Tag Archives: Stephen Nowlin

A celebration of dedication: Art Center employees recognized for years of service

Hillside Campus in 1978. Image courtesy of College Archives.

Hillside Campus in 1978. Image courtesy of College Archives.

Martina Navratilova defeated Chrissie Evert for the “ladies” championship at Wimbledon, Sony introduced the Walkman and Midnight Express was playing in theaters. The year was 1978, when Hillside Campus had been occupied for about two years, South Campus didn’t exist and three people started their careers at Art Center.

One of those people is Stephen Nowlin, vice president of the Williamson Gallery. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to have watched Art Center from up close through the years—first as a high school student visiting the little hallway gallery on 3rd street; then as a graduate student at the Pasadena campus; and as an Admissions counselor, teacher, web producer and, for most of that time, as the Williamson Gallery’s director. The most impressive thing for me through all those years and roles, I must say, has been the consistency of high quality in the work produced by Art Center’s students. It never ceases to amaze me.”

Every year Art Center celebrates employees who have reached significant milestones in their careers. On September 23, 2014, almost 60 individuals were recognized for having 2013 work anniversaries of 10 or more years. The occasion was commemorated with a formal luncheon and presentation of the service awards hosted by the Human Resources Department. Earlier this year a luncheon was held to commemorate those having work anniversaries in 2012.

“Art Center students are supported by dedicated staff and faculty who do everything they can, directly in the classroom or indirectly behind the scenes, to help students achieve their goals to become professional artists and designers,” said Nancy Duggan, Executive Director, Human Resources. “It is our pleasure to honor these individuals.”

Art Center President Lorne M. Buchman kicked off the presentations with a word of thanks, which was followed by the awards ceremony.

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Art and Science Intersect at “Intimate Science” Exhibition Opening at Williamson Gallery

Intimate Science, an exhibition showcasing contemporary artists conducting projects in scientific and technological domains, opens at Art Center College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery on Friday, May 31. An opening reception, free to the public, will take place Thursday, May 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Williamson Gallery, says Stephen Nowlin, founding director of the Gallery, has helped define this “briskly emerging international cultural movement.” He explains, “Science enjoys a popular patina of certainty, while behind art there is in fact cerebral order, structure and intent. The true kinship of art and science is to be found…when each discipline is allowed to encourage and ignite each other.”

Curated by Andrea Grover and organized by the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Intimate Science explores the shift from artists aiding science to artists “doing” science, and how this impacts the way scientific knowledge is acquired, used and shared. The exhibition continues through Aug. 18 at Art Center’s Hillside Campus in Pasadena.

Philip Ross's Mycotecture Series at the Williamson Gallery exhibit Intimate Science is an experiment in growing architectural structures and furniture from the fungus Ganoderma Lucidum, also known as Reishi or Ling Chi.

Philip Ross’s Mycotecture series in the Williamson Gallery exhibition Intimate Science is an experiment in growing architectural structures and furniture from the fungus Ganoderma Lucidum, also known as Reishi or Ling Chi.


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ARTnews Recognizes Williamson Gallery as Shaping Art/Science Movement

In the March 2013 issue of ARTnews Magazine, arts writer Suzanne Muchnic features the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery on the Art Center Hillside Campus and its nearly two decade-long series of exhibitions. The cover story, “Under the Microscope,” also features other leading contributors to the burgeoning art/science movement, noting that “in museums, schools, and research facilities, scientists and artists are swapping methods.”

OBSERVE at the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery

Lita Albuquerque's installation "Stellar Suspension" was included in OBSERVE, an Art Center/Caltech-JPL collaboration at the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery in 2008.

“Strict old-style boundaries like the ones assumed to exist between art and science are eroding,” said Stephen Nowlin, an Art Center alumnus and founding director of the Williamson Gallery, which opened in 1992. “Traditional dichotomies such as intellect versus emotion, reason versus intuition, and the poetic versus the practical, are becoming less distinct under the influence of unprecedented communication networks and analytical tools that reveal in higher resolution and greater clarity the complex layers of things and ideas.”

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Art Center in the News, March 2013

In case you missed it, Dotted Line brings you a monthly roundup of media coverage.

