Posts tagged with "California State University Long Beach":

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Artist sought to transform gallery into beacon for Black lives, then the university stepped in

Late last month, just six days before the debut of American MONUMENT, an installation created by the artist lauren woods for the University Art Museum (UAM) at California State University, Long Beach, that focuses on police brutality and institutionalized racism, UAM executive director Kimberli Meyer, a key collaborator on the project, was abruptly fired. Meyer was chosen to head the museum in 2016 after an almost 14-year tenure as the head of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, where she specialized in pursuing provocative and intellectually-expansive exhibitions and public programs. At the time of her appointment to UAM, Meyer told The Los Angeles Times that her move from the private art world to an institutional setting was driven by an interest in the role university museums can play as “independent, academic space[s] that really can dig into issues and encourage critical thinking in ways that private museums cannot.” When she arrived at CSU Long Beach, Meyer did so with the intention of using her position as a vehicle for, among other initiatives, staging and organizing pointed exhibitions, installations, and public programs that would deal directly with issues of anti-Blackness, police brutality, and institutionalized racism. That’s when the problems started. American MONUMENT was developed by woods—who stylizes her name using all lowercase letters—and Meyer as the inaugural work for this new focus and as a collaborative project where Meyer and CSU Long Beach played the key role of institutional steward for the project. The installation was developed as a group of 25 freestanding displays, with each stand featuring a record player that would play sound clips related to recent episodes in American culture that highlighted the pervasive and forceful presence of institutional racism against African Americans, including the murders of Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. The recordings, obtained mainly through Freedom of Information Act requests, include police reports, court transcripts, witness testimonies, and even recorded audio captured by bystanders, according to the American MONUMENT blog. For the installation, visitors are invited to pick up each of the turntable needles in order to activate the sound sculpture. A description from the American MONUMENT blog reads:
[American MONUMENT] prompts the consideration of the cultural circumstances under which African-Americans have lost their lives to police brutality. The new-media monument is conceived to be nomadic and continually expanding, with the UAM serving as its launch site and steward. The artwork provides a vehicle by which to analyze the complex relationship between the construction of race, material violence and structural power.
Meyer told The Architect’s Newspaper that her approach had initially received push-back from university administrators who were fearful that exhibitions and programming centered around African-American voices and explosive themes like police brutality and institutionalized racism would incite racist, “tiki torch-bearing” mobs against the university. Despite institutional unease, however, work on the installation pushed toward its September 16th opening date. That was, of course, until Meyer was abruptly let go, removing woods’s major institutional partner and throwing into question the university's commitment to the installation and the themes Meyer was focused on bringing to light there. In response, the artist decided to “pause” the work, essentially shutting down the installation in the hope that Meyer would be reinstated. Backlash against Meyer’s firing has been swift, with a pair of public petitions that were created in response to the dismissal garnering over 800 signatories. An open letter was also created by prominent female arts and architecture figures, including Emily Bills, Andrea Dietz, Jia Gu, Lucía Sanromán, and Mimi Zeiger, in response to Meyer’s firing, which the group highlighted as part of a troubling “spate of firings of significant women in the arts over the past year.” When reached for comment, Jeff Bliss, executive director of media and digital news for CSU Long Beach, said, “We cannot comment on personnel matters,” adding, “American MONUMENT is ‘paused’ (at the artist’s request). We remain open to dialogue with Ms. woods and pledge that we will continue to work toward encouraging her to ‘un-pause’ American MONUMENT on campus, so that the educational opportunities it promises can be realized.” Meyer is currently appealing her firing. While they wait for the lengthy administrative process to play out, she and woods have proposed the creation of a “parallel museum” to allow woods to “unpause” the monument. Essentially, the proposal, if accepted, would allow Meyer and woods to carry on their work and the ongoing research that was meant to be developed over the course of the run of the installation under a separate, independent administrative vision that would be part pop-up, part sanctioned occupation of the museum. With their own staff and organizational structure, woods and Meyer hope to pioneer a new way of approaching how institutions address issues of structural racism. Meyer explained: “[The parallel Museum] would mediate the borders between the ‘parallel’ and existing museum to not only get American MONUMENT up-and-running but to also pursue a different set of agendas, missions, and procedures for the work” than was originally planned. Explaining the institutional inertia inherent in approaching deeply-entrenched and unquestioned racism-related topics and cultures, Meyer added, “White supremacy is alive and systems don't want to change—we’re experimenting with non-violent system change.” Meyer explained that the parallel museum “can be set up almost as a kind of mirror showing another way of doing things that doesn’t disrupt the museum but instead provides a different model for how it might work.”
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New renderings for CSU-Long Beach development features pyramidal facade and mirrored pools

