From March 23 to August 26, 2007, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present two special design exhibitions as a tribute to the centennial anniversary of California College of Arts (CCA). The first, California College of the Arts at 100: Innovation by Design, encompasses approximately 40 of the most innovative design objects from the Museum’s collection and beyond. The exhibition is organized by Henry Urbach, SFMOMA’s Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design.
This exhibition showcases the exceptional creativity of CCA alumni and faculty. Recent and contemporary works—including lighting, posters, furniture, housewares, and architectural models—demonstrate CCA’s commitment to fostering cutting-edge design through a distinctive combination of concept and craft.
The show features designs by Yves Béhar, Rama Chorpash, dresscode, Thom Faulders, IwamotoScott, Kuth/Ranieri, Jennifer Morla, Bruce Tomb, and Volume Inc., among others. The exhibition’s display system—a room-size vessel composed of plywood, Plexiglas, and Mylar—is a special commission by CCA professor and architect Douglas Burnham and his Oakland firm, envelopeA+D. Working with vitrines recycled from the Museum’s own storage rooms, the display system gives each work individual presence while highlighting, through transparency and reflection, its relation to the collective and its connection to the school’s unique creative vision.
To complement the exhibition, SFMOMA will also present California College of the Arts at 100: Fertile Ground. Organized by Darrin Alfred and Ruth Keffer, SFMOMA curatorial associates of architecture and design, this adjacent presentation features some 130 objects designed specifically for CCA by its alumni, faculty, and students, including Sputnik, the school’s award-winning student design team. This exhibition highlights graphic materials such as catalogues, invitations, postcards, and brochures, as well as a suite of CCA identity materials that include letterhead, envelopes, and business cards by Bob Aufuldish, Michael Cronan, Mark Fox, Lucille Tenazas, and Michael Vanderbyl, to name a few. The exhibition also highlights a small selection of architectural models and drawings by local architects Jim Jennings and Mark Horton.
Since its founding in 1907, CCA has provided an education for artists and designers integrating artistic theory and practice. CCA President Michael S. Roth states, “California College of the Arts has deep traditions of innovation and purpose. The college has long been committed to the idea that education in the arts and design can be a profound preparation for creatively confronting the world around us.”
CCA’s faculty and graduates have influenced—and, in many cases, led—almost every mid- and late-20th-century art movement. In particular, as leaders in California design, current and former faculty members Béhar, Faulders, Walter Landor, Wolfgang Lederer, Tenazas, and Vanderbyl have had a major impact on contemporary American graphic arts, architecture, and industrial design.
Throughout its history, SFMOMA has provided an active forum for examining issues of architecture and design in relation to modern art. While maintaining the Museum’s commitment to the collection and exhibition of experimental design and theoretical architecture in the Bay Area, this pair of exhibitions will celebrate the students and faculty of an important educational institution.
California College of the Arts at 100: Innovation by Design is organized by SFMOMA. Generous support is provided by Christine and Michael J. Murray and Nancy and Steven H. Oliver.
At noon on Tuesday, May 1, SFMOMA will present a public program related to the CCA exhibitions in the Museum’s Phyllis Wattis Theater. Visitors are invited to attend a free lecture and discussion featuring CCA’s Burnham and SFMOMA curator Urbach.