Catalogue – Elana Mann: Instruments of Accountability

September 29 – December 8, 2018
Organized by Ciara Ennis
Pitzer College Art Galleries
48 pages, with color reproductions, 13” x 8 1/2”
ISBN: 978-0-9966445-6-3
Essays by Gregory Sholette and Olga Kopenkina
Interview by Ciara Ennis

Scores by AJ Layague, Dana Reason, Sharon Chohi Kim and Micaela Tobin, Douglas Kearney, Max King Cap and Ciara Ennis, Pauline Oliveros
Edited by Ciara Ennis, Cheukwa Jones, Elana Mann, Susan Warmbrunn
Catalogue design by Colleen Corcoran, Place and Page
Photography by Ruben Diaz, Jean-Paul Leonard, Michael Underwood

Catalogue – MANIFESTO: A Moderate Proposal

January 20 – March 29, 2018
Curated by Ciara Ennis and Jennifer Vanderpool
Pitzer College Art Galleries
44 pages, with one-color reproductions, 10 5/16” x 8”
ISBN: 978-0-9966445-5-6
Essays by Gregory Sholette
Edited by Mary Bartlett, Ciara Ennis, Cheukwa Jones, Susan Warmbrunn
Catalogue design by Summer Office (Tanya Rubbak and Michelle Lamb)
Photography by Ruben Diaz

Catalogue – Edgar Heap of Birds: Defend Sacred Mountains

January 20 – March 29, 2018
Curated by Bill Anthes and Ciara Ennis
Pitzer College Art Galleries
66 pages, with color reproductions, 10 7/8” x 7 1/4”
ISBN: 978-0-9966445-4-9
Essays by Bill Anthes and Charlotte Jones
Interview by Ciara Ennis
Edited by Mary Bartlett
Catalogue design by Terry Vuong
Photography by Ruben Diaz
Art Design Coordination by Cheukwa Jones

Emerging Artist Series #14: Cathy Akers

Pitzer College Art Galleries, February 2 – March 28, 2019

Opening Reception:
Saturday, February 2, 2-4 p.m.

Cathy Akers:
A Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheeler’s Ranches Reconsidered

Expectant (2018), Porcelain, photocopy transfer, underglaze and glaze, 14.25″H x 13″W x 14″D

The result of more than ten years of research, Cathy Akers’ installation A Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheeler’s Ranches Reconsidered explores two northern Californian experimental communes that closed in 1973. Examining the impulse for communal living outside conventional contexts, the exhibition focuses on utopian aspects of these intentional communities as well as their potential for dysfunction.

Included in the exhibition are a number of exploded ceramic vase-like forms, which combine photographic fragments from the communes’ archives with text that has been inscribed onto the surface of the objects. Extracted from stories narrated by the women themselves, the text articulates different aspects of communal living—surviving off the land, drug experimentation, sexual violence, and utopian idealism. Marginalized as a result of their decision to live outside conventional parameters, these women’s lives have often been overlooked and forgotten. A Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheeler’s Ranches Reconsidered gives voice to their experiences and value to their existence.


Related Event:

Panel Discussion: Countercultural Positions, Motherhood, and Reclaiming Craft as a Feminist Practice

with Cathy Akers, Micol Hebron, Claudia Parducci, Astri Swendsrud, and Jemima Wyman

This panel will consider the current resurgence of ceramics in contemporary art making with a particular emphasis on its use by women artists as a means to reclaim the traditionally gendered practice of craft. The panelists will also investigate the role of women as producers of counterculture in relation to Cathy Akers’ exhibition, Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheelers Ranches Reconsidered.

Wednesday, March 27 at 1:30 p.m.
Broad Performance Space, Pitzer College

About the panelists:

Cathy Akers works with photography, ceramics and installation. Her work has been exhibited in solo or two-person shows at Pitzer College Art Galleries, Honor Fraser Gallery, and Emma Gray Headquarters in Los Angeles. She has had group shows in Israel, Germany, the U.K., Poland, and the Czech Republic. Akers has a MFA from CalArts.

