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Winter 2023

West of the West: The Art of California

California: a state of staggering beauty, incredible variety, an almost infinite sense of possibility and a healthy dose of wackiness—with an art tradition that reflects this abundance. In this course, we will explore the dynamic story of California art from before the times of the explorers to the present day.  We will see how California artists adopted and adapted European, Latin American, and Asian styles to create visual documents of an emerging state, and state of mind; when those styles didn’t work, they created their own. Participants will become familiar with styles, subjects,  context,  and a ton of artists. Sessions will include lecture and discussion.

Wednesdays, 1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8  1-3 PM

OLLI Santa Clara University

To enroll, contact www.scu.edu/osher/

Mondays, 1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27  10-12 AM

OLLI San Francisco State University, in person at the downtown campus, 160 Spear St

To enroll, contact olli@sfsu.edu

Fall 2022

Four Modern Masters: Manet, Matisse, Mondrian, Magritte

Wednesday, 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5 6:30-8 PM

At the turn of the 20th century, changes in philosophy, science, sentiment, and social life propelled artists to search for new ways of expression. Dozens of “isms” appeared; some lasted, and others faded as quickly as they had arrived. But many definitive masters took the stage, and in this four-week session, we’ll look at four of them: Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, and René Magritte. Learn about their lives, the sources of their art, and their processes while looking closely at a group of their works. All of them left a lasting mark on Western art, and we'll trace their influence on artists working today.

OLLI Dominican College

To enroll, contact olli@dominican.edu

Summer 2022

Sun and Shadow in the Golden State: California Photography

Wednesday, 7/27, 10-12 AM

California photographers have explored, developed, and refined the art of image-making in significant ways. From the early Pictorialists to Oakland’s revolutionary F64 group, from the New Topographics work of the 1970s to contemporary experimenters, photographers in the Golden State have produced a body of work that documents the human and natural environment of a very special place.

OLLI San Francisco State University, in person at the downtown campus, 160 Spear St

To enroll, contact olli@sfsu.edu

The Art of Abstraction

Tuesdays, 6/28, 7/12, 7/19, 7/26 (no class 7/5)  

Abstract Art: Whirling colors, sinuous lines, thick paint--and not a face, a tree, a cow in sight! Is abstraction supposed to be hard--or easy? Where did it come from? Why did it dominate midcentury art? What does it offer to the viewer, or the painter? Explore the mystery and magic of abstract art in this four-session course. We'll look at the beginnings of abstraction in the early 20th century, move on to the heyday of American Abstract Expressionism of the 40s and 50s, and finish by examining the kinds of abstraction produced now.

OLLI Dominican College

To enroll, contact olli@dominican.edu

Spring 2022

West of the West: The Art of California

Tuesdays, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31, 6/7, 6/14, 6/21  10-11:40 AM

California: a state of staggering beauty, incredible variety, an almost infinite sense of possibility and a healthy dose of wackiness—with an art tradition that reflects this abundance. In this course, we will explore the dynamic story of California art from before the times of the explorers to the present day.  We will see how California artists adopted and adapted European, Latin American, and Asian styles to create visual documents of an emerging state, and state of mind; when those styles didn’t work, they created their own. Participants will become familiar with styles, subjects,  context,  and a ton of artists. Sessions will include lecture and discussion.

 

1. First Impressions of the Golden State  

A look at how we look at art, and then a bit of early California history. Artist/explorers provide the first visual documents of our state through maps and scientific sketches. Mission art brings European traditions to California. Landscape painting explodes. Artists: Ferdinand Dieppe, Richard Beechey, James Madison Alden, Charles Christian Nahl, Alfred Bierstadt, William Keith.  


2. “My religion? I think that it is California.”
California begins to take on the allure of paradise, helped by late 19th and early 20th century landscape artists. Whether Impressionist or Tonalist, painters exulted in depicting nature.  Two significant events impact art and artists: the 1906 earthquake, and the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. Artists : Arthur and Lucia Mathews, Xavier Martinez, Gottardo Piazzoni, Granville Redmond, the Society of Six, Anne Bremer, Mabel Alvarez, Henrietta Shore.

 

3.  From Muralism to Modernism
A big man, and a big project.: Diego Rivera injects the Social Realist mural tradition with a Mexican vibe, and San Francisco artists follow. San Francisco receives many WPA commissions: Coit Tower, the Rincon Post Office, George Washington High, and others. The first stirrings of Modernism are felt. Artists :  Diego Rivera, Yun Gee, the Coit Tower muralists,   Maynard Dixon, Adaline Kent, Sargent Johnson, Charles Howard,

4. Meanwhile, in Southern California
Sunny from the start, Southern California embraced Impressionism early on, and artists documented this wildly beautiful land, sold to thousands as a paradise of oranges and avocados where you could spend Christmas day at the beach. Social Realism was less aggressive here, and Modernism more pronounced. Artists: Franz Bischoff, Henrietta Shore, Millard Sheets, Agnes Pelton, Stanton MacDonald Wright, Lorser Feitelson, Helen Lundeberg.

 

5. The Fabulous Fifties
California artists develop their own strain of abstraction, slightly spiritual and eastern-facing. Others—and most of them associated with the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco—take  a radical approach: they return to the figure. Artists :   David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Nathan Oliveira, Bernice Bing, Leo Valledor, Roger Kuntz, Richard Mayhew, Ruth Asawa.

 

6. The Hippie Aesthetic
The Bay Area Figurative style is in full force, but the “second generation” Figurative artists reflect a changing view of art and life. Art once again takes on a political edge, and absurdity is never far behind. Artists: Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Carlos Almaraz, John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Judy Chicago, Betye Saar, Jay De Feo, Robert Bechtle.

 

7. Funk, Baby

The Bay Area art center shifts east—to Davis!  Artists take a Pop approach, with a distinctly NorCal vibe. Artists :Joan Brown, Jess, Bruce Conner, William Wiley, Robert Arneson, Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Colescott, Enrique Chagoya, Noah Purifoy, Lari Pittman..

8. Postmodern California: Identity and Beyond
California is an important center of the postmodern art world.  Artists are producing work in every kind of genre, including some being created as we speak, using materials, techniques, and ideas of the new millennium. Artists: Alison Saar, Martin Wong, the Mission School, Mark Bradford, Hung Liu, Mildred Howard, Doug Aitken, Mary Weatherford.

Fromm Institute at USF

To enroll, contact fromm@usfca.edu

 


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Martin Wong, Reckless, 1991

IKehinde Wiley, Alexander the Great, 2005

Richard Diebenkorn, Cityscape, 1963

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Charles Howard, Night Painting, 1955

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