Keynote Lecture: Rupert García
In 2018, the SFAI Summer Symposium commemorates the fifty-year anniversary of 1968, often referred to as the year of protests or the year that changed the world. For the US, 1968 was marked by the assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, protests against racism, sexism and the Vietnam War, the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and countless other events characterized by tumult and revolution. The Summer Symposium will reflect on contemporary and historical representations of 1968, including photography, printed media, and exhibitions. Symposium speakers Gwen Allen, Jeff Gunderson, and Linde B. Lehtinen will address Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones’s Black Panther project, SFMOMA’s recent exhibition, The Train: RFK’s Last Journey, and artists’ publication projects from the period. Collectively, through these examinations, we will ask: what lessons does the memory of 1968 offer our own politically turbulent moment?
For example, the protests of 1968, many of which were led by students, exemplify the power of resistance to mobilize change. Locally, the students of San Francisco State University, demanding greater inclusivity, waged the longest campus strike in US History. Their defiance led to the founding of the College of Ethnic Studies, which inspired the formation of ethnic studies courses and programs in higher education institutions throughout the country. Our keynote speaker, artist Rupert García, participated in the SFSU strike, taught among the first faculty members in the College of Ethnic Studies, and served as a founding member of Galería de la Raza. García was awarded an honorary doctorate from SFAI in 1993 and his body of work represents a commitment to political engagement through art practice.
This event is free and open to the public.
Linde B. Lehtinen
Gwen Allen is Professor at San Francisco State University, where she specializes in contemporary art, criticism, and visual culture. She has written about art and design for publications including Artforum, Bookforum, Art Journal, ARTMargins, Mousse, Art in America, Art Papers, caa.reviews and East of Bourneo. She is the author of Artists' Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art (MIT Press, 2011), and edited the volume The Magazine in the Documents of Contemporary Art Series (MIT Press and the Whitechapel Gallery, 2016).
Rupert García’s prints, posters and paintings address urgent issues of our time while challenging notions of folk and high art. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from SFAI (1993) and is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University. His work is held in major collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA. He lives and works in Oakland, CA. García was among the first faculty members of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University in 1969 and a founding member of Galería de la Raza in 1970.
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 is currently working on a collection of essays about open water swimming.
Linde B. Lehtinen is assistant curator of photography at SFMOMA. She received her BA in art history from the University of Chicago and MA and PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she wrote her dissertation on American modernist photographer Paul Outerbridge. Lehtinen has worked for several museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Guggenheim, and Getty. She has published articles and presented lectures on the history of photography in America, and recently co-curated The Train: RFK’s Last Journey with Clément Chéroux.
IMAGE: Rupert García, Rolling Thunder, 2017; mixed media on paper, 52 x 96 inches. Photo by John Janca. Courtesy of Rena Bransten Gallery.