Marathon course hours are 9:00am to 6:00pm, with a lunch break from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. In some Marathons, there may be critiques. The specific critique schedule will be determined once courses have commenced.

If you are currently enrolled as a full-time student at NYSS, or if you have successfully completed a Marathon or full-time program within the last five years, you are not required to submit an application in order to enroll in upcoming Marathons. Learn more here.

Drawing Marathon – Graham Nickson and Guests

9am - 6pm

In this Marathon, students learn the importance of drawing as the basis of understanding one’s experience of the world. Drawing is seen here as the most direct route to the examination of our perceptions. Unorthodox tools and exercises will be introduced to broaden the student’s drawing vocabulary.  The class meets every day for two consecutive weeks from 9:00AM – 6:00PM, five days a week. Evening critiques will be held during both weeks. Times of the critiques will be announced during the session. Attendance to each session is mandatory.  

Drawing Marathon: Abstraction & Surprise – Fran O’Neill

9am - 6pm

Abstraction & Surprise will encourage students to make many works and studies, with the idea of pushing students past their threshold of what they might consider to be the final product. We will begin by visiting the MoMA and looking at works from the permanent collection, with the objective being to explore ways to push this image further into abstraction, focusing on how one image can inform the next. Various approaches via drawing will be explored; not limited to, but may include explorations of: shape, line, intersections, scale, collage and mark making. Students should be committed and care deeply enough to be willing to recreate or destroy a work in order to allow a new and different process to come into play.

Sculpture Marathon – Garth Evans 

9am - 6pm

This Marathon offers physically demanding exercises that provoke exciting
dialogues between work in two and three dimensions, exploring the relationship between drawing and sculpture, making drawings and objects with and without a model. Students will make drawings from the objects that are made, and objects from the drawings that are made. In the second week, students will construct life-size figures from the model using the kinds of materials experimented with in the first week.

Drawing Marathon: Drawing (as a Verb, as a Thing):  Now and Forever – James Siena

9am - 6pm

The goal of this five-day intensive marathon is to establish drawing as an essential component in each student’s studio practice.  It will employ both traditional and non-traditional modes of drawing and seeing, and will include two critiques and at least one site visit, to the study room at the Metropolitan Museum.  Each day will begin with two hours of life drawing, focused on the mechanics of seeing and mark-making, dissociated from each student’s particular “brand”.  This will be followed by individual work, with specific visits from the instructor.  A model will be available for the remainder of each day if any student desires one.  There will also be class discussions on the distinction between preparatory, spontaneous and finished drawings, and critiques will take place on the second and fifth days of the marathon.

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