The Cooper Union School of Art: More than a Model for Free Education @ Art And Education (ArtForum & E-Flux)
"More privately, students also have one-on-one studio visits with their professors, which can be incredibly useful. When Sarah Schmitt felt limited by the canon of artists occupying her interest, which at the time included Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin, one of her professors, Cristóbal Lehyt, introduced her to the work of less-known artists like Arthur Bispo do Rosário. Her senior show, a group exhibition including work by non-Cooper students, impressively fused strands of Institutional Critique and craft-based art, like a homemade cousin to the work of Michael Asher, and subtly raised questions of violence and representation."
“‘Well, we can change the signs, but that’s not going to change how you’re going to be policed,’” was how Sarah Schmitt, a student, recalled the administration’s hesitation. “And what we said was, it doesn’t really matter if it changes right away. The icon on the bathroom is no longer validating that policing.”
Charting Kala Pani @ The Cooper Union @ Alt Citizen
"Head on over to Cooper Union tonight to see Charting Kala Pani, a presentation of work by Alt Citizen designer Sarah Schmitt and Anamika Singh. The exhibition will feature multi disciplinary mappings of a penal colony and its memorialization."
Bathroom Confidential @ The Cooper Union
But student activists felt this was a half measure that still didn’t address the essential issue of needlessly applying gender considerations to a public facility. They decided to pull down the existing signs, replacing them with ones of their own marked simply, “Bathroom :)” or “De-gendered.” Sarah Schmitt, now a senior in the School of Art, told The Guardian in 2016 that the Cooper administration had hesitated to change bathroom signs, arguing that the signs alone wouldn’t change how other bathroom users would treat transgender students. “And what we said was, it doesn’t really matter if it changes right away. The icon on the bathroom is no longer validating that policing.”
2017 Menschel Exhibition @ The Cooper Union Alumni Association
"Sarah Schmitt A’17 and Anamika Singh A’17 journeyed to [India] to study a prison site that played an important role in colonial history. They went to in Port Blair of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands located between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The prison, Kala Pani, was built by the British in 1896 to house political prisoners that were brought there from India..."
And Sarah Schmitt, a student, spoke on the administration’s initial do-nothing response to students’ complaints.
“Well, we can change the signs, but that’s not going to change how you’re going to be policed. And what we said was, it doesn’t really matter if it changes right away. The icon on the bathroom is no longer validating that policing.”