Fine Arts News

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Simon Hodgson

Filmmaker and CCA alumnus Banker White (MFA 1999) has traveled as far as West Africa in his journey to develop communities and tell stories. But his latest work originated rather closer to home. In his documentary The Genius of Marian, due for theatrical release in April 2014, he follows his mother, Pam, as she deals with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“In 2008, seven years after my grandmother passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s, my mom, Pam, announced that she was going to write a book about her. Marian Williams Steele was her mother and my grandmother. She was a well-known artist. I painted with her my whole childhood.

“As her only grandkid who identifies as an artist, I knew immediately that I was going to be involved. So I started going back home to Massachusetts twice a year to help my mom with the book and to archive Mana’s paintings.”

But what began as a collaborative mother-son book-writing project evolved into something very different, as Pam herself started to experience signs of dementia, and soon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “In 2009, I stayed at my parents’ house for three months, just to figure out what was going on,” says White. “It was clear that both my parents needed help. My mom was delusional and had periods of violence. I realized I needed to move home.”

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Posted on Monday, February 10, 2014 by Rachel Walther

Meet ChuCha Santamaria: dancing siren, disco singer, and larger-than-life alter ego of CCA alumna Sofía Córdova (MFA 2010). Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Córdova has developed an artistic practice spanning sculpture and photography, installation, and video, but it is her music and performances as ChuCha Santamaria that have attracted the most attention.

In 2011, she and her husband, the musician and artist Matthew Kirkland, released their debut album ChuCha Santamaria Y Usted. (It was the central piece in an installation/performance cycle.) Reviewers were dazzled. “Fantastic, vital . . . imminently catchy,” wrote East Bay Express critic Ellen Cushing. “Singer/wordsmith Sofía Córdova sings in inglés, español, y Vocoder, carefully unfolding her melodies with stately restraint,” enthused PopMatters reviewer Josh Langhoff.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Laura Braun

Recognized as Pittsburgh Center for Arts' "Artist of the Year" in 1985, Qualters moved to California in 1956 on the G.I. Bill, enrolling in the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, where his mentors included renowned painters Nathan Oliveira and Richard Diebenkorn—founding members of the Bay Area Figurative Movement. In 1957, Diebenkorn invited Qualters to be in the inaugural Bay Area Figurative show.

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Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Polaroids from Haiti
Nazraeli Press, 2014
Hardcover, 16 pages, $100

The photographs in Jim Goldberg (Photography faculty) contribution to Nazraeli Press’s One Picture Book series (this is number 84), Polaroids from Haiti, were taken during a week in March 2013. They depict Haitians dealing with their everyday struggles. Goldberg, who describes himself as a documentary storyteller, spent this time traveling throughout the country listening to and photographing Haitian life.  The resulting images reflect the continuing challenges and undying spirit of this impoverished country, when the 2010 earthquake is still reverberating. The publication is limited to 500 numbered copies, each one with an original signed Polaroid by Goldberg.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Dustin N. Smith

California College of the Arts is a featured partner for the 2014 Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) Bridges: Spanning Tradition, Innovation & Activism conference March 26-29.

Bridges will investigate the intersections between traditional and emerging technologies and how these tools are vehicles for creating meaningful and critical discourse around contemporary issues in printmaking.

The event includes dozens of Bay Area participating organizations such at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Kala Art Institute, 826 Valencia, Berkeley Art Museum, Crown Point Press, San Francisco Center for the Book, and many others.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Rich and Poor
Steidl, 2014
Hardcover, 256 pages, $65

From 1977 to 1985, Jim Goldberg (Photography faculty) photographed the wealthy and the destitute of San Francisco, creating a visual document—a combination of text and photographs—that has since become a landmark work. In 1984 the series was exhibited alongside Robert Adams and Joel Sternfeld in the Three Americans exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and it was published the following year by Random House.

Out of print since 1985, Rich and Poor has been completely redesigned and expanded by the artist for Steidl. Available for the first time in hardcover, it now features a surplus of vintage material and contemporary photographs that have never been published or exhibited. The photographs constitute a shocking and gripping portrait of America in the 1970s and 1980s that remains just as relevant today.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Celluloid Salutations
BlazeVOX, 2014
Paperback, 142 pages, $16

Celluloid Salutations is the second book by alumna Elizabeth Block (MFA Writing 2002, MFA 2003).

Juliana Spahr says: “It’s all here: love, work, child. And the writing. Mainly the writing. It takes over all these other things and yet it is built out of all these things. This is how Elizabeth Block erases Elizabeth Block, as one poem claims. She does this automatically, animalistically, while wailing forward, gracefully and with improvisation.

Bill Berkson says: “Elizabeth Block’s poetry moves through those ‘layers of noise’ we all contend with and goes a long way toward conquering by absorbing them. Page by page, the intervals, apparent blanks and interruptions between word clusters, vibrate tellingly with each tabulation of event, the actuality in and of the words as Block arranges them. Here is urgency and nuance. The matter never gets figured out we want it to we think all day long on. Take time to read this magnetic book.

The cover artwork is by noted CCA alumna Amanda Hughen (Graphic Design 1999).

Block won the Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fiction Fellowship for her first novel, A Gesture Through Time, which was fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts. She was a Poets & Writers grantee for the presentation of new work at the Lab in San Francisco.

Block has won many other awards and residencies, including an award from Poets & Writers and another from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program Tread of Angels Fellowship. Her writing has appeared on stage, in film, in public art, in books, on audio CD and podcasts.

She is also a filmmaker whose film poems have traveled extensively throughout the United States and elsewhere. She has published work in many genres and in many journals, and her work has also appeared on the public radio stations KQED and KSFR. She often collaborates with musicians and visual artists.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Horizontal Book 2013: The Neverwere Exhibits and Other Work
Blurb, 2013
Paperback/hardcover, 70 pages, $30.99/$41.99

This book by alumnus Kip Bryant (MFA 1976) contains various art projects completed in 2013, including Floating Leaf, Moonlight, and The Neverwere Exhibits.

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Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 by Laura Braun

Woods (b. 1963) earned her arts education at California Polytechnic State University; the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy; and the California College of the Arts in Oakland, where she earned her B.F.A. In addition to exhibiting with George Billis Gallery, Woods has displayed her art at Quidley & Company Fine Art in Boston (2012); Stewart Gallery in Boise, Idaho (2012); the Boise Art Museum (2010); and many other fine art venues.

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Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

On a crystal-clear June evening in summer 2013, the sun is setting in Marfa, Texas, and a dozen CCA students -- together with a dozen more students from two art schools in the Netherlands -- are settling into the evening rhythms of their tent city.

The tents are cozily nestled in the courtyard of a former officer’s club, long abandoned by the US military. Elsewhere in the building complex, an old bar has been converted into an ad hoc Internet lounge. A spookily empty ballroom houses a broken-down old piano. The kitchen has accommodated the making of many a communal dinner.

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