CCA News

Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

Noted artist Viola Frey died Monday, July 26, 2004. She was 70. Frey was an internationally respected artist and leading figure in contemporary ceramics. She was known for her monumental, intensely colored ceramic sculptures, which explored issues of gender, cultural iconography and art history. Along with Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson, Frey shaped and defined contemporary ceramics to explore contemporary ideas and concepts.

Born into a ranching family in Lodi, California, in 1933, Frey realized early on that she "had to be an artist to survive." She received a bachelor of fine arts from California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in 1956 and a master of fine arts from Tulane University in 1958, studying with George Rickey and Mark Rothko. In 1965 Frey joined the faculty at CCA and continued a relationship with the college through 1999 as full professor and chair of the Ceramics Program. During Frey's tenure, she guided the design and building of the Noni Eccles Treadwell Ceramic Arts Center on the college's Oakland campus. In 1999 she was awarded the status of professor emerita and in 2003, the college established the Viola Frey Chair in Fine Arts, created specifically to bring noted artists from around the world to teach as visiting professors at CCA and to share their work with the Bay Area community.

Frey's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries since 1961. Some of her most important exhibitions included "Viola Frey: A Retrospective," originating at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento in 1981 and traveling to the Oakland Museum of California, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Huntsville Museum of Art. In 1984, Frey had a one-person exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1994, "Viola Frey: Plates 1968–1994" traveled throughout the country. In 2001, "Larger than Life: Ceramic Figures by Viola Frey" was shown at the Boise Art Museum. Frey's work is represented in public collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Viola has had a profound impact on the visual arts. She was able to take the culture around her and reform those elements into a totally original form of sculpture that defined one of the great contributions to modern art," commented CCA President Michael S. Roth. "As a teacher, she inspired generations of artists with her impassioned commitment to her work."

For many years, Frey has been represented by Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco and Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York. Nancy Hoffman observed, "On the last day of her life, Viola worked in her studio, completing the final sculpture for her upcoming 2005 exhibition. Her perseverance to finish the last piece for her show was testimony to who she was—a veritable force of nature. In her new sculptures, she proves again her power as an artist in a territory all her own. Viola's passing marks the end of a 'giant' in ceramic art."

Frey's 2005 exhibition will begin at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, and continue to the Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York.

She is survived by her dear friends Squeak Carnwath, Gary Knecht and Sam Perry. A public memorial is planned for Sunday, September 19, at 3 p.m. on the college's Oakland campus at 5212 Broadway. For more information about the memorial, contact Jen McKay at 510.594.3776 or .

Contributions in memory of Frey can be made to the Artists' Legacy Foundation, established by Squeak Carnwath and Viola Frey to give grants to individual artists, 248 3rd Street #737, Oakland, CA 94607; or to the Viola Frey Chair in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts, Advancement Office, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618. For more information on donations, contact Ashley Lomery at 510.594.3662 or .

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Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

Steven Utz, who graduated from the CCA Architecture Program in 1997, has won the Frederick P. Rose Architectural Fellowship. Utz is among four recipients for 2004–7.

For the next three years, Utz and the other new fellows will work with nonprofit community development organizations to meet needs in low-income areas. Each fellow receives guidance and support from local professionals and ongoing training from national experts. Each fellow also receives an annual stipend and benefits. The fellowship begins August 1, 2004.

Utz will work in Pennsylvania with the Crawford County Coalition on Housing Needs, an organization that establishes housing and provides services to the area's homeless and low-income families. He will also work with the Meadville Redevelopment Authority, city officials, and the Center for Economic and Environmental Development to revitalize the town.

Utz's projects will include the following:

  • Providing construction supervision on a new six-unit, transitional housing project near a Keystone Opportunity Zone
  • Identifying single-family homes that can be purchased, renovated, and rented, while utilizing green design practices, producing construction documents, and overseeing construction and related budgets
  • Developing urban design strategies to improve the area's South Main Street neighborhood and curb future sprawl development through smart growth techniques

Utz currently works as a project supervisor for the Historic American Building Survey. He was selected from among thirty-nine applicants nationwide based on academic performance, nonprofit sponsorship, and proposal feasibility.

The fellowship was awarded by the Enterprise Foundation.

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Posted on Wednesday, June 9, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents "Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art" (B2V), an exhibition that explores a revealing and animated selection of recent art created on the western edge of North America, stretching from Baja California, Mexico, to the United States and Canada. Unlike regional biennials, B2V is a tightly focused survey of representational artworks that respond to and engage with the West Coast's physical and social landscapes.

