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Calarts Alumni conducts study on art critique

July 14, 2013
Installation Magazine

By Chandler McWilliams

A recent MFA graduate of CalArts, artist Chandler McWilliams examines the scrutiny that every art student endures- the critique.

The group critique has taken on a nearly mythological status as the centerpiece of the contemporary MFA program.  As such it is occasionally attacked as pompous, ineffective, or futile.  Its detractors suggest that a crit is nothing but a rhetorical game played by participants with no real stake in the work of their peers.  If this really is the case, then why does the critique persist? Is it nothing more than an art school version of hazing? Or could it, under the best conditions, offer something to the participants that cannot otherwise be gained?

The standard experience of a work of art—bracketing for the time the new normal of clicking through photographic documentation online—is in a gallery or museum, in silence, perhaps sharing a few hushed comments with a friend.  But more than anything the experience is fast.  Works that don’t catch one up right away are passed over, while more interesting pieces are mulled over for a few minutes.  Occasionally some may ask around about a piece or an artist in an attempt to gain further information, add some more context to the piece or learn more about a practice. Read More

An Interview with Calarts Professor Michael Ned Holte

July 9, 2013
Bad at Sports

By Joon Kwak

SALON TALK #1: A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL NED HOLTE

Michael Ned Holte is a writer, curator, and professor of contemporary art history at CalArts; along with Connie Butler, he is the co-curator of the upcoming LA biennial Made in LA, which will take place at the Hammer Museum in 2014. Originally from southwest Wisconsin, Michael Ned Holte moved to LA in 1995.  He got an MA in Art Theory and Criticism from Art Center in 2004, at the same time artists like Stephen G. Rhodes and Sterling Ruby were in grad school.  When I first met him for a studio visit last fall, I had recently moved from Chicago to LA for grad school, and he made me feel welcome to the city by assuring me that there were great local communities of weirdo/artist/musician/mutants to get to know and become part of.  I invited him back to Mutant Salon for this interview in June, where we discussed teaching, studio visits, writing, the next Made in LA exhibition and catalogue, his book Proper Names (from Golden Spike Press), and how ultimately he hopes to help artists articulate what they do. Read More.

Calarts Faculty and Pianist Vicki Ray Presents Solo Recital

July 8, 2013
Hometown Pasadena

By Kat Ward

Piano Spheres with Vicki Ray

Pianist Vicki Ray is a soloist and collaborative artist and a founding member in 1994 of Piano Spheres, along with Leonard Stein. Though he has since passed away, “his mark on Piano Spheres is indelible: make great programs, stretch yourself, help create new works.”

In a book commemorating the group’s 10th anniversary, Stein wrote:What started as a cooperative venture between four—later five—of the most interesting pianists of Los Angeles in 1994, soon grew into an annual series of five programs featuring new and unusual works, some of them special commissions given their world premieres.…each pianist has chosen his or her own repertoire and, although all agreed on the types of music to be performed, each program turned out to be very distinctive, according to the temperament of the individual artist. The pianists of Piano Spheres are Gloria Cheng, Vicki Ray, Mark Robson, Susan Svrcek, and Leonard Stein.…The Piano Spheres, so far as we know, is the only one of its kind in the world, a real American ‘original.’ Read More

Review of Chouinard Art Institute Alumnus Timothy Washington

July 8, 2013
The Loft at Liz's

Timothy Washington

Timothy Washington’s found object assemblage art was influenced by his family and neighborhood, by his sensitivity to the materials around him and by God’s own creations—which he considers his number one form of inspiration.  He also acknowledges his Grandmother, who made beautiful, hi-relief quilts and blankets with little treasures tucked inside them, and his Grandfather, a skillful carpenter. In addition, the artist acknowledges a professional artist neighbor who let him handle materials when he was about six or seven, and of course, life itself.  He used to walk around his Watts neighborhood and pick up objects that he could transform and incorporate into his art.

Washington does not think of himself as self-taught, as he won a scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and cites everyone from Gauguin to Da Vinci, Michelangelo to Modigliani, as having been influential at varying times; he does think that “the gift or the talent comes from God,” and he pretty much dismissed what he was taught in school to fashion his work on a spiritual level as well as with an intrinsic approach that “comes from our forefathers.” Read More

Calarts Music Student and Guitarist-turned-drummer Produces First Album

July 8, 2013
All About Jazz

By Edward Blanco

Alex Snydman: Fortunate Action (2013)

Guitarist-turned-drummer Alex Snydman left behind an established East Coast presence in the Massachusetts and New York area jazz scenes for graduate studies at The California Institute of the Arts and, while in Los Angeles, has produced his very first album as leader with the highly audacious Fortunate Action. A student of Joe La Barbera, Bob Gullotti and Eric Harland, among others, Snydman's assertive, yet finessed style, combined with his talent as a composer, marks this debut a winner on many fronts and goes a long way in establishing this young jazz lion as a future drummer of note.

