CalArts Commissions 50 Celebrated Alumni Artists to Create New Works of Art

CalArts Commissions 50 Celebrated Alumni Artists to Create New Works of Art

John Baldessari, Quack (2018)
Pictured: Edition 1/14, Photo: Joshua White / JWPictures.com

Proceeds From the Sale of the 50+50 Limited Editions and Unique Series to Support New CalArts Scholarship Endowment for the School of Art

(January 21, 2020 Los Angeles)—California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announced today it has commissioned 50 prominent alumni artists to create artworks over the next five years as part of a new alumni initiative; the new works will be sold by CalArts to establish an unprecedented artist-led scholarship endowment to benefit future art students.

50+50: A Creative Century from Chouinard to CalArts will feature commissioned artwork from a multi-generational roster of alumni artists from CalArts’s School of Art and its forebear Chouinard Art Institute to celebrate the combined 100-year legacy of two of the country’s most progressive art schools.

The artworks will be produced in partnership with publisher Lisa Ivorian-Jones as limited editions and unique series and will be released in curated groupings of ten over the course of five years, starting in February 2020 to coincide with Frieze LA.

Sales of the artwork—which will be priced at $1,500 to $150,000—will generate crucial funding for a School of Art Alumni Scholarship endowment, which will provide essential tuition support for students.

The first ten artist commissions will be unveiled in a group exhibition co-organized by Michael Ned Holte and Carmen Amengual at REDCAT, CalArts’s multidisciplinary center for contemporary arts in downtown Los Angeles from February 12 – March 22, 2020.

Representing a broad range of art making, the inaugural 50+50 series will include edition projects from CalArts and Chouinard alumni including the late artist John Baldessari (b.1931, Chouinard 1959), as well as Anne Collier (b.1970, CalArts 1993), Laddie John Dill (b.1943, Chouinard 1968), Tony Oursler (b.1957, CalArts 1979), Naotaka Hiro (b.1972 CalArts 2000), Joe Goode (b.1937, Chouinard 1961), Gala Porras-Kim (b.1984, CalArts 2009), Stephen Prina (b.1954, CalArts 1980), Barbara T. Smith (b.1931, Chouinard 1965) and Carrie Mae Weems (b.1953, CalArts 1981).

While some artists will directly reference their experiences at CalArts in their 50+50 editions, others will use the commission to revisit formative themes in their practices or experiment with new technologies. In each case, the artist will work closely with publisher Ivorian-Jones to produce a deeply personal work that encapsulates an important aspect of their artistic practice. 

Highlights from the upcoming exhibition will include a series of unique multimedia installations by Tony Oursler, titled Lucky Charm (2019), which is inspired by the artist’s friendship with Mike Kelley who he met when studying at CalArts. Anne Collier’s aura portrait of her CalArts teacher and mentor, John Baldessari is the first edition to be released from the Aura Polaroids series that Collier originally made between 2002 and 2004. These works will be shown alongside a limited set of John Baldessari’s hand-painted penguins, which stand at roughly four feet high, and Joe Goode’s hand-manipulated milk bottle edition, in which the artist applied 3D printing technology for the first time to revisit his historical milk bottle painting series.

Bringing together graduating artists of the 50s, 60s and 70s with today’s generation of artists, the complete set of artworks from 50+50: A Creative Century from Chouinard to CalArts will reflect the diversity of graduating artists from CalArts and Chouinard Art Institute, which merged with the L.A. Conservatory of Music to form CalArts in 1961.

For almost 50 years, the School of Art at CalArts has educated, cultivated, and nurtured some of the world’s most influential creative talent and set the leading edge of contemporary artistic practice in conceptualism, feminist art, design, and interdisciplinary performance.

From some of the major contemporary artists practicing today to leading names in fashion, film and music, CalArts’s pioneering approach to cross-disciplinary training, born out Chouinard’s legacy and the vision of Walt and Roy Disney, has helped to foster a continuous stream of visionary creative talent unlike any other university, school or conservatory.