From the success of the student-led Dot Independent Film Festival (DIFF | LA) and the rise of 3D printing, to reflections on the life of Mike Kelley and the connections between art and science, catch up on any news you may have missed with our March media roundup.

Mike Kelley in The Wall Street Journal

“In 1987, [Mike Kelley] began teaching at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, a sign among his peers that he had ‘arrived.’”–Kelly Crow writing in the Wall Street Journal. Photographs of Kelley by Grant Mudford in 1989, left, and by Tyler Hubby on December 7, 2011, right.

For the latest Art Center news, follow us on Twitter at @art_center.

Three Boys from Pasadena Return Home to Art Center

UPDATE:  You’re invited to the closing party Thursday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
Last chance to see exhibition honoring Helmut Newton

Join the photographers, models and friends for a celebration of this critically praised exhibition featuring the photography of three Art Center alumni who were mentored by Helmut Newton.  Please RSVP to suzanne.valles@artcenter.edu or call 626.396.2368 for more information.

On June 14, a packed house celebrated the Williamson Gallery’s opening reception for Three Boys from Pasadena, an exhibition of work by Art Center photography alums Mark Arbeit, George Holz, and Just Loomis.  The exhibit is accompanied by a tribute to famed fashion photographer Helmut Newton, with whom Mark, George, and Just each maintained a close and lifelong friendship after working for him early in their careers. In June 2010, Three Boys from Pasadena premiered at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. The companion book, with a foreword by June Newton, was published in France and is available in the Art Center student store. The Williamson Gallery exhibit is an expanded version of the original show, featuring an additional seventy prints, and will continue through August 26, 2012.

This exhibition is a homecoming, arriving back at the site of the first meeting between the Boys and Helmut. The exhibit consists of each photographer’s individual work, as well as several vitrines of memorabilia, consisting of snapshots, handwritten notes, journal pages, contact sheets, and other souvenirs. In the sensual, striking fashion editorial and portraiture by Mark, George and Just, a direct line of influence can be traced from Newton to his apprentices, while at the same time each of the three photographers’ body of work shows a departure from Newton’s strong influence and the development of a unique and independent voice.

Listen to the 3 Boys from Pasadena panel discussion

WORLDS Exhibition Extended

If you haven’t had a chance to view WORLDS, currently showing at the Williamson Gallery, you are in luck. The exhibition has been extended through January 29, 2012.

Galileo Spacecraft IO, Satellite of Jupiter, 1999, NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

WORLDS continues the theme of superimposing two domains traditionally imagined to be distant and estranged—art and science. The exhibition is a medley of objects, images, sounds and videos exploring celestial phenomena by examining the products of art and science.

Meteor rocks borrowed from UCLA’s Meteorite Collection, an illuminated manuscript from 1568, a Copernicus engraving and other scientific works (many borrowed from the rare books collection of the Huntington Library) are on display alongside more contemporary space-themed art by Jonathan Cecil, Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn.

In the Los Angeles Times, WORLDS curator and Williamson director Stephen Nowlin explained the purpose of the exhibition, “We have an Earth focus. This show is about reinvestigating that perspective. It’s a space object we live on.”

According to Nowlin, exhibitions like WORLDS fit well with Art Center’s mission because the College trains artists and designers who innovate “at the boundary of art and science.”

The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. and Friday, noon to 9 p.m.

Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn Liftoff, from the "Apollo Prophecies" series, 2002-06. Courtesy: the artists

In Case You Missed It

As we return from break we thought it would be a good time to check in on what is going on with Art Center alumni, students and faculty.

The Williamson Gallery’s current exhibition, Worlds was featured in The Los Angeles Times. Haven’t seen it yet? You’re in luck. The exhibition has been extended through January 29, 2012.

Art Center was well represented in the December issue of THE Pasadena Foothills Magazine. The magazine’s cover story, 50 Creative People 2011, featured President Lorne Buchman and recognized faculty and staff members Mariana Amatullo, Dan Gottlieb, Penny Herscovitch, Karen Hofmann, Stephen Nowlin and Geoff Wardle; student Holly Wren Hofgaarden; and alumni Edgar Arceneaux, Dan Goods and Steve Roden. The issue can be read here.

