Explore CalArts’ Early Years at the Kestner Gesellschaft

CalArts, unknown, ca. 1971-1972. B/w photograph. California Institute of the Arts Archives Photographic Materials Collection.

The Kestner Gesellschaft presents Where Art Might Happen: The Early Years of CalArts, an exhibition dedicated to the institute’s infancy running from Friday, Aug. 30 to Sunday, Nov. 10 in Hanover, Germany. 

Founded in 1916, the art association houses a collection of salient contemporary works from artists around the globe. Its gallery emphasizes education and accessibility, and in the last century has “shaped the art scene with more than 700 exhibitions and continues to inspire thousands of visitors every year.” 

Where Art Might Happen takes a magnifying glass to the institute’s first decade (1970-1980), and the legendary artists it produced during this era and beyond. The exhibition was curated by Los Angeles-based curator Dr. Philipp Kaiser and Christina Végh, director of the Kestner Gesellschaft.

Former faculty members in the exhibition include: Michael Asher, David Askevold, John Baldessari, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Judy Chicago, Douglas Huebler, Stephan von Huene, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Ulrike Rosenbach, Miriam Schapiro, Wolfgang Stoerchle and Emmett Williams.

Alumni in the exhibition include: Ericka Beckman (Art MFA 76), Ross Bleckner (Art MFA 73), Barbara Bloom (Art BFA 72), Troy Brauntuch (Art BFA 75), Klaus vom Bruch (Art 76), Dorit Cypis (Art MFA 77), Eric Fischl (Art BFA 72), Jack Goldstein (Art MFA 72), Mike Kelley (Art MFA 78), Suzanne Lacy (Art MFA 73), Matt Mullican (Art BFA 74), Daniel Joseph Martinez (Art BFA 79), John Miller (Art MFA 79), Susan Mogul (Art 73), Tony Oursler (Art BFA 79), Charlemagne Palestine (Music 71), Stephen Prina (Art MFA 80), Anthony Ramos (Art MFA 72), David Salle (Art BFA 73), Mira Schor (Art MFA 73), Jim Shaw (Art MFA 78), Mitchell Syrop (Art MFA 78), Carrie Mae Weems (Art BFA 81), James Welling (Art BFA 72, MFA 74), Faith Wilding (Critical Studies MFA 73) and Christopher Williams (Art MFA 81). The exhibition also includes works from artists affiliated with the Institute, such as Simone Forti and Ann Noël.

Complete with archival materials, artwork and recordings of oral histories with 13 CalArtians, the exhibition “presents a variety of perspectives on the school: parallel movements from the milieus of Conceptual Art, feminist art, and Fluxus as well as the school’s radical pedagogical concepts.”

Where Art Might Happen will later be on display from March 13 to June 7, 2020, at the Kunsthaus Graz in Graz, Austria.

Event Details

Where Art Might Happen: The Early Years of CalArts

August 30–November 10, 2019
Kestner Gesellschaft
Goseriede 11, 30159 Hannover, Germany

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