CCA News

Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

Monuments for the USA

Exhibitions organized by the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at California College of the Arts are traveling throughout North America and making an impact on contemporary art. The CCA Wattis Institute and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, have coorganized an exhibition by prominent Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn titled "Utopia, Utopia = One World, One War, One Army, One Dress." It is on view in Boston through January 16, 2006, and will open in the Logan Galleries at the CCA San Francisco campus in March 2006.

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

Jessica Resmond, Billboards

The California College of the Arts Alumni Council presents "Aesthetics of Ecology: Occupying Space for Sustainable Living," an exhibition featuring work by artists, designers and architects that has an emphasis on sustainable living. The exhibition is on view November 16–December 8, 2005, in the Oliver Art Center's Tecoah Bruce Gallery on the Oakland campus of California College of the Arts, located at 5212 Broadway. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

Two new institutions have been added to the list of partner schools for the CCA International Exchange Program: Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Arts Decoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris, France, and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel.

ENSAD was formed in 1766 and has a long history of integrating decorative art with fine art and architecture. In more recent times, ENSAD has focused on design and multimedia, and has become one of the leading design schools in Europe.

Founded in 1906, Bezalel is the preeminent Israeli school for fine art, architecture, and design.

The college's study abroad programs offer a variety of opportunities for dynamic interchange among students, faculty, and the international art world. The college has formed exchange programs with a number of leading art and design schools in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Other International Exchange News

Printmaking Exchange Exhibition Opens in Osaka, Japan. CCA's ongoing exchange with Osaka University of Arts (OUA) culminated in a collaborative printmaking exhibition, which opened at OUA on October 13. Several CCA student participants and Printmaking chair Nance O'Banion traveled to Osaka for the reception and a week of artistic exchange.

The partnership between the two institutions began in February 2005 with a visit by OUA students and faculty to CCA, which included a collaborative exhibition, "Crossings," on the Oakland campus.

Unique Study Opportunity in Switzerland. The Swiss cultural organization Futur is offering a unique six-month study opportunity for a CCA student in Rapperswill, Switzerland. This international experience is a studio-based independent study and includes accommodation and a stipend. Former Ceramics Program chair Hedi Ernst has been influential in developing this unique program.

More Information

For more information about these and other study abroad opportunities, including a complete list of program sites, visit Study Abroad.

Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 by Jim Norrena

Richard La Trobe Bateman is CCA's fall 2005 Wornick Distinguished Professor of Wood Arts.

Bateman, with Donald Fortescue, developed an ambitious and exciting project for the Studio: Atelier course that involved a collaboration with the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains, east of Carmel.

Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

Tom Friedman, Untitled (A Curse)

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents "A Brief History of Invisible Art," an exhibition that will bring together artworks from the past four decades that place an emphasis on the conceptual and communicative possibilities of the work of art, while bypassing its seeming requirements of visibility and materiality. Organized by Ralph Rugoff, director of the CCA Wattis Institute, "Invisible Art" is on view November 30, 2005–February 21, 2006, in the Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts.

Posted on Friday, October 7, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents "Utopia, Utopia = One World, One War, One Army, One Dress," an exhibition of new work by Swiss-born, Paris-based artist Thomas Hirschhorn. This multilayered project explores the current world situation, permeated by military conflicts and violence, through the metaphor of camouflage, which has been adapted from battlefield uniform to street fashion statement. Coorganized with the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, "Utopia, Utopia" is a dynamic environment comprising sculptural works, wall graphics, film and video footage, vitrines and maquettes. The exhibition is on view March 10–May 13, 2006, in the CCA Wattis Institute's Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts. The exhibition is free and open to the public. (The ICA presentation of the exhibition opened September 21 and is on view through January 16, 2006.)

The conceptual leaping-off point for "Utopia, Utopia" is the prevalence of camouflage in contemporary culture and politics—as a style of dress on the streets of SoHo and as an emblem of battle in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the level of fashion, camouflage signifies toughness—an affectation that draws attention to the self. In contrast, soldiers wear camouflage to disappear, to better function within the group or army by removing themselves from view. Hirschhorn sees this as an allegory for the dystopia of current events, asking what it means when a costume of war becomes a look or a style. The artist takes this fashion trend to the extreme, creating a utopian world of equality whereby military camouflage becomes the clothing of everybody on earth.

"Hirschhorn's work, like the best of philosophy, helps us to grapple with and more deeply understand the world we live in," says Ralph Rugoff, director of the CCA Wattis Institute. "Challenging yet also accessible, 'Utopia, Utopia' engages the dark side of our society while reaffirming art's power to illuminate the condition of contemporary culture."

Hirschhorn is known for energetic installations that reference philosophy, politics and pop culture. His multifaceted constructions often combine ephemeral materials, such as aluminum foil, cardboard, plastic, plywood or pages torn from magazines, with a wide array of cultural references and theoretical texts. For "Utopia, Utopia," Hirschhorn exaggerates traditional display elements from museums, combining abundant signage, illustrations, interpretive material, mannequins, vitrines and artworks.

"With its sprawling presentation and charged political content, 'Utopia, Utopia' seeks to engage visitors on many levels, literally and figuratively surrounding them with ideas," says Nicholas Baume, ICA chief curator. "Its dramatic presentation and aggressive design represents a collision of aesthetics and politics."

Philosopher Marcus Steinweg provides the major textual component of the installation design. A publication designed in collaboration with the artist documents the exhibition and includes writings by Hirschhorn and art historian Pamela M. Lee about camouflage, subjectivity and war. The publication is free to visitors.

