SFAA Newsletter July/August 2022
We are an independent non-profit organization run by San Francisco Art Institute alumni. We build upon SFAI's
150-year alumni legacy with a commitment to SFAI's core values of critical thinking, exploration, and expression.
"If Only, The Still Relevant Words by Richard Irwin" by Maggie Bacon
Maggie Bacon, If Only, The Still Relevant Words by Richard Irwin, Oil on Canvas, 48X60".
Exhibited on the Sculpture Ramp at SFAI in 2022.
"I was in Lindsey White’s class and for an assignment we read through old performance magazine archives. We were told to find something that stood out to us. I flipped through a ton of articles but the moment I saw Richard’s piece, I Will Bury Me, May 11, 1979, I was drawn in. The intensity, the humor and the pushing up against power (the KGB and the president of SFAI at the time) were what spoke most to me about this documentation of his performance. I then asked Jeff [Gunderson, librarian] for any archives on Richard. I read through them all. Then I went to search on the internet. A former girlfriend of his wrote beautifully about Richard, who passed away during the AIDS crisis. Her writing added even more to who this person was and the legacy they left behind. I then managed to deep dive into archives of magazines and newspapers that he had written for. It wasn’t an easy pursuit. There was something about his writing. It was erratic in the way it should have been. It matched the emotion that any human should feel when poised with such questions. I guess you could call it passion but that seems too simple a word. There was anger, confusion and a profoundly humanistic desire to know what the hell was going on in this mad world and more specifically mad art world. Every now and again within his writing or rant I would find these moments of 'that’s it.' Where Richard would sum up something so complex and something my mind had spiraled over, into a bold assertion. It’s 2022, far from when Richard Irwin was writing all this but I feel so much less alone now in my art practice because of his words. People like clean, organized, simple 'little bow' type messaging these days. I like the chaos of artists, like Richard. It makes me feel human and free to make my art with whatever response I have for this anything-but-clean-organized-and-simple world."
–– Maggie Bacon, SFAI, Painting (2018 - 2022)
Read more: Richard’s Coat: Remembering Richard Irwin by Rebecca LaFontaine-Larivee
Visiting artist Jonathan Borofsky in SFAI painting studio in early 1980s.
Photo by Annie Reiniger-Holleb.
Students For Action @ SFAI in collaboration with the Board and Faculty are asking the alumni to help raise
awareness of this effort by sharing this KQED article widely through mailing lists and social media and tagging
anyone they think might be able to help.
Important Message to All Students and Alumni
From The SFAI Registrar
The SFAI Registration Office.
To order your official SFAI transcript, go to getmytranscript.com.
Any questions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official transcripts can be delivered by email or by mail.
Please allow approximately a week for your request to be processed
Gina Lamb Performance at Night of Mayhem 1979.
Photo by Kenny Young.
We are collecting photographs for our first photo album.The book will be a visual example of our rich legacy. The theme is 800 Chestnut.
Please send us one or more images of your time at SFAI.
Read more and upload your photos, please visit: https://www.sfartistsalumni.org/book.
SFAA is an all volunteer nonprofit organization servicing SFAI Alumni. We ask for your donations to help us fund the website, databases, slack, zoom, Insurance etc.
We have goodies for your generous donations starting with $5 monthly donations and up:
- GET 1 I LOVE SFAI pin (comes in blue or red) for $60 or a $5 monthly donation for one year.
GET 1 SFAI pen for (slender green or fat black) for $60 donations or $5 monthly donation for one year.
GET 1 George Kuchar (mini) book for a $100 donation. Underground filmmaker George Kuchar is interviewed by RE/Search founder V. Vale in San Francisco, about the history of his low-budget filmmaking. He generously gives advice, do’s and don’ts, recommendations, and sparkling anecdotes which illuminate practically the entire process of making a film with virtually no budget.
- GET 1 Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision catalogues to first come first serve for donation larger than or equal to $240 donation or $20 monthly donation for a 1 year. (We have 10 in stock)
Sharon Grace, c. 1970, with her Sony CV Porta Pack.
Courtesy of the artist.
Sharon Grace, who taught at SFAI for many years, passed away on April 26, 2022. She began teaching in the early 1980s in SFAI's fledgling Performance/Video Department (later called New Genres). She had an immense knowledge of the relationship between current society and technologies, and an eloquent appraisal of the trends in the conceptual art world. Upon retiring from SFAI, she had continued to be affiliated as a Professor Emeritus.
Some of Grace’s mentors and collaborators included: video/installation artist Nam June Paik, video engineer Shuya Abe, and NASA, where in 1977, she was the west-coast artist/project leader for SEND/RECEIVE, the first interactive coast-to-coast satellite artist network. Working with NASA engineer Skip Gross, they successfully created the first "split screen" joining the two coasts in "cyberspace." This was the inaugural event for artists to have a presence on the emerging Internet.
Grace’s work has always explored the "new-new" with a critical eye, ever aware of the pitfalls of the fake and potentially sinister uses of technology. In October 1990, the Whole Earth Institute organized Cyberthon, a three-day event which showcased experimental work. Many of the counter culture "new tech" gurus took part: Timothy Leary, Wavy Gravy, Jaron Lanier, and Terence McKenna—among others. At Cyberthon, Sharon presented a powerful interactive installation, Millenium Venus, that was inspired by her studies of "the gaze" in historical figure painting, where most subjects are women. She wanted to reverse that gaze—"image as voyeur of the viewer.” The audience member would communicate with the program through a telephone on a desk that rang when the participant entered the room. When the phone was answered, the large video display came alive with the image of a woman who began to speak to the viewer through the phone. It was well before its time, to say the least.