Micol Hebron is an interdisciplinary feminist artist whose practice includes studio work, curating, writing, social media, crowd-sourcing, teaching, public-speaking, and both individual and collaborative projects. She grew up in a tent with hippie parents in the redwoods of Northern California. Hebron is an Associate Professor of Art at Chapman University.

LA-based artist Claudia Parducci’s work concerns the cycles of human conflict and strategies for survival, and spans a multi-disciplinary practice that includes drawing, painting, and sculpture. Since receiving her MFA from CalArts in 2006, Parducci’s work has been shown nationally and internationally. Her next solo exhibition will take place in March 2019 at Ochi Projects, Los Angeles.

Astri Swendsrud is a Los Angeles-based artist. Much of her recent work is part of the collaborative project Semi-Tropic Spiritualists, through which she creates interactive, multi-disciplinary works exploring the histories and influences of utopian and visionary communities in California. She is also co-founder and co-director of the artist-run space Elephant and works as Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Art at Biola University.

Jemima Wyman makes work that investigates visual resistance as a social, formal, and political strategy. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at Commonwealth & Council, Sullivan and Strumpf, and Milani Gallery. Wyman’s work has been exhibited internationally in Korea, Germany, Japan, England, and The Netherlands. She has collaborated with Anna Mayer as CamLab since 2005.

This event is free and open to the public.

Publishing Against the Grain

Pages, Issue Nine cover image, 2013. Courtesy of Pages and Independent Curators International (ICI). Pages, Issue Nine cover image, 2013. Courtesy of Pages and Independent Curators International (ICI).
PISEAGRAMA, Issue Seven cover image, 2015. Courtesy of PISEAGRAMA and Independent Curators International (ICI). PISEAGRAMA, Issue Seven cover image, 2015. Courtesy of PISEAGRAMA and Independent Curators International (ICI). 
SCROLL: Project on Paper, cover image, 2017. Courtesy of SCROLL and Independent Curators International (ICI). SCROLL: Project on Paper, cover image, 2017. Courtesy of SCROLL and Independent Curators International (ICI).

Pitzer College Art Galleries, February 2 – March 28, 2019

Opening Reception and X-TRA Forum #5: One Text Two Minutes:
Saturday, February 2, 2-4 p.m.

Organized by the Independent Curators International (ICI), Publishing Against the Grain provides a space for reading, thinking, and conversing, where slowing down can become a form of intellectual resistance. It encourages discursive public participation, self-reflective investigation, and invites visitors to discover new perspectives while connecting differing and analogous spheres of contemporary art. In the context of today’s corporatization and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.

Publishing Against the Grain highlights the current state of publishing and art criticism as it exists in small journals, experimental publications, websites, and radio, as well as other innovative forms. It is organized around projects that connect theoretical, social, political, and aesthetic questions with a focus on community, whether understood in relation to a particular place, or defined in identitarian or diasporic terms. Included in the exhibition are print journals like Makhzin (Lebanon) and Pisegrama (Brazil), alongside more experimental forms like tranzit’s interactive Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary). In bringing these projects together from around the world, Publishing Against the Grain reveals how their material and discursive activities respond to intersecting subjects such as contemporary aesthetics, diaspora, sex and gender, gentrification, race, language, and art history.

Publishing Against the Grain is an exhibition organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and initiated by Alaina Claire Feldman and Becky Nahom, with Sanna Almajedi. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum.

