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CalArts Appoints Ranu Mukherjee Dean of Film/Video

CalArts Appoints Ranu Mukherjee Dean of Film/Video

Photo: Taylor Johnson

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announced the appointment of Ranu Mukherjee as Dean of its School of Film/Video. Mukherjee, who comes to CalArts from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, begins Aug. 15.

Mukherjee brings 30 years of experience as an artist and educator to her role as dean of the largest of CalArts’ six schools of visual and performing arts. Currently a professor and chair of Film at CCA, she was previously on the faculty of CCA’s Graduate Fine Art Program, where she served terms as chair and assistant chair. Prior to moving to California, she spent eight years on faculty in Visual Arts at Goldsmiths College, University of London. 

In announcing the selection of Mukherjee following an international search, Provost Tracie Costantino said, “I’m delighted that Ranu is joining CalArts to lead our prestigious School of Film/Video at this critical time. She brings deep experience as an artist, teacher, mentor, and administrator to this role, as well as extensive and thoughtful work in pedagogy, cultural critique, and multidisciplinary artistic practices. I’m delighted to have her as a colleague.” 

“I am thrilled to be joining CalArts, a community of artists whose history of radical pedagogy and visionary artwork has long had an influence on me,” added Mukherjee. “The way the School of Film/Video holds together distinctive models and resources in an environment of personal choice, to support students’ vision and creation, is endlessly inspiring—particularly in this moment when the critical role moving images play in the culture at large cannot be overstated. As someone with a deep interest in the relationship between cinematic, visual, and performing arts as well as critical thought, I am also very excited to work in dialogue with the deans of all of the schools that make up CalArts.”  

As a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker, Mukherjee works with animation and choreography, painting, textiles, installation, and performance. She connects questions around ecology, time, diaspora, and the experiences of women to the history of futurisms, speculative fiction, and ruptured colonial legacies. She also takes an ecology-based approach to pedagogy and leadership, informed by living questions and a focus on open dialogue, collective health, and artistic innovation. 

Mukherjee’s extensive international exhibition and screening history includes projects at the 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Natasha, Singapore Biennale 2022-2023, and Karachi Biennial (2019). She is represented by Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco/New York, which published her first monograph, Shadowtime, in 2021. Recent honors include an Artadia Award (2023) and a Lucas Visual Arts Fellowship (2019). 

Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Escalette Collection at Chapman University, Orange, California; JP Morgan Chase Collection, New York; the Kadist Foundation, San Francisco and Paris; the Oakland Museum of California; the San Jose Museum of Art; and the San Francisco International Airport, among others.  She is one of the co-creators of 0rphan Drift, an artist avatar making combined media works since their formation in London in 1994.

Mukherjee trained in painting and experimental film at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston and earned her MFA from the Royal College of Art, London. She serves on the boards of directors at the San Jose Museum of Art, Southern Exposure, and Bridge Live Arts and is the proud mother of 17-year-old triplets.

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California Institute of the Arts (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.