Visual Studies News

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.

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Aerodrome Orion and Starry Messenger
Kelsey Street Press, 2010
Paperback, 74 pages, $17.95

Susan Gevirtz (Visual Studies and Fine Arts faculty) orchestrates the relationships between many different types of skies, among them: the technological sky as mapped by air traffic controllers, the sky stressed by the demands of our global economy, a politically charged sky, nature's sky as plotted by ancient astronomers, the swan sky of Hans Christian Andersen, and the starry sky that dazzles our romantic imaginations. Her poetry flies reconnaissance to open possibilities for what poetry can be: "a stolen guide for the farthest ocean" or a set of instructions for navigating the jetstream of our personal and collective lives.

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Jacques Rancière: An Introduction
Continuum, 2011
Paperback, 208 pages, $24.95

The first comprehensive introduction to one of the most influential French thinkers writing today, this book explores Rancière's ideas on philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. Visual and Critical Studies faculty member Joseph Tanke situates Rancière's distinctive approach against the backdrop of Continental philosophy and extends his insights into current discussions of art and politics. Tanke explains how Rancière's ideas allow us to understand art as having a deeper social role than is customarily assigned to it as well as how political opposition can be revitalized. Engaging with many untranslated and unpublished sources, the book will also be of interest to Rancière's long-time readers.