Pacific Northwest College of Art Launches FIVE Idea Studios

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Acclaimed light and space sculptor James Turrell and influential French philosopher Jacques Rancière are first guest scholars

Idea Studios are meant to explore and celebrate the power of creative practice

Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) announced today the launch of Idea Studios as the leadoff program of the College's recently established Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE). Idea Studios premieres February 16, 2008 with a talk by James Turrell, MacArthur Award winning light and space artist, followed on February 29 with a lecture by Jacques Rancière, influential philosopher, critic and political theorist.

Idea Studios will be an ongoing and portable series of conversations, lectures and performances on the inner workings of creative practice. The series will feature internationally acclaimed practitioners from a range of fields and cultures as part of a broader PNCA + FIVE effort to highlight the importance of creativity in fostering innovation and civic imagination. Venues for Idea Studios will, at times, shift from the PNCA Portland campus to other locales across Oregon, the U.S. and the globe.

"Idea Studios are meant to explore and celebrate the power of creative practice," said Tom Manley, President, PNCA. "They promise to further enliven the educational encounter PNCA + FIVE provides students and to place our institution and community in the flow of front-edge art and design thinking that is sweeping the world. We are honored to have James Turrell and Jacques Rancière to inaugurate the series. Each is an exemplar in his field and each, in a different way, will challenge us to reconsider how we perceive reality."

James Turrell is an internationally acclaimed light and space artist whose work can be found in collections worldwide. For more than three decades, he has created striking works that play with perception and the effect of light within a created space. His fascination with the phenomena of light is related to his personal, inward search for mankind's place in the universe. Influenced by his Quaker upbringing, which he characterizes as having a 'straightforward, strict presentation of the sublime', Turrell's art prompts greater self-awareness through a similar discipline of silent contemplation, patience and mediation.

Over the past two decades, his work has been recognized in exhibitions in major museums around the world, including the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco and the Panza di Biumo Collection, Varese, Italy. The recipient of several prestigious awards such as Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, Turrell currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona, in order to oversee the completion of his most important work, Roden Crater, a monumental land art project in an extinct volcano the artist has been transforming into a celestial observatory for the past thirty years.

Influential French political theorist and philosopher Jacques Rancière, emeritus professor at the University of Paris VIII, is considered one of the five leading intellectuals in the world today. Rancière will be making his first visit to Portland to speak as part of FIVE Idea Studios, and will speak on the subject of "What Makes Images Unacceptable".

In ARTFORUM magazine, March 2007, Rancière was the subject of a special focus issue in which critic Bettina Funcke wrote of the pronounced and mutual interest between contemporary artists and Rancière's thinking. Since the 2004 publication of Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible, his aesthetic theory (which he calls a "cartography of the visible") has become a reference point in discussing contemporary art. He has lectured widely at universities and at art events including the Frieze Art Fair and the Moscow Biennale, and has written over 20 influential books since the mid 1970s.

FIVE was established in May 2007 with a generous gift from Hallie Ford. Added to the solid base of undergraduate programming at PNCA, FIVE extends the College's intellectual and resource platform to be a place of ideas and creativity through exhibitions, symposia, outreach activities and internationally renowned artists in residence, PNCA's goal for FIVE is to place the College on the forward edge of innovation, in art and design education.

"Hallie Ford had a passion for education and the arts and wanted to help us raise the bar to the highest possible level," said Manley. "That is why she gave so generously to establish FIVE. I think she would be pleased by the quality of this beginning."

A PNCA education readies students for a life of sustained creativity through the fine and design arts. The curriculum is centered on the core values of professional practice, integrated knowledge, critical thinking, effective communications and social responsibility. FIVE amplifies all aspects of the College's mission and extends PNCA's role throughout the region as an epicenter for creativity and innovation that enriches the breadth and depth of civic imagination. The programs of PNCA + FIVE establish collaborative relationships between students, international artists and the region's art, design, and business communities.

Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art has become a leader in innovative educational programming that connects students to a global perspective in the visual arts. The College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Communication Design, Illustration, Intermedia, General Fine Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. In addition, the College offers a mentor-based MFA in Visual Studies that allows students to create a studio-centered curriculum to support their personal artistic vision. PNCA has the oldest continuously running community arts education program in the Northwest. Located in an award-winning campus in the heart of the Pearl district, PNCA is actively involved in Portland's cultural programming through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and visiting artists from around the world. Visit on-line at for a full events calendar and to learn more about PNCA's BFA degree, MFA in Visual Studies or Continuing Education courses for all ages and skill levels.


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