Eva O'Leary and Harry Griffin are photographers who work together. Last year they funded a project called Devil's Den using Kickstarter. For it, they photographed reenactors and spectators at the 150th-anniversary commemoration of the battle of Gettysburg. Juxtapositions within their images lay bare the differences between then and now. The project is featured in Mossless Issue 3, which is also currently on Kickstarter. We spoke with Eva and Harry about preconceptions drawn from history books, crowdfunding as a strategy for self-publishing, and the nature of collaboration.Read the rest
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Laura Braun
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.Read the rest
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.Read the rest
Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook
Rich and Poor
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.Read the rest
Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 by Laura Braun
I had a rigorous upbringing in "straight" photography during my undergraduate study at California College of the Arts and Crafts. During my time in the Bay Area, I was influenced by masters like Larry Sultan, Todd Hido, and Jim Goldberg, as well as by artists working conceptually like Tammy-Rae Carland. There is an academy-type of training happening there. I'm grateful for that because I had to know the rules before I could break them.Read the rest
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.Read the rest
Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 by Laura Braun
Piston hails from the creative reaches of New York but he earned his BFA at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco with a BFA in 2006, and an MFA at UCLA in 2010. In that time his work has been exhibited in many notable artistic hubs in New York, San Francisco and of course, neighboring Los Angeles.Read the rest
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 by Laura Braun
Two of the strongest shows to open this Fall illuminate the work of two of the Bay Area's most thoughtful and talented curators, Joseph del Pesco and Natasha Boas. In "City of Disappearances," a haunting and provocative collection of works at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, del Pesco and London-based co-curator Elizabeth Neilson explore the conceptual and personal narratives created by the City - with a capital C.Read the rest
Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 by Simon Hodgson
John Chiara, “20th at San Bruno,” 2002
The issue is not at all about tackling New York's art scene; having had 2013 shows at Pier 24 Photography and the de Young in San Francisco, as well as at galleries in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Zurich, it's clear that he is already coming into focus for an increasing audience worldwide.
Rather, New York will be a challenge in terms of the subject matter it offers up, given that until now Northern California has been such a looming presence in Chiara's work. The Bay Area infuses the photography of this San Francisco-born artist like the terroir of a vintage bottle of Saint-Emilion.Read the rest
Posted on Friday, November 15, 2013 by Rachel Walther
Wenxin Zhang, "Self portrait by the lake," 2012
Wenxin Zhang (MFA 2013) is always redefining her reality. In her writings and photography, she describes her experiences&mdash growing up in China, her current life in San Francisco, and her personal relationships—in a voice that is melancholy and surreal. Images of fall leaves in an industrial landscape are juxtaposed with a young boy’s glassy stare. A description of nocturnal wanderings illuminates the artist’s haunted sense of displacement wherever she goes.
Zhang has exhibited her work throughout the United States. Here she discusses her future projects and reflects on how her time at CCA has shaped her practice.
Since I was little, I was always longing to go to a faraway place—to be a stranger in a foreign country. I was unsatisfied with my hometown of Hefei. It’s a smaller, inland Chinese city. Young souls would leave for a bigger place after high school, and there was nothing new really going on. I felt so trapped by the place.
My father was a journalist for a local radio station. He traveled a lot and often took me with him. In 2004 he gave me a digital camera, and I used it every day. I would take photos and try to interpret my environment, to create a new little world with my camera in order to get away from the mundane. When I was in high school I would take bus trips with my best friend to the boundaries of our hometown—to the suburbs and the countryside. Student bus tickets are very cheap, so we would go the furthest distance we could by bus and take pictures of each other as our own story characters.Read the rest