San Francisco Bay Area:
Learning in the Grove of Akademus - A talk with Jeff Gunderson: Saturday, February 22, 4–5pm
Longtime SFAI librarian and resident historian, Jeff Gunderson, will discuss the founding of the California School of Fine Art’s (SFAI) groundbreaking photography program in the 1940s and the school’s post-war milieu of avant-garde experimentation. Students in the photography program enjoyed close relationships with their teachers, often staying in their homes and working side-by-side in the field, inspiring student Ira Latour to describe his early days in the program as “learning in the Grove of Akademus.” Gunderson will call on several exhibiting artists, some now in their 90s, to share stories and memories of their time at the CSFA. Jeff Gunderson has been the Librarian and Archivist at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1981. He has written on the history of California photography, the San Francisco art scene of the 1940s, and done presentations on artists Joan Brown, Elmer Bischoff, Ed Ruscha, Charles Howard, the history of LGBTQ art in San Francisco, the history of Bay Area conceptual art, and the influence of art libraries on artists. He also did the introductory essay to Black Power/Flower Power: Photographs by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch. He is currently working on a collection of essays about open water swimming.
Jeff Gunderson’s talk is in conjunction with The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-1955 on view at the Bolinas Museum through March 22, 2020.
Facing Fire - Joan Wulf (MFA 1993)
Please join alumna Joan Wulf this Saturday, February 22 for the opening of the group show Facing Fire at UC Arts California Museum of Photography. Joan writes, “Fire as omen and elemental force, as metaphor and searing personal experience – these are the subjects explored by the artists of Facing Fire. California’s diverse ecologies are fire-prone, fire-adapted, even fire-dependent. In the past two decades, however, West Coast wildfires have exploded in scale and severity. There is a powerful consensus that we have entered a new era. The artists of Facing Fire bring us incendiary work from active fire lines and psychic burn zones. They face fire, sift its aftermath, and struggle with the implications.”
Folded Venus / Pomaded Sweater - Heidi Hahn (BFA 2002)
New York based painter Heidi Hahn is known mostly for her vibrant palette, melting figures, and atmospheric moods. Heidi brings a thoughtful and refreshing perspective to her work often engaging in the female body. Make sure you check out Folded Venus / Pomaded Sweater on view at Nathalie Karg Exhibitions February 19–March 22, 2020.
Image: Robert Xavier Burden working in his studio. © Robert Xavier Burden.
Play—Robert Xavier Burden (MFA 2007)
Robert Xavier Burden’s Play opens February 29, 2020 at Heron Arts: “At the heart of this exhibition lies a tension between past and present. Burden’s work indulges a childhood fixation on animals with super-human characteristics found in films and TV, and serves as a reflection on the plastic culture that is killing them, taking into question our toxic relationship with nature. At its core, it is the artist’s chance to idolize these figures once again, as they inch ever closer to extinction in the wild. With a closer look at the work, one absorbs the adoration and glorification of the animals portrayed, while simultaneously feeling the shame and sadness they are surrounded by in the form of cheap mass produced figurines. Figurines which are created for children in the hopes that they will identify with the creatures and create humanized relationships. The innocent love Burden retains for the animals he has always admired is as apparent as his disdain for a culture that kills them.”
Half Court - Full Court - Craig Schwanfelder (BFA 2009)
On view through March 6, 2020 at Kahilu Theatre, Craig Schwanfelder series presents the viewer with the experience of standing at center court and looking at both basketball hoops simultaneously. “Basketball hoops can be found everywhere and are accessible to people from all walks of life”, says Schwanfelder. Over the past five years he has photographed all types of courts, including ones at neighborhood parks, community recreation centers, grass courts, and at schools. This ongoing project has resulted in a portfolio of images that highlight the remarkable diversity of settings for a game that unifies people worldwide.
True Colors - Stefan Kürten (MFA 1989)
Opening Saturday, February 1, 2020 at SFAI alum Todd Hosfelt’s Hosfelt Gallery: “Stefan Kürten’s paintings explore the complexities of our universal yearning for the ideal place to call home. His source material includes appropriated images from architecture and design magazines as well as photographs he has taken during his global travels. These become starting points for carefully constructed scenes whose idyllic environments belie their illusory promise of ultimate happiness.”
Image: Beth Davila Waldman, “La Ocupación No. 1,” 2018, Acrylic Paint and Pigment on Tarp Mounted on Panel, 60 × 86 ½ × 2. Courtesy of George Lawson Gallery.
