Faculty News

Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Congratulations to Jason K. Johnson and Nataly Gattegno—awardees of the 2011 New York Architectural League Prize

Architecture faculty members Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno, the founding design principals of San Francisco–based Future Cities Lab, an interdisciplinary design and research collaborative, are among this year's winners of the juried New York Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers competition. Johnson and Gattegno represent the only West Coast architects selected this year.

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Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Jacques Rancière: An Introduction
Continuum, 2011
Paperback, 208 pages, $24.95

The first comprehensive introduction to one of the most influential French thinkers writing today, this book explores Rancière's ideas on philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. Visual and Critical Studies faculty member Joseph Tanke situates Rancière's distinctive approach against the backdrop of Continental philosophy and extends his insights into current discussions of art and politics. Tanke explains how Rancière's ideas allow us to understand art as having a deeper social role than is customarily assigned to it as well as how political opposition can be revitalized. Engaging with many untranslated and unpublished sources, the book will also be of interest to Rancière's long-time readers.

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Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Saint Erasure
Talisman House, 2010
Paperback, 71 pages, $13.95

Laura Mullen says, "Anyone who still wants to view experimentation as a purely intellectual exercise will be convinced otherwise by Donna de la Perrière's exquisite second collection. Under the threat or promise of erasure and at the edge of silence, the poet deftly leads us through a shifting, minimalist landscape. Wrestling with change and stasis, with the resistance and sudden give of the real, she delicately monitors each stage of what feels like a pilgrimage, while defamiliarization pressures vision and makes each breath at once artful and endlessly brave. Saint Erasure saves us by exposing the beauty of our vulnerability: 'Welcome to the new body / tonight we lose everything.'" Donna de la Perrière is a faculty member in the MFA Program in Writing and the undergraduate Writing and Literature Program.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City
Yale University Press, 2011
Hardcover, 240 pages, $65

Architecture faculty member Katherine Rinne offers a pioneering study of the water infrastructure of Renaissance Rome, showing how technological and scientific developments in aqueduct and fountain architecture helped turn a medieval backwater into the preeminent city of early modern Europe.

Between 1560 and 1630, in a spectacular burst of urban renewal, Rome's religious and civil authorities sponsored the construction of aqueducts, private and public fountains for drinking, washing, and industry, and the magnificent ceremonial fountains that became Rome's glory. Tying together the technological, sociopolitical, and artistic questions that faced the designers during an age of turmoil in which the Catholic Church found its authority threatened and the infrastructure of the city was in a state of decay, Rinne shows how these public works projects transformed Rome in a successful marriage of innovative engineering and strategic urban planning.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories
UC Press, 2011
Hardcover, 416 pages, $45

Gertrude Stein is justly famous for her modernist writings and her patronage of vanguard painters (most notably Matisse and Picasso) before they were famous. This book illuminates the less-familiar aspects of Stein's life: the portraits for which she posed, the domestic settings she created with Alice B. Toklas, and the signature styles of dress the two women adopted. Focusing on portraits in a range of media, photo essays, press clippings, snapshots, clothing, furniture, and other visual artifacts, the authors reveal Stein's sophistication in shaping her public image and cultural legacy. The book accompanies an exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, and is coauthored by Visual and Critical Studies chair Tirza True Latimer (with Wanda Corn). It is designed by alumna Lia Tjandra (Graphic Design 1997).

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Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Envisioning Asia: On Location, Travel, and the Cinematic Geography of U.S. Orientalism
University of Michigan Press, 2010
Hardcover, 278 pages, $70

Jeanette Roan, faculty member in Visual and Critical Studies, examines the moment in which the birth of cinema coincided with the beginnings of U.S. expansion overseas. Throughout this period, she proposes, the cinema's function as a form of virtual travel, coupled with its purported "authenticity," served to advance America's shifting interests in Asia. Its ability to fulfill this imperial role depended, however, not only on the cinematic representations themselves but also on the marketing of the films' production histories and, in particular, their use of Asian locations.

Also, by focusing on the material practices involved in shooting films on location—the actual travels, negotiations, and labor of filmmaking—Roan moves beyond formal analysis to produce a richly detailed history of American interests, attitudes, and cultural practices during the first half of the 20th century.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Katherine Avenue
Steidl, 2010
Hardcover, 131 pages, $65

This book brings together three of Larry Sultan's best known photographic series: Pictures from Home, The Valley, and Homeland. Sultan died in 2009; he was one of CCA's most beloved faculty members and taught for many years in the Photography Program. Made principally in the San Fernando Valley, where he grew up, in these works Sultan explored the domestic landscape of his childhood and adolescence by photographing and re-presenting photographs of his parents, their home, and their experience of the American Dream. Wandering further behind this Californian fabric, he photographed in suburban homes serving as sets in the pornographic film and video industry. His work culminated in a series of tableau of Latino day laborers undertaking prosaic tasks on the peripheries of these suburban sites. The book accompanied an exhibition at kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, and features an essay by curator Martin Germann. The text is bilingual, in English and German.

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Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Amy Williams, chair of CCA's undergraduate Fashion Design Program [photo: Jim Norrena]

As part of my recent review of the 2011 Annual Fashion Show, I sat down with Fashion Design chair Amy Williams to chat about her most important event of the year. She's passionate about her work, and I had no difficulty getting her to discuss what truly matters most at the end of the, er, runway: the students and their careers.

Q: So what does it take to plan the Annual Fashion Show? And what’s next?

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Posted on Monday, May 9, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Technically it's not a dump, it's a transfer station: the 44-acre Recology site where most of San Francisco's garbage and recyclables pass through on their way to either a landfill or a recycling plant. To those who work there, know it, and love it, it's the dump. And for many local artists, including an impressive array of CCA alumni and faculty, it has been the site of a four-month-long scavenger hunt. Recology hosts a one-of-a-kind, intensely competitive residency program where for four months, 40 hours a week, a few lucky artists find inspiration, a literally endless stream of raw materials, a wide array of tools, and 2,000 square feet of studio space, leading up to a culminating exhibition event. The program just celebrated its 20th year. Not all of the artists make work that is specifically about reuse, but no one leaves without having been profoundly affected by the experience, without thinking about life and culture (and trash) in entirely new ways.

On May 20-21 Recology will host the final exhibition of current residents Alex Nichols (soon-to-be alumna from CCA's MFA Program in Writing), Scott Kildall, and Niki Ulehla. That such an obviously object-oriented residency welcomed Nichols, a writer, is an indication of how it continues to evolve and push the envelope of what "art" and "scavenging" mean. Some of the best-known works to come out of the residency have included Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra (2007), which subsequently performed to a sold-out audience at Herbst Theater in San Francisco and released a recording, and the Styrofoam Hummer made by Andrew Junge (MFA 2002), which has gone on to tour numerous exhibition venues all over the country and has achieved legendary, mythical status among the dump workers.

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Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Jim Norrena

High praise for Joseph Lease's "Testify"

Visit today's SFGate.com and you'll read a familiar name in Evan Karp's Special to The Chronicle: Joseph Lease, much admired chair of CCA's MFA Program in Writing. The praiseworthy call-out highlights Lease's latest book release, Testify, for which he was recently invited to do a book reading at City Lights, the nation's first all-paperback bookstore and one of the truly great remaining independent bookstores.

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