Key contributors to Publishing Against the Grain include:

Art Against Art (Germany)
Bisagra (Peru)
Chimurenga (The Chronic / The Pan African Space Station) (South Africa)
Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary)
East of Borneo (United States)
Exhausted Geographies (Pakistan)
Fillip (Canada)
Glänta (Sweden)
Makhzin (Lebanon)
Our Literal Speed (United States)
Pages (The Netherlands / Iran)
Raking Leaves (Sri Lanka)
SALT. (United Kingdom)
Start Journal (Uganda)
Stationary (Hong Kong)
Tráfico Visual (Venezuela)
White Fungus (Taiwan)
X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly (United States)
Antena Aire (United States)
LibroMobile (Unites States)
Mochi-la (Mexico and United States)
BOOKSHELVES (United States)


Related Event:

X-TRA Forum #5: One Text Two Minutes
with Cathy Akers, Stacey Allan, Brent Armendinger, Leslie Dick, Micol Hebron, Nick Herman, Christopher James, Olga Koumoundouros, Jeff Khonsary, Thomas Lawson, Hailey Loman, Ming-Yuen S. Ma, Rachel Mayeri, Susan Silton, Aziz Sohail, and Carlin Wing

Join us for this program of 2-minute readings by sixteen artists who will share an article chosen from the exhibition. Participants might read directly from the journal or share an anecdote. Presentations are likely to be somewhat spontaneous, un-rehearsed and conversational. Publishing Against the Grain includes X-TRA’s complete archive.


Emerging Artist Series #13: Cassie Riger

Cassie Riger: Automatic Vaudeville

Curated by Ciara Ennis

September 29 – December 8, 2018
Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 29, 2 – 4 p.m.
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center

Inspired by groundbreaking scholarship of Miriam Hansen and Tom Gunning that focused on early cinema and pre-Hollywood viewing habits, Cassie Riger’s work recreates proto-cinematic devices that explore spectacle and desire.

Unlike contemporary cinema, film in the late 19th century was encountered in the chaotic context of a funfair or arcade, accessible to all and connected to the flux of everyday. Many early motion-picture devices, such as the Praxinoscope or Zoetrope, were viewer-activated, allowing the user some control of the image. Creating her own renditions of such devices, alongside sculptural, sonic and projected elements, Riger engages scale distortion, color filters and extremes of light and dark to underline the theatrical artifice of film. As Riger has remarked, her work aims to “foster a consideration of cinema as a social medium—with an eye toward viewers rather than auteurs.”

Riger’s immersive installations enable viewers to engage in the playful and accessible experience of early film, appreciate the medium’s sly trickery, and indulge in its magical qualities. This participatory aspect of viewing empowers the audience and sets it apart from its contemporary counterpart.

Artist Bio: Cassie Riger
Los Angeles artist Cassie Riger’s works use installation, kinetic sculpture, performance, and photography to investigate the history of moving images and the interplay between mass media and its audience. Her exhibition of light-based art, Prisms, won the 2018 Curator’s Lab award from Friends of Contemporary Art. She recently completed an NES Residency in Iceland and had projects at the Queer Biennial in Los Angeles and Plan B International Art Festival. She has had solo exhibitions at Northwestern University’s AIR Studio, University of California, Irvine’s Room Gallery and the Right Window Gallery in San Francisco. Riger has also published writing on photography, film and video in Camerawork: A Journal of Photographic Arts, ArtWeek, Art Ltd., and other publications.  She earned an MA from the University of Chicago and an MFA from UC Irvine.

Related Event:

Artist Talk with Cassie Riger
Thursday, October 4 at 2 p.m.
Lenzner Family Art Gallery

This exhibition is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles.

News (orange) (detail view) (2018); 114” x 150” x 124” (variable to site); Motor, paper, metal, plexiglass, slide projector with 80 handmade slides

Elana Mann: Instruments of Accountability

Curated by Ciara Ennis

September 29 – December 8, 2018
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 29, 2–4 p.m.

When creating his Wunderkammer—a hall of amazing artifacts—Renaissance scholar Athanasius Kircher invented the megaphone in order to enhance the voices of those responding to his unbelievable relics. In her new exhibition, Instruments of Accountability, Elana Mann traces the relationship of early listening devices, like those fabricated by Kircher, to modern-day protest movements in order to amplify public dissent. Scheduled to coincide with the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, Mann’s exhibition will address our current moment of political reckoning, both materially and metaphorically.

