Where art might happen:
The early years of CalArts

01 JULY – 20 SEPTEMBER 2020
Judy Chicago, "Orange Atmosphere", 1969
Performance in Brookside Park, Pasadena, CA
© Judy Chicago/Bildrecht, Vienna 2020
Photo: Through the Flower Archives, Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco

In the 1970s, CalArts, the art university founded by Walt Disney in Los Angeles, developed a radical and inter-disciplinary educational model that was linked to the Bauhaus in Germany and Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

CalArts assumed a pioneering role with its institutional establishment of conceptual and feminist teachings, such as the “Post Studio” professorship held by John Baldessari and the “Feminist Art Program” run by Miriam Schapiro and Judy Chicago. At the heart of their artistic engagement were social issues such as authorship, greater flexibility in artistic working methods or criticism of patriarchal power structures.

Curated by Philipp Kaiser (independent curator, Los Angeles) and Christina Végh (director of the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hanover, Germany), the exhibition focuses on CalArts’ first 10 years and brings together some 40 artists and 100 works. It traces the zeitgeist of the 1970s with stories of legendary pool parties or courses in subjects like “Advanced Drug Research” in a search of different situations “where art might happen”, in the words of Baldessari.