A previously-released development proposal for the so-called Broadway Block complex by Ratkovich Properties, Urbana, The Owl Companies, and Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) has been updated to include more residential units. The project features the work of architect Rob Wellington Quigley and landscape architect Office of James Burnett. The project update, first reported by Longbeachize, contains an additional 18 units over the previously-announced scheme and is articulated as a 21-story tower with an attached eight-story apartment block. The lower portion of the structure will front Broadway while the tower portion will sit on 3rd Street. The new complex is to be built over an existing parking lot in Downtown Long Beach. The complex will also bring a mix of other student-friendly uses to the university-adjacent neighborhood, including a 5,773-square-foot creative office space, a 3,873-square-foot flexible space component, and a 6,012-square-foot loft area. CSULB will occupy roughly 4,500-square feet of the complex, with 1,311 square feet dedicated to its ArtExchange gallery space and 3,200 square feet of multi-purpose space included in the development. Renderings for the project depict a street-hugging courtyard complex containing a variety of structures inside the courtyard area, including pedestrian-oriented paseos and a terrace-level pool outfitted with a mirrored ceiling that allows pedestrians to see what’s going on in the pool. The project was originally proposed with a student housing component in addition to market-rate apartments, but the updated proposal omits these units. It is expected that the loss of the student housing for the project comes on the heels of another CSULB-affiliated project planned for nearby block that aims to bring 800 new dorms to the area. That project is being pursued by Shooshani Developers and architects Studio One Eleven and is slated to begin construction this fall. Construction on the Broadway Block development is expected to begin in 2019.
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22-story dormitory tower coming to Downtown Long Beach

Yesterday, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced a new partnership between Shooshani Developers and the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) that will bring an 800-bed student housing tower, designed by architects Studio One Eleven, to Downtown Long Beach. The project partners are working toward the implementation of the so-called CSULB Village development, a student-focused mixed-use district that will boost the university’s presence in Downtown Long Beach, as the city’s mayor aims to enliven the district via increased density and pedestrianization improvements. The new district will include a 22-story mixed-use tower containing student housing and 50 units of university staff housing. The complex will also house 16 meeting rooms, a 5,000-square-foot innovation center, a 10,000-square-foot CSULB-run art gallery and museum, and 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Studio One Eleven maintains one of its two offices in Downtown Long Beach in a recently-renovated portion of a former shopping mall located beside the proposed tower complex. The firm was also in charge of design for the mall renovation project, which repurposed a 34,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack department store into a creative office suite. In a statement announcing the new partnership, Michael Bohn, senior principal at Studio One Eleven said, “Once a place for consumption [Downtown Long Beach] is transforming into a vibrant mixed-use community with creative office and now educational-art-innovation components. Hopefully, this will set a foundation for other institutions to look at downtown as a future home.” A rendering accompanying the release by the developers depicts a rectangular tower rising out of a two-story podium. The blocky tower has multi-level loggia cut out from its mass at different heights along each the corners. The tower also features gridded facades along each exposure, with certain facades populated by vertical louvers. The tower will be located near another recently-announced CSULB project that will be developed by Ratkovich Company, Urbana LLC, and Owl Companies. The so-called Broadway Block complex would bring a new 375-unit mixed-use development to the area in a complex marked by a 21-story apartment tower. Construction on the CSULB Village complex is scheduled to begin Fall 2017; a completion date has not been announced for the project.
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Cranbrook picks Christopher Scoates to replace Reed Kroloff

More than one year after Reed Kroloff announced he would leave his post as director of Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art, the illustrious arts campus and museum has plucked an art museum director from the West Coast to fill his shoes. Christopher Scoates has worked with California State University Long Beach since 2005. A native of England, he has a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Cranbrook and more than 25 years of experience in universities and art schools. As a curator he has organized exhibitions bringing together music, lighting, and various media for shows that have traveled the country. “Cranbrook Academy of Art's rich legacy and history of innovation have made it one of the top institutions of graduate education in the visual and fine arts,” Scoates said in a statement. “Together, the Academy and Museum share a commitment to new art and new ideas, and I look forward to developing new partnerships, alliances, and audiences that will extend both the Academy and Museum programs far beyond the walls of the campus.” His appointment takes effect August 1st. Cranbrook is a top ranked, graduate-only program in architecture, design, and fine art famous for its Saarinen-designed campus and small class size—just 150 students per year. (Disclosure: Kroloff serves as an editorial advisor to The Architect’s Newspaper.)