Mechanisms (installation view), 2017, the Wattis Institute; photo: Johnna Arnold

CCA Wattis Institute awarded $20,000 NEA grant for exhibition exploring mechanisms in artists' work

Grant will support the largest presentation the CCA Wattis has mounted to-date.

San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 14, 2016 — CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas, has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a $20,000 grant to support its major fall 2017 exhibition Mechanisms, the largest presentation the organization has mounted.

The award is part of the NEA’s Art Works funding category, which “focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts,” according to the federal grant-making agency’s announcement.

“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the Wattis Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA chairman Jane Chu.

Curated by Wattis Institute director and chief curator Anthony Huberman, the major international group exhibition will explore the way artists adopt, disrupt, and invent mechanisms—defined here as tools, systems, or infrastructures that exist somewhere between a physical object and abstract concept—and how these mechanisms affect everyday life. The presentation gathers sculpture, photography, video, painting, and site-specific installation by more than 20 contemporary artists from around the world, and it will be accompanied by a full-scale publication.

Some confirmed artists include Terry Atkinson, Lutz Bacher, Neil Beloufa, Patricia L Boyd, Jay DeFeo, Trisha Donnelly, Aaron Flint Jamison, Jacob Kassay, Garry Neill Kennedy, Louise Lawler, Park McArthur, William Pope.L, Charlotte Posenenske, Cameron Rowland, and Danh Vo.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit the NEA.

About the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Founded in 1998 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and located a few blocks from its campus, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. As an exhibition space, it commissions and shows new work by emerging and established artists from around the world. Recent solo exhibitions include Laura Owens: Ten Paintings; Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: Tram 3 (which traveled to MoMA PS1); Josephine Pryde: Lapses in Thinking by the Person I Am (which traveled to ICA Philadelphia and earned Pryde a 2016 Turner Prize nomination); Sam Lewitt: More Heat Than Light (which traveled to Kunsthalle Basel and the Swiss Institute, New York); and Ellen Cantor: Cinderella Syndrome (which traveled to Künstlerhaus Stuttgart).

The Wattis dedicates an entire year to reflecting on the work of a single artist with its research program, which informs a regular series of public programs and publications involving the field’s most prominent artists and thinkers. The current featured artist is David Hammons; past seasons featured Joan Jonas and Andrea Fraser. For more information, visit

The CCA Wattis Institute program is generously supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation; by Leadership contributors Patricia W. Fitzpatrick, Daniel and Manizeh Rimer, Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger, Chara Schreyer and Gordon Freund, Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg, Sonya Yu and Zack Lara, and by CCA Wattis Institute’s Curator’s Forum. Phyllis C. Wattis was the generous founding patron.

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates the creative leaders of tomorrow to make powerful contributions to society. CCA’s distinctive project-based educational model emphasizes interdisciplinary experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation.

CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 12 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners and attracts promising students from across the United States and from 53 countries around the world. Graduates are highly sought after by companies such as Pixar/Disney, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Gensler, Google, IDEO, Autodesk, Mattel, and Nike, and many have launched their own successful businesses.