Student Maria Meehan received a 2011 Bill Bernbach Scholarship, earning herself $5,000 to put towards tuition. The scholarships are made possible through the Bill Bernbach Diversity Scholarship Fund, established in 1998 by DDB Worldwide to provide financial assistance to creatively talented, culturally diverse students seeking an education in copywriting, art direction and design.

Jayne Vidheecharoen demonstrating her Portals project

Media Design student Jayne Vidheecharoen, whom we’ve covered previously,  is still creating an Internet buzz around her Portals alternate reality project, funded by Kickstarter. We found her project covered here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Transportation Design Chair Stewart Reed participated as a jury member for The Michelin Challenge Design. The jury made final selections based on the theme, “City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity.” More than 200 projects, submitted by more than 1,700 registrants representing 88 countries, were reviewed. The jury selected the work of 27 participants for display at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Alumnus Christopher Chapman, formerly with BMW, was hired as chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, California.

Alumnus Eric Tu, co-founder and creative talent curator at F360, a studio with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, was interviewed by Studio Daily.

Alumnus Matt Cunningham’s role as designer of the interior train car shots for the thriller “Source Code” was explored in the Aiken Standard.

At the Crossroads of Art and Science: Art Center’s Williamson Gallery

From Caltech to the Norton Simon Museum, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Craig Ellwood Associates’ modernist design for Hillside Campus, Pasadena has always been a city of art and science. Art Center’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery is a perfect fit for a city like Pasadena, establishing a national reputation for its exhibitions exploring the boundaries, relationships and perspectives on art and science.

© Steven A. Heller/Art Center College of Design

Drawing inspiration from all areas of Art Center’s educational programs, the gallery’s mission is twofold: to serve as an active partner in the education of our students, who will shape visual culture in the future; and to engage the broader public community in a progressive dialogue about art and design for the 21st century.

We caught up with Vice President and Director of the Williamson Gallery, Stephen Nowlin, to learn more about his relationship with the gallery and to find out what we can expect in the coming year.

Dotted Line: You have a long history with Art Center.
Stephen Nowlin
: I do. The first time I visited Art Center’s Hillside Campus—shortly before I became a student, and before there was a single tree growing on campus— was to see an exhibition by the famous photographer Richard Avedon in 1976. The first show I helped curate for the College was a retrospective of the pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, a few years later in ’79.

I’d learned about Art Center in high school—and at the risk of dating myself, that was before the College had moved to Pasadena. I used to visit the Third Street campus and stare in awe at the drawings in the little hallway gallery, and then I’d go home, get my pencils, and imitate what I’d seen. I earned my BFA from Calarts, but came to Art Center a few years later for my MFA. Then, three weeks after graduating, I was hired by Laurence Dreiband to teach a couple of painting classes and to help with recruitment for the Fine Art Department. I was terrified of teaching for the first time, but also grateful for the job.

There was no Williamson Gallery back then. There was the student gallery, and occasionally shows like Avedon’s were organized and installed in a studio space shared with the Transportation Design Department. In those days, it was not unusual for staff to wear multiple hats, and so I was also conscripted to help Midge Quenell, who was a sort of quasi-provost and seemingly in charge of all things having to do with admissions and curriculum, in addition to many other things. One of her duties was changing the student gallery at the end of each term, and overseeing anything exhibition-related. Things just kind of grew from there. From the perspective of hindsight, I realize how privileged I’ve been to have had an opportunity to shape the Williamson Gallery’s exhibition program from its earliest beginnings.

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At The Intersection of Design and Science

Williamson Gallery Director Stephen Nowlin discusses the interconnection between art, science, design and technology in a recent Pasadena Star-News article profiling Nowlin and the two current shows in the gallery, The Future of Objects and The Curious World of Patent Models.

From the article: “Nowlin sees the exhibit as a perfect fit for the gallery because Art Center students are learning product design and ‘every object that is made is conceived within the technology of its era.’ The Curious World of Patent Models shows how people were thinking at the time, but to make it more relevant, he looked to David Cawley, director of Rapid Prototyping and Model Shops at the school. The two came up with The Future of Objects, an exhibit focused on 3D printing.”

Read more: Old and new in science and design on display in Pasadena