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In August of 2001, just months after earning a B.F.A. in painting from RISD, Adam Marnie moved from Providence to Brooklyn. He had grown up in a small town outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, and was 23 years old. For the next several years, like many young artists, he supported himself with a string of odd jobs: carpentry, art handling, artist’s assistant. Often he didn’t have a studio. His practice suffered and his debts mounted. As he moved from one cheap living situation to the next, he felt increasingly isolated. “Many friends didn’t even know I was an artist,” he told me last winter. Toward the end of 2008, forced to vacate yet another studio, Marnie photographed the work he had on hand and decided to apply to M.F.A. programs. Now 30, he’d been toying with the idea for a while, weighing its cost and his reluctance to become a student again against the frustrations of more of the same. The painter Amy Sillman was instrumental in his decision to focus on Bard, in Annandale-on-Hudson, a few hours north of the city. The two had met by chance at a café in Williamsburg. “Adam was with a friend of mine,” remembers Sillman, who has co-chaired Bard’s M.F.A. painting department since 2002. “He had his hood up and seemed kind of remote. I couldn’t tell whether he was a hoodlum or one of those haunted hipsters you see with skateboards on Bedford Avenue. But my instinct was that he was a good guy.” Sillman wrote Marnie a recommendation for Bard, and he was accepted.

-Bard MFA Program (Brooklyn Rail article)


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