Taking Inspiration from a Student’s Life and Art

Body print by Gerald Pryor

Gerald Pryor‘s recent exhibition, Body Prints:  In Remembrance of Michael Rolando Richards, takes its inspiration from the art of alumnus Michael Richards (MA ’91).

Richards, who died in the Twin Towers, received his master’s degree from NYU Steinhardt’s studio art program, and was the subject of many exhibitions before his untimely death.

Pryor’s work follows in the artistic tradition of Yves Klein, Lucas Sammaras, Cindy Sherman, and Lyle Ashton Harris, who have used their bodies as subject matter and worked with them to produce art.  Pryor generated his work by putting an outline of his body on paper, then used gel medium as a glue to hold the pigment and charcoal.

“The paper received this dust and, at times, was reworked by my hands,” Pryor said of his process.

This new work, Body Prints, A Series of 30 Images, serves as a record of Pryor’s deep affinity with his late student’s sculptures of Tuskegee airmen.

Richards was in his studio on the 92nd Floor of World Trade Center Tower 1, likely working on this series, when a plane crashed into the tower.

“I am taking inspiration from Michael as a colleague who also used his body as a literal source of his art,” said Pryor, associate professor of art and art education and NYU Steinhardt’s artist in residence.