Fine Arts News

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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Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

R's boat
University of California Press, 2010
Paperback, 96 pages, $19.95

The Canadian poet and CCA Fine Arts faculty member Lisa Robertson has received high praise for the uncompromising intelligence and style of her poetry. In R's Boat, she operates at the crossroads of poetry, theory, the body, and cultural criticism. These poems bring fresh vehemence to Robertson's ongoing examination of the changing shape of feminism, the male-dominated philosophical tradition, daily forms of discourse, and the possibilities of language itself. The Boston Review says, "With R's Boat, Robertson evolves a new form and idiom so as to short-circuit familiar representations of self and, perhaps, to imagine new and utopian social relations."

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Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Sarah Owens

California College of the Arts will present the Craft Forward Symposium 2011 on April 1-3, 2011. The symposium will be held at the Mission Bay Conference Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Additional programming, including pre-symposium events and the Craft Forward Soiree, will be held at CCA’s Oakland and San Francisco campuses. Registration for the symposium and tickets for the soiree are available now at Brown Paper Tickets.

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Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Join us at the many events scheduled to celebrate CCA's 2011 graduating class

Note: This page showcases the wide selection of end-of-year events CCA hosted in 2011. Events listed here are for illustrative purposes only; all events have passed.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Piero Passacantando at work in his studio with Dawa Tamang in Kathmandu (photo by Clarissa Bynum)

Now back at home in New York after a 10-month Fulbright residency in Kathmandu, CCA alumnus Piero Passacantando (MFA Social Practice 2009) is already planning his return to Nepal. During his time there, the Italian-American artist studied Thangka, a centuries-old traditional Himalayan art form that uses specific geometric guidelines in its compositions.

"My hope is that I can somehow continue my project. I originally went there to learn the technical and iconographic aspects of Thangka, but I became interested in the geometry and social production, the workshop system. The guys I worked with, Dawa and Sherab Tamang, were only 19 and 20 years old, and their level of skill was just astonishing." Passacantando was impressed by Kathmandu's artistic community, which was very different from that of San Francisco or New York. "The Thangka artists see it as labor, a job. They don't have the same underlying conceptual framework or discourse. The organization I worked with, Dharmadhatu Foundation, is a social enterprise that produces Thangkas to raise money for scholarships for rural children."

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Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Performance artists Cecelia Cooper, Tina Takemoto, and Keith Hennessy

California College of the Arts prides itself in the myriad forms of artistic expression that can be witnessed on any given day at either the Oakland or San Francisco campuses. One such form of visual art is performance art, which offers a dynamic means of expression, one that often has at its core a political statement or reaction.

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