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CalArts Alumna, Carrie Mae Weems, to receive "genius grant"

October 23, 2013
Mercury News

By Sheryl Nonnenberg

The enduring genius of Carrie Mae Weems

Photographer Carrie Mae Weems was recently chosen to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, colloquially known as MacArthur "genius grants." The highly coveted prize, given annually to around 30 individuals, is not a reward for past accomplishments, but rather a recognition of "exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work."

Bay Area residents have the opportunity to see a comprehensive overview of the work of this renowned artist, thanks to a traveling exhibition presented by the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. "Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video," opened Oct. 16 and is to be on view until Jan. 5.

Viewing the 100 works presented in this 30-year retrospective, it is easy to see why Weems was selected for the MacArthur Fellowship. From the inception of her career, she has managed to weave a strong sense of narrative through a variety of photographic styles, from portraiture to landscape to staged tableaux. In each series, a compelling message about race, gender and class is presented, for the most part, in a straight-forward manner utilizing black and white gelatin prints. Weems has also experimented with performance art and several of her videos are on view. Read More

Former Director of Percussion Program, John Bergamo, remembered

October 20, 2013

By Dave Gerhart

John Bergamo: In Memoriam

Yesterday, we lost a great man, musician and mentor to many percussionists. John Bergamo, former director of the percussion department at the California Institute of the Arts for 35 years (beginning in 1970), inspired generations of musicians who continue to make an impact on music today. I was fortunate to have attended a workshop that John taught at in 1990s and I hosted Hands On’semble at a PAS Day of Percussion at CSULB. Read More

Review: alumnus' "ridiculously beautiful" images are "about photography itself."

October 18, 2013
LA Times

By Sharon Mizota

Review: James Welling searches for beauty

The dramatic, glossy black shapes in James Welling’s “Gelatin Photographs” from the mid 1980s look like coal or tar or chunks of primordial ooze. Both obdurate and strangely fleshy, they are arrayed haphazardly across stark white grounds like some oily, alien sputum — or an abstract painting.

Actually, they are made of much more quotidian stuff: Jell-O, dyed black with ink. These mysterious images appear in Welling’s current retrospective at the Hammer Museum. On view through Jan. 12, it surveys 35 years of photographic work in which nothing is ever just Jell-O.

That slippery sweet is made from gelatin, which is also the substance applied to film or paper to hold a traditional photographic image. The title “Gelatin Photographs” is therefore both descriptive and redundant. All traditional photographs are gelatin photographs. Read More

"The list of those he has influenced is already long." Enthusiastic review of alumnus' survey exhibition.

This Show’s as Big as His Career
‘Mike Kelley,’ a Survey at MoMA PS1 in Queens

October 17, 2013
New York Times


Plainly put, the Mike Kelley retrospective, fresh from Europe to MoMA PS1, knocks everything else in New York this fall right out of the ring. It’s immense, filling 40,000 square feet of gallery space, including a sub-basement boiler room. And it’s that extremely rare thing, a huge show that should be huge. Kelley earned this blowout; his work sustains it.

In a three-decade career, cut off abruptly by his suicide, at 57, last year, Kelley did it all, in terms of genre: performance, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, installation, sound art and writing. And he wove together — twisted together — all of that into what amounted to a single conceptual project based on recurrent themes: social class, popular culture, black humor, anti-formalist rigor and, though rarely acknowledged, a moral sense, unshakably skeptical, that ran through everything like a spine.

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Two CalArts students honored with prestigious Princess Grace Awards

October 17, 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek

Princess Grace Foundation-USA honors Cicely Tyson with the Prince Rainier III Award, Wendy Levy and Tiler Peck presented with Princess Grace Statue Awards

Host of Channel 13's "NYC-arts" Paula Zahn will Emcee the event with appearances by Victor Garber and Bill T. Jones.

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA (PGF-USA) is proud to announce that Cicely Tyson will accept the Prince Rainier III Award and filmmaker and New Arts Axis Director, Wendy Levy, and New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Tiler Peck, will receive Princess Grace Statue Awards at the 2013 Princess Grace Awards Gala on October 30, 2013, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. In addition, the Awards ceremony will include the presentation of 24 awards to emerging artists in theater, dance and film, who hail from cities and states across America and will travel to New York City to receive their honor at the glamorous black tie ceremony. The 2013 Princess Grace Awards Gala will take place in the presence of HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, and will be chaired by William and Serena Lese and Sandra van Essche. Crown Sponsor is Lily Safra.

The Prince Rainier III Award recognizes a renowned leader in the arts whose own accomplishments are coupled with demonstrated service to the performing arts.  Past recipients of the award include Julie Andrews, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Glenn Close, George Lucas, Mandy Patinkin, Twyla Tharp, and Denzel and Pauletta Washington, which includes a grant of $25,000 to the philanthropic organization of their choice. Read more.

Gary Mairs' Film History Class Presents Silent Films with New Scores and Live Accompaniment

October 16, 2013
LA Times

by Susan King

CalArts students add a contemporary sound to silent movies

A hot ticket every fall at California Institute of the Arts is Gary Mairs' weekly silent movie screenings for his film history class. You read that right — silent movie screenings.

The Bijou Theater is not packed because students at the Valencia campus are crazy for silent movies necessarily, but because of the live music that accompanies these classics.

