This guest blog post comes in response to recent digital conversation sparked by an article on MTV.com taking issue with the description for an undergraduate Fine Art course (co-taught, not incidentally, by a woman of color) entitled “Pretty Hurts.” This piece, composed by Fine Art department chair Vanalyne Green and course instructors Ariel McCleese and April Bey, was intended to contribute to this vital and momentous exchange as well as to elucidate the intentions animating the description’s provocation. We hope the dialogue will continue as we wholeheartedly embrace the values of inclusivity and gender equality that have informed this conversation as well as the work of all the artists discussed below. Please continue to weigh in with your thoughts and ideas on this dynamically shifting terrain in the comments section below.
Archive for the ‘Fine Art’ Category
Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday in which we as a nation give thanks for all our blessings, is just around the corner. In the spirit of that tradition, I’d like to take a moment to pause and reflect on what I have to be thankful for here at Art Center.
First of all, I’m thankful for all the newest members of the Art Center family. This Fall term we welcomed a record-breaking entering class of 432 new students, a number which reflects the continuing strength and enormous appeal of both our undergraduate and graduate programs. These students come to us from a total of 37 states across the nation and 31 countries around the globe, for a total of 47 countries represented across our truly international student body.
You may also be interested to know that the average age of the entering class is 21 and that, of our incoming undergraduates, 52% are female. As always, all of our incoming students demonstrated their considerable merit through their portfolios, academic records and personal statements, and each underwent a rigorous review to gain admission.
Art Center’s enterprising diaspora has been making a creative impact far and wide during August and September. Here’s a primer of the past two months’ worth of alumni accolades and accomplishments.
The painter Willem de Kooning once said that the idea of space “is given to the artist to change if he can.” And of the real, Robert Rauschenberg opined that a painting “is more like the real world if it’s made out of the real world.” Space in painting is measured on a scale that begins with deep illusion depicting what appears beyond the window of the canvas, and moves successively forward to tangible real tactility in front of the canvas.
Where an artist chooses to work on that illusion-to-reality scale can have meaning in and of itself. And the modern history of those choices can be viewed as a kind of archeology of existential change. The exhibition REALSPACE, opening October 4 at Art Center College of Design’s Williamson Gallery, is meant to reflect on how science intersects with that history. Poeticized by artists and studied by scientists throughout human history, the intractable reality of the natural world is examined by contemporary art and artifacts included in REALSPACE.
REALSPACE will be installed in the Williamson Gallery October 4, 2014 through January 18, 2015. The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, October 3, from 7 to 10pm. Artists in the exhibition include Adam W. Brown and Robert Root-Bernstein, James Griffith, Dan Goods, David Delgado, Santiago Lombeyda, Rebeca Méndez and Jennifer Steinkamp. Artifacts and writings by James Ferguson (1710-1776), William Herschel (1738-1822), and Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), on loan from The Huntington Library, are also featured in the exhibition that combines works from contemporary art and science. At its opening, the exhibition will be accompanied by a 20-page free booklet and, eventually, a 40-page catalog.
A visiting artist and exhibition series sponsored by the undergraduate Fine Art department, open to the campus community and to the public, is bringing diverse voices and points of view to Art Center. (See full schedule of upcoming programs below.)
“Art students need to see a mix of people and perspectives, otherwise their assumptions about life, society and art are not questioned,” says Fine Art Chair Vanalyne Green. “And what is an art education for, if not to pose questions?”
The programming includes lectures, screenings, performances and exhibitions designed to expose students to artists whose work is thought-provoking and, in many cases, boundary-defying.
Last month, artist, educator and film curator Anuj Vaidya presented “Colour Me Queer: LGBTQ Voices From India,” an array of queer experimental shorts created by himself and others over the past decade.
When Fine Art faculty member Tom Knechtel and director of real estate and campus planning Rollin Homer were asked to sign a faculty and staff appeal for Art Center’s Annual Fund this past spring, they came up with a better idea: create a scholarship fund for Art Center students that would last forever.
Their idea become the Art Center Students First Scholarship, the College’s first-ever scholarship endowment supported entirely by College faculty and staff. The goal is to bring the fund up to the endowment level of $50,000 so that it can continue provide support for students every year—for as long as Art Center is around.
Our brief chat with Tom sheds some light on the impact that scholarships like Art Center Students First can have on young artists and designers and on the College.
In 2014 Art Center College of Design opened a new home for two of its dynamic visual arts programs—Fine Art and Illustration—at the College’s South Campus in Pasadena. Renovation of the former post office was made possible in part due to the generosity of the Hutto-Patterson Charitable Foundation, providing a dramatic atrium space in the center of the building to showcase the work of Art Center students and visiting artists through a rotating series of exhibitions.
On Thursday, September 11, the Hutto-Patterson will unveil its inaugural show: California’s first solo exhibition of self-taught, Texas-based artist Ike Morgan, which will remain on view through December 5, 2014. “U.S. Presidents and the Mona Lisa” features 16 unframed paintings on paper and two larger works on canvas, reflecting Morgan’s enduring interest in making pictures of George Washington and Mona Lisa.
Frank L. Lanza (BFA ’57 Illustration) has had his finger on the pulse of advertising illustration for nearly 60 years. Working almost exclusively as a freelancer, he survived the new dominance of photography in print in the 1960s, experienced the pungent impact of the Magic Marker on storyboarding, and witnessed the revolutionary impact of computers on layout and design. His wide-ranging career has included packaging design for Crown Zellerbach and book illustration for Sunset Magazine and the first Del Monte Kitchens Cook Book. He also storyboarded for commercials and TV shows.
Lanza credits the solid fundamental toolkit he acquired at Art Center with laying the groundwork for his creative versatility and professional durability. “I was able to last as a freelancer thanks to the strong foundation of drawing skills I received at Art Center,” he says. He now hopes to return the favor to future artists with a gift of $1 million to the College to establish the Frank L. Lanza Scholarship Endowment, providing them the same lifelong artistic foundation. The endowment supports students of exceptional talent in the Illustration and Fine Art departments.
Perhaps more than graduation itself, Graduation Show Preview marks the culmination of a student’s years of hard work at Art Center. Each term, on the Thursday before Saturday’s commencement ceremony, the College’s classroom studios, hallways and exhibition spaces come alive with 2D, 3D, digital and other work renowned for both its conceptual rigor and its professional finish. It’s like one giant gallery opening — the Summer 2014 edition brimming with more than 450 invited guests — showcasing some of today’s most innovative and most driven emerging artists and designers.