Teens Meet Leidy Churchman
Nov 30, 2016

Teens practicing meditation

Teens with Leidy Churchman and his meditation teacher Ethan Nichtern. Photograph by Alexus Knight

On October 13, Youth Insights (YI) Artists met with Leidy Churchman, whose painting is on view in the exhibition Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection. Churchman is artist-in-residence for the fall semester, working with the teens to explore ideas inspired by his artistic practice. 

Artwork by Leidy Churchman

Leidy Churchman, Tallest Residential Tower in the Western Hemisphere, 2015. Oil on linen, 72 × 60 1/8 in. (182.9 × 152.7 cm). Gift of Avo Samuelian and Hector Manuel Gonzalez 2015. 164

Churchman’s work in the exhibition depicts a developer’s web image of 432 Park Avenue, advertising a recently built, high rise luxury condominium. This image of a luxurious bathroom interior with a spectacular view of lower Manhattan hints at the building’s controversial status as a symbol of the deep divide between the ultra-rich and ordinary New Yorkers. 

Students in a meditation room

Teens practice meditation. Photograph by Alexus Knight

Instead of directly addressing contemporary issues such as those in his painting, Churchman asked the teens to explore the idea of “dharma art” which refers to any creative work that springs from an awakened state of mind. They engaged in meditation as a method of focusing on the present—a technique Churchman uses in his own artistic practice.

A young artist with a book

A YI Artist reads Trungpa’s book. Photograph by Alexus Knight

The YI Artists thought about mindfulness and practicing meditation while Churchman read from chapters of a book titled True Perception: The Path to Dharma Art by Tibetan scholar, teacher, and Buddhist meditation master, Chogyam Trungpa.

Students working on a project with flowers

Teens create flower arrangements. Photograph by Alexus Knight

The class channeled their creative energies to create flower arrangements. Dyeemah Simmons, Assistant to Teen Programs commented: “The highlight of this session for me was viewing the outcome of the arrangements as they each carried a sense of individuality and uniqueness although the teens selected them from the same pool of flowers.”

Check out the slide show below for more images of the Youth Insights Artists’ work with Leidy Churchman. All photographs by Alexus Knight.

By Zain Al Saie, Interpretation Intern

  • Teens meditating

    Meditation with Leidy Churchman

  • Students making an art project with flower

    Arranging a floral composition

  • The artist works on a project

    Churchman checks out the arrangement

  • A flower arrangement

    Finished composition

  • Teen working on a project

    Looking for inspiration

  • Teen studying her artwork

    Intense concentration

  • Teens laughing during the project

    A humorous moment…

  • The artist working with the teens

    Churchman looks at the teens’ work