Thomas Hirschhorn was born in 1957 in Bern, Switzerland, and lives and works in Aubervilliers, France. After studying graphic design at the Schule für Gestaltung in Zurich, Hirschhorn moved to France and joined Grapus, a Parisian collective of communist graphic designers. Since abandoning design for visual art in the mid-1980s, he has exhibited internationally, with major works included in the 1st Biennial of Johannesburg (1995), the Venice Biennale (1999) and Documenta XI (2002).

Established in 1998, the CCA Wattis Institute serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of leading-edge local, national and international contemporary culture. Through exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, performances and publications in the fields of art, architecture and design, the CCA Wattis Institute fosters interaction among the students and faculty of California College of the Arts; art, architecture and design professionals; and the general public.

Generous lead support for CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts programs has been provided by Phyllis C. Wattis and by Judy and Bill Timken. Major support has also been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation. Additional generous support provided by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Ann Hatch and Paul Discoe and the CCA Curator's Forum.

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

In celebration of Switzerland's rich architectural heritage and the unveiling of the new de Young Museum by Swiss architectural firm Studio Basel of Herzog & de Meuron, four Swiss-based architectural schools will participate in "Inventioneering Architecture" at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. The month-long celebration will include a lecture series featuring prominent Swiss architects and an interactive exhibit housed in a custom-designed 131-foot-long cross-section of the Swiss Alps, designed to allow visitors to stroll the platform while viewing architectural models and visuals on overhead screens and display panels. The exhibition dates are October 3 through 27; the five lectures are scheduled on Monday evenings throughout October. All events take place at CCA at 1111 Eighth Street in San Francisco. "Inventioneering Architecture" is presented in collaboration with swissnex, the University of California Berkeley Department of Architecture, and CCA.

"Inventioneering Architecture" will showcase the various Swiss schools' approaches to teaching architecture. Leading architects from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich (ETH); Accademia di Architettura, Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), Mendrisio; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); and the Institute of Architecture at the University of Geneva will present the lectures on October 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 in Timken Lecture Hall at CCA.

"We want to expose the Swiss method of architecture instruction to other cultural contexts," explains architecture professor Marc Angélil, ETH Zürich. "This exhibit provides an exciting opportunity to share our perspectives, gather feedback and evaluate what we are doing."

"In Switzerland, architecture and related coursework is taught primarily by practitioners, rather than academics," Angélil added. "While America leads the industry in crucial theoretical work, our focus extends beyond design to incorporate a variety of integrated disciplines such as sociology, engineering, construction, landscape design and urban planning."

A catalog, featuring essays and projects by renowned faculty members and students, accompanies the exhibition. The exhibit will also include computer terminals where visitors can submit their impressions. The Swiss Alps structure, imported from Switzerland, was designed specifically for this event using computer aided design tools. After San Francisco, the exhibit travels to Houston and cities in China, the United Arab Emirates, and Buenos Aires.

The exhibit and lecture schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, October 3, 6:00 p.m.: "Inventioneering Architecture" exhibition opening reception, with a lecture at 7:00 p.m. by Marc Angélil, ETH Zürich
  • Monday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.: Lecture by Andrea Deplazes, ETH Zürich
  • Monday, October 17, 7:00 p.m.: Lecture by Inès Lamunière, EPFL
  • Monday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.: Lecture by Valerio Olgiati, Accademia di Architettura, USI
  • Monday, October 31, 7:00 p.m.: Lecture by Dirk Hebel and Jörg Stollmann, ETH Zürich

The exhibition will remain open through October 27. Lectures and exhibition entry are free and open to the public. Exhibition hours are Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. For more information, visit or call swissnex at 415.912.5901.

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

Dedicated to expanding the student body to include more students from around the world, CCA's Enrollment Services takes its fall recruitment to Asia for a second year. Lark Cratty, assistant director for international admissions, has been traveling for the past few weeks, meeting with potential students at college fairs and giving presentations at schools in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and India.

CCA has seen an increase in its international population with 9 percent of first-year students now coming from outside the United States. Countries represented in the entering class include Canada, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, Oman, Phillipines, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

"We're thrilled to have an increased number of international first-year students at CCA. These students contribute to the diverse community at the college," says Sheri McKenzie, vice president for Enrollment Services.

See International Students for information on applying as an international student.

Posted on Friday, September 30, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

The short story "Watermark" by Melanie Westerberg, who received her MFA in Writing from CCA in 2004, was selected for the acclaimed anthology series Best New American Voices 2006. The volume features new stories selected by renowned novelist Jane Smiley, who has identified the best young writers on the cusp of their careers.

Culled from hundreds of noted writing programs, such as the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Johns Hopkins, and from summer conferences, such as Sewanee and Bread Loaf, the collection is a showcase for tomorrow's literary stars.

Published by Harcourt Trade Publishers, the anthology is available in bookstores now.

Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 by Brenda Tucker

Utopia, Utopia

Utopia, Utopia = One World, One War, One Army, One Dress, an exhibition of new work by Swiss-born, Paris-based artist Thomas Hirschhorn, co-organized by the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art, is now open in Boston.

Hirchhorn's multi-layered project explores the current world situation, permeated by military conflicts and violence, through the metaphor of camouflage, which has been adapted from battlefield uniform to street fashion statement. Utopia, Utopia is a dynamic environment comprising sculptural works, wall graphics, film and video footage, vitrines, and maquettes.

The exhibition will be on view at the ICA through January 16, 2006, and then in the Wattis Institute's Logan Galleries, in San Francisco, from March 9 through May 13, 2006.

For more information please visit or