Spring 2015 – Ian Ingram

In Spring 2015 we hosted Ian Ingram as Artist-in-Residence, who worked with staff and students to produce and install a temporary artwork on the Pitzer campus. Ingram is a Los Angeles-based artist who is interested in the manmade object’s future as a willful entity and the nature of communication. He builds mechatronic and robotic systems that borrow facets from animal morphology and behavior, from the shapes and movements of machines, and from our stories about animals. These systems are often intended to cohabitate and interact with animals in the wild. The work is playful, humorous even, but is cloaked in mock seriousness. Under the seriousness, is the humor. Under the humor is gravity. It is a open-faced sandwich built on aspirational profundity.

Ingram has exhibited his work internationally, including at the Andy Warhol Museum; the Museum of Modern Art of Toluca, Mexico; Art Chicago; the Yada Gallery in Nagoya, Japan; Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA; Purdue University; Hasbro; Popular Science Magazine; and Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia; with a recent solo show at Nikolaj Kunsthal in Copenhagen. His work is in the collections of the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Ingram has a BS and MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

2013-2014 – SPURSE

SPURSE is an environmental design collective. The Mellon Grant provided a possibility for members of SPURSE to engage with the Pitzer community throughout the year and organize several events, participate in academic courses and build a site-specific project on Pitzer’s campus.

SPURSE’s first engagement with Pitzer was an Eat Your Sidewalk event in September of 2013. Eat Your Sidewalk is an interactive workshop encouraging people to rethink their relationship to food and consumption through a hyper-local approach to foraging in one’s local ecology. As a part of the two-day event, SPURSE members Iain Kerr and Matthew Friday spent the day foraging for food around campus with students. They then prepared and cooked a meal using these resources. This initial event took place on the Mounds (our commons) and involved a dinner and discussion about the shared objectives of SPURSE and the Pitzer community.

During the 2014 spring semester SPURSE taught an experimental art course entitled Design Ecology and the Commons: Co-composing our Urban Environments. This research- and design-based course included workshop intensives with different members of SPURSE and explored shared content with Professor Paul Faulstich’s course, Design Workshop: Fostering a Sense of Place.

Over the course of the spring semester and into the beginning of 2015, SPURSE developed a transformative ecological project for the campus, the PITZER MULTI-SPECIES COMMONS. The goal of this project is to have a long-term impact on how students, faculty and staff relate to our immediate surroundings. The Multi-species commons is a far reaching ecological initiative that engages and transforms Pitzer College’s thirty-four acre campus.

Click Here to find out more about the Multi-Species Commons

Click Here to visit the Forage interactive website


2012-2013 – Edgar Heap of Birds

Pitzer College’s Art+Environment program kicked off its inaugural year with a public art installation by Edgar Heap of Birds, the program’s first artist-in-residence and an internationally-recognized contemporary artist. The installation, Native Hosts, will was on display for two years in various locations across Pitzer’s campus. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Heap of Birds is a professor of Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma. His artwork has appeared in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia.

Native Hosts honors the Tongva, indigenous people whose ancestral homelands lie in the Los Angeles area. Created with local Tongva elders, Native Hosts features signs displaying the names of traditional villages and sacred sites. Pitzer Associate Professor of Art History Bill Anthes describes the artwork as “a point of conversation for members of our campus community and visitors to the campus about our local ‘hosts’ in Southern California.”

Native Hosts exemplifies how the art+environment program integrates art throughout the curriculum. Assistant Professor of Sociology Erich Steinman and Assistant Professor of Urban Studies Tessa Hicks Peterson incorporated the artwork into their course “Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.”

Native Hosts is the first of a series of joint art exhibitions that Pitzer will mount in coordination with Pomona College and Scripps College. A map of the exhibit and a translation of the signs are available here. Additionally, more documentation of the installation on Pitzer’s campus is available here.