Comprising sculptural instruments, musical scores and a 1960s hand-crafted mega-kazoo-horn—on loan from the Folk Music Center in Claremont—Instruments of Accountability is the largest solo exhibition of Mann’s artwork to date and is the culmination of a year-long residency with Pitzer College’s ceramics program. Mann’s artworks blend sculpture and performance, blur the line between meditative objects and political engagement, and bring a greater consciousness to the listening and speaking we practice in everyday life.

Mann’s instruments suffuse the human figure with acoustic properties. Her blame-game rattles and me-and-you-kazoos function both as highly crafted objects and utilitarian devices, accessible for audiences to play and handle in art as well as activist settings. In addition to the sculptural components Mann has invited composers, artists, and poets to produce scores for the exhibition, which will be performed throughout the show. The Japanese-Korean feminist art collective Tomorrow Girls Troop (TGT) also collaborated with Mann on posters that call attention to the erosion of women’s and LGBTQI rights in the current political administrations in the USA and Japan. Audiences can respond to these collaborative posters by calling 323 Projects, a telephone line as an exhibition site initiated by Tucker Neel, and leave messages answering the question: “What if women were in charge?” The audiences’ responses will be broadcast periodically from Pitzer’s clock tower throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Artist Bio: Elana Mann
Elana Mann has presented her work in museums, galleries, city parks and buses in the U.S. and abroad, including Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Otis College of Art and Design, The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Getty Villa and REDCAT in Los Angeles and the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, China. Mann is also the recipient of grants from the California Community Foundation, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2007 and lives and works in Los Angeles.

Mann was the inaugural artist-in-residence in 2017-18 in Pitzer College’s ceramics program.

Opening Reception Performances: Sharon Chohi Kim and Micaela Tobin, AJ Layague, Dana Reason
Saturday, September 29, 2–4 p.m.

The opening reception will feature three performances that will incorporate Elana Mann’s sculpture-instruments from the exhibition. These works will explore the intersection of art, music and activism to address issues of domestic violence, audience participation and empowerment.

Sharon Chohi Kim and Micaela Tobin: Unseal/Unseam
An experimental, multimedia opera that re-frames the story of Bluebeard’s Castle from the perspective of his abused wife, Judith.

AJ Layague: Signs Revisited
A three-movement work exploring the translation from the visible to the acoustic, from the object to its representation, and from the watcher to the listener.

Dana Reason: Modes of Persuasion: Hand, Hand, Fingers, Mouth
A series of studies for emergent method sound & object practitioners using instructional and graphic scores to be performed by non-art professionals.

Related Events

Election Day Parade: Grand Buddha Marching Band
Tuesday, November 6, 2:30–4 p.m.
Mudd Quadrangle, Claremont Graduate University

On Election Day, Mann will stage a performance of Pauline Oliveros’ Grand Buddha Marching Band in collaboration with art students from Pitzer and Claremont Graduate University (CGU). Performers will convene on Mudd Quadrangle, adjacent to CGU’s Art Department. This event is co-produced by Pitzer College Art Galleries, CGU, and Fulcrum Arts, Pasadena.

Lecture by Tomorrow Girls Troop (TGT)
Saturday, December 8, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Broad Performance Space, Broad Center

Self-described as a “worldwide fourth-wave feminist art collective,” Tomorrow Girls Troop (TGT) was established in 2015 and comprises 50 artists and activists from around the world. Focusing on gender equality issues, TGT strives to create a positive world for all sexualities and genders in East Asia through art, social action, education, and pop culture.

Presented in collaboration with The Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies.

