Yuri Masnyj Named Asst Dean of School of Art

POSTED ON: July 8, 2024

Yuri and art

Yuri Masnyj with "Living Room Index and Pool," a collaboration with the performance artist Lauren Bakst at Pioneer Works in 2015. 

Yuri Masnyj A’98, who has taught at the School of Art since 2007, has been appointed assistant dean at the school. Dean Adriana Farmiga said, "I’m excited for him to take on this expanded role and to continue to serve as an invaluable member of the School of Art team."

Masnyj, whose work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Whitney Museum in New York, The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga, and the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, looks forward to bringing his skills and experience to the position. "I am passionate about interdisciplinary arts education and believe that educating artists is critical work of our time. There are many institutional and societal challenges we face, and I look forward to supporting the students, faculty, and staff in fostering deeper connections and meaningful exchanges in our community." He added that as an alumnus of Cooper who attended with a full-tuition scholarship, "I believe deeply in education without debt and intend to commit my energies to the college’s plan to return to free tuition."

Dean Farmiga A'96 said of Masnyj, "With nearly 20 years of teaching experience at Cooper and a deep commitment to his active studio practice, Yuri brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and empathy to our community." She noted that as the longest serving faculty member on the Board of Trustees, Masnyj has great familiarity with the admissions process, our curriculum, and the administrative structure of the school. "He has already been involved in mounting several alumni-facing exhibitions in the Fish House," Farmiga continued, "and for the last seven years has been building the foundation of a School of Art alumni database."

Masnyj, who will be teaching Advanced Drawing in the Fall 2024 semester, makes drawings, sculptures, and sculptural installations that depict austere architectural spaces populated by a personal iconography of objects and symbols. His recent work is composed as inventories of architectural fragments, everyday objects, and abstract forms. Masnyj is interested ways architectural space, can serve as a stage or platform for human experience, and how that experience can be articulated through the placement and arrangement of objects.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.