Curatorial Practice News

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Jens Hoffmann leads CCA Curator's Forum tour of Istanbul Biennial (Kris Martin's work in foreground) (photo: George Jewett)

The Istanbul Biennial is a key event in the international contemporary art scene -- a highly visible, highly respected exhibition that draws more than 100,000 visitors to the city and exposes them to some of the most engaged and relevant art being made today. In its opening week, the 12th Istanbul Biennial (which remains open through November 13) was attended by almost 4,000 guests, including critics, curators, museum and gallery administrators, and approximately 400 members of the press from 50 different countries. Everything they saw (whether they realized it or not) bore the marks of a CCA affiliate's hand -- specifically two CCA curators, one CCA graphic designer, and one CCA editor. They also saw the work of one faculty member and three alumni; all three alumni had entire galleries devoted to their work.

CCA President Stephen Beal, chair of the Board of Trustees F. Noel Perry, other trustees, and several members of the CCA Curator's Forum (a dedicated group of Wattis Institute supporters) flew to Istanbul for the opening weekend. Stephen Beal remarked, standing at the biennial entrance, "It is very gratifying to see the college so prominently represented here. It is evidence of the major relevance, at the international level, of what we are doing, and the kinds of experiences and access that CCA makes available to its community."

The Curators

It was almost two years ago that Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann accepted the invitation to co-curate the 12th Istanbul Biennial. Beginning with that moment, what began as a single thread of connection between the college and the city of Istanbul expanded into a densely packed web involving multiple individuals.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by Chris Bliss

Renowned writer Ishmael Reed joins the MFA Program in Writing faculty

For additional information about CCA's 2011-12 faculty hiring, read the latest Academic Newsletter by Provost Mark Breitenberg.

New Full-Time Faculty

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Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Leigh Markopoulos

The event announcement promised: "Learn (almost) everything you need to know to escape civilization." And the public came, to learn about such things as the history of the back-to-the-land movement (from original back-to-the-lander Hank Meals), the construction of simple domes, how to make rope from twigs, and "wildcrafting," or foraging from nature in a way that sustains local ecologies.

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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Exhibitionist: Issue 4
Archive Books, 2011
Magazine, 92 pages, $15

The Exhibitionist, edited by Jens Hoffmann and designed by Jon Sueda, is a new journal focusing solely on the practice of exhibition making. Its objective is to create a wider platform for the discussion of curatorial concerns, encourage a diversification of curatorial models, and actively contribute to the formation of a theory of curating. The fourth issue, La Critique, is composed of three section: Reflection, Response, and Critique. This issue diverges from the editorial structure of past issues in order to offer a forum for sustained and multiple responses to current curatorial debates as well as a critique of the content and editorial commitments of the journal to date. The essayists include Massimiliano Gioni, Dieter Roelstraete, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Teresa Gleadowe, Julian Myers, Christian Rattemeyer, Johanna Burton, Kate Fowle, Andrew Renton, Livia Paldi, Vanessa Joan Muller, and Emily Pethick.

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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

HSz: as is/as if
CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice, 2010
Paperback, 200 pages, free upon request (please email sstone@cca.edu)

HSz: as is/as if, produced by the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at CCA, is a collection of essays and interviews resulting from a course taught by Julian Myers on Harald Szeemann's 1983 exhibition Der Hang Zum Gesamtkunstwerk: Europaische Utopien seit 1800. In setting out to unravel Szeemann's orchestration of various artistic theories and manifestations of utopia, the class pursued paths he signposted into the realms of art, architecture, music, poetry, literature, cinema, politics, and history. The book is prefaced by Myers's essay "Totality: A Guided Tour," first published in Afterall magazine in 2009. The students' contributions range from interviews with Balthasar Burkhard and Christian Bok to essays on W. E. B. Du Bois's complex relationship to Richard Wagner and the approach to the Gesamtkunstwerk evinced in the cinema of the early 20th century.