Organized collaboratively by the CCA Wattis Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Seattle Art Museum and Vancouver Art Gallery, B2V features 33 artists—both established and emerging—and includes several new pieces commissioned especially for the exhibition. B2V is on view from September 23 through December 11, 2004 (note: these dates have been updated) in the Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts; an opening reception will take place on Thursday, September 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Though Los Angeles and, more recently, Vancouver have become internationally recognized art centers, the West Coast of North America has never before been the subject of a major survey exhibition.

"This 2,200-mile-long coastal region is both a coherent cultural corridor and a continental hub of innovative art and design. As such, it is overdue for recognition as North America's most vital region of contemporary art making. This art doesn't look to Europe or art history for validation; instead, it draws its inspiration from changes in the cultural landscape that are happening first, and accelerating more rapidly, all along the West Coast," says Wattis director Ralph Rugoff, one of the five West Coast curators who organized the exhibition.

B2V focuses on recently made work (produced within the last two to four years) in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, video, text pieces, web-based works and performance. Artists in the exhibition include Michael Brophy, Delia Brown, Brian Calvin, Russell Crotty, Roman de Salvo, Trisha Donnelly, Stan Douglas, Sam Durant, Thomas Eggerer, Kota Ezawa, Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July, Evan Holloway, Chris Johanson, Brian Jungen, Tim Lee, Ken Lum, Liz Magor, Matt McCormick, Roy McMakin, Mark Mumford, Shannon Oksanen & Scott Livingstone, Michele O'Marah, Marcos Ramí­rez ERRE, Glenn Rudolph, Steven Shearer, Catherine Sullivan, Larry Sultan, Ron Terada, Althea Thauberger, Torolab and Yvonne Venegas.

The artists in the exhibition are interested in popular forms and genres, from landscape and portraiture to vernacular signage and music videos.Their work thoughtfully reinterprets myths and reexamines histories related to West Coast cultures as diverse as the First Nations of British Columbia and the contemporary youth tribes of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The exhibition invokes patterns of immigration in the region as well as utopian visions of the "good life" and the unique topography of West Coast cities—part urban, part suburban and part wilderness. The art in B2V not only embodies a range of West Coast sensibilities, it also offers revealing portraits of the people and places on the western rim of North America and presents evidence of creative collaborations and shared aesthetic concerns among artists living and working in the region.

"Perhaps because of their relative youth as well as their geographical distance from national capitals and traditional centers of high culture, West Coast cities have nurtured ideas related to the reinvention of both self and society, and this tendency inflects the art being made here," says Rugoff.

B2V took shape through an extensive research process; the curators conducted literally hundreds of studio visits with artists in Tijuana, San Diego, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. The B2V curatorial team consists of Ralph Rugoff, Director, and Matthew Higgs, Curator, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts; Toby Kamps, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Lisa Corrin, Deputy Director for Art, Seattle Art Museum; and Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator/Associate Director, Vancouver Art Gallery.

B2V is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, which features the artists and their works and includes essays on the themes of art and life on the West Coast of North America by novelist Douglas Coupland, novelist and NEST magazine editor Matthew Stadler and others.

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Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

The MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts (CCA), formerly California College of Arts and Crafts, introduces "Eleven Eleven," a new interdisciplinary literature and arts journal featuring fiction, poetry, interviews, criticism, visual art and more by writers and artists—both emerging and established.

Based at CCA's San Francisco campus, "Eleven Eleven" was founded by two graduates of CCA's MFA Program in Writing—editor in chief Youmna Chlala and editor Gayle Romasanta. The journal will be published annually each spring and is available for sale (as of June 1, 2004) at independent bookstores throughout the San Francisco Bay Area; plans are underway to secure national distribution for spring 2005.

A launch party for "Eleven Eleven," with readings and presentations by writers and artists in the spring issue, will take place Thursday, June 17, 6:30–8:30 p.m., at Den (849 Valencia Street, San Francisco).

"Eleven Eleven" seeks to create an accessible forum where writers and artists risk, experiment and find answers for and from their contemporaries. Works featured in the inaugural issue include fiction by National Magazine Award finalist Lysley Tenorio; an excerpt from Micheline Aharonian Marcom's new novel; poetry by acclaimed poet Michael S. Harper and poet Denise Newman; art by Harrell Fletcher (2004 Whitney Biennial) and San Francisco–based artist Rudy Lemcke; interviews with Adam Johnson, former Stegner fellow and author of "Emporium," and internationally renowned artist Claudia Bernardi; and a review of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts exhibition "Likeness: Portraits of Artists by Other Artists."

"Our goal is to provide a forum for artists and writers to exchange ideas, explore and reflect. The inaugural issue features contemporary, cutting-edge writing and visual art that tests the elements of craft, composition, language and illustration," says Chlala.

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Posted on Monday, April 26, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

Lawrence R. Rinder has been appointed to the newly created position of dean of graduate studies, effective August 15, 2004. Rinder is currently Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In his new position at CCA, Rinder will oversee the college's graduate division, which includes programs in architecture, curatorial practice, design, fine arts, visual criticism, and writing. CCA currently enrolls 189 graduate students.

