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Cauleen Smith, Martine Syms Join CalArts Staff

Installation view of Martine Syms’s “Black Box,” 2016, at Human Resources, Los Angeles.


The California Institute of Arts in Valencia has added Cauleen Smith and Martine Syms to the staff of its School of Art. Syms will start teaching there in September, while Smith will begin in her new position in January.

Both artists share an interest in cultural histories and the politics that remain hidden in readymade images. Although they also have in common a connection to California (Smith was born in Riverside; Syms is based in Los Angeles), they have been on the minds of those in the New York art world, thanks to two recent shows. Syms’s excellent “Projects” show at the Museum of Modern Art, which was largely centered around a three-channel video installation about surveillance, closed this past weekend, while a series of banners by Smith memorably greeted viewers to the Whitney Biennial earlier this year.

In a statement, Thomas Lawson, the dean of CalArts’s School of Art, explained that Smith was taken on because of her background in experimental film. “As a result, she has incorporated an ever-widening repertoire into her work, including drawing, banner-making, and performance,” he said. Syms, he continued, “very much represents the new generation, the post-digital generation.”

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