“We began as artist and dealer, but it developed into the most important personal relationship I made in my 16 years in the field,” says Chicago gallery director Paul Berlanga of his friend, Art Center alumnus Wayne Forest Miller (Photography ’41). They met in 2001, at an exhibition of Miller’s work at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Gallery. “After a momentary glance at his work on the walls [the Bronzeville series], I knew the Stephen Daiter Gallery needed to represent this man.” Miller, a Chicago native, was 82 years old at the time, with a long and legendary career behind him — World War II photographer in Edward Steichen’s elite U.S. Navy Combat Photo Unit, member of Magnum Photos, and recipient of two consecutive Guggenheim Fellowships for his landmark project documenting the African American community on Chicago’s South Side in the late 1940s. Miller, who lived in the Bay Area with his wife of 70 years, passed away on May 22, 2013. Berlanga gave a eulogy at the California memorial service last fall, and now shares his memories of the photographer — “Wayne always preferred ‘working photographer’ to artist” — with Dotted Line.
MLK Day: For Photo alum Van Evers—son of civil rights leader Medgar Evers—giving a photograph is as rewarding as taking oneFriday, January 17th, 2014
Though he rarely grants interviews, this week Van Evers agreed to talk with Dotted Line about his education and career, and also about his family legacy—an important part of our nation’s history as well as his own.
Los Angeles is not merely the backdrop for an Art Center education. It’s a living laboratory for artistic experimentation and, as the capital of an Industry so pervasive it needs no other name, a source of gainful employment.
Photography alumnus James Van Dyke Evers (who goes by “Van”) has an especially coveted gig in entertainment as the official photographer for the L.A.-based Tavis Smiley show on PBS. Over the past six years he has photographed hundreds of A-list guests on the nightly talk show, a who’s who of contemporary culture and politics, from Prince to Anthony Hopkins, from James Taylor to President Barack Obama.
“My job is to capture that special energy between two people,” says Van, who may be unique in the fast-paced world of TV talk shows for making sure every guest leaves with a framed print commemorating their appearance on the show. It entails working with lightning speed and decisiveness, and often literally running to catch guests as they step into their waiting limos.
“Most shows deliver digital images to the publicist later, and we do that too,” he says. “But handing the guest a physical print, to hold in their hands—it means so much to that guest, and it puts a smile on their face.”
That grateful smile is what made Van choose a career in photography.
Van picked up his first camera as a nine-year-old at summer camp and made his first prints in an old shed. “Light leaked everywhere, it was a real mess, but when I saw that print come up in the developing tray, that was it.”
Art Center’s top-tier facilities and dedicated faculty helped Van hone his craft, teaching him professional skills and life lessons that continue to serve him. Looking back he singles out instructors like Charlie Potts and Peter Suszynski and fellow students like Everard Williams and Jeff Sedlick (who both now serve on the faculty), and Neal Brown and Sean Thonson. And he gladly shares his own “must do”s for aspiring photographers: “Be on time. Listen to the client’s needs. And prep, prep, prep! Have a backup plan. Because things can and will go wrong. If you don’t get the shot right away, it’s over. You don’t get a second chance.”
Artforum called Sharon Lockhart’s meditation on the visionary work of Israeli dance composer and textile artist Noa Eshkol (1924–2007) an “intimate conversation of ideas simulated across the gulf of history.” The New York Times hailed the five-channel film installation as a “subtle but virtuosic move.” And the Los Angeles Times described it as “a sensitive portrait of a formidable artist.”
If you didn’t get a chance to experience the Art Center alumna’s acclaimed exhibition in person at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2012 or at The Jewish Museum in New York earlier this year, the catalog presents an opportunity to delve deeply into the two artists’ unusual “collaboration.” Edited by LACMA’s Stephanie Barron and Britt Salvesen, Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol (Prestel Publishing) features an in-depth interview with Lockhart; photographs of the installation and of Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation spherical models; a selection of Eshkol’s wall carpets, scores and drawings; as well as several essays.
It’s not the first time Lockhart, who completed her MFA in Fine Art/Painting in 1993, has trained her lens on the work — and sometimes literally the labors — of others. In this case, Lockhart says, she was drawn to Eshkol’s “radical” practice and the “labor of love” that Eshkol’s devoted students, many of them aging, enact in preserving and performing her rigorous compositions.
This story originally appeared in Art Center’s Fall 2013 Dot magazine, where you’ll find more images from Lockhart’s installation as well as profiles of other notable alumni at work.
The day Max Knecht pulled a squid, a walrus, a deer and a bunny out of a bright green vintage suitcase is the day he landed his first big deal as a designer.
“It was a formal meeting in [Knock Knock company founder and CEO] Jen Bilik’s office,” recalls Knecht PROD 11, who was still a student at the time. “But bringing all those animal body parts in a suitcase broke the seriousness.”
These were no ordinary plush toys. An imaginative take on swapping identities, Knecht’s bright-colored animals had a clever postmodern flair. Each one separated into three segments, and he demonstrated for Bilik how these “lumps” could be zipped together in any combination. She loved the crisscross-creature concept and offered Knecht a buyout on the spot. Today six different Clump-O-Lumps are available on Knock Knock’s website.
It’s tempting to call moments like this magic, the proverbial rabbit pulled out of a hat. Or a lucky break, all about who you know.
But it was none of these.
For the portrait artist, block printing is a particularly labor-intensive form. For San Diego-based Neil Shigley, it’s a labor of love.
The Art Center Illustration alum, who documents his adopted city’s homeless in search of “the most honest portrayal that I can get,” is among 48 artists whose work is included in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a juried exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on view through Feb. 23, 2014.
“They are people who are, to most of us, invisible. They are the homeless,” says Shigley’s artist statement. “I have focused my art on capturing the incredible character that life on the streets has given these individuals, many of whom are from my neighborhood near downtown San Diego. As a human being I can’t help but feel compassion . . . and by presenting them in this large format perhaps it will bring them into focus. Making them visible.”
This week the Pasadena City Council unanimously approved the memorial designed by Art Center Environmental Design student Catherine Menard. The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 150 supporters attended the Sept. 9 meeting, including members of Pasadena’s large Armenian community.
Menard’s design concept was selected by the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee (PASAGMC) in January, at the conclusion of a two-phase competition. The monument will be built at a proposed site in Pasadena’s Memorial Park once PASAGMC completes its fundraising campaign. Dedication of the public artwork is set for April 2015, coinciding with 100th anniversary commemorations of the Armenian Genocide.