An-My Lê

Artist lecture Tuesday, March 29, 2016 7PM
Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St., San Francisco, CA 94107
29 Palms: Captain Folsom, 2003-04

The photographs of An-My Lê investigate the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Her work draws inspiration from her experiences as a refugee of the Vietnam War. Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1960 and settled in the United States in 1975, after fleeing Vietnam with her family during the final year of the war. She juxtaposes the tranquility of natural landscapes with echoes of violence and upheaval, as the landscape transforms into, or has been, a battlefield. The ambiguity in Lê’s work blends the lines between documentary and staged, functioning as observations of the representation and theater of war. The black-and-white images of Viêt Nam explore Lê’s memories of a war-torn countryside with the Vietnamese contemporary landscape. The tranquility of the present is imbued with haunting memories of past conflict. Her photographs explore the fluidity between fact and fiction. In Small Wars, she documents Vietnam War re-enactors in the American South. The reenactments, striving for authenticity, occur in the Appalachian forests of Virginia and North Carolina, rather than in Vietnam, revealing the endeavor. Photographed with a large-format film camera, the images find moments of pause and quiet contemplation amidst the frenetic energy of war games. 29 Palms stemmed from Lê’s denied request to accompany the American military forces in Iraq. She instead documented United States Marines during their training exercises in the Southern California desert before deployment to Iraq. Though clearly a training site, this reconstructed Middle Eastern landscape functions as an ominous reminder of the conflict to come.

Lê holds BAS and MS degrees in Biology from Stanford University and an MFA from Yale University. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in many museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Since 1999, Lê has been a faculty member in the photography department at Bard College.

Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to present the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each year, the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program brings six photographers, writers, and curators to San Francisco to offer free and open lectures, and to work one-on-one with students at California College of the Arts.

Larry Sultan Photography Award

Jonathan Calm, Double Vision (Recording I), 2018

Jonathan Calm

Fall 2019 Residency
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Click HERE for more information on the Larry Sultan Photography Award

Jonathan Calm is a visual artist who works in photography, video, installation, and performance. A central theme of his work is the relationship between photography and urban architecture, and the powerful role of images in the way architectural constructs shape the lives of individuals and communities.

In his most recent work, Calm explores the complex representation of African-American automobility from a historical and contemporary perspective, focusing and drawing on the importance and resonance of the Negro Motorist Green Book. Of this project, he explains, “the image of the infinite highway and the unbridled freedom to roam the land has always been considered a quintessential expression of the modern American spirit, but the black American experience of travel, which involves heightened subjectivity and exposure, has to this day proven a precarious privilege rather than an inalienable right.”

Calm’s art practice is international in scope and has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Frequency at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2005); Role Play at the Tate Britain (2006); Black Is, Black Ain’t at the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society (2008); Streetwise at the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid (2008) and the Chelsea Art Museum (2011); deCordova Biennial at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (2013); and Rooted Movements at LMAKprojects in New York City (2014). Calm currently lives in Palo Alto, CA where he is a faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University.