Graduating MFA candidates from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) will hold their culminating exhibition, Why Theory, at the Spring Arts Tower in downtown Los Angeles.
The exhibition runs from Saturday, June 20 through Saturday, June 27, 2009. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, June 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Additionally, a screening of video work will take place at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) on Monday, June 29 at 8 p.m. Admission to all events is free.
Since 1970, CalArts has educated artists in an environment founded on experimentation, critical reflection and the exploration of new forms and expression. Each year, graduating MFA students from the School of Art organize and present an exhibition of their work, taking the strategic initiative on how they wish to introduce themselves to a wider audience. The venue for this year’s exhibition is the former Los Angeles headquarters of the Crocker Citizens National Bank, now the Spring Arts Tower.
Rita Gonzalez and Anat Ebgi will co-curate the show. Gonzalez is assistant curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA and co-curator of last year’s Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement; Ebgi, a recent Master's graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, co-founded Chinatown-based gallery The Company.
“Although there is always a meta-history embedded somewhere within the studio practices of CalArts students, the exhibition does not aim to grossly oversimplify the ‘critique within’ as the defining characteristic of such a diversely producing group of artists,” said Gonzalez. “It does not question ‘why theory?’ rather, through the dynamics of the artists, emulates the simultaneous deconstruction and reconstruction of ideas that manifests everywhere from the confines of a painted canvas to the body of a performing artist.”
A student-organized publication, also titled Why Theory, will be released in conjunction with the exhibition. The primarily text-based catalog intends to capture formative conversations about the CalArts experience, and serve as an indexical resource with a life greater than a traditional record of the show. Each graduate student contributed a page of material, with content ranging from text-based drawings to email conversations and catalog-specific works. The publication includes contributions from faculty members Ellen Birrell, Sande Cohen, Leslie Dick and Charles Gaines (in conversation), Anoka Faruqee, Michael Ned Holte, Ashley Hunt and Michelle Dizon (in conversation) and CalArts School of Art Dean, Thomas Lawson.
“Every year legions of MFA graduates enter the art world to pursue individual careers. But what does that mean today when the stakes are undoubtedly higher?” asks Ebgi. “There is an urgency to re-imagine the role of the artist, as social/cultural witness or voice against complacency. These revolutionary impulses buzz about CalArts, along with recognition of the opportunity to redefine the stakes by embracing inevitable change, equipped with knowledge of history and trust in the present moment.”
The Spring Arts Tower is located at 453 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, 90013. For more information about the building, visit www.springartstower.com. The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) is located at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, 90012. For more information about REDCAT, www.redcat.org.