About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.



Painting students working in a new studio in the ARC BuildingA semester that began with the February 15 Main Building fire will end on a celebratory note as senior drawing and painting students affected by the fire prepare to show their thesis work in Flameproof, a group show to be held in Manhattan. The show was organized by Pratt with the assistance of prominent gallerist Larry Gagosian. 

Fire recovery efforts are taking shape on campus as well. Last month, senior painting students relocated to temporary studio spaces constructed in the ARC Building, and all their salvaged art was returned. 

Flameproof will display the works of 44 undergraduate students in the BFA program on the eighth floor of the iconic International Style skyscraper at 375 Park Avenue. As the New York Times reported, the high-profile show has been “an exciting watershed in a healing process,” motivating students to throw themselves back into their work.

“Having the senior Fine Arts exhibition in such a prime location in Manhattan is a dream come true for many of our students,” said President Schutte. “The caliber of work that will be on view at Flameproof illustrates their commitment to their work and the process. The Pratt community is grateful to Larry Gagosian, and we are very excited about the show.”

The gallery space has been donated by the building’s owner, Aby Rosen of real estate company RFR Holding, while the exhibition itself is being underwritten by trustee emeritus and alumnus Bruce Newman.

“It was important for me to get involved and help the Pratt students move forward,” said Gagosian. “I, too, have experienced loss due to a fire and was inspired by their perseverance to continue to create art.” (Gagosian lost many paintings in a fire at his Hamptons home in 2011.)

The students chose the show’s title, Flameproof, as an expression of their determination that—even in the aftermath of a disaster—their creativity will thrive. The work ranges from gestural and geometric abstraction to work that incorporates images from the Internet, mass media, as well as hip hop and skateboard cultures. The show is curated by Eugenie Tsai, the John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

The exhibition will feature drawings and paintings produced by students before and after the fire. In addition to the Institute’s own commitment, generous in-kind and monetary donations enabled students to begin creating new works right after the fire.

Meanwhile on campus, the cleanup of Main Building is almost complete, and the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees is in the process of approving an architectural firm for the renovation and restoration of the damaged structure, including its roof.

To see how senior painters have bounced back since the fire, please watch Painting Students Find Their Groove.

Thursday, May 9–14
11 AM-6 PM; on May 14, 11 AM-5 PM

375 Park Avenue (between 52nd and 53rd streets), 8th Floor

Text: Amy Aronoff, Bay Brown
Photo: Peter Tannenbaum


Speaker, Honorees Announced for 2013 Commencement

(L–R) Kurt Andersen, Lee Friedlander, Françoise Mouly, and Daniel Pink

On Tuesday, May 14, Pratt degree candidates will gather in their caps and gowns on the bustling sidewalks of Manhattan outside the famed Radio City Music Hall. Celebrated novelist, radio host of Studio 360, and Pratt Trustee Kurt Andersen will deliver the commencement address. The Institute will award honorary degrees to photographer Lee Friedlander, art editor Françoise Mouly, and author Daniel Pink.

Andersen is the author of three novels, most recently True Believers, and is also a regular contributor to Vanity Fair, Time, New York, and the New York TimesPreviously, he was a columnist for The New Yorker and New York, as well as the design and architecture critic for Time, and has won numerous awards for his journalismA graduate of Harvard College, Andersen sits on the board of Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in addition to being a Pratt Trustee.

Friedlander's doctor of fine arts degree will be conferred in recognition of numerous achievements in the field of photography as a chronicler of the American social landscape. Mouly's doctor of fine arts degree will be conferred in recognition of her achievements in fostering new creative talent through her art book publishing and work at The New Yorker, where she has served as art editor since 1993. Author Daniel Pink's doctor of humane letters degree will be conferred in recognition of his innovative work exploring creativity, talent, and economic transformation.

This is the fourth time in Pratt's commencement history that graduates will receive their diplomas on stage at Radio City. The procession begins at 2 PM when the students will file into the main hall, where the Institute will celebrate their achievements and present their degrees.

For more information, please visit Pratt's commencement page.

Text: Bay Brown
Photos: Thomas Hart Shelby; Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery; Sarah Shatz; Jerry Bauer



On April 2, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends convened at Pratt’s Juliana Curran Terian Design Center for a memorial service remembering Professor Marvin Charton (1931–2012), who taught organic chemistry at Pratt for more than 56 years.

Professor Marvin Charton

"Marvin was a guiding force in bringing the Mathematics and Science Department into the mainstream of the art, design, and architecture culture at Pratt,” said department chair Carole Sirovich. “He was a brilliant chemist, moving teacher, and cherished colleague. We all miss him."

"He was a first-rate computational chemist," said Herb Tesser, a good friend and former Pratt physics professor. "In the early days, that work was done by hand, later, on small computers, and finally, on more powerful PCs. This work led to his election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His work ethic was solid and intense, in the long tradition that has made the sciences so valuable to our society."

Charton was known and appreciated by colleagues and students alike for his dry, sharp sense of humor. He formed strong bonds with his long-term colleagues, who consistently described him as a wonderful, generous man. He was married to Adjunct Assistant Professor Barbara Charton who continues to teach science at the Institute.

He was well known for his catch phrases, which included: “Another day, another molecule . . . ” (His answer to the question “What’s going on?”) Charton’s interests extended to collecting antiquarian books and engaging in extended pun-generating sessions. Friends and family recall his many endearing quirks: that his cats had chemically significant names; that he was known by name at The Strand bookstore; and that he admired creatures commonly considered pests, such as cockroaches and ants.

Marvin and Barbara Charton, Paris, 2010.Kenneth Gash, (B.S. Chemistry ’60) was a student of Charton’s the first year a bachelor’s degree was granted in chemistry. Close in age, the two became lifelongalbeit long-distance—friends as Gash settled on the west coast, teaching organic chemistry in the California State University system.

“Marvin hated lab work, but loved teaching,” recalled Gash. “He told me that he was a ‘boring coward and that labs are dangerous,’ so he searched scientific literature for things that interested him and produced scientific papers based on others' research. He regularly made breakthroughs using the same data.”

“I recall one particular assignment that Marvin gave to the class in organic chemistry. Each of us was to create a brand new organic compound—that is a molecule that had never been referenced in any available chemical literature. The learning that occurred during that project through researching the literature (before computers, and in German as well as English), and formulating synthetic methods, was far better than a full lecture course in research methods,” recalled Gash. “This was one of many of Marvin's ‘learn-by-doing’ teaching methods.”

Professor Charton presiding over his chemistry class in 1960. From his first scientific publication in 1958, Charton has made major contributions to our understanding of how and why organic molecules react. Andreas Zavitsas, a professor of chemistry at Long Island University, says Charton's work has been cited in numerous research reports. “As a result, the name of Pratt Institute is known worldwide among chemists."

Many of Charton’s works have yet to be published, according to Barbara Charton, who says he was in the midst of a book to be published by Wiley & Sons that two peers in the field are completing.

Text: Bay Brown
Damon Chaky, Deborah Thompsen, Kenneth Gash



Simone Kurland, Trench Coat; Sam O'Brien, Skirt.

On April 25, the 2013 Pratt Institute Fashion Show will feature innovative designs by graduating seniors from the Department of Fashion that both reflect and challenge the fashion system, popular cultural values, and the needs of contemporary culture. The annual event provides a dynamic platform for students to demonstrate creative achievement by designing, producing, and presenting cohesive, progressive, and authentic collections, which will be pre-selected by a panel of industry experts.

Vogue's International Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles will present designer Thom Browne with the 2013 Pratt Fashion Visionary Award at the runway show at Center548 in Manhattan. A celebration will immediately follow at a cocktail benefit at The Top of The Standard. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards student scholarships and Pratt's Department of Fashion. Funding for the 2013 Pratt Institute Fashion Show was awarded in part through a competitive grant presented to Pratt Institute by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated.

Pratt is home to the first fashion design program in the United States and the Fashion Show is the hallmark of that educational experience, celebrating the department's commitment to ingenuity, creativity, versatility, and a strong personal vision. The Institute’s history of interdisciplinary collaboration resonates with Browne's work.

"Thom Browne revolutionized menswear, not only by changing the cut and silhouette, but by changing the conversation, and he is now doing the same for womenswear. His highly conceptual runway presentations and impeccable craftsmanship have set standards for excellence and originality that push forward and inspire our fashion students to do the same," said Jennifer Minniti, chair, Department of Fashion. “His ability to reconcile art and commerce is extraordinary and surely the key to the future vitality of American fashion.”

Browne is founder and head of design of Thom Browne, a menswear and womenswear brand based in New York City. His work was most recently seen on an international stage when First Lady Michelle Obama donned an original navy bespoke coat and dress design at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. No stranger to Washington, he was honored with the 2012 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for fashion at a White House luncheon hosted by Michelle Obama in July 2012. This spring, Browne’s work will be included in a group exhibition on punk fashion at The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Past Fashion Show honorees include Fern Mallis, Hamish Bowles, Catherine Malandrino, Carmen Marc Valvo, Narciso Rodriguez, and Diane von Furstenberg.

6 PM Fashion Show
548 West 22nd Street

7:30 PM Cocktail Benefit
The Top of The Standard
848 Washington Street

For tickets, click here. For additional information, email fashionshow@pratt.edu or call 718-399-4548.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Photos: Dominik Tarabanski