Into The Immense Design of Things - Beth Davila Waldman (BFA 2005)
In this group exhibition, which is on view at George Lawson Gallery through March 15, 2020, Beth’s artwork challenges the idea of permanency using architecture as a visual language and site as an inspiration. Her contemporary collage approach values the navigation of uncharted grounds, repositioning existing elements to create something more powerful. Beth’s work conceptually promotes the idea of change and transformation breaking ground literally by shattering her photography into a series of new fragments that are used to create energetic abstract landscapes with material, color and form.
Lost Man Blues: Jon Schueler - Art and War - Jon Scheuler (1951)
Join Magda Salvensen (Curator for the Jon Schueler Estate) on March 14 at Turtle Bay Exploration Park for a deeper look at Jon Schueler’s life and work. On view through April 26, Lost Man Blues will, for the first time, feature a collective group of fifteen paintings that reflect Jon Schueler’s war experiences. Adopting a perspective from the skies, these oils, painted in NY from 1979 – 1989, form a powerful and cohesive visual testament to his post-war struggles and the battle for memory and creative expression.
Image: David Park, “Couple,” 1959; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Partial gift of the Morgan Flagg Family Foundation; © Estate of David Park; courtesy Natalie Park Schutz, Helen Park Bigelow, and Hackett Mill, San Francisco.
David Park - A Retrospective - David Park
At the age of 38, David Park (1911–1960) abandoned a carload of his abstract expressionist canvases at the city dump and started painting “pictures” — a radical decision that led to the development of Bay Area Figurative Art. Organized by SFMOMA, this exhibition will be the first major museum exhibition of Park’s work in three decades and the first to examine the full arc of his career. David Park - A Retrospective opens April 11 at SFMOMA.
New York City:
Image: Lauren Carly Shaw, “I, Me, Mine,” 2019, installation. Courtesy of Postmasters Gallery.
Vicious Frames - Lauren Carly Shaw (MFA 2016)
On view through March 7, at Postmasters Gallery, Vicious Frames takes a deep dive into media addiction: one that explores, celebrates and denounces the voracious consuming of others; another that examines and stages the notion of the construction of self; and one that reflects upon the isolation produced by our online existence.
Uneasy Terms - Gelah Penn (BFA 1973)
Uneasy Terms, on view at Undercurrent Gallery through March 14, 2020, features a 33-foot-long site-responsive installation, as well as monumental constructed drawings and small collages from two of the artist’s ongoing series, Stele and Notes on Clarissa (Volume I).
Boca Raton, Florida:
Mind / Body / Spirit / Land - Suzanne Siminger (MFA 1987)
Mind / Body / Spirit / Land is a collection of oils and watercolors inspired by our beautiful land. Suzanne writes about her inspiration, “The importance of preserving the pristine beauty of our Earth is becoming an ever increasing hot issue in our lives. I believe that landscape painting, far from being an old fashioned subject that it is sometimes made out to be, is in the vanguard of artistic social responsibility.”
Image: Barbara Weissberger, “A Tat A Snag,” 2019, Archival Inkjet Print. Photo by Barbara Weissberger.
Mother - Barbara Weissberger (MFA 1989)
On view at Silver Eye Center Photography through March 21st, Weissberger’s photographs – and related photo-objects – contain familiar things and things that are confounding enough to sow doubt about the nature of those that are most identifiable. She started as a sculptor and is still deeply engaged with materials and making objects. Weissberger crafts many of the objects within her photographs, mingling found objects with the miscellany found in her studio.
Goddess Now and Spacetime - Katya Kahn (BFA 2014)
Alum Katya Kahn invites you to two upcoming exhibition openings: Goddess Now opens April 22 at Bermondsey project space, and Spacetime opens March 27 at Topos Projects. Katya’s work work involves construction of temporary landscapes, outdoor installations, collaborative building and design, and public space interventions, as well as tangible objects that encompass sculpture, painting, and collage. Katya uses words, natural materials, and found objects, among other media, and her work is often informed by public participation. Through Katya’s projects she seek to help people interact with their environments, whether natural or artificial, and to create evocative and vibrant public places for themselves.
Top Image: Photo Department View Camera class, circa 1947. George Wallace, John Bertolino, and Benjamen Chinn. Courtesy of SFAI’s Archives.