Archive for the ‘Humanities and Design Sciences’ Category

Leap Before You Look: Inside the revealing new exhibition on Black Mountain College, with MOCA curator Helen Molesworth

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015


Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

“Most people in the room probably know a little something about Black Mountain College, and it’s probably part wrong and part true,” said Helen Molesworth. Relaxed in black sneakers and a loose sweater, the new chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, less than five months into her new job, offered a candid and engaging behind-the-scenes look at her work on a revealing new exhibition about Black Mountain College—the first comprehensive exhibition on the subject to take place in the United States.

The curator’s talk in February, a full year ahead of the exhibition’s opening in L.A., was part of both the Wind Tunnel Lecture Series and Art Center Dialogues. And as she disclosed to her unsuspecting audience at the outset, “You’re the first! I haven’t actually given a Black Mountain talk yet.”

For Molesworth, Black Mountain College’s mythic status—as the birthplace of the neo-avant-garde and the site of legendary collaborations by Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Merce Cunningham—has in fact been a problem to overcome, an impediment to a more complete understanding of its history. “It was a place charged in ways that engendered mythmaking from its inception,” she said, “and a lot of that mythmaking was self-generated.” (more…)

Harriet Rubin on speaking beauty to power and rebranding the meaning of leadership

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Princessa: Machiavelli for Women by Harriet Rubin

Princessa: Machiavelli for Women by Harriet Rubin

Last week, the Humanities and Sciences department played host to Harriet Rubin, Art Center’s first Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Rubin founded Currency, an imprint of Doubleday. She has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, was a senior writer and columnist for Fast Company (a “Currency Magazine” prototype became Fast Company), and is the author of Soloing: Realizing Your Life’s Ambition,  Princessa: Machiavelli for Women and Dante in Love: The World’s Greatest Poem and How it Made History.

Rubin spent a week at the College spurring discussions both in and out of classrooms; and on Wednesday she presented an Art Center Dialogues lecture titled “The Secret Life of Leaders,” which included a thought-provoking discussion on the nature of leadership and the powerful role that poet-priests play as societal influencers.

Below are highlights from her lecture:

On the word “leadership”:
“Leadership” is a word we use a lot, but it is sounding increasingly archaic,  like “zoo” or “Triceratops” or “mini-skirts.” The media, Washington, business schools, colleges all talk reverently about leadership, but why? This Monday I heard two wonderful presentations by students in Gerardo Herrera’s class on marketing Coffee-mate to millenials. And it occurred to me that leadership may be just like Coffee-mate. Maybe that’s what we should do with leadership. We need to rebrand it.

On the actual power of “leadership”:
We’re living in a bottom-up world. Social media undermines centralized power. Flash mobs, Kickstarter, sleeper cells, tribal consciousness, shadow governments. The most-watched TV anchor Brian Williams, the leader in TV news, is revealed as no leader at all. I keep wondering if secretly nobody wants to be a leader. Maybe Brian Williams created the circumstances of his own firing. Maybe he really wanted to get out of his soulless role, and the only way he thought he could do it was by kicking it all apart.


January 2015 Art Center alumni notes

Friday, February 6th, 2015
Spike TV's Framework, a furniture design reality show, features Product Design alum, Nolan Niu as a judge

Spike TV’s Framework, a furniture design reality show, features Product Design alum, Nolan Niu as a judge

From Oxygen’s Street Art Throwdown to Spike TV’s Framework to the 2015 Academy Awards to Toyota’s MIRAI—Art Center alumni were featured across the media landscape, doling out expertise on art and design-based reality shows and creating inventive animation and futuristic vehicles. See the full scope of this month’s alumni accomplishments below.


Uses of mapping (and failure) in design: The Toyota Lecture Series hosts theorist Peter Hall at Art Center

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
Peter Hall

Peter Hall

The second installment of Art Center’s Toyota Lecture Series delivers a distinctly a wide-angle perspective on the present and future state of design, tracking its evolving and expanding impact and application. Design writer and educator, Peter Hall will present a talk on Thursday, October 9 at the Los Angeles Times Media Center at 7:30 pm.

The uses of Failure. Mapping as a design process.” “Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Collaborative Planning with Loaded Tools and Wicked Problems.” “Disassembly & Immateriality: How We Make Stuff Disappear.” This is just a sampling of previous lectures by the relentlessly interesting, Dr. Peter Hall, a design writer and thought-leading authority on the manifold uses of design thinking. Hall is also the design department head at Griffith University Queensland College of Art, where his research focuses on mapping and visualization.

Hall has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale School of Art. He co-edited with Jan Abrams the book, Else/Where: Mapping—New Cartographies of Networks and Territories and worked as a journalist for Metropolis and I.D. Magazine. He wrote and co-edited the books Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist and Sagmeister: Made You Look. In 2005 he co-founded DesignInquiry, a non-profit organization devoted to researching design issues.

