College Art Association Conference in LA to Honor CalArts Faculty Member Allan Sekula

Allan Sekula

From the 'The Forgotten Space' website.

The College Art Association’s (CAA) 2012 annual conference—with more than 5,000 artists, art historians, students, educators, critics, curators, collectors, librarians, gallerists and other visual arts professionals expected in attendance—takes over the Los Angeles Convention Center this week through Saturday, with CalArtians involved in numerous panels and events.

Among them is CalArts faculty member Allan Sekula, who receives the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art at a ceremony later today. The CAA’s 2012 Awards for Distinction honor the artists, critics, historians and others whose “efforts transcend their individual disciplines and contribute to the profession as a whole and to the world at large.”

Allan Sekula has devoted his life as an artist to writing, photography, installation and film. While his multidisciplinary approach to problems of representation and politics has earned him accolades as an artist, his writings have helped students, scholars and the public to think critically about interventions in the political and social realities of our world. The essays collected in his first book, Photography against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works 1973–83 (1984), significantly altered the way in which the documentary function of photography was conceptualized. His more recent volumes—such as Fish Story (1995), Titanic’s Wake (2003) and Performance under Working Conditions (2003)—mobilize us through his vision and words to carefully consider the effects of capitalism, globalization, information formats and the dematerialization of image and word.

The conference program features artists talks, presentations and panel discussions that explore art history and visual culture, from ancient times to the present. We’ve highlighted, below, the CalArts alumni and faculty members participating. While there is a conference registration fee, several of the sessions and events are free and are marked below.

Today, Thursday, Feb. 23

  • All day: Re/Locating Learning: Public Practices as Art is a “performative intervention” by Suzanne Lacy in the West Lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
  • 9:30 am-noon: Seeing Is Doing, Doing Is Teaching panel is chaired by CalArts faculty Michael Ned Holte and includes panelists 
Andrea Bowers (Art MFA 92) and 
fellow faculty member Charles Gaines.
  • 9:30 am-noon: The Punk Rock and Contemporary Art on the West Coast discussion includes the presentation Watch Out for the Furniture: Bruce Conner Loves the Mutants by Cinthia Fiss (Art MFA 93).
  • 12.30-2 pm: Presentation of CAA Awards for Distinction with Allan Sekula receiving the Lifetime Achievement for Writing on Art; in West Hall Meeting Room 502AB, Level 2, LA Convention Center. Free.
  • 2:30-5 pm: Creating Synergy Between Studio Practice and Early Career features a presentation by CalArts faculty member Karen Atkinson. Free.
  • 2:30-5 pm: Speaking Out: A Public Forum for Artist Manifestos includes the presentation Fallen Fruit/Collaborative Understanding/Two Kinds of Public with artist David Burns (Art BFA 93).

Friday, Feb. 24

  • 9:30 am-noon: Multiplicities in Dialogue: From Political Caucus to Engaged Community includes a presentation by Julie Orser (Art MFA 05).
  • 2-3 pm: East of Borneo hosts a book-signing for Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader, edited by Susan Morgan at the East of Borneo booth in the CAA Book Fair.
  • 2:30-5 pm: Annual Distinguished Artists’ Interviews features discussions with artist and CalArts faculty member Martin Kersels and Mary Kelly, who also taught at CalArts in the late 1980s. Free.
  • 2:30-5 pm: Los Angeles Writes Itself: LA Art Journals from the 1960s to the Present includes Ellen Birrell discussing X-Tra and Thomas Lawson, Dean of the School of Art at CalArts, talking about East of Borneo.
  • 2:30-5 pm: Is It Time to Question the “Privileging” of Visual Art features a presentation by the Dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts David Rosenboom on Brain Music.
  • 7-9 pm: The School of Art and East of Borneo hosts an alumni reception poolside at the Hotel Figueroa. All are welcome to attend. Free.

Saturday, Feb. 25

  • 9 am-5:30 pm: The Feminist Art Project holds special sessions in the Ahmanson Auditorium at MoCA, organized by CalArts alumnae Audrey Chan (Art MFA 07) and Elana Mann (Art MFA 07). Free.
  • 9:30-noon: Pacific Standard Time and Chicano Art: A New Los Angeles Art History includes a presentation by Ruben Ortiz-Torres (Art MFA 92) on his recent PST show, MEX/LA: ‘Mexican’ Modernism(s) in Los Angeles.
  • 12:30-2 pm: What is Alternative Today about “Alternative Art Spaces”? features a presentation by Ronni Kimm (Art/Integrated Media MFA 05).

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