Visual and Critical Studies News

Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

This is the first installment of what will be an ongoing series of first-person "How I Got to CCA" stories by students and alumni. The following is written by Matthew Harrison Tedford (Visual and Critical Studies 2011).

My first day in San Francisco began at about 6 a.m., when my Greyhound bus crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland and pulled into the Transbay Terminal. I disembarked, along with all my worldly possessions -- two Army duffel bags, one filled with books, the other filled with clothes and books -- and set out to start my new life on what I remember as a foggy and cold summer morning. I was exhausted from the 12-hour ride, but excited to explore San Francisco, a city I'd visited only briefly in the past.

Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Lindsey Westbrook

Machinima! Teorie. Pratiche. Dialoghi
Ludologica, 2013
Paperback, 288 pages, 19 Euros

This collection of essays (in Italian) is edited by Visual and Critical Studies faculty member Matteo Bittanti in collaboration with Stanford University's Henry Lowood. Bittanti also wrote one of the essays. The book has been released in Italy in the ongoing Ludologica book series and features 27 contributions from scholars, artists, and critics on the topic of machinima, digital games, and contemporary art. The book jacket is designed by the new-media artist Mauro Ceolin. Watch the book trailer!

Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013 by Jim Norrena

The Tribeca Film Institute Filmmaker Programming Team has chosen CCA faculty member Cheryl Dunye as one of 10 finalists for its newest initiative -- the Heineken Affinity Award.

Dunye, a native of Liberia, has directed such feature films as My Baby's Daddy (Miramax), Stranger Inside (HBO Films), and The Watermelon Woman, which was awarded the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1996.

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 by Jim Norrena

Events are part of the Graduate Studies Symposium

What does narrative mean to architects, artists, critics, designers, scholars, and writers? How can the unfolding of a story communicate, evoke, engage, and captivate audiences?

This exhibition and lecture/performance series explores narrative in a broad range of genres.

Narrative (Inter)actions is a series of performances, lectures, and exhibition that comprise the spring Graduate Studies Symposium at California College of the Arts.

Please join us for these exciting events:

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Walls of Hope project in progress in Monthey, Switzerland

Claudia Bernardi (today a professor in CCA's Community Arts Program, but who also teaches in a wide range of disciplines, including Diversity Studies, Fine Arts, and Visual and Critical Studies programs) was a student at the university of art in Buenos Aires in 1976, the year the military dictatorship took power in Argentina.

"Those were very dark years -- very tragic, painful, and violent. The ones who survived learned to look at life, history, and art quite differently."

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Glen Helfand (in the green T-shirt) with CCA students and Creativity Explored artists

A hall of mirrors reflecting an artist's actual view of the world; sculptural train tracks coming out of the wall and into the gallery space; colorful, hanging text-mobiles that evoke psychologically charged word-clouds; a fashion magazine devoted to one fabulous model; and a pop-up shop selling equestrian-themed T-shirts, jewelry, and drawings:

These are the works that will be on view in Fabricators, the culminating exhibition for Glen Helfand's fall 2012 ENGAGE at CCA course, at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, December 12-22, 2012. The public is invited to the reception on Saturday, December 15, 3-5 p.m.

Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Cast of La Bamba 2: Hell Is a Drag

"I wrote a sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn when I was in seventh grade."

So began the filmmaking career of Rob Fatal (MFA 2012). His obsession with film proceeded apace, but it took him a surprisingly long time, he says, to realize that there was a person called a director -- that movies didn't just spring into existence like Athena from Zeus's head.

Inspired by Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, and Robert Rodriguez, Fatal began writing screenplays at age 12. "I loved camp and sci-fi films before I even knew they were genres." At 19 he borrowed his father's camcorder and made a 30-minute film about DJs with magical turntables. "It was accidentally campy. It was accidentally bad. But it had a lot of sincerity." Much to his surprise, it did well, even getting into a couple of festivals.

Film Maker, Filmmaker, or Artist?

Fast forward a few years. Fatal was still working in film and experimenting with video art, but not quite to the point of considering himself a filmmaker, and certainly not an "artist," whatever that meant. But one day, in the midst of editing a video documenting an experimental opera by Fatal's collaborator/mentor Juliana Snapper, he recomposed portions of the footage into a new composition and showed it to CCA faculty member Cheryl Dunye. Dunye delivered the unexpected news that what he was doing was art, and urged him to apply to CCA's MFA program. The faculty there, she said, were pushing the boundaries of genres, and dealing with gender politics and racial identity -- fields of study Fatal had been researching for years in his graduate program at Sacramento State University. CCA presented Fatal with a place to finally bridge his dual love of film theory and practice.

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

For Visual and Critical Studies alumna Susan Miller, who just received her degree in 2012, the final semester of graduate school proved to be a series of both great challenges and great successes. Simultaneously, she researched and wrote her thesis while co-curating a major exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California, Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes, an effort that had been decades in the making.

Before she ever arrived at CCA for graduate school, Miller had already built a long curatorial career distinguished by hard and impassioned work and the desire to give artists a platform to be heard. "I was drawn to the Bay Area's vibrant community of artist-run spaces," she explains of her 1986 move to San Francisco. She left the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, where she was the promotions director, to be a part of San Francisco's collectivist and grassroots contemporary art scene. From 1988 to 1992 she served as the program director of Capp Street Project (which later became affiliated with CCA's Wattis Institute) before moving to New Langton Arts in San Francisco, which she headed from 1993 to 2005.

At Capp Street Project, Miller produced exhibitions and installations of work by Mowry Baden, Shu Lea Cheang, Mel Chin, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, among many others. After moving to New Langton Arts, she focused the programming on important local artists who had yet to receive the critical writings and public exposure she felt they deserved. Some of her "profile" exhibitions there surveyed the work of the local artists Jim Pomeroy, Tony Labat, and Jeanne Finley (now a CCA faculty member).

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Amanda E. Gross

from Team JuaBar IMPACT 2012 project proposal

Within the next few weeks, the three teams of CCA students who won IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards will be heading to Alaska, Tanzania, and Mexico to attempt innovative social transformations. Bolstered by the support of their $10,000 IMPACT grants and their community partner organizations, the teams -- KVAK TV, JuaBar, and 20/20 FOTO -- will work to empower three different communities to address pressing local concerns. Each team brings together a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from different academic programs.

IMPACT is one of the anchor programs at CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, providing students with opportunities to build relationships for social change. It is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive influence within a specific community.

Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Oyster Culture
Cameron & Co, 2011
Paperback, 144 pages, $19.99

This book authored by Gwendolyn Meyer (Individualized Major 2004) and edited by Doreen Schmid (MA Visual Criticism 2005) features more than 150 photographs and evocative text describing this singular aspect of food culture. It focuses on the oyster farms of West Marin in northern California, including the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, and Hog Island Oyster Company. It also includes 18 delicious oyster recipes prepared for the home cook from West Marin restaurants, chefs, and oyster farmers, including Osteria Stellina, Station House, the Marshall Store, Nick's Cove, and more. The book is about the pleasures of oysters, and the rich intersection between oyster farming and culinary culture in this unique region. Oyster farming itself is in the limelight these days, particularly in West Marin, and this book is aimed at all readers who have an interest in locally sourced food.

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