San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is thrilled to welcome China Academy of Art (CAA) to its historic Chestnut Street campus and newly built Fort Mason campus to exhibit some of the top cultural producers in China. Building on SFAI’s historic transatlantic exchange with CAA, this exhibition is the first in a series of collaborations between the two schools with the continued goal of forging new paths for art education and cultural exchange.
In 1984, when SFAI professor Fred Martin took a group of students and faculty to CAA, SFAI became the first art school in the western world to develop a formal relationship with a Chinese university following the Cultural Revolution. This winter, over three decades later, SFAI welcomes CAA to present at both campuses a dynamic series of programs, film screenings, and exhibitions of works by students in honor of CAA’s 90th anniversary. The curatorial framework developed by CAA faculty for the exhibition, From/To: the Frontier of Chinese Art Education, poses 90 questions that aim to generate conversation around the future role and mission of art academies in the modern technological age. Spanning both campuses, this exhibition is a survey of works by CAA’s student body that delve into both historical and contemporary Chinese narratives through traditional ink paintings, immersive virtual reality and new media spaces, an array of painting, print, and sculpture works, and large-scale installations. This exhibition will provide a chance for SFAI students, faculty, and our larger community to experience art on an international scale; putting into view the affinities between SFAI and CAA while highlighting China’s distinct contemporary worldview.
Founded in 1928 as the first art academy with a comprehensive academic program, CAA is honored as “the cradle of modern art education in China.” With over 9,000 students, it continues to uphold its historic mission of revitalizing national art through its support of traditional art forms, while continuing to champion the innovative contemporary works of modern-day Chinese visual culture. The President of CAA, Xu Jiang, the Vice President, Gao Shiming, and a notable delegation of faculty members and artists, will be in attendance for the opening reception. Additionally, SFAI welcomes an incredible roster of visiting scholars from across the United States and China to speak on these topics throughout the opening weekend.
In addition to the exhibition exchange, CAA is offering SFAI students a full scholarship to the three-year English-language International Master of Fine Arts (IMFA) degree after the successful completion of a full degree or the one-year Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program at SFAI. Looking forward, SFAI is excited to bring together students and scholars from across the globe to generate a collaborative and innovative space for art and education.
Image: (1) Interior view of SFAI—Fort Mason Campus; designed by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects. Photo: Bruce Damonte. (2) Front entrance of China Academy of Art, Nanshan Campus. Courtesy of China Academy of Art.