CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents new site-specific work by Caitlin Cherry

The Regolith Was Boiling is on view June 1 through July 29, 2023.

Caitlin Cherry, Queen of Shangdong (detail), 2023.

Caitlin Cherry, Queen of Shangdong (detail), 2023. Courtesy of the artist and The Hole, Los Angeles.

San Francisco, CA—May 17, 2023—California College of the Arts (CCA) and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts present a new solo exhibition Caitlin Cherry: The Regolith Was Boiling, featuring a site-specific installation of large-scale oil paintings and digitally reproduced prints inspired by the architecture of the Wattis.

An emerging artist based in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, Caitlin Cherry’s paintings feature women within the backlit glow and glare of LCD screens and social media platforms, where porn stars, drag queens, Instagram models, C-list rappers, and A-list celebrities push the boundaries of the feminized body, Blackness, and class. The smooth and clear surfaces of the images are juxtaposed with fractured moiré patterns of screens, aurora effects that simulate digital iridescence, and solarized colors, where a photograph is so overexposed that it causes a reversal of tones, leading a body with brown skin to appear electric blue.

Conceived as a mural, where an overall visual ripple effect connects individual parts to a larger whole, Cherry has taken countless vignettes from popular social media platforms, Google Image Search, and Getty Images, each one featuring a female celebrity from the Black diaspora. Painted in the artist’s distinct style of chromatic distortions and dizzying overabundance, this installation emphasizes the depersonalization of celebrities and dilutes their iconographic status by placing them within a visual sea of others. Like many Black women in American culture, their unique identities are lost, like a speck of dust in the regolith, but are also strengthened by their endlessly shape-shifting representations.

Caitlin Cherry: The Regolith Was Boiling is curated by Anthony Huberman and organized by Diego Villalobos. Special thanks to The Hole. 

About Caitlin Cherry

Caitlin Cherry (b.1987, Chicago, IL) combines painting, sculpture, and installation as a way to address history, identity, and present-day politics. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2019 and 2020); The Hole, New York, NY (2020); Luce Gallery, Turin, IT (2019); Providence College Galleries, Providence, RI (2018); Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (2018); and University Museum of Contemporary Art at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (2017). She has participated in major group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Performance Space New York, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. Cherry is a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fellowship Residency and received her MFA from Columbia University in 2012. She lives and works in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.

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 Josh Faught: Look Across the Water Into the Darkness, Look for the Fog; Maia Cruz Palileo: Long Kwento; Jeffrey Gibson: Nothing Is Eternal; Lydia Ourahmane: صرخة شمسية Solar Cry; Cinthia Marcelle: A morta; Vincent Fecteau; 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; and Adam Linder: Full Service (which traveled to Mudam Luxembourg). For more information, visit

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. Benefitting 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 10 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 among the 25 most diverse colleges in the U.S. Last 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.

Calendar editors, please note:
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents

Caitlin Cherry: The Regolith Was Boiling
June 1–July 29, 2023

Location: 360 Kansas Street (between 16th and 17th streets), San Francisco
Gallery hours: Wednesday–Saturday, noon–6 pm; closed Sunday to Tuesday
Admission: Free.

Information: or 415-355-9670
Social: Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

Media contact

Lindsay Wright

Director of Integrated Communications

+1 530-906-8805

[email protected]