Interarts MFA Leonardo Selvaggio’s Work

In the midst of diving into his first year at Columbia, MFA student Leonard Selvaggio found himself immersed in the world he reflects on in his latest creative installation work.


Selvaggio’s interactive public art installation, Reflection, is part of New York’s Art in Odd Places 2011: RITUAL. The annual festival (a project of GOH Productions) is held each October along 14th Street in Manhattan, from Avenue C to the Hudson River.

Leonardo’s work explores themes of identity in male culture, and how the roles of men are changing in our current society. His site-specific project explores themes of vanity, deindividuation, and the identity of the New York City commuter. In a city where the sheer size of the population promotes a culture of collectivism and anonymity, reflections act as a calming presence reminding us of our existence in an all-too-detached metropolis. As commuters rush to and fro, the surrounding mirrors, windows, water, and other reflective surfaces fulfill a ritualistic need to anchor and distinguish themselves from the surrounding sea of people.

In setting up his installation at 215 West 14th Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues) for the October 1-10 event, Leonardo found himself inhabiting the whirlwind life of the commuter persona he was exploring. Once the installation is complete and the event is open, he’ll be returning to Columbia to pick up where he left off in his studio.

More information on Leonardo’s future work can be found here.