San Francisco, CA—Thursday, April 2, 2020—The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts introduces the Wattis Library, a free online platform for videos, lectures, and essays that provides in-depth access and proximity to many of the artists and thinkers of our time, including Abbas Akhavan, Vincent Fecteau, Joan Jonas, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Cinthia Marcelle, and Rosha Yaghmai, among others.
Produced and edited by curatorial fellows, gallery assistants, and interns, the Wattis Library was created with one of the central questions that drive the Wattis Institute’s work in mind: What can we learn from artists? The Library—which will continue to expand with new dynamic content related to the Wattis Institute’s future exhibitions, events, and research seasons—runs alongside past exhibitions and events and gives visitors direct access to many of the artists featured at the Wattis from 2014–2020.
While CCA Wattis exhibitions are temporarily closed and its programming is postponed due to the COVID–19 pandemic, visitors can explore the Wattis Library to continue to learn from these artists and scholars, engage with a diverse range of artistic practices, and connect to in-depth research. The Library also provides a useful resource to educators for online learning, in which students can listen directly to artists and curators discussing their work and explore reading lists and exhibition essays from the past six years.
“What feels so important about the Wattis Library is the access it provides to such a diverse range of voices. Our exhibitions and events provide a platform to artists, curators, and thinkers to share perspectives and to introduce new ways of thinking about the art of our moment, and the Wattis Library is a tool that gives all visitors, anytime, anywhere, far greater access to those voices and perspectives.”
Wattis Director and Chief Curator
Artists and curators featured in the first edition of video interviews include many of the Wattis’ exhibiting artists from the past year, such as Abbas Akhavan; Huberman on Vincent Fecteau’s exhibition; and artists Akosua Adoma Owusu, Cinthia Marcelle, and Rosha Yaghmai discussing their respective exhibitions. The Library also provides an opportunity for audiences to revisit lectures, performances, and artist talks from the Wattis Institute’s event history, including a recent performance by sound artist Laetitia Sonami; a conversation between filmmakers Trinh T. Minh-ha and Isaac Julien; artist Lydia Ourahmane in conversation with Huberman; a talk by NTU CCA Singapore’s Founding Director Ute Meta Bauer; and an artist talk with sculptors Vincent Fecteau and Kathy Butterly.
The Library also highlights programs from the Wattis’ research seasons and exhibitions. They include professor and scholar Jack Halberstam’s 2019 lecture on “nothing,” which traversed literature, politics, and how to become ungovernable. In 2017, the writer and theorist Fred Moten gave a presentation, intercut with audio and video samples, on the nature of invisibility in the work of David Hammons and Ralph Ellison. And from 2014, the Library includes a lecture by the pioneering performance artist Joan Jonas on poetry and politics.
About 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 Abbas Akhavan: cast for a folly; Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle (which traveled to the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans); Diamond Stingily: Doing the Best I Can; Rosha Yaghmai: Miraclegrow; Adam Linder: Full Service (which traveled to Mudam Luxembourg); Ken Lum: What’s Old is Old for a Dog; Henrik Olesen: The Walk; Melanie Gilligan: Partswholes; Howard Fried: Derelicts; 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); K.r.m. Mooney: En, set; 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). A recent group exhibition, Mechanisms, traveled to Secession in Vienna in an expanded form entitled Other Mechanisms.
As a research institute, the Wattis dedicates an entire year to reflect on the work of a single artist, which informs a regular series of public programs and publications involving the field’s most prominent artists and thinkers. The 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha; past seasons featured Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, David Hammons, Seth Price, and Dodie Bellamy.
The Wattis also hosts an annual Capp Street Artist-in-Residence, one of the earliest and longest-running artist-in-residence programs in the country, founded in 1983 by Ann Hatch as Capp Street Project, and incorporated into the Wattis Institute in 1998. Each year, an artist comes to live and work in San Francisco for a semester, teaches a graduate seminar at CCA, and presents an exhibition. Recent participants include Abbas Akhavan (2018–2019), contemptorary (2017–2018), Melanie Gilligan (2016–2017), Carissa Rodriguez (2015–2016), Nairy Baghramian (2014–2015), Claire Fontaine (2013–2014), Ryan Gander (2012–2013), Harrell Fletcher and Kris Martin (2011–2012), Paulina Olowska and Renata Lucas (2010–2011), and Abraham Cruzvillegas (2009–2010). For more information, visit wattis.org.
About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefiting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.
CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners. Attracting promising students from across the nation and around the world, CCA is one of the 10 most diverse colleges in the U.S. This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked CCA as one of the top 10 graduate schools for fine arts in the country.
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. Alumni and faculty are often recognized with the highest honors in their fields, including Academy Awards, AIGA Medals, Fulbright Scholarships, Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur Fellowships, National Medal of Arts, and the Rome Prize, among others.
CCA is creating a new, expanded college campus at its current site in San Francisco, spearheaded by the architectural firm Studio Gang. The new campus design will be a model of sustainable construction and practice; will unite the college’s programs in art, crafts, design, architecture, and writing in one location to create new adjacencies and interactions; and will provide more student housing than ever before.
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