The Toyota Lecture Series presents Anne Elizabeth Moore on labor, gender and culture with The Ladydrawers Comics Collective

Monday, September 29th, 2014
Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Art Center’s 2014 Toyota Lecture Series kicks off on Tuesday, September 30, with a talk by Anne Elizabeth Moore entitled: Our Fashion Year: Labor, Gender and culture with The Ladydrawers Comics Collective. The event will begin at 6pm in The Wind Tunnel Graduate Center for Critical Practice at 950 South Raymond Avenue. For anyone even contemplating missing this enlightening and entertaining evening, the following self-penned primer on Moore’s life and work should provide more than enough incentive to make room for, um, Moore in tomorrow night’s calendar.

Anne Elizabeth Moore is an internationally renowned cultural critic, Fulbright scholar, UN Press Fellow, USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow and part of the team behind The Ladydrawers. She has written and edited several award-winning books: Cambodian Grrrl (Cantankerous Titles, 2011) received a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for best book from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation in 2012. Hey Kidz, Buy This Book (Soft Skull, 2004) made Yes! Magazine‘s list of “Media That Set Us Free” and Reclaim the Media’s 2004 Media and Democracy Summer Reading List. The first Best American Comics made both Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List” and Publishers Weekly’s Bestsellers List. Unmarketable (The New Press, 2007) made Reclaim the Media’s 2007 Media and Democracy Summer Reading list and was named a Best Book of the Year by Mother Jones. Her recent book, New Girl Law (Cantankerous Titles, 2013), the follow-up to Cambodian Grrrl, was called “a post-empirical proto-fourth-wave feminist memoir” by Bust. Moore herself was recently called a “general phenom” by the Chicago Reader and “one of the sharpest thinkers and cultural critics bouncing around the globe today” by Razorcake.


Science and Art collide in the REALSPACE exhibition at Art Center’s Williamson Gallery

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Dan Goods andDavid Delgado Refraction, 2014 Theater light, water, custom electronics 19 x 25 ft., dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists.

Dan Goods and David Delgado; Refraction, 2014; Theater light, water, custom electronics; Courtesy of the artists.

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.


Critical Faculties: Meet Art Center’s 2014 Faculty Enrichment Grant recipients

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
"January, Julia F. Parker, Yosemite Visitors Center" Photo by Jonas Kulikauskas.

“January, Julia F. Parker, Yosemite Visitors Center”
Photo by Jonas Kulikauskas.

Providing a top notch education in art and design requires an intricate ecosystem comprised of state of the art facilities, a driven and talented student body and, perhaps most of all, a broad body of skilled faculty members committed to engaging students and their own creative and professional practices in equal measure.

It’s no accident that Art Center’s faculty is comprised of working artists and designers, many of whom are game changing iconoclasts and leading innovators in their fields. In addition to being steeped in the most up-to-date best practices in any given field, Art Center’s faculty members offer incentive to students to continue pursuing their creative dreams.

But maintaining dual careers requires a surplus of passion and resources, both temporal and financial. To that end, Art Center’s Faculty Council has has marshaled funds to help out with the latter in the form of its annual Faculty Enrichment Grant program, which distributes up to $40,000 to faculty members actively pursuing projects “related to creative or professional development.”

Last month, the Council announced the seven recipients of its 2014 Faculty Enrichment Grants. Each will receive an award of up to $5000 to support their work outside of the classroom. The Dotted Line reached out to each of the seven recipients to learn more about their award winning projects. Here’s what we learned:


August 2014 Alumni Notes

Friday, August 8th, 2014
Jennifer Steinkamp's Murmurfication

Jennifer Steinkamp’s Murmuration

Summer 2014 has yielded a bounty of freshly produced works, events and ideas by Art Center alumni. And look for future editions of this dispatch to be equally flush, given July’s bumper crop of kickstarter campaigns. Read on to learn more…and get in on the fun(ding).


June 2014 alumni news and notes

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Photograph by Damon Casarez for the New York Times

Photograph by Damon Casarez for the New York Times

From The New York Times to Esquire, from Cannes to the Venice Biennale — Art Center alums have been busy making, making headlines and making their talents known within some of the world’s most prestigious events, platforms and publications. In addition to this primer on their accomplishments, we’re also inviting the Art Center alumni community to nominate candidates for this year’s Art Center Alumni Awards. Read on to learn more.


The future of the digital novel is here thanks to Art Center faculty members Norman Klein and Margo Bistis

Friday, June 20th, 2014


Built with a team of artists and designers, Art Center Humanities & Sciences faculty Norman Klein and Margo Bistis released The Imaginary 20th Century, a ‘wunder-roman’ online narrative engine where fact and fiction split off and return to each other to tell the story in a unique form.

The Imaginary 20th Century is a tale of seduction, as well as espionage; of archiving and the transitive poetics of excavation. According to legend, in 1901 a woman named Carrie selects four men to seduce her, each with a version of the coming century. Inevitably, the future always spills off course. We navigate through the suitors’ worlds, follow Carrie on her travels and discover what she and her lovers forgot to notice. In 1917, Carrie’s uncle sets up a massive archive of her life.  For decades, Uncle Harry had worked for the oligarchs of Los Angeles erasing crimes that might prove embarrassing.  Thus, as he often explains, seduction itself is a form of espionage. In 2004, this archive was unearthed in Los Angeles.