CalArts selects Cauleen Smith, Martine Syms to join School of Art

California institute of arts photo - southern california news
Signal file photo California Institute of the Arts.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announced the addition of two faculty members to the institute’s School of Art Tuesday.

Interdisciplinary filmmaker Cauleen Smith and multimedia artist Martine Syms will both teach in the school’s Program in Art.  Syms will begin her position in September and Smith will join in January 2018.

“The Art School is going through a period of change and growth,” School of Art Dean Thomas Lawson said in a statement.  “Increasing numbers of our students are considering collaborative ways of working, which can be a challenge for a program like ours that puts so much focus on the individual.”

These additions mark the third consecutive year the School of Art has brought on new faculty members for the program.

In the Program in Art, students learn through studio practice and theory that challenge artists to develop a critical self-awareness about their work.

The program also provides a “forum for the sustained exploration of possibilities in cultural production that pushes both undergraduate and graduate students to question conventional ideas about contemporary art,” according to the program’s website.

In their new roles, Syms and Smith will help students understand the “aesthetic, social and intellectual contexts that inform artmaking in today’s globalized environment.

Syms, a self-described “conceptual entrepreneur,” draws inspiration from cultural history and her own experience as a media consumer to explore representations of blackness and womanhood, according to CalArts.

She works in the mediums of photography, video, publishing and performance to explore media and everyday experience.

“Martine very much represents the new generation, the post-digital generation,” Lawson said in a statement. “Thoroughly at ease in the world of social media, she uses her technical savvy to create new means and new forms.”

Her most recent solo exhibition “Project 106” opened this summer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Syms has also exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the New Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and presented lectures at the Museum of Modern Art PS1, Yale University and the University of Chicago.

Smith draws inspiration from black history, poetry, jazz and theories of race and feminism to incorporate into her films, drawings, art installations and performance projects.

Her process is described as collaborative and her work as informed by Afrofuturism.

“Cauleen has an interestingly hybrid practice; she was trained as a filmmaker, but has found that her non-narrative films generate more interest and support in the art context,” Lawson said in a statement.  “As a result, she has incorporated an ever-widening repertoire into her work, including drawing, banner-making and performance.”

Smith is a recipient of the 2016 Alpert Award in the Arts, her work was selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

Her work “Human 3.0 Reading List” is currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago.

She has also held solo exhibitions at the Kitchen in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the California Museum of Photography, and screened films at the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Los Angeles Film Forum and the Sundance Film Festival.

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS