Families unfamiliar with the layout of our Art and Design Center had only to follow the rhythm of marimbas on the evening of January 20 to find the closing reception of CSUN Gallery’s 26th Annual High School Invitational. The always rousing African Music Ensemble, led by world music professor Ric Alviso, was particularly energized to welcome young artists and their families back to campus for the first time since 2019, the last year the show was held in person. The 26th edition of the exhibition featured work from 18 participating public and private high schools, filling the gallery space with work spanning and transcending genres and media. Interim Gallery Director Erika Ostrander notes how unfiltered the submitted works are, made by teenage artists who are finding their voice in bold emotive strokes. The Gallery buzzes with energy throughout the reception as the young artists pose for selfies with their work and discuss technique and content with parents, siblings, teachers, and each other.
The High School Invitational traditionally kicks off CSUN Galleries’ spring programming, a semester bustling with culminating student art events. The Annual Juried Art Student Exhibition will enjoy a rousing return to the Gallery Space after having been held virtually since 2020. The 2023 Graduate Exhibition will present culminating work by 17 students marking the end of their formal studies in CSUN’s MA and MFA Visual Arts programs. Interim Director Ostrander notes the bittersweet nature of the Graduate Exhibition, a simultaneous celebration and farewell for students she’s worked so closely with over years. And in a yearly show conceived and executed by the Department of Art’s Exhibition Design course, the work of Toronto-based Iranian video artist Parastoo Anoushahpour will be shown in the West Gallery. These shows collectively exemplify the spirit of the CSUN Galleries as a space of artistic invention, community outreach, and academic inquiry.
While student shows are central to the mission of university art spaces, the CSUN Galleries further their dedication to campus and area communities by acting as a locus of cultural exchange for the San Fernando Valley. Robust programming explores contemporary art through regional lenses while interrogating social, political, and aesthetic issues in art history. Recent exhibitions through the CSUN Galleries’ ongoing collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art have grappled with how we define an American West and how we find voice to effect political change against steep odds.
Another blockbuster collaboration, this time with the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, brings a stunning collection of contemporary art to the main campus gallery January 30–March 11. In keeping with the CSUN Galleries’ commitment to examine landmark art movements through regional lenses, the exhibition gathers works made in California from the 1960s to now by 40+ boundary-busting artists including household names like Lita Albuquerque, John Baldessari, Mary Corse, Jack Goldstein, David Hockney, and Ed Ruscha.
Ed Ruscha "Made in California" (1971)
Jack Goldstein "Untitled" (1988)
The exhibition is curated by Frederick Weisman’s widow, Billie Milam Weisman, who serves as the director and president of the Foundation. While she lives amid some of the most spectacular art produced in the last century, CSUN Art History alumna Milam Weisman emphasizes the importance of public accessibility, routinely making her art-studded Holmby Hills villa available for free tours. And recognizing the value of her own experience as a professional art conservator, Milam Weisman invited student workers of the CSUN Gallery to work alongside professional preparators and foundation personnel to install the show, giving them invaluable experience in the handling and hanging of museum-quality art.
We hope this brief introduction to spring programming at the CSUN Galleries has whet your appetite to attend some exhibitions and receptions in the coming months. Here’s a partial list of exhibitions coming to the Main Gallery and its attached West Gallery as well as the Manzanita and Soraya Galleries. For up-to-the-minute info, please visit the CSUN Galleries site.
California Art: Contemporary Art Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation
January 30–March 11 | Reception: February 4, 3-5pm | Curated by Billie Milam Weisman
Juried Art Student Exhibition
April 3–22 | Reception: April 7, 4-6pm
May 6–27 | Reception: May 6, 3–6pm
Parastoo Anoushahpour Desire for Defiance
March 4–April 1 | Reception: Monday, March 13, 4–6pm | Artist Talk: Monday, March 27, 4pm – Purple Crit Room
Curated by students of the Fall 2022 ART342/542 Exhibition Design course
Soraya Gallery exhibition in conjunction with the February 23 concert event Treelogy: A Musical Portrait of California’s Redwood, Sequoia, and Joshua Trees
February 11–March 18 | Reception: TBA | Curated by 11:11 - A Creative Collective
March 25–May 6 | Reception: TBA
Title TBA: An interdisciplinary collaboration between Michele Rozic’s graduate printmaking studio class and Lelani Hall’s graduate creative writing class
April 24–May 15