Larry Sultan’s Continued Influence

Student Max Blue reflects on Larry Sultan collaborative spirit—at SFAI and beyond.

Larry Sultan studied and taught at San Francisco Art Institute in the 1970s and 1980s. Linda Connor, Henry Wessel, Jack Fulton, Jerry Burchard, and Pirkle Jones, all influenced Sultan as a student. Also impactful was his relationship to John Collier, Jr., who team-taught with Sultan in the late 1970s through the 1980s. Larry valued collaboration not only as a teacher but as an artist, and worked closely on many projects with fellow student Mike Mandel.

The work produced by Mandel’s and Sultan’s thirty-five plus years of collaboration included two important artists’ books, Evidence and How to Read Music in One Evening, as well as a series of billboards commissioned for the U.S. Bicentennial. They also worked together on a ceramic tile mosaic mural at the DeFremery Pool in Oakland, Constitution Wall in Sacramento, and Waiting, a pixilated mosaic in the International Terminal at the San Francisco Airport.

Larry’s influence as a teacher—and enthusiasm for collaborative work—inspired SFAI Assistant Professor Lindsey White to team-teach a course titled Larry Sultan Study Hall in Spring 2017 with Jordan Stein and a group of CCA students, culminating in a day-long art event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Mike Mandel: Good 70s is currently on view at SFMOMA through August 20.

Larry Sultan: Here and Home was simultaneously on view from April 15 through Jul 23, 2017.

Written by Max Blue (BA 2018) with support from Jeff Gunderson, Special Collections Librarian and Archivist.

Image credit: Collaged portrait by Max Blue (BA 2018).