Ravi S. Rajan, CalArts's president said, “As CalArts prepares to celebrate its  50th anniversary, we are pleased to launch the 50+50 project as part of Frieze Los Angeles. 50+50 is among the first events leading up to a year of anniversary celebrations beginning in November 2021. With 50+50 we begin to reflect on our history, the founding of the CalArts campus, the birth of an extraordinary community of artists and the opportunity to look forward to our future.The 50+50 project is one example of the myriad ways or alumni play a vital role in directly supporting our current and future students - the artists who will shape the future of culture.”

The artist editions are being produced by Ivorian-Jones Fine Art for CalArts and will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist.

50+50 Participating Artists

  • John Baldessari
  • Ericka Beckman
  • Larry Bell
  • Nayland Blake
  • Ross Bleckner
  • Barbara Bloom
  • Andrea Bowers
  • Anne Collier
  • Beatriz Cortez
  • Laddie John Dill
  • Victoria Fu
  • Malik Gaines
  • Liz Glynn
  • Joe Goode
  • Lauren Halsey
  • Lyle Ashton Harris
  • Richard Hawkins
  • Naotaka Hiro
  • Jason Kraus
  • Liz Larner
  • Jonathan Lasker
  • Dashiell Manley
  • Daniel Joseph Martinez
  • Rita McBride
  • Adam McEwen
  • Rodney McMillian
  • Josephine Meckseper
  • Dave Muller
  • Matthew Mullican
  • Kelly Nipper
  • Alexandra Olson
  • Catherine Opie
  • Tony Oursler
  • Laura Owens
  • Lari Pittman
  • Gala Porras-Kim
  • Stephen Prina
  • Andy Robert
  • Allen Ruppersberg
  • David Salle
  • Pieter Schoolwerth
  • Jim Shaw
  • Gary Simmons
  • Barbara T. Smith
  • Henry Taylor
  • Kaari Upson
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • James Welling
  • Christopher Williams
  • B. Wurtz

About California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) 
CalArts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines, and cultural traditions.          

About Chouinard Art Institute             
Founded in 1921, Chouinard Art Institute was a leading professional art school in Los Angeles established by its namesake, artist and educator Nelbert Murphy Chouinard (1879–1969), for the training of both fine art practitioners and commercial artists. In the 1950s and 60s, Chouinard became known as a progressive fine arts school and its alumni were at the forefront of the Light and Space and Finish Fetish movements while others explored assemblage techniques or became early standard-bearers of photo-conceptualism. Following a merger with the L.A. Conservatory of Music in 1961 to form California Institute of the Arts, Chouinard continued to operate at its Westlake location for the rest of decade until CalArts opened its doors in 1970.

Leadership support for 50+50: A Creative Century from Chouinard to CalArts is provided by CROZIER and Frieze New York. Additional support is provided by Collector Systems, providing cloud-based collections management, by Frieze Los Angeles, and by Joshua White, fine art photographer.  

For more information about 50+50, please visit 50plus50.calarts.edu, or contact Heather Suran at CalArts at (661) 291-3435/hsuran@calarts.edu. For questions about sales of the limited editions and unique series artwork, contact Publisher Lisa Ivorian-Jones at (212) 229 6762/inquiries@ivorianjones.com.  

Media Contact
Erica Borger | FITZ & CO | eborger@fitzandco.art | 646.589.0923
Blaise Marshall | FITZ & CO | bmarshall@fitzandco.art | 646.589.0926

Notes to Editors

  • This project is an artist-led fundraising initiative of CalArts
  • Proceeds from the sale of 50+50 works will establish a new School of Art scholarship endowment
  • Every year for five years, CalArts will release ten new artist editions as part of the initiative
  • The full title of the project is 50+50: A Creative Century from Chouinard to CalArts
  • Please credit Ivorian-Jones Fine Art as the producer of the editions for CalArts in all written material
  • The first ten artworks will be showcased in a public art exhibition from February 12 – March 22, 2020 at the Gallery at REDCAT, co-organized by Michael Ned Holte (Faculty, School of Art, CalArts) and Carmen Amengual (Exhibition Manager, REDCAT; Art MFA 16)