Visual Studies News

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way
MIT Press, 2011
Hardcover, 360 pages, $60

Fashion Design and Visual Studies faculty member Melissa Leventon contributes the essay "Distinctly Californian: Modernism in Textiles and Fashion" to this catalogue, which accompanied a major exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the first comprehensive examination of California's mid-century modern design. The book includes 350 images (most in color) of furniture, ceramics, metalwork, architecture, graphic and industrial design, film, textiles, and fashion, and 10 incisive essays that trace the rise of the California design aesthetic, from specific design influences and innovations in solid-color commercial ceramics to inspirations from Mexico and Asia, new schools for design training, new concepts about leisure, and the conversion of wartime technologies to peacetime use.

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by Allison Byers

Fantagraphics Books and award-winning cartoonist Justin Hall have produced a definitive collection of the greatest LGBT comics created over the last four decades.

Out superheroes such as Northstar, Batwoman, and Green Lantern’s Alan Scott weren’t always a part of the landscape of comic book characters. Not so long ago even acknowledging the LGBT community was forbidden in the conventional world of comics. That didn’t stop queer cartooning and characters from existing, though.

Posted on Monday, May 7, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Our 2012 annual Visual Studies Spring Symposium featured public presentations of senior thesis essays by Visual Studies majors.

Full-length versions of the following students' thesis essays are also published in our annual journal.

Visual Studies Spring Symposium 2012

Kerry Gould

"What Are You Lookin’ At?: The Faces of Cars in Postmodern America"

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 by Chris Bliss

New Provost Melanie Corn

Melanie Corn has been appointed provost of California College of the Arts (CCA), it was announced today by President Stephen Beal. Currently CCA’s associate provost, she will assume the position in May 2012. As provost Corn will be CCA's chief academic officer with broad responsibilities for the strategic planning, development, and administration of the college's academic programs.

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Production stills from CCA's newest "drama queens": Candacy Taylor, Greacian Goeke, Susan Sobeloff, and Jennifer Roberts

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -- Oscar Wilde

In the last year a growing number of CCA graduates -- each representing a unique program of study -- has tapped into the Bay Area's richly diverse and proliferating performing arts scene to have a full-scale world premiere of their work brought to fruition. Among these impressive alumnae are:

Candacy Taylor (MFA Visual Criticism 2002)

Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by Chris Bliss

Renowned writer Ishmael Reed joins the MFA Program in Writing faculty

For additional information about CCA's 2011-12 faculty hiring, read the latest Academic Newsletter by Provost Mark Breitenberg.

New Full-Time Faculty

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Guilty: Le Coupable
State University of New York Press, 2011
Hardcover/paperback, 254 pages, $85/$29.95

Written by Georges Bataille and translated for the first time into English by Critical Studies faculty Stuart Kendall, Guilty: Le Coupable is a personal record of spiritual and communal crisis, wherein the death of god announces the beginning of friendship. To many Western critics, Bataille is one of the most arresting and influential writers of this century. The text is presented as series of reflections and meditations. Tellingly begun in September 1939, the author's philosophical inquiries are heightened by the war and its introduction of profound uncertainty: "I started this book as the result of an upheaval that ended up challenging everything and freed me from undertakings I was stuck in."

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Terrence Malick: Film and Philosophy
Continuum, 2011
Hardcover, 240 pages, $130

Terrence Malick's four feature films have been celebrated by critics and adored as instant classics among film aficionados, but the body of critical literature devoted to them has remained surprisingly small in comparison to Malick's stature in the world of contemporary film. Critical Studies faculty Stuart Kendall edits this volume in which Malick's films are discussed as individual objects, as a corpus, within contemporary film studies, and within a wider cultural discussion. Each of the essays is grounded in film studies, philosophical inquiry, and the emerging field of scholarship that combines the two disciplines.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Ends of Art and Design
Infra-Thin Press, 2011
Paperback, 108 pages, $14.75

The design arts are to our age of experience what the fine arts were to the era of representation, but with crucial differences. Whereas the fine arts offered critical-reflective experiences to independent subjects within the era of representation, the design fields now produce experience-events in a post-subjective world. Stuart Kendall (Visual Studies faculty) proposes a new way to think about the relationship between design and culture as well as new roles for design education within the Humanities, and for the Humanities within design education. If the design fields are the primary agents of contemporary culture, they should be the primary focus of contemporary cultural studies.