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Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

CCA's new graduate center has been recognized for design excellence by the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), and the institute's San Francisco chapter (AIA SF).

AIACC has awarded the center's designers a 2004 Merit Award for Design, and AIA SF has awarded a 2004 Excellence in Design Award.

The center was designed by Jensen & Macy Architects. Principal Mark Jensen is a former chair of CCA's interior design program.

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Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

The San Francisco Foundation has awarded eight CCA graduate students Murphy and Cadogan Fellowships in Fine Arts (2004).

Edwin Anthony and Adelaine Boudreaux Cadogan Fellowship Winners:

  • Sasha Dela Anderson (Sculpture)
  • Ruth Laskey (Painting)
  • Scott Oliver (Sculpture)
  • Wei Weng (Painting)

Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship Winners:

  • Lori Gordon (Photography, Video)
  • Eleanor Harwood (Painting)
  • Jake Longstreth (Painting)
  • David Stein (Installation, Sculpture)

About the Fellowships

The fellowships are available to Bay Area fine arts graduate students nominated by their instructors. Winners receive $2,500 for tuition and the opportunity to participate in a group exhibition at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

Three CCA students received the fellowships in 2003.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 by Kim Lessard

Alice Orleman, an undergraduate in CCA's Industrial Design Program, won an honorable mention in the eleventh annual International Housewares Association Design Competition (held March 20–22, 2004, in Chicago) for her serving set called Toro.

Orleman's whimsical take on the table setting features bowls shaped like bulls, designed to nestle up to a matching serving trough. Designed for casual dining with friends and family, Toro provides practical solutions to problems like dripping food onto tablecloths, while adding playful style to the average dinner party.

Orleman designed Toro as part of a sponsored project with Tupperware that ran during a CCA industrial design course in the fall 2003 semester. The focus of the project was "tablescapes" of the future in the domestic environment.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 by Kim Lessard

CCA graduate student Pippa Murray has been commissioned by the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito to create The Gathering Place, an 800-square-foot mosaic floor that will serve as the central gathering and performance space for the museum's new permanent outdoor exhibition, Lookout Cove.

Murray's mosaic will be made with numerous types of stone and will feature a sea life theme. Part of a major redesign of the museum, Lookout Cove is a 2.5-acre interactive play area that will feature tide pools and native animal homes, along with various art pieces that reference the ecology and history of the San Francisco Bay Area. The museum will unveil the entire Lookout Cove project in summer 2004.

This is Murray's fourth large-scale commissioned mosaic. Her previous commission sites are a 15th-century olive press building in Crete, a Moorish fortress in southern Spain, an outdoor spa and pool area project in Orinda, California, and a contemporary kitchen in San Francisco.

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Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 by Brenda Tucker

California College of the Arts (CCA) will confer honorary doctorate degrees on performing artist Rhodessa Jones and artist James Turrell at the 97th Commencement Exercises held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco. In addition to attending the commencement ceremonies, Jones and Turrell will be honored at a private dinner the night before and will participate in a post-commencement reception on CCA's San Francisco campus. James Turrell will give the commencement address.

Actress, director, dancer, teacher, singer and writer Rhodessa Jones is co-artistic director of the acclaimed San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is the founder and director of the award winning "Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women," a performance workshop for incarcerated women designed to achieve personal and social transformation. She continues to tour her most recent solo performance, "Hot Flashes, Power Surges, and Private Summers." Highlights of the tour include performances at Out North Contemporary Art House in Anchorage, Alaska; the Shimberg Theater in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center; and Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. While in residence at Yale, Jones led workshops and conducted master classes for the MFA students. She also lectured at the African American Cultural Center at Yale University and was honored with a Master's Tea hosted by faculty of the Yale School of Drama. Most recently, she led a series of workshops titled "Creative Performance, Creative Survival" at Stanford's Institute for Diversity in the Arts. Jones is the subject of a recent book by Rena Fraden, "Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and Theater for Incarcerated Women" (University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

James Turrell's work involves explorations in light and space that speak to viewers without words. "I want to create an atmosphere that can be consciously plumbed with seeing," says the artist, "like the wordless thought that comes from looking in a fire." Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming the glow of a television set into a fluctuating portal, Turrell's art places viewers in a realm of pure experience. Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell's work has been described as "allowing us to see ourselves seeing." The recipient of such established awards as the Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, Turrell has exhibited his work internationally since the late 1960s. His work is included in many public collections including the Guggenheim Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Panza di Biumo Collection in Varese, Italy. Turrell lives and works in Arizona. He last visited CCA in 2003, giving a lecture to a capacity crowd of more than 800 on the San Francisco campus.

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