Leaders

2012–2013

Fred Wilson talking to students over a table of artwork.

Yi Leaders at Fred Wilson’s studio, 2013. Photograph by Filip Wolak


With Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson is a conceptual artist whose work deals with themes of social justice. Wilson's installations examine, question, and deconstruct the traditional display of art and artifacts in museums. During the Spring 2013 semester, YI Leaders worked with Wilson on a photography project that was exhibited at the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. Students visited Wilson's studio and met with him at the Museum to learn about his artistic practice and inspirations. Together the group came up with a studio project that examined the importance that observation held for them as young people in New York City. Teens used both digital and 120mm manual cameras to photograph a series of images that interpreted the theme.


Adena

Hey, my name is Adena and I am seventeen. I'm from Brooklyn, born and raised. I have big plans for my future. I am headed to college in the next few months to earn my bachelor's degree in health studies and I want to minor in communications. I love performance art and I love to write poetry. I sing and I'm also interested in acting, but poetry has been my first love since the age of nine. I'm really into history and fashion. I love learning about my ancestors and the trials and tribulations of African Americans throughout the centuries as well as how we incorporate many of their traditions and values into our culture today. I love to see how life back then has influenced so much of the way we live our lives now, from the way that we dress to how we speak. I believe that there is a reason for everything, which is why we have the ability to choose how we live our lives.


Alex

Hi, my name is Alexander. I am Korean and I was born in California, but I've lived in New York for most of my life. Whether it be looking at it or making it, I thoroughly enjoy art. My interests generally revolve around graphic design, but I am also interested in computer programming, since the two seem to go hand in hand. For me, inspiration doesn't come often. Whenever I create something, I can’t help but feel that I'm copying too much of an artwork which already exists, and thus I end up abandoning the idea all together. Generally, when I look for an idea, I tend to look at social problems. I also look towards nature as a contrast to the ever-evolving technology of the world. I hope to pursue graphic design and computer programming for college and into my career. If not, possibly illustration. For now, my goals are actually remembering how each tool works in Photoshop or what the difference between C++ and Java is. My goal isn't to strive in the world, it's to observe and adapt.


Elizabeth

I am Elizabeth from New York City. I love art that creates new meaning and beauty through disorder and redefinition of conventional forms and concepts. I have a fascination with art history—with examining time periods through the art that was produced and studying the events that changed art and critical thought.I am attending Oberlin College next year, and plan to major in art history and English. I hope to sustain my interests in art and writing and eventually work among and write about art that I’m passionate about.


Emiliano

Hello! My name is Emiliano. I think my cat is plotting to take over the world and I'm alright with that. My favorite word is 'Hello' because all human interactions and relationships begin with that one word. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else besides New York City but I want to travel all over the world. I want to get married in a forest. I have considered careers in anthropology, film, and clock making, but my inner child will always want to be an astronaut. I am far too cynical and, at the same time, I have way too much faith in humanity. I'm hoping one day I'll grow up to be Beyoncé.


Hannah

My name is Hannah and I am a student at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Although art has been a part of my life ever since I can remember—both my mother and grandmother are artists—I originally valued it more for its aesthetic appeal than for its conceptual aspects. I love giving tours at the Whitney because I am constantly learning that there so much more to art than meets the eye, and I hope to share just a small amount of this knowledge with other people. I believe that the reason art is so powerful is because it has the ability to communicate important ideas and create experiences between people that shatter typical barriers such as language or culture. Art can allow us to see the beauty in the simplest or most complex things. Someday I hope to be an artist, curator, civil rights lawyer, or all three.


Julia

I am in my senior year of high school and have lived in New York City my whole life. Art captivates me more than anything, as it confronts, questions, and studies the human condition. I am figuring out what I will be doing in my future—I am unsure what it will be, and I am perfectly happy with that. I don't know where I will be living next year, who I will know, or what my life style will be like. For now, I am enjoying my last year of high school among friends!


Keyana

I am Keyana and I am seventeen years old. I moved to Brooklyn, New York three years ago. My favorite color is green, I love to shop, and I am a huge film fanatic. I can never go wrong with a thriller, mystery, or horror flick. At a very young age, I would run around with a disposable Kodak camera, snapping photographs of everyone and everything. Now, on the brink of adolescence, I plan to travel and take pictures all around the world. I can't wait to go to college and take the first steps towards becoming a professional photographer.


MICHELLE

  • Obsessive list-maker
  • Dog lover: particularly ones that are white, curly, and called Bella
  • Unnaturally attached younger sister
  • Raging feminist
  • Tea
  • Nuyorican Poets Cafe
  • Can be considered almost an adult
  • Hot sauce aficionado
  • Paints sneakers
  • Fashionably too late
  • Ambidextrous
  • Writer
  • Revel & Riot
  • 27-minute naps
  • Tried to grow a pepper on a radiator with a book light
  • Will eventually marry: Kate McKinnon, Anis Mojgani, Jennifer Egan, Kristian Matssan, Markus Zusak, or Becka Dale.

Hopes to one day:

  • Adopt a Border Collie, call him/her Bo
  • Get published
  • Eventually learn to drive
  • Use a pen all the way through
  • Eat a Trinidadian scorpion pepper
  • Stop making lists.

Niki

My name is Niki and I am a senior at Hunter College High School. I have grown up in New York City and the visual arts have been a huge part of my life. My mother is a curator and a director of a contemporary art gallery in Manhattan and my father represents musicians and visual artists. As a result, I have been constantly exposed to the works of different artists and I've been able to watch their works transform and grow over time. The arts, whether they are visual, musical, or performance-based, have always allowed me to experience new ways of seeing the world, add excitement to day-to-day activities, and spark conversations. I believe art can be seen almost everywhere, and simply requires that one keeps an open mind, has patience, and an ability to discover beauty.


Rae-Ann

My name is Rae-Ann. I live in the Bronx with my mother and little brother. I go to the High School of Fashion Industries. I’m an art major. When I was little I never thought about taking art seriously, as in actually pursuing it. I always wanted to know how to draw, just because my mom was really good at it and I wanted to be like her, but my heart back then belonged to science. I studied science really hard in school but at home I practiced drawing. I did mostly observation drawings and eventually became very good at it. In the seventh grade I started to dislike science. I found myself always doodling in class and volunteering to draw for others. So now I love art!


Ramsey

Hey, my name is Ramsey and I’m seventeen years old. I attend West Bronx Academy for the Future. I was born in the Bronx but my parents are originally from the Dominican Republic. To me art is everyday things that you see, touch, taste, and do in life. I have many interests but my biggest one of all is photography. In the future I hope to become a freelance photographer.


Raymond

I’m eighteen, a senior at Gotham Professional Arts Academy, and originally from Guyana, South America. I am currently living in Brooklyn. Art means everything to me. It keeps me going and keeps my mind flowing. I’m interested in abstract and weird forms. In the future I hope to achieve a lot, to travel, and to really get involved in fashion.


Skye

Hi! I'm Skye. I live in Queens but my parents are originally from Ireland. To me, art is anything that explores anyone’s creativity—it can take the form of anything from paintings to literature. My interests have always been in writing but lately I'm trying to explore other things. I love reading magazines and books and I think those things really inspire me. I'm inspired as well by people who help other people succeed whenever possible. In the future, I hope to find out what I'm supposed to do. Hopefully it's something creative and interesting!