Fine Arts News

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Rebecca Najdowski with Tio Lino. They created Rocinha Foto Project, a photography course for community youth

Even after the end date of her nine-month Fulbright scholarship in São Paulo, Brazil, the photographer and artist Rebecca Najdowski (MFA 2010) couldn't resist staying just a little longer to make one more trip, south to the Argentinean border, to see the legendary waterfalls of Iguaçu.

Art and travel have been soldered together in her life for as long as Najdowski can remember. She grew up in Santa Fe, a city world-renowned for its art scene. "I was surrounded by this impulse for craft. My dad was a silversmith and had a studio attached to the house. His work wasn't separate from his regular daily life. My mom was a school counselor and teacher at a public elementary school. During school holidays, she'd take off to Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, with organizations like Save the Rainforest, and often brought me with her. I've definitely inherited my love for travel from her, the drive to really experience other parts of the world."

Movement infuses Najdowski's own artistic practice, from her Spectra photogram experiments with color and light to her photographs of rural Brazilian storefronts to her roaming investigations into South American shamanism. "Travel forces you to be really open to new people and experiences. During my time in Brazil I couldn't stop traveling, moving around to collect experiences and material. I went to Rio, to Brasília, to Recife for a folk carnival (a super cool experience), and took a three-day boat trip on the Amazon River between Belém and Santarém. The river is so massive, sometimes you feel you're on a lake. Near the northern Brazilian outpost of São Luís, I went to see a tidal bore known as the pororoca, from the word for 'destructive noise' in the indigenous Tupi language. It is an immense wave caused by salt water crashing over fresh water during the new and full moons. It's not exactly on the tourist map -- I had to go through hoops to get in touch with local surfers to reach it."

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Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Daniel Dallabrida's "Damage Is Done" [photo: Jim Norrena]

Remember that someday the AIDS crisis will be over. And when that day has come and gone there will be people alive who will hear that once there was a terrible disease, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and in some cases died so others might live and be free.

~ Vito Russo (1946–1990)
(Excerpted from "Why We Fight," a speech delivered
in front of the Department of Health and Human Services
during a demonstration on Monday, October 10, 1988)

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

History's Shadow
Nazraeli Press, 2011
Hardcover, 72 pages, $75

David Maisel’s (MFA 2006) work has always been concerned with processes of memory, excavation, and transformation. In the History’s Shadow series, Maisel re-photographs, then scans and digitally manipulates, X-rays from museum archives that depict artifacts from antiquity. X-rays have historically been used by art conservators for structural examination of art and artifacts much as physicians examine bones and internal organs; they reveal losses, replacements, construction methods, and internal trauma invisible to the naked eye. Maisel's mages seem like transmissions from the distant past, both spanning and collapsing time. The book, designed by Graphic Design faculty member Bob Aufuldish, contains an original short story by Jonathan Lethem that was inspired by Maisel's images. It was named one of American Photo magazine's Best Photography Books of the Year!

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Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Aerodrome Orion and Starry Messenger
Kelsey Street Press, 2010
Paperback, 74 pages, $17.95

Susan Gevirtz (Visual Studies and Fine Arts faculty) orchestrates the relationships between many different types of skies, among them: the technological sky as mapped by air traffic controllers, the sky stressed by the demands of our global economy, a politically charged sky, nature's sky as plotted by ancient astronomers, the swan sky of Hans Christian Andersen, and the starry sky that dazzles our romantic imaginations. Her poetry flies reconnaissance to open possibilities for what poetry can be: "a stolen guide for the farthest ocean" or a set of instructions for navigating the jetstream of our personal and collective lives.

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Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Jason Hanasik (MFA Fine Arts 2009) shot, directed, and edited Gap Inc.'s official "It Gets Better" video, the first video of its kind from a major retailer, for inclusion in the national It Gets Better Project, which is committed to reducing or eliminating harassment of LGBT youth in schools.

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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, April 14, 2011 by Sarah Owens

California College of the Arts will present its 2011 Graduate Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition from Thursday, May 12, through Saturday, May 21 (10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily), with an opening reception on May 12 from 6 to 10 p.m. The exhibition features works by the nearly 50 artists graduating this spring from CCA’s MFA program. The presentation unfolds throughout CCA’s San Francisco campus, giving visitors an opportunity to tour most of the college. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.

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Posted on Monday, April 4, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Kota Ezawa, still from City of Nature, 2011

For Kota Ezawa, it's crunch time. The German-Japanese artist and Film Program faculty member has barely recovered from the tumult and applause surrounding the acquisition of one of his digitally animated works by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Now, he's plunged into a residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and is presenting a public piece in the most iconic city in film history: New York. From March 31 to May 15, Madison Square Park is hosting Ezawa's City of Nature project, in which he distills images of nature -- a waterfall, a mountain, a marlin -- from movies and shows them as animations on four LCD screens. The commission is officially a part of Mad. Sq. Art, a program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Ezawa sourced more than 40 movies for the project. "I was really interested in scenes where nature drives the story," he says. "Shots without human presence. No people. No buildings." Eagle-eyed viewers will detect some familiar films -- Brokeback Mountain, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, The Old Man and the Sea -- as well as a few that are less recognizable, for example a jungle shot from Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, or a waterfall from the 1960s German Western Winnetou.

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Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Jason Engelund

courtesy WAZO Design Institute

2011 is the inaugural year of the IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards program, one of the anchor initiatives of CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. This program enables interdisciplinary teams of CCA students to develop and implement social innovations through their studies in art, architecture, design, and writing. We are pleased to announce the winning IMPACT Teams for 2011! Each team has been awarded $10,000 toward their project.

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