Congratulations, Class of 2018!
Celebrate the astounding contributions of SFAI’s graduating BFA, BA, Post-Bac, MFA, MA, and Dual Degree MA/MFA artists + scholars.
Kehinde Wiley to Speak at SFAI Commencement
“San Francisco Art Institute is where I honed in on my skills and identity as an artist, and I’ve carried that experience with me throughout my career,” says Wiley.
“Art schools empower young people, giving a sense of art history as well as the tools to question those histories and re-envision our culture. It is a wonderful honor to return to SFAI and speak at Commencement to a new generation of emerging artists, full of potential. I hope my story and work will inspire them to claim the full capacities of their education for powerful communication and social change.”
SFAI President Gordon Knox has announced the recipient of the 2018 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, bestowed upon the approval of the Board of Trustees:
“Kehinde Wiley’s work reflects the core values of a San Francisco Art Institute education—exquisite technique delivering a complex human story. His paintings re-shape how we see and understand power and argue for a more inclusive vision of individual and collective potential. As a school, SFAI is proud to have played a part in the emergence of such a brilliant artist. We are delighted to now welcome him back to celebrate his successes and those of our graduating students, who leave SFAI set to make their own glorious marks on the world.”
Alum Kehinde Wiley (BFA 1999), whose recent portrait of President Barack Obama for the National Portrait Gallery made international news, will address the graduates and guests on behalf of all degree recipients at this year's Commencement Ceremony to be held May 13, 2018.
About Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, and Ingres, among others, Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men and women found throughout the world. By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.
Kehinde Wiley holds a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute; an MFA from Yale University; and an honorary PhD from Rhode Island School of Design. His paintings are in the collections of over forty museums including the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Brooklyn Museum. Selected museum exhibitions include The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Phoenix Art Museum; Jewish Museum, New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Petit Palais, Paris; BOZAR, Brussels; the Phoenix Museum of Art; the Toledo Museum of Art; and the Modern, Fort Worth, among others. His work has been the subject of ten monographs to date. Wiley was recently the subject of the documentary, An Economy of Grace (2014, Show of Force).
Wiley was honored in 2015 by the US Department of State with the Medal of Arts award, celebrating his commitment to cultural diplomacy through the visual arts. In February 2018, his portrait of Barack Obama was added to the permanent installation of presidential portraits in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. He lives and works in New York.
Other recent recipients of an honorary degree from SFAI include alumnus Enrique Chagoya, Linda Nochlin, Theaster Gates, Jack Whitten, alumna Kathryn Bigelow, and Roberta Smith.
2018 MacAgy Award Recipient
SFAI bestows the 2018 Douglas G. MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award on Mildred Howard.
Established in 1996 and named for the Director of the California School of Fine Arts (now SFAI) from 1945 to 1950, this award is given to a person, organization, or group that has made a singularly compelling contribution to the Bay Area, especially concerning the public awareness of issues and ideas in the visual arts.
About Mildred Howard
Bay Area-based artist, activist, and educator Mildred Howard has consistently engaged and served her community for more than forty years as a professional artist. Besides having taught at every major art institution and university in the area, including the San Francisco Art Institute, Howard has worked extensively in schools and with at-risk and underserved populations such as the homeless and the incarcerated. She continues to put the faces, voices, hopes and dreams of her community at the very heart of her work, whether in her extensive and highly decorated public art career or in her consistent production of sculpture, assemblage, and works on paper.
Howard is a highly visible figure in the landscape of public art in the Bay Area, with permanent large-scale works at the San Francisco Airport, in the Western Addition and in downtown San Francisco. Her Moving Richmond, a work in which a poem by Macarthur Fellow Ishmael Reed was incised into two forty-foot walls of faceted steel, can be seen at Richmond, California’s BART Station.
Howard has received numerous awards including an NEA Grant in Sculpture, two Rockefeller Artist’s Fellowships, the Joan Mitchell Fellowship and an Anonymous Was a Woman Fellowship. Her work is included in major collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the de Young Museum, and has been widely exhibited internationally at venues in Cairo, Berlin, Paris, London, Egypt, Ghana, and Morocco. She also spent eleven years working in the Institute for Inquiry at the Exploratorium integrating and developing curriculum in Art & Science. Howard has been represented by Gallery Paule Anglim for twenty years.
Other recent recipients of the Douglas G. MacAgy Award from SFAI include René Yañez, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Rich Hillis, and Mark Tao.
On view May 11–May 17
SFAI—Fort Mason Campus
VIP Preview May 10 | 7pm
Public Opening May 11 | 7pm
BA + MA Symposium
Wednesday, May 9 | 1–5pm
Osher Lecture Hall | SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus
MFA Film Festival
Wednesday, May 9 | 6–9pm
Osher Lecture Hall | SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus
On view May 13–18
SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus
Opening Reception May 13 | 4pm
On view April 30–May 5
Diego Rivera Gallery | SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus
Opening Reception May 1 | 5pm