Diversity News

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by Jim Norrena

Photo: Zora Neale Hurston / The Paris Review

Ishmael Reed is an internationally renowned, award-winning novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist with more than 25 published books and six plays to his credit.

He's also a visiting scholar in the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts.

Recently, his article "Neo-Classical Republicanism" was published in the New York Times in the Opinion Pages section:

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Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013 by Jim Norrena

The Tribeca Film Institute Filmmaker Programming Team has chosen CCA faculty member Cheryl Dunye as one of 10 finalists for its newest initiative -- the Heineken Affinity Award.

Dunye, a native of Liberia, has directed such feature films as My Baby's Daddy (Miramax), Stranger Inside (HBO Films), and The Watermelon Woman, which was awarded the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1996.

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Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 by Jim Norrena

"Lovelace" and "The Battle of amfAR," directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman of Telling Pictures.

Editor's note: RADiUS - TWC reportedly purchased the distribution rights for "Lovelace" for three million dollars following its Sundance debut! Read source »

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Posted on Monday, January 7, 2013 by Jim Norrena

It was announced in December by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington that Film chair and MFA in Film cochair Rob Epstein's 1984 Academy Award-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Walls of Hope project in progress in Monthey, Switzerland

Claudia Bernardi (today a professor in CCA's Community Arts Program, but who also teaches in a wide range of disciplines, including Diversity Studies, Fine Arts, and Visual and Critical Studies programs) was a student at the university of art in Buenos Aires in 1976, the year the military dictatorship took power in Argentina.

"Those were very dark years -- very tragic, painful, and violent. The ones who survived learned to look at life, history, and art quite differently."

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Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Glen Helfand (in the green T-shirt) with CCA students and Creativity Explored artists

A hall of mirrors reflecting an artist's actual view of the world; sculptural train tracks coming out of the wall and into the gallery space; colorful, hanging text-mobiles that evoke psychologically charged word-clouds; a fashion magazine devoted to one fabulous model; and a pop-up shop selling equestrian-themed T-shirts, jewelry, and drawings:

These are the works that will be on view in Fabricators, the culminating exhibition for Glen Helfand's fall 2012 ENGAGE at CCA course, at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, December 12-22, 2012. The public is invited to the reception on Saturday, December 15, 3-5 p.m.

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Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Cast of La Bamba 2: Hell Is a Drag

"I wrote a sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn when I was in seventh grade."

So began the filmmaking career of Rob Fatal (MFA 2012). His obsession with film proceeded apace, but it took him a surprisingly long time, he says, to realize that there was a person called a director -- that movies didn't just spring into existence like Athena from Zeus's head.

Inspired by Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, and Robert Rodriguez, Fatal began writing screenplays at age 12. "I loved camp and sci-fi films before I even knew they were genres." At 19 he borrowed his father's camcorder and made a 30-minute film about DJs with magical turntables. "It was accidentally campy. It was accidentally bad. But it had a lot of sincerity." Much to his surprise, it did well, even getting into a couple of festivals.

Film Maker, Filmmaker, or Artist?

Fast forward a few years. Fatal was still working in film and experimenting with video art, but not quite to the point of considering himself a filmmaker, and certainly not an "artist," whatever that meant. But one day, in the midst of editing a video documenting an experimental opera by Fatal's collaborator/mentor Juliana Snapper, he recomposed portions of the footage into a new composition and showed it to CCA faculty member Cheryl Dunye. Dunye delivered the unexpected news that what he was doing was art, and urged him to apply to CCA's MFA program. The faculty there, she said, were pushing the boundaries of genres, and dealing with gender politics and racial identity -- fields of study Fatal had been researching for years in his graduate program at Sacramento State University. CCA presented Fatal with a place to finally bridge his dual love of film theory and practice.

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Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 by Jim Norrena

CCA MFA Program in Writing and Writing and Literature Program faculty member Gloria Frym recently was invited to read at the historic City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.

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Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Zarouhie Abdalian (MFA 2010) maintains quite the hectic travel schedule. This fall she made a trip to Bergen, Norway, to participate in the Kunstindustrimuseum's Material Information exhibition, and afterward she headed to the 9th Shanghai Biennial as a participant in the San Francisco pavilion. She's exhibited work and created site-specific installations throughout the United States and eight other countries; right now you can see one of her works, The fall without the fruit, at the CCA Wattis Institute's When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes exhibition, on view through December 1, 2012.

Abdalian's work has evolved dramatically since her years as an undergraduate at Tulane University, where she focused on painting and printmaking. While at CCA she developed an entirely new way of working that is sculptural, and profoundly site specific. A new piece doesn't begin until she researches the place where it will be located. Visually and historically, her installations engage in dialogue with their viewers and -- ideally -- disrupt their typical interaction with a particular place.

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Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

Zena Adhami's 2012 Design MFA thesis presentation

During the height of the Arab Spring, Zena Adhami (MFA Design 2012) was watching from her apartment in San Francisco as revolution erupted back home.

She decided to make it the subject of her CCA graduate thesis: an examination of the specific media and technologies that were making it possible for her to stay informed from halfway around the world.

This time of upheaval also represented a culmination of Adhami's efforts to reconsider graphic design as a more politically engaged pursuit. "Every once in a while there's a degree of social consciousness among designers, but usually I feel that they're talking to themselves, and that's a failure of design intelligence," she opines.

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