Since 2004, Mairs has invited students, faculty and alumni at CalArts' Herb Albert School of Music to accompany the films. Over the years, the music has run the gamut from an original string quartet for Carl Theodore Dryer's 1928 "The Passion of Joan of Arc" to an improvised accompaniment for D.W. Griffith's 1919 "Broken Blossoms," which combined American folk with experimental/electronic music, to a free jazz score for 1929's "Man With a Movie Camera." Read more.

Former MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch interviewed in conjunction with CalArts President Steven Lavine's discussion at REDCAT

October 16, 2013
LA Times

by Mike Boehm

Jeffrey Deitch's next chapter: big art shows, but not at museums

Jeffrey Deitch says his next move in the art world following his premature exit as director of Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art will happen in New York City: a bid to create a “hybrid” between a museum mounting exhibitions geared to a broad general audience, and a gallery that doesn’t have to deal with the complex institutional issues that come with running a nonprofit museum.

“I’m more interested in the exhibition project than the institution,” Deitch said Tuesday after engaging in a public conversation about creativity and entrepreneurship with fellow guest Michael Chow, known for making visual artists and their work part of the fabric of his Mr. Chow Chinese restaurants, and host Steven Lavine, president of California Institute of the Arts.

In an interview after the 90-minute session before an audience of more than 200 at REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown L.A. theater and gallery, Deitch said he’s keeping his Los Angeles home and expects to spend much of his time here, but is hunting in New York City for a venue where he can anchor his next venture. Read more.

Interview with CalArts' parent, actress Melissa Leo

October 10, 2013

By Doree Shafrir

How Melissa Leo Became An Overnight Sensation In Just 30 Years

Self-styled (literally) movie star Melissa Leo has, over the course of three decades of work, carved out an almost impossible career path for an actress: peaking in her fifties, simultaneously courting and trolling Hollywood, and not giving a shit how any of that makes her look.

On the morning after winning her first Emmy — Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her hilarious portrayal on Louie of a woman who gives Louis CK a blow job in her pickup truck and then firmly insists on reciprocity — Melissa Leo is bent over the entry foyer in a second-floor penthouse of the Chateau Marmont inspecting the intricate floor inlay. “This is bird’s-eye maple!” she exclaims. “This is really expensive wood. There’s four kinds of wood here.” She glances around at the rest of the room’s flooring. “I don’t know why everyone hates parquet. I think it’s gorgeous.”

She’d come downstairs a few minutes earlier, Emmy in hand, in a standard Melissa Leo casual-hippie outfit — jeans and a tight white embroidered cotton shirt, which accentuates her bony frame, and flip-flops, which she quickly kicks off — but her makeup is flawless and her long copper hair flows in perfect waves down her back. She’s already taken a victory lap on the morning talk show circuit. These days, Leo walks a fine line between wanting Hollywood’s approval — she is really proud of that Emmy — and also of positioning herself as an iconoclast — she is also really proud of the house she’s lived in for 20 years in upstate New York, where she recently replaced the old kitchen with a stone tower she designed herself. But if she’s in Los Angeles working, she’s living as a movie star should, staying at the Chateau, which rises castle-like above Sunset Boulevard, perhaps the most ur-Hollywood of all classic Hollywood hotels. Read More

Talking to Christian Hibbard, CalArts Alumnus, who lights Jimmy Kimmel

October 9, 2013
Live Design

by Ellen Lampert-Greaux

5 Questions With Christian Hibbard

1.  How did you get into the television lighting business?

When I was in high school, I took photos for the local newspaper, and I wanted to be a photojournalist. When I turned 18, I went to Santa Barbara City College. The prerequisite for the photo classes was Introduction to Technical Theatre. As soon as I walked onto the stage, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. After two years at SBCC, I transferred to CalArts. I told the dean I only wanted to light theatre and dance. I interned for the LA Opera for a semester. Immediately after that, I had a chance to assist Jeff Ravitz on a music video…and after that job, I interned for Jeff and Jim Moody at Moody/Ravitz. Then after I graduated college, I went to work for Light and Sound Design as a moving light programmer, first for tours and later for television.

2. How long have you been lighting Jimmy Kimmel?

I’m going into my fifth year with Jimmy Kimmel Live (JKL). Simon Miles designed it originally, and Matt Ford took over from him. Their influence is still all over the show. Read more.

David Salle on John Baldessari

October 9, 2013
Interview Magazine

by David Salle

A conversation with John Baldessari

David Salle on John BaldessariFor a very long time, John Baldessari had the distinction of being the tallest serious artist in the world (he is 6'7"). To paraphrase the writer A.J. Liebling, he was taller than anyone more serious, and more serious than anyone taller. As was inevitable, Baldessari's hegemony in the height department has now been challenged by a handful of younger artists. What, is there to be no progress? Paul Pfeiffer, Richard Phillips, and certainly Mark Bradford have approached and possibly even surpassed Baldessari's measure. But if it is true that these artists can see farther than their fellows, it is because they have stood on the shoulders of giants such as Baldessari (which, in Bradford's case, would make him nearly 13 feet tall).

John has been a friend for more than 40 years. He was my mentor when I was a student at CalArts in the early '70s, and it's fair to say that meeting him redirected my trajectory as an artist—as it did for innumerable others. His legendary class in Post-Studio Art bestowed on those of us with enough brains to notice, a feeling of unbelievable luck of being in exactly the right place at the right time for the new freedoms in art—we arrived in time for the birthing, so to speak. Read more.

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