SFAI Awards 2007 Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship

SFAI Awards 2007 Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship

San Francisco Art Institute

May 22, 2007
SFAI Awards 2007 Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship
San Francisco Art Institute

San Francisco, CA 94133

800 345 SFAI / 415 749 4500


Iona Rozeal Brown, a3 #11, 2003.

Courtesy of the artist and G Fine Art, Washington, DC.

Iona Rozeal Brown Awarded 2007 Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship

The 2007 Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship has been awarded to SFAI alumna Iona Rozeal Brown. Born in 1966 in Washington, DC, Brown took a BS in Kinesiological Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1991. She studied at the Pratt Institute before coming to SFAI to pursue a BFA in painting, which she earned in 1999. Brown was the valedictorian of her class at SFAI and the recipient of an SFAI-conferred summer residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. After SFAI, she took an MFA from the Yale University School of Art in 2002.

In her work as a painter (she is also an accomplished DJ), Brown takes what has become a commonplace motif in contemporary art and culture-the representation of race and gender-and transmutes it into a richly articulated, synchronic study of the global appropriation and fetishization of African American culture, in particular, hip-hop. In an ongoing series of works and exhibitions that were first elicited, conceptually, by an article she read in 1997, Brown deploys and then revisits a theme of her own devising called “a3″ or “Afro-Asiatic allegory.” The article in question-“The Yellow Negro” by Joe Wood-addresses a fad then on the rise in Japan: youths who practice a contemporary version of blackface or ganguro. Equal parts intrigued and disturbed by the phenomenon, Brown eventually made her way to Japan in 2001 to explore it firsthand as well as to research Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period (1603–1868).

Her creative resolve to bring these disparate-seeming fascinations together is what issued in a3, the method whereby she resituates, in her own words, “[hip-hop] codes, honorifics, passages, accoutrements, style-flossing, whips, bling, rhymes, beats, cutting, scratching, fresh gear, dope ropes, b-boy stances, and sampling” within the context of late-seventeenth-century Japanese representational forms and techniques. Turning the imitators’ imitations on their heads by generating an array of pastiches, Brown complements what is, on the face of it, socio-political critique with an inventive audit of an aesthetic preoccupation that goes back at least as far as Aristotle: the pre-and post-Modernist/formalist mimetic burden, the supposition that painting imitate nature, life, or-as it turns out-antecedent imitations.

Brown has been part of a number of important group exhibitions, including the Okwui Enwezor–curated Work Zones: Three Decades of Contemporary Art from SFAI at the Walter and McBean Galleries (on the SFAI campus) in San Francisco (2006). Her solo exhibitions include Blending Lines at G Fine Art in Washington, DC (2006–2007); a3 the Revolution: Televised, Terrorized, Sexualized at Caren Golden Fine Art in New York (2004); Iona Rozeal Brown at Sandroni Rey Gallery in Los Angeles (2004); and Bling BlAsian Bling at the Luggage Store in San Francisco (2004). She also has an upcoming exhibition at Sandroni Rey Gallery in Los Angeles.

The Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship

The Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship was established in 1998 by the generosity of Richard Diebenkorn’s family. The $25,000 fellowship makes it possible for the contemporary artist to whom it is awarded both to teach at SFAI and to pursue studio work.

Providing studio space and housing at the Headlands Center for the Arts, the fellowship is dedicated to the memory of the distinguished and world-renowned painter Richard C. Diebenkorn. In January 1946, Diebenkorn enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA, now SFAI) as a student; in September of that same year, he was awarded the school’s Albert Bender Grant. The grant allowed him to travel and work independently for one year. After spending a year in New York, Diebenkorn returned to the CSFA and was offered his first teaching appointment: he taught through 1949 and again from 1959 to 1966. Founded in order to honor his legacy as an instructor, the Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship is intended to provide its recipient with an opportunity similar to that enjoyed by Diebenkorn himself when he won the Bender Grant.

Past recipients of the fellowship are Brad Brown, Polly Apfelbaum, Nereida Garcia-Ferraz, Monica Majoli, Fred Hayes, Whitfield Lovell, Darren Waterston, Brett Cook, and Shaun O’Dell. The fellowship is awarded, in alternate years, to Bay Area–only and then to national (excluding Bay Area) artists.

San Francisco Art Institute

Dedicated to excellence and diversity since its founding in 1871, SFAI is one of the oldest and most prestigious degree-granting institutions of higher education in contemporary art in the US. By addressing students through the particularity of their own experiences and by challenging them to test the assumptions that underlie those experiences, SFAI’s academic and public programs underscore the relationship between teaching and research, practice and critique.

SFAI’s School of Studio Practice is centered on the development of the artist’s vision through studio-based experiments and on the understanding that the artist is an essential part of society. It offers a BFA, an MFA, and a Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Design+Technology, Film, New Genres, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture.

SFAI’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies is motivated by the premise that critical thinking and writing-informed by an in-depth understanding of the relation between theory and practice-are essential for engaging global society. It offers degree programs in History and Theory of Contemporary Art (BA and MA), Urban Studies (BA and MA), and Exhibition and Museum Studies (MA only).

For more information about this fellowship and other programs and events at SFAI, please go to http://www.sfai.edu.

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