R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe is Now an NYU Art Professor

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Former R.E.M. singer and accomplished photographer Michael Stipe knows a thing or two about creative spark, so it shouldn’t come as a stark surprise that the eccentric vocalist is teaching art classes as part of his residency at NYU’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions. In tandem, Stipe will also launch a new student-collaborative project called “NEW SIGHTS, NEW NOISE” with the aim of curbing the rampant cynicism resulting from the avalanche of stimuli we face everyday in an increasingly interconnected world.

According to a post on R.E.M.’s website, the idea was inspired by “the glut and onslaught of information made available by the Internet.” Stipe and a weekly guest will give students a directive, to which they will then deliver “100 images and gifs, both found and made, all of which will be uploaded to a private class website”. At the course’s conclusion, the space at 80 WSE Gallery will then open to the public for curious onlookers.

Stipe further explained his inspiration on R.E.M.’s official site:

The title NEW SIGHTS, NEW NOISE refers directly to the glut and onslaught of information made available by the internet, often without context or authorship; the disproportionate and impulsive reactions that it provokes, and the reckless cynicism of a 24hour news cycle…, my desire would be to question how we can process all this and then employ, alter, or move beyond it altogether. I see our work in class as an extended exercise in cutting through the muck and getting to the real thing: the students themselves, their passions, interests, and most importantly, how they process all of this, and create a contributing voice that is unique to them and to these times. I want to encourage individualism within a group context; and more than anything encourage trusting in and acting upon one’s instinct. 

 The exhibition will run through November 8, and more information is available on the exhibition’s official site.