The album—consisting of nine fine selections of originals and standards, all featuring Snydman in variations of trio and quartet formats alongside an assortment of young, up- and-coming players like pianists Chris Pattishall, Doug Abramson and Miro Sprague, and accompanied by bassists Alec Derian and Tyler Heydolph—illuminates a varied, challenging and very creative musical statement. This is quite evident from Pattishal's opening "In Joy," with a soft-toned introduction that develops quite nicely around a gospel-influenced core. Read More

CalArts gets top ranking among animation programs

July 2, 2013
Animation Career Review

Top 20 Animation and Game Design Schools on the West Coast

Our 2013 list of the Top 20 Animation and Game Design Schools on the West Coast. 

For the record, we define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CaliforniaCalifornia Institute of the Arts (CalArts) began with the merger of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music (est. 1883) and the Chouinard Art Institute (est. 1921). Roy O. Disney and his younger brother Walt Disney “guided” the merger in 1961 to form California Institute of the Arts. The school received accreditation in 1964. CalArts’ first academic year began in 1970 with 650 students (by 1971) and six schools including Art, Critical Studies, Design, Film, Music, and Theater & Dance. Read More.

CalArts' East of Borneo creates a pop-up newsstand in Culver City

June 28, 2013
Hyperallergic

By Allison Meier

The Rise of the Artist Newsstand

This summer several art newsstands are bringing independent media to the city streets and subways, with piles of zines and DIY publications offered in the tradition of newsstands. Handsomely constituting a small trend, the newsstands currently installed in New York and Los Angeles are looking to engage a larger public with offbeat media, while still acting like a hub of information and interaction — just like any other newsstand.

The Newsstand, which opened earlier this month in the Lorimer/Metropolitan G and L train connection in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was curated by Lele Saveri of the 8-Ball Zine Fair for creative media company ALLDAYEVERYDAY. Lodged in the space of a former MTA newsstand, there are international zines and offerings from publishers like Desert Island Books, Miniature Garden, Dashwood Books, Hamburger Eyes, and Peradam, and some magazines organized by McNally Jackson. A sticker machine sits out front, and small stacks of press are even offered for free. When I stopped by, there was a photo shoot happening (as you do with a hip, underground, well-curated art newsstand), but there seemed to be a fair amount of people stopping by anyway from the endless travelers in movement through the station. Read More

Profile of jazz artist and Calarts Alumnus Peter Epstein

June 30, 2013
RGJ

By Susan Skorupa

Sunday Profile: After life of jazz performer, saxophonist Epstein lands at UNR

Peter Epstein has covered a lot of ground in the past 30 years.

As a musician, he’s performed all over the world in about 25 countries, made New York City his base as a jazz saxophonist for 10 years, earned two degrees in music performance, led some bands, performed in others and recorded about 50 CDs.

Epstein is one of the recipients of the Nevada Arts Council 2014 fellowships given to practitioners of the performing, literary and visual arts.
“It’s a huge honor, a very generous and significant award,” Epstein said.

After more than a decade teaching music in the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Music, Epstein also has the satisfaction of watching students he’s taught successfully follow their own paths in music. Read More

Profile of artist and Calarts Alumnus Peter Epstein

June 30, 2013
RGJ

By Susan Skorupa

Sunday Profile: After life of jazz performer, saxophonist Epstein lands at UNR

Peter Epstein has covered a lot of ground in the past 30 years.

As a musician, he’s performed all over the world in about 25 countries, made New York City his base as a jazz saxophonist for 10 years, earned two degrees in music performance, led some bands, performed in others and recorded about 50 CDs.

Epstein is one of the recipients of the Nevada Arts Council 2014 fellowships given to practitioners of the performing, literary and visual arts.
“It’s a huge honor, a very generous and significant award,” Epstein said.

After more than a decade teaching music in the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Music, Epstein also has the satisfaction of watching students he’s taught successfully follow their own paths in music. Read More

Profile of artist and Chouinard Art Institute alumnus Ed Rucha

July 1, 2013
New Yorker

By Calvin Tomkins

ED RUSCHA’S L.A.

If you need cheering up, go to the Museum of Modern Art and look at a painting called “Oof,” by Edward Ruscha. The title and the subject are identical, just those three block letters, each one bigger than your head, in cadmium yellow on a background of cobalt blue. The six-foot-square canvas currently hangs in Gallery 19, on the fourth floor, along with Roy Lichtenstein’s “Girl with Ball,” Andy Warhol’s “Gold Marilyn Monroe” and “Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times,” and other Pop Art trailblazers of the early nineteen-sixties. “Oof” outdoes them all in its immediate, antic impact. This is not the kind of picture that reveals hidden depths on subsequent viewings. Everything is right there, every time, and it never fails to make me feel good.

Ruscha (pronounced Ru-shay) was twenty-six when he painted it, in 1963, three years out of art school, living in Los Angeles, and already hitting his stride. He had vetoed the spontaneous, loose-elbow, Abstract Expressionist style that still prevailed at the Chouinard Art Institute, where he studied in the late nineteen-fifties, shortly before it became the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). “They would say, Face the canvas and let it happen, follow your own gestures, let the painting create itself,” he later recalled in an interview, but that didn’t pan out for him. Ruscha had seen, reproduced in the magazine Print, a Jasper Johns collage painting called “Target with Four Faces,” and it had opened up a new range of possibilities. He decided that whatever he was going to do in art would have to be “completely premeditated.” Read More

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