CalArtians Named 2017 Guggenheim Fellows

Cassils, ‘Becoming An Image Performance Still No. 3’ (ONE National Archives, Transactivations, Los Angeles), 2012 c-print face mounted to Plexiglas, 45 in. x 30 in., edition of 3 | Photo: courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Earlier today (April 7) the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced the new class of Guggenheim Fellows for 2017. Among the list of 173 “individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts” are several CalArtians.

Cassils (Art/Integrated Media MFA 02) has been awarded a fellowship in the field of Fine Art. “Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture,” according to the website. “Featuring a series of bodies transformed by strict physical training regimes, Cassils’ artworks offer shared experiences for contemplating histories of violence, representation, struggle, and survival.”

Interdisciplinary artist and writer Kathe Burkhart (Art BFA 82, MFA 84) “has consistently and frankly engaged gender roles, sexuality, celebrity, and language in an interdisciplinary practice. Her Liz Taylor Series uses Pop Art imagery and assemblage to critique representation and the sexual politics of identity. Her visual art has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Whitney Museum, Venice Biennale, PS1 Contemporary Art Center/MoMA, Kunsthalle Fribourg, the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Weatherspoon Museum, Neuberger Museum, Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada) SMAK Museum, (Gent, Belgium) FlashArt Museum, Galleria d’ Arte Moderna, Bologna (Italy) and the Groningen, Zwolle and Helmond Museums (Netherlands) among many others.”

School of Art faculty Harry Dodge is also a Fine Art fellowship recipient. Dodge is a sculptor, performer, video artist and writer. He has exhibited internationally and was included in the 2014 Made in L.A. Biennial at the Hammer Museum, California Video at the Getty Museum, and the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

School of Critical Studies faculty Brian Evenson receives a fellowship in the field of Fiction. Evenson has published over a dozen books of fiction, most recently the story collection A Collapse of Horses and the novella The Warren. He is the recipient of three O. Henry Prizes as well as an NEA Fellowship.

In the field of Film-Video, longtime Schools of Film/Video and Art faculty Billy Woodberry has been honored with a fellowship. Woodberry is one of the founders of the L.A. Rebellion
 film movement,” says the website. “His first feature film, Bless Their Little Hearts (1984), is a pioneer and essential work of this movement, influenced by Italian neo-realism and the work of Third Cinema filmmakers. The film was awarded with an OCIC and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Berlin International Film Festival and was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2013.”

Experimental animator Steven Subotnick (Art BFA 84, Film/Video MFA 86) is also a Film-Video fellowship recipient. “Animation transforms thought and emotion into images and sounds,” Subotnick states on his website. “My films have explored non-objective imagery, stories with unusual characters, and actual historical events. While covering a wide territory of content, I work to create my own language of animation forms.”

Jen Liu (Art/Integrated Media MFA 01), who receives a fellowship in the field of Film-Video, says of her work:

It starts with research-based fictions. From existing socioeconomic and political conditions, I build fictional characters and narratives of wish fulfillment. This approach originates in a dual desire: to critique the limitations of existing proposals for solutions to pressing social problems, while also expanding the imaginary around such solutions. I desire to deflate the abstractions built around traditionally leftist approaches, embracing materialism in exaggeratedly tangible images, gestures, and objects – in order to find ways to more directly see and feel complex issues without oversimplification.

Former visiting faculty and artists at CalArts have also won fellowships. Derek Boshier is being honored for his work in Fine Arts, and Leigh Ledare and Zoe Strauss are being honored for Photography.

“It’s exciting to name 173 new Guggenheim Fellows. These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best,” says Foundation president Edward Hirsch in a press release. “Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

See the complete list of fellows here.

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