Songbook Launch
Elana Mann: Instruments of Accountability
Saturday, December 8, 2:30–4 p.m.
Broad Performance Space, Broad Center

In conjunction with the exhibition, Pitzer College Art Galleries will publish a songbook of scores/compositions/chants/songs specifically created for Elana Mann’s sculptural instruments. The publication will include compositions by Pauline Oliveros, Dana Reason, Sharon Chohi Kim and Micaela Tobin, and Douglas Kearney, among others. The songbook will include a jointly written essay by artist, activist and scholar Gregory Sholette and curator and critic Olga Kopenkina. An interview with Elana Mann by Pitzer College Art Galleries’ Director and Curator Ciara Ennis will also be included. The songbook will be designed by Colleen Corcoran, a designer who focuses on projects that examine the use of design as a tool for education and positive change. The form and design of the songbook will draw from the aesthetics of zines, street newspapers and Athanasius Kircher’s many publications.

The exhibition and programming are generously supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance and the Frederick J. Salathé Fund for Music and the Cultural Arts/Campus Life Committee, Pitzer College.

Curatorial Internship Project #2

Elizabeth Lee Freedman ’18: Between Visibilities

Opening Reception:
Thursday, April 26, 5 p.m.
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center

Between Visibilities brings together five contemporary works that appropriate technological communication in a unique way, using the now-familiar format to question and provoke our comfort with these mediated realities.

Elizabeth is a graduating senior at Pitzer College, majoring in studio art with a minor in media studies.

Mutual Sensitivities: 2018 Senior Art Thesis Exhibition

Nicholas Campbell, Arielle Chiara, Madeline Coven, Elizabeth Lee Freedman, Ali Paydar, Eduardo Salas, Elana Scott, Esther Willa Stilwell, Emma Stolarski, Everest Strayer, Jo Terrien, Isaac Watts

April 26-May 12, 2018

Pitzer College Art Galleries:
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
The Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall
Salathé Gallery, McConnell Center

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 26 from 5 – 7 pm

Artists’ Statements

Group Statement

These are actions of thought that connect human and non-human states.
Constantly in process, towards decay and newness, experimenting, playing, fighting, holding and eroding.
From the inside one can see the impossibility of a here.
Instead we construe a there, to nurture and embody, while maintaining its strangeness. We hope to allow the casting to be a species, able to produce, grow, and dissolve.

Nicholas Campbell
I paint images where subject matter is in the process of individuation from the background. Individuation describes the manner in which a thing is identified as distinguished from other things. Each painting contains figures in a different stage of individuation. These subjects loosely adhere to a geometric structure but are undefinable as respective shapes.

Arielle Chiara
Soft and sensitive body is forming. Bed of salt, silk body and rock memory recording strata of absent-present half-buried and fluid traces, material formations and precipitations, biomineralizations, shell and pearl, hair and nail. These saturations, opal gels filling pores and bone casts, deserts which were once ancient seas, their water carved puffy clay mounds and salty salt flats of mind process and site. Beds laid and layered, sweet fragile constructions built up from memory-space, eroded out like precious tooth pearl, silky love pearl and fragile purse shell. 

Madeline Coven
This work is a series of castings of my bathtub using dough, soap, clay, and wool. I am exploring how each of these materials relates to this space and behave differently within it. The bathtub is a place of ritual and care, making the material relate to caring for another body. Working in my living space allowed me to get to know and live alongside the material, as one would grow to know a person or place.

Elizabeth Lee Freedman
Elizabeth Lee Freedman is interested in tracing seemingly ordinary recurrences, such how pickles appear in a grandmother’s kitchen, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, and Gwenyth Paltrow’s food blog. In A Provisional Collection, she loosely draws from the literary format of the short story to explore the ritual of cooking. Plucking out stories of elaborate traditions, memorable feasts, and even musings on specific ingredients, her collection offers a processional tasting of personal and public rituals. 

Ali Paydar
Ancestral cultures, through care and kinship, always impure are kept alive in the bodies that carry them. A Persian-futurism is enacted through this ritual of ingestion, multispecies collectives, and ingredients potent with symbolic meaning. These fermented honey-wines entangle these complex histories and relations, of interdependence, colonization, diaspora, death, preservation, renewal and joy. May we celebrate the porosity of bodies and boundaries together. 

