Curatorial Practice Cohorot at the Black Light exhibition opening reception, 2017

CCA's 2017 graduates in Curatorial Practice present "Black Light"

Exhibition converts CCA Wattis Institute into forum for conversations addressing relationship between cultural institutions and black artists.

On view March 16 through May 14, 2017

San Francisco, Calif., February 14, 2017 — On view at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts from March 16 through May 14, 2017, the exhibition Black Light converts the gallery space into a forum for conversation with a series of free public events that address the relationship between cultural institutions and black artists.

The project — a thesis exhibition curated by California College of the Arts’ 2017 class of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice under the mentorship of late department chair Leigh Markopoulos and associate professor Julian Myers-Szupinska — gathers invited artists, art historians, and founders of institutions to share their perspectives through lectures, screenings, and workshops hosted in a purpose-built meeting space in the gallery.

Key participants

View the Wattis calendar for the full schedule of events, dates, and up-to-date program information.

The project draws its title from artist Faith Ringgold’s landmark Black Light painting series made during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Informed by Ringgold’s legacy as well as the current political climate, the exhibition poses questions about how to reconceptualize cultural representation, engagement, and critique: What spaces for agency are available to black artists today, and by what means have they produced spaces for themselves? What models does history offer artists working now? What role do institutions play? How do communities make themselves visible? Can artists dream the sociopolitical landscape differently, and what forms does this dreaming take?

A single, large-scale painting (red dust between, 2017) by the Los Angeles-based artist Rodney McMillian will be on view for the first time with the presentation, serving as focal point in the gallery and anchor for discussion. Featuring thick layers of paint poured on a discarded bedsheet, the work continues the artist’s series of abstract landscape paintings.

Black Light is accompanied by a publication of the same name (available at the exhibition’s conclusion) that gathers archival material and new interviews with Dale Brockman Davis, Karon Davis, Rasheedah Phillips, and representatives of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, as well as original writing and new scholarship by the exhibition curators. The publication will also feature commissioned artwork by Robyn Hillman-Harrigan of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter in the form of annotated texts and images.

CCA’s 2017 class of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice includes Megan Franz, Magdalena J. Härtelova, Barret Lybbert, Qianjin Montoya, and Amanda Nudelman.

UpdateMarch 6: The exhibition is dedicated to Leigh Markopoulos, who died in Los Angeles on February 24, 2017.

About CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice

The first program of its kind on the West Coast at the time of its founding in 2003, the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice puts exhibition practice, art history, and writing at the heart of its curriculum. Research-driven and project-based learning with collaboration and mentorship of the faculty is a primary focus, resulting in a written thesis project and a collectively authored exhibition for CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Core faculty and an international roster of visiting curators and artists expose students to many modes of operation in intensive seminars, critiques, and studio visits. Program alumni have gone on to curatorial positions at museums and galleries internationally, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Kunst Werke, Berlin; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); the UCLA Hammer Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Kunstverein Munich; and Museo de Arte di Lima.

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 54 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. For more information, visit

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 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); 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).


CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents Black Light
An exhibition curated by CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2017
March 16 through May 14, 2017
Opening reception: Thursday, March 16, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Location: 360 Kansas Street (between 16th and 17th Streets), San Francisco
Gallery hours: Tues.–Fri., noon–7 p.m.; Sat., noon–5 p.m.; closed Sun. and Mon.
Admission: Free
Information: 415.355.9673 or visit,