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Jessica Drenk at Alumni Weekend, May 1-3, 2009

Jessica Drenk ’02
Jessica Drenk’s art has been influenced by her early appreciation of history and the natural world and by museums featuring archaeology and paleontology. Much of her work is focused on sculpting “museums of the present. Drenk earned her M.F.A. at the University of Arizona, where she was awarded the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement Award in 2006. Her work has been featured in Sculpture Magazine and seen in museums across the country, as well as in Belgrade, Serbia and Marseilles, France. Selections from her award winning series, Reading Our Remains, will be exhibited during Alumni Weekend at Pomona College in the Smith Campus Center Gallery. This commissioned public art installation of altered book sculptures was originally created for the University of Arizona Library.

Chris Burden ’69 Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Renowned artist Chris Burden ’69 has received the prestigious 2009 Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement from the College Art Association. Announced in January, the award will be presented on February 25 in Los Angeles at the 97th annual CAA conference.

Burden rose to fame as a controversial performance artist in the early 1970s with a series of dangerous pieces that tested the limits of his endurance. For Shoot (1971), an assistant shot Burden in the arm. In Trans-fixed (1974), Burden was nailed face-up to a Volkswagen Beetle in a crucifixion pose. Other performance pieces found him shooting at a jet passing overhead, crawling through glass, and laying down in heavy traffic on a crowded street.

He later began producing mechanical, engineered sculptures like B-Car (1975), a lightweight car he said could achieve 100 miles per hour at 100 miles per gallon, and Ghost Ship (2005), a self-navigating yacht that completed on a 330-mile cruise. Recent work includes What My Dad Gave Me (2008), a 65-foot-tall sculpture built from painstakingly recreated Erector Set components and installed in New York City’s Rockefeller Center, and Urban Light (2008), an installation of 202 vintage lampposts located at the new Broad Center Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Burden, who received his MFA from UC Irvine, taught art at UCLA from 1978 to 2005.

“The College Art Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious recognition an artist who has pursued a career creating art and inspiring students can receive,” says Kathleen Howe, the Sarah Rempel and Herbert S. Rempel ‘23 Director of the Pomona College Museum of Art and professor of art history.

“Chris Burden’s practice as artist and his example as teacher engaged some of the most volatile critical issues of the time. A Lifetime Achievement Award might imply completion, but Mr. Burden’s achievements continue–in recent installations in Los Angeles and at Rockefeller Center in New York, he continues to present art that compels bodily experience.”

Burden’s award is one of several given every year by the CAA, but it is the only lifetime achievement award offered for an artist. The College Art Association represents practitioners and interpreters of visual arts and culture, and has 16,000 individual and institutional members. For more information on the CAA awards, please visit www.collegeart.org/awards.

Talks at CAA by Art History and Studio Faculty

Frances Pohl, Professor of Art History at Pomona College, Sheila Pinkel, Professor of Art at Pomona College, and Bill Anthes, Professor of Art History at Pitzer College, will be presenting talks on Friday, February 27, at this year’s College Art Association Meeting in downtown Los Angeles. Pohl will be chairing the session she organized on “Art and Class” and delivering a commentary on the five talks in the session. Pinkel’s talk, “Photography and Social Consciousness: A Pedagogical Practice,” is part of the session “Migration Struggles and Migratory Aesthetics,” while Anthes’ talk, “Native Contemporary Artists and International Biennial Culture,” leads off the session “Indigeneity and Artistic Transnationalism: First Nations Artists and Global Discourse.”

Review of “Art and Activism” Exhibition

In  “The Only Thing We Have to Fear…Is Amnesia,”  Stacy Davies reviewed the exhibition “Art and Activism” for the “Inland Empire Weekly.”   This exhibition was organized by Professor Frances Pohl in conjunction with her seminar of the same name.

Lecture by Julie Nicoletta, April 7, 2009

Julie Nicoletta (’87), Professor of the History of Art and Architecture and Public History, University of Washington, Tacoma,  will be presenting the  Annual Kohler Lecture in the History of Art on April 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm in Lebus Court 113.   The title is “Art Out of Place: International Art Exhibitions at the New York World’s Fair, 1964-65.”

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