Eduardo Salas
Veins pumping, water flowing, cracks developing, wrinkles forming; it is these overlaps: between body and nature, between aesthetic and physical that I seek to uncover. A physical, tactile awareness specific to all of life; life happening through sight and touch, bodily memory, life happening through acton and imprint, residue. The result is an interaction that continues to blur the lines between nuanced natural forms and the reimagined and recreated in man made terms. 

Elana ScottElana Scott
It is about Chaos. Pain. Instability, of the most certain and change. A wonderment of survival, childhood woes and teenage fantasies culminating into adulthood… A phenomenology of quite prose, makes me quiver in fear of shame and broken laughs of what was told. Was it my fault, or your fault at all? Sex embedded bodily qualms of indoctrinated incarnations of pleasure and pain, we get hurt… Then we move on. A ploy in communication. Healing of fragmented selves. Privilege deployed, who I am, to tell you how to be thinking itself into time? Surging motifs, in qualified beliefs. Fun in a house, or a house in healing. Departed in myself. Step in please. Breathe. 

Esther Willa Stilwell
acts as a satire of humans’ desire for utopia. Using Sims I created a video that asks questions about the nature of play and labor. I give viewers a choice: glance at the video and understand it or spend time with it and experience it. I invite you to occupy Esthertopia and fill it with your thoughts, experiences, and truths. 

Emma Stolarski
Some believe life was formed through clay, when the oceans were vast and we were still dust. Clay is my caregiver, my companion, and my ancestor. Our bodies linger with this memory in our subconscious, the legacy of life in the lifeless. 

Everest Strayer
This work was created in conversation with the idea of space/place. How the binary of space and place create moments of movement and pause, how are these actions of movement and pause mediated by the construction of built space. The mediation of these movements in built space are a map, they are full of suggestions of how we ‘should’ interact with a given environment. The preservation of constructed spaces as a means of identity formation and collective narrative creation, is something this piece hopes to entangle. How might porous and permeable spaces complicate ideas of how to interact with a space/place and how might this destabilize ideas of identity? How might built space be recreated as a means to create opportunities for transition and melding of spaces? 

Jo Terrien
As we are born and as we grow up, and until our death, as people we built. Through what our parents teach us and then through what our individual experiences show us we are constantly building our identity. Whether it be through relationships, languages or art, we are constantly changing as people. By going against the traditional portraiture, this series shows the complexity of one’s identity through deformation of the body. 

Isaac Watts
Return Signal generates patterns of light and sound from the physical presence of viewers. Potential, kinetic, sonic, electromagnetic, a series of energetic transformations vibrate the space. Media are rigid and fluid, formed in transition. 

Image Gallery

Catalogue – Juan Downey: Radiant Nature

Juan Downey: Radiant Nature
Pitzer College Art Galleries: September 9 – December 8, 2017
LACE: September 13 – December 3, 2017
Curated by Robert Crouch and Ciara Ennis
260 pages, with color reproductions, 8.5” x 11”
ISBN: 978-09966445-2-5
Introduction by Robert Crouch and Ciara Ennis
Essays by Bill Anthes, Ciara Ennis, Julieta González, Ming-Yuen S. Ma, Grant Wahlquist
Interview with Marilys Downey by Stuart Comer
Catalogue design by Tanya Rubbak
Text edited by Elizabeth Hamilton
Photography by Robert Wedemeyer
Printing by The Avery Group at Shapco Printing

This catalogue was printed in an addition of 1,200 copies and is available through Pitzer College Art Galleries and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE).

Also available through D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.
75 Broad Street, Suite 630, New York, NY 10004

This catalogue is published with the assistance of the Getty Foundation

Both the catalogue and the exhibition Juan Downey: Radiant Nature is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin America and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California.