Visual and Critical Studies News

Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 by Allison Byers

Filming Question Bridge: Black Males

On any given day we encounter dozens, even hundreds, of people who are different from us: a different race, a different gender, a different class, a different age . . . We intellectually understand that our own identity is multifaceted, yet sometimes we cannot help grouping people into stereotypes, even within what others would consider a diverse demographic.

A team of four artists—CCA Photography faculty Chris Johnson, two CCA alumni, Hank Willis Thomas (MFA and MA Visual Criticism 2004) and Bayeté Ross Smith (MFA 2004), and Kamal Sinclair—have begun a far-reaching conversation on this topic, engaging a diverse group of African American males in a question-and-answer exchange. Their innovative trans-media project is entitled Question Bridge: Black Males, and it seeks to represent and redefine black male identity in America.

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.

Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Sightlines is the annual publication of CCA's Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies. It collects the thesis essays of all of the graduating students. This year's volume features investigations of politics, pop-cultural views of science, identity theory, the meaning of site, and beyond. The students and their essays are:

Levi Barringer: Other Topologies: Transversal Power Across Maps & Diagrams
Abby Chen: On the Edge of Culture, Two 1.5 Generation Artists in America
Jacqueline Clay: BLACK MONOCHROME: Vanessa Beecroft, Race and the Other
Adeleine Daysor: Everyday Myths, Peculiar Wallflowers and Watchful Double Takes
Liesa Lietzke: Felt/Seen, I/it: Probing the Body-World Divide through Rebecca Horn’s Extensions
Emily Macenko: The Politics of Representation: Images of Male Homosexuality during the AIDS Crisis
Rob Marks: The Sublime and The Beautiful in Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time
Marta Martinez: Baring Identities: Queer Women of Color in Neo-Burlesque
Leanna Oen: Under the Microscope: Pop Culture Visualizations of DNA
Danielle Sommer: The Instant and the Interval: Further Investigations in Aby Warburg’s Space-Time
Matthew Harrison Tedford: Tactics of Engagement in Art: Politics, Pluralism, and Program
Kristin Timken: Performing Landscapes: The Politics of Possibility
Lia Wilson: Marketing Madness: The Economy of Outsider Art
Carmen Winant: The Artist is the Athlete: Investigating Practice in Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 1-6
Madeleine Zinn: After the Blast: Reframing Motherhood Beyond the Nuclear Family

Posted on Monday, August 15, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

On August 8, 2011, CCA alumna Adrienne Skye Roberts (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2009) began a six-week residency at the hip new Philadelphia Art Hotel, tracing her radical roots. "My grandfather, Joseph Roberts, was a Russian Jewish immigrant, a chairperson of the Communist Party, and general manager at the Communist newspaper the Daily Worker. He was prosecuted in 1953 under the Smith Act, wartime legislation passed to stop alien residents from trying to overthrow the U.S. by force.

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Kate Angelo

On May 12, the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories opened at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. This show and its beautiful catalog represent the culmination of years of research and scholarship for Tirza True Latimer, chair of the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Dubrovnik under Siege: Artists' Interactions with the Old City during the Yugoslav Army Aggression 1991-1992
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, 2010
Paperback, 76 pages, $68

Following attacks by the Yugoslav Army in 1991, local artists used the Old City of Dubrovnik -- its ruins, boarded-up monuments, and shop windows -- to create site-specific public artworks. Nensi Brailo (Visual and Critical Studies alumna) looks at three case studies to explore this phenomenon: the site-specific exhibitions of artist Ivo Grbic on the grounds of his home and studio which had been bombed, the impromptu collaborative public art project by professional and amateur artists that took place during Christmastime in December 1991, and Pavo Urban's photographs of the besieged city's architecture and citizens.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Peril as Architectural Enrichment
Kelsey Street Press, 2011
Paperback, 96 pages, $16.95

Hazel White (Writing alumna) tests landscape as the subject of experience in Peril as Architectural Enrichment. She questions how limbs want to move in space, when convivial with landforms, treetops, views, and pollen. The poems greet danger -- chopped narratives, lost crops, a fall, inundation -- and the refuge of a familiar curvature: the turning of long lines becoming the same as building shelter in the wild where a peril can be seen and felt, and to write is to know what's near. Like a designed landscape, White's poetry delivers a new sense of orientation.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Cultural Confluences: The Art of Lenore Chinn
Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, 2011
Paperback, 44 pages, $21.95

Edited by Jen Banta (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2009) this book maps the life and times of the Asian American artist Lenore Chinn via essays, reproductions of her exquisite realist paintings, and visual ephemera. Tirza True Latimer (Visual and Critical Studies chair) is one of the essayists. Chinn is an artist and community activist in San Francisco’s diverse LGBT and Asian American communities who paints her life and the lives of others in her social milieu. Her sensibility is informed not only by social justice issues, but also by Civil Rights and her experience of traditional Chinese culture in the bohemian 1970s.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Romare Bearden, American Modernist: Studies in the History of Art, Volume 71
NGW-Stud Hist Art, 2011
Hardcover, 304 pages, $70

Jacqueline Francis (Painting/Drawing and Visual and Critical Studies faculty) coedited this collection with National Gallery of Art curator Ruth Fine. It considers the work of the distinguished painter and collagist Romare Bearden in the contexts of American and international modernism as well as African American art history. Fourteen essays cover the relationship of Bearden's work to literature, jazz, and modern dance; the sources of his imagery, including radical politics, religion, and southern black culture; his professional development and influence; and the influence of the avant-garde, including Cubism and Pop art, on his paintings and collages.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Suggestions of a Life Being Lived: A Queer Exploration of Three Public Themes
SF Camerawork Publications, 2011
Hardcover, 64 pages, $19.95

Adrienne Skye Roberts (MA Visual and Critical Studies 2009) coedited this presentation of contemporary work that looks at queerness as a set of political alliances and possibilities.

Untethered to institutions of sexual or gender normativity and in pursuit of greater freedoms, the work in this book represents queer activism, intentional and imagined communities, self-determinism, and DIY alternative world-making.

The work looks outward toward collective and resistant expressions of queer community existing outside of dominant gay and lesbian culture.