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Exhibitionist: Issue 3
Archive Books, 2011
Magazine, 64 pages, $15

The Exhibitionist, edited by CCA Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann and designed by Graphic Design faculty member Jon Sueda, is a journal focusing solely on the practice of exhibition making. Its objective is to create a wider platform for the discussion of curatorial concerns, encourage a diversification of curatorial models, and actively contribute to the formation of a theory of curating. This issue features articles by What, How & for Whom/WHW, Victoria Noorthoorn, Lars Bang Larsen, Carol Yinghua Lu, Jessica Morgan, and Elisabeth Sussman.

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Give Them the Picture
CCA, 2011
Paperback, 203 pages, $20

Give Them the Picture collects and places in dialogue 24 articles penned by critics and artists that originally appeared in La Mamelle / ART COM magazine in the 1970s and 1980s. The authors include magazine founder Carl Loeffler, Lynn Hershman, Richard Irwin, Anna Couey, Linda Montano, Douglas Davis, Eleanor Antin, and others. It is conceived as a literary extension of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice 2011 thesis exhibition, and thus also features conversations between the student curators and two of La Mamelle / ART COM's key figures, Nancy Frank and Darlene Tong. The book is a copublication between the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice.

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Posted on Monday, June 27, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs win the best documentary feature award for Inside Job (photo: Mark Ralston, Getty Images)

From the mosh pits of Olympia, Washington, to collecting an Oscar on stage at the Staples Center. From indie music scenester to hit documentary maker. (With a stop along the way in CCA's Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice.)

Audrey Marrs -- former punk rock musician, Ladyfest cofounder, and CCA alumna -- won the 2011 Academy Award for best documentary feature for producing Inside Job, the story of the 2008 financial crisis. The statuette was handed over to Marrs and her artistic partner, the director Charles Ferguson, by none other than Oprah Winfrey. Marrs and Ferguson had been nominated in 2008 for their documentary No End in Sight about the American occupation of Iraq.

(Watch their Academy Award acceptance speech on YouTube)

The two began working together in 2003. Ferguson posted a job listing on Craigslist for an "assistant to a writer/investor," and three (grueling) interviews later, Marrs got the gig.

Fast forward a bit. Marrs really likes her assistant job but wants more out of life. She applies to and enters CCA's Curatorial Practice Program, but continues working for Ferguson, and they begin making No End in Sight.

Fast forward again. Six months prior to her thesis deadline, she and Ferguson realize that she has actually been producing No End in Sight since the beginning. "We were so naive about the process of filmmaking," she says, "that we didn't realize that 'producer' was the function I'd been performing all along!" The film was received to great acclaim and led naturally to the next documentary project, Inside Job.

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Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Kevin Clarke in Macarthur B Arthur (art by Ben Carder and Rachel Kaye)

"When I was at CCA," says Kevin Clarke (Painting/Drawing 2005), "I'd be walking past the woodshop and people would be standing around a table engaged in a very physical, material problem, trying to figure out how to put a piece together. But then there was always interesting conceptual stuff going on, too. The work coming out of the Furniture Program combined craft and narrative in a way I related to."

Today, Clarke has achieved a true melding of CCA's "theory and practice" mantra, maintaining a woodshop in Alameda where he makes custom furniture, painting in his studio, and running the Oakland gallery MacArthur B Arthur.

Clarke made his first foray into the Bay Area arts community in 2003, when he set up Million Fishes Arts Collective midway through his CCA years. This Mission District-based organization continues to provide creative space and other opportunities to local artists. His CCA experience was invaluable in giving him confidence and connections. "Donald Fortescue, then chair of Furniture, was a mentor throughout. I still see and talk to him. Dee Hibbert-Jones, one of my first professors, inspired me to work outside the canonical medium of painting and be more experimental. I wanted more of a community, a 'soup' environment that would allow me to draw on the expertise of others. Jordan Kantor was instrumental in making me think about making. He helped me read texts, and had great recommendations on what to read after CCA."

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Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Xiaoyu Weng (MA Curatorial Practice 2009)View slideshow 

From Shanghai to San Francisco: Xiaoyu Weng (MA Curatorial Practice 2009) came a long way from home to attend CCA, but her career path since graduation has ensured that home is never far from her mind. In fact, she has made a specialty of devising ways in which Asian culture and Western culture can be represented and intertwined.

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