International News

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Jens Hoffmann leads CCA Curator's Forum tour of Istanbul Biennial (Kris Martin's work in foreground) (photo: George Jewett)

The Istanbul Biennial is a key event in the international contemporary art scene -- a highly visible, highly respected exhibition that draws more than 100,000 visitors to the city and exposes them to some of the most engaged and relevant art being made today. In its opening week, the 12th Istanbul Biennial (which remains open through November 13) was attended by almost 4,000 guests, including critics, curators, museum and gallery administrators, and approximately 400 members of the press from 50 different countries. Everything they saw (whether they realized it or not) bore the marks of a CCA affiliate's hand -- specifically two CCA curators, one CCA graphic designer, and one CCA editor. They also saw the work of one faculty member and three alumni; all three alumni had entire galleries devoted to their work.

CCA President Stephen Beal, chair of the Board of Trustees F. Noel Perry, other trustees, and several members of the CCA Curator's Forum (a dedicated group of Wattis Institute supporters) flew to Istanbul for the opening weekend. Stephen Beal remarked, standing at the biennial entrance, "It is very gratifying to see the college so prominently represented here. It is evidence of the major relevance, at the international level, of what we are doing, and the kinds of experiences and access that CCA makes available to its community."

The Curators

It was almost two years ago that Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann accepted the invitation to co-curate the 12th Istanbul Biennial. Beginning with that moment, what began as a single thread of connection between the college and the city of Istanbul expanded into a densely packed web involving multiple individuals.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Chris Bliss

Film faculty member Lynn Marie Kirby with students at CAFA

What began in 2008 as a visit by CCA President Stephen Beal to the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing is now blossoming into a productive relationship between the two schools. This fall CCA enrolled six more undergraduate students from CAFA’s International Foundation Course; they join the first four students who began their studies at CCA in fall 2010.

In the first foray into faculty exchanges, David Hisaya Asari (Graphic Design) and Lynn Marie Kirby (Film) spent spring break 2011 at CAFA. An IFC instructor visited CCA in August. And Furniture faculty member Christopher Loomis is in Beijing now teaching for the semester.

What inspired this relationship between the two schools and what are the plans for the future?

Laying the Groundwork

In October 2008 President Beal was invited to participate in a forum on international art education, as part of CAFA's 90th anniversary celebration. He was impressed with the 4,000-student institution and its leaders, many of whom have ties with U.S. institutions. President Pang Gongkai was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Vice President Xu Bing, well-known artist and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur “genius” award, lived and worked in New York for more than 10 years. Dean of Design Min Wang completed his graduate work in design at Yale and worked for more than 20 years in the United States, including a stint at Adobe before forming his own firm in San Francisco.

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Posted on Friday, September 23, 2011 by Lindsey Lyons

Summer Study Abroad 2011: Iceland

The date is May 22, 2011, just one day before my flight to Iceland to join 13 other CCA graduate and undergraduate students for John Zurier's three-week Iceland: Reykjavik and the Icelandic West study-abroad course. We'll spend three days exploring Reykjavik, followed by two weeks on a remote farm on the Snaefellsness Peninsula, then three more days in Reykjavik.

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Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 by Clay Walsh

Join or create a student group or organization today!

What do CCA students do when they’re not studying, making, designing, building, creating, or writing? Well, a variety of things of course, including growing a number of CCA student groups and organizations that provide ample opportunities for students to engage in student body planning or socialize, or both.

Depending on your interest and commitment, chances are good there’s a student organization or group that’s right for you.

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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Jim Goldberg's photography is currently featured in two San Francisco exhibitions

Congratulations are in order for CCA Photography faculty member Jim Goldberg who, upon his second nomination, was awarded this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize—one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of photography. Goldberg received a cash payment of £30,000 (roughly $50,000!).

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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Exhibitionist: Issue 4
Archive Books, 2011
Magazine, 92 pages, $15

The Exhibitionist, edited by Jens Hoffmann and designed by Jon Sueda, is a new journal focusing solely on the practice of exhibition making. Its objective is to create a wider platform for the discussion of curatorial concerns, encourage a diversification of curatorial models, and actively contribute to the formation of a theory of curating. The fourth issue, La Critique, is composed of three section: Reflection, Response, and Critique. This issue diverges from the editorial structure of past issues in order to offer a forum for sustained and multiple responses to current curatorial debates as well as a critique of the content and editorial commitments of the journal to date. The essayists include Massimiliano Gioni, Dieter Roelstraete, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Teresa Gleadowe, Julian Myers, Christian Rattemeyer, Johanna Burton, Kate Fowle, Andrew Renton, Livia Paldi, Vanessa Joan Muller, and Emily Pethick.

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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 Monday, March 21, 2011 by Samantha Braman

Growing up on a wildlife preserve in California surrounded by farms, homesteaders, nature writers, and the Tahoe National Forest, Maria Ryan (Sculpture 2005) spent most of her time outdoors. When she got to CCA and heard about the availability of Center Student Grants, an idea germinated, and the outcome proved life-changing. She used the grant money to spend the following summer studying plants in the Sierra Nevada and teaching a complementary course, titled "Quilting Indigenous Plant Life of the Sierra Foothills." The project combined her love for nature, handwork, and textiles, and in the end led to the production of a public artwork.

"I used an abandoned building as a community center where I held classes for local children. I hired two guest teachers: one a Maidu woman, who taught the ecological and botanical value of each indigenous plant, and the other Louis Bluecloud, a skilled Mohawk artist who gave lessons in graphic pattern design by stenciling.

"Writing the proposal and seeing this project to completion, I recognized the strength that any project acquires through collaboration. I gained priceless experience, working to engage various factions of the community and utilizing local institutions as assets in the creative process."

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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 Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Associate professor Lynda Grose (right) with student

In the recently published Christian Science Monitor article "Trendy Threads from Waste," contributing writer Micheal Benanav turned to CCA Fashion Design Program assistant professor Lynda Grose and alumna Karina Michel (BFA 2009) for their expertise in designing with sustainability and economy of resources in mind.

Linda Grose: Industry Specialist & Sustainable Design Consultant

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