Some of Grace’s many awards and honors: Outstanding Achievement in Video Art from the City of San Francisco, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
SFAA's July 2021 newsletter featured two pieces focusing on Sharon and her work:
This remembrance of Sharon Grace was compiled by Kathy Brew and edited by Marian Wallace.
Carlos Villa, Tatu (Tatu Series), 1971. Ink on Itek photograph.
© Mary Valledor, Estate of Carlos Villa.
"Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision invites you into Villa's spectacular, visually magical worlds of feathers and photographs, capes and masks, bones and tattoos."
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Installation process for an unrealized performance by Chris Burden, Newport Harbor Art Museum, California, 1974.
Photo by Brian Forrest, courtesy Michael Auping.
Michael Auping (SFAI Faculty) tells the Quarterly’s Alison McDonald about the preparations for a performance by Chris Burden (SFAI Faculty) at the Newport Harbor Art Museum in Southern California in 1974 - and the event’s abrupt cancellation- providing a glimpse into the mindset of a young, aggressive and ambitious artist in the early stages of his career.
The Mutants: Curse Of The Easily Amused.
Cover by Ruby Ray.
Many of the band members were SFAI students who formed one of the first “Art-punk” bands in San Francisco. The band was formed in 1977 and became one of the most popular of the San Francisco punk scene during the late 1970' and early 1980's. The Mutants are an important band in the history of San Francisco punk rock and new wave music. Fronted by Fritz Fox with fellow singers Sue White & Sally Webster, guitar and drums by Brendan Earley, John Gullak, Dave Carothers, Paul Fleming, Charles Hagan, Ken Kearney, Jim Hrabetin and Zippy Pinhead. Photographer Ruby Ray said, the new vintage LP is out now. She shot the cover photo for it, “one fateful day in SF on a hike to the city dump, 1978. Get it here and show these cats some love!!”
William T. Wiley, I Hope You Learned Your Lesson, 1974.
Courtesy Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, photos by Paul Salveson.
Nothing Is to Be Done for William T. Wiley (BFA 1960 & MFA 1962) is a roller derby of irreverent and energetic
ideas and a serious revelation about Northern California’s art historical significance. The exhibition includes 26 artist influenced by Wiley. Some are SFAI alums: Bruce Nauman, Robert Hudson, Mary Heilmann, Mike Henderson, Carlos Villa. Read MORE.
2441 Glendower Avenue.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Annie Leibovitz, First Lady Olena Zelenska and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Kyiv, Ukraine, July 2022.
There is some controversy with this Annie Leibovitz (BFA 1970’s) photo but people should remember the Zelenskyy’s worked in the entertainment business before they were turned into political heroes. They understand how to use publicity to help their cause.
To be featured In Vogue Magazine, October 2022.
West pediment of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., by Robert I. Aitken.
The West Pediment poised above the front entrance of the United States Supreme Court Building features the most famous work of noted SFAI alumnus and faculty member, sculptor Robert I. Aitken (SFAI 1901-’04).
The Supreme Court Building, also known as “The Marble Palace”, has Aitken’s words incised in the architrave with the words: “Equal Justice Under Law”.
The architect, Cass Gilbert, gave Aitken free rein in choosing the subject matter, requesting only that the composition be worthy of the great Supreme Court. Mr. Aitken proposed a design incorporating nine allegorical figures, and described them as follows in the link HERE.
Photos by Stuart Bass, Dan Bockmeir, and Annie Reiniger-Holleb.
The Graduating Class of 2022
The Last Graduating Class from SFAI
Photos by Annie Reiniger-Holleb.
Go-o-ood by-e S F A I
We-e-e do-on’t want you to die
There must be a way to keep clinging to life
And keep on surviving despite all the strife.
S F A I is a haven on earth
Where artists and students develop their worth
The campus provides such a beautiful place
For people to meet, and create—here’s some names
Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange
Kathryn Bigelow, Edward Weston
Imogen Cunningham, Bruce Conner too.
DeFeo, Joan Brown, Hassel Smith, Mark Rothko
We need to sa-ave S F A I
I-it’s a legend that shines world-wide
Can someone out there step up to the plate?
To save our great campus before it’s too late credits
Released July 29, 2022
Many thanks to Maggie Bacon, Lior Bar, Asian Art Museum, Gagosian and Michael Auping, The Mutants, Parker Gallery, Annie Leibovitz, Dan Bockmier, Stuart Bass, Students For Action, V. Vale, Kathy Brew, Kenny Young, Gina Lamb, and Jeff Gunderson.
Editor in Chief: Annie Reiniger-Holleb
Designer: Lucien Liu
Co-Editors: Marian Wallace, Rye Purvis
To contact the Editors at SFAA Newsletter email: email@example.com
Or send letters to our address: Editors SFAA Newsletter 3019 Ocean Park Blvd. #123, Santa Monica, CA 90405
SF Artists Alumni Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and our EIN Federal Tax ID number is 85-1943816.
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