"Uncertain Allies, a monographic exhibition by Neha Choksi, features sculptures, painted wall works, and a newly produced video. The focus of Choksi’s efforts is stone that is touched by human activity, and human activity that is touched by stone. Uncertain Allies brings geologic and cultural timescales and agencies into uncertain but unavoidable conversation. To quote medievalist Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, who wrote eloquently about geophilia in Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman (2015), stones are “ancient allies in knowledge making.” He goes on to say, “A rock is not a construction or a concept, not dead matter or pliant utensil. Whether a pebble or a volcano, a mountain or a meteor, a stone is a passage into action, a catalyst, a cause.”
As she contemplates stone, Choksi believes new ethics are needed for humans to engage in any relation, spatially or temporally, with this primary matter. Bringing time and agency into play, Choksi contributes to such through the artworks of Uncertain Allies, in ways that are both earnest and absurd. She hopes to enable us to think beyond knowable durations, movements, and scales that make sense to us." Read the full essay by Curator of Exhibitions Kristina Newhouse here.
CSULB President Conoley Praises Museum Expansion, Making it the "crown jewel on our campus"
Despite our low campus population since last March, key Beach personnel, together with external teams, have been working to repair and improve facilities and infrastructure, as well as work on new structures around The Beach. From necessary landscaping projects to construction on our forthcoming Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center, the campus’ “look” is undergoing significant changes that will improve the way we teach, learn and live as a community.
Nowhere are these improvements more noticeable than at the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, which is undergoing a massive renovation — inside and out. When the Museum reopens (expected in February 2022), CSULB will see the art space double in size and — thanks to the generosity of the museum’s namesake — be augmented by a collection of her art, endowed funds for scholarships, internships, visiting scholars, and lectures exploring interdisciplinary topics, and operating expenses.
This facility presents fresh opportunities for Beach faculty, staff and students, and it also promises to be an even more accessible campus space for the Long Beach community. The new version — the only CSU museum with a collection like ours and the first to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in the CSU System — will continue to offer free admission, as well as evening and weekend hours. This means that families, workers, students and others throughout our community can experience exceptional art. Making the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum available to the community adds to our mission to promote “the public good.” Increased availability also represents our commitment to develop the next generation of artists and appreciators of the arts.
To say I’ve been excited about the museum’s design and development from the earliest discussions and concept presentations is an understatement. The expanded museum will be a crown jewel on our campus. It will include three exhibition galleries, a reading and archives room, a works-on-paper study room, an education room, expanded collection storage (the incredible Hampton collection of Modernist works will be moved to campus for the first time ever), and updated workspaces. The increased size will occupy open space adjoining the Jack Rose Track. The Kleefeld Contemporary’s new director, Paul Baker Prindle, has joked, “It may be the first time in history that a university athletics program has lost real estate to an art museum!”
In addition to the museum’s interior, there will be renewed exterior spaces. The area will feature a new sculpture garden, as well as space for many campus and community events. This space will create an entirely unique way for visitors to interact with art. The Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum will play a vital role in our “next and better normal” — stewarding and advocating for art and arts education, and making exceptional experiences accessible through its exhibitions and holdings. When that time comes, I look forward welcoming our campus community, neighbors and friends to this very special place.
Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum participated in Couriers of Hope, a collaboratively curated exhibition organized by the Port City Creative Guild. Curator of Exhibitions Kristina Newhouse invited Long Beach artists Connie DK Lane, Kadie DiCarlo, Abel Alejandre, Biddy Tran, Juan Gomez, Hilary Norcliffe, Angela Willcocks, Noah Thomas, Lance Carlson, Sarah Arnold and Betsy Lohrer Hall to submit work made on envelopes to the mail art project. Each of the artists selected joined in expressing what brings them hope and what they are hopeful for through their work on envelopes. Over 90 local artists in total participated, and the project has received much press coverage.
This collective effort that has direct impact for the Long Beach community and for LBUSD students, who engage with submitted works from local artists through creative activities and an art trading program. We are proud to contribute to another platform for arts integrated learning that highlights local artists and brings our served communities closer together. Through this exhibition, LBUSD students have another avenue to find new inspiration from works that move them. The active interaction built into the Couriers of Hope exhibition model meets students and artists where they are and offers an exchange of creativity, knowledge and recognition.
The exhibition of local artists' mail art was on view in-person at The Psychic Temple of Long Beach, 228 E. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802. It remains on display online for a limited time. Kleefeld Contemporary's online gallery is accessible here. The Museum also produced community conversations on with curators from Flatline Gallery and Inspired LBC, now viewable on YouTube.
Museum acquires and preserves historic Millard Sheets mosaic mural for future generations
Farmers & Merchants Bank donates work and supports conservation process. Threaded Films produces mini-documentary of the de-installation process.
Kleefeld Contemporary announces the acquisition of historic public art by California artist Millard Sheets gifted from Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M). The mosaic mural will be installed as a feature of the newly expanded museum. The initiative to save and preserve the work was spearheaded by Kleefeld Contemporary Director, Paul Baker Prindle in partnership with F&M. In addition to the gift of this valuable mosaic, F&M Bank made a significant philanthropic gift to the museum to support the conservation of this work for future generations.
The first step in the conservation, the de-installation from the former Home Savings and Loan Building, is now complete. Threaded Films produced a mini-documentary showcasing the work’s significance for stakeholder while capturing the collaborative process of de-installation. RLA Conservation of Art + Architecture (RLA) has been contracted to conserve this work, following many successful Outdoor Sculpture Collection conservation projects with Kleefeld Contemporary. Brian Worley of Brian Worley Art & Restoration, Inc. (BWAR), official liaison for the Sheets Estate and part of the original installation team, also consults on the project. Both firms will assist in efforts to de-install, relocate and conserve this monumental work.
Constructed from 1975-1977, the untitled mosaic designed by Millard Sheets uses byzantine-style glass tesserae. Standing over 14 feet high and over 11 feet wide, the floor-to-ceiling work frames a doorway. According to BWAR, the mosaic design is based upon an embroidered tunic that Sheets purchased on a trip to Mexico. The work depicts colorful, tropical birds with various foliage elements over a geometric background. The mosaic’s vitreous and smalti tiles create a textured surface and reflective sheen.
Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum Building Evolves in 2020
Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum gets a makeover starting in 2020. As we undergo a significant site expansion, we create a series of off-site projects before an expanded and improved space is built. Get ready for new ideas, fresh projects, and unorthodox exhibition environments. We encourage your interaction, as community places become shared spaces that connect students with contemporary art. We envision arts integration activities that re-imagine education events as collaborative opportunities. By investing in engagement and multidisciplinary projects, we rethink what the word museum means, and what museums do.
Along with activating city and campus spaces, our guided tours of the Outdoor Sculpture Collection continue in the new year. The growing Plugged-In: Classroom Connections Program, which expanded to the ABC School District in 2019, will also keep elementary school students engaged with its hands-on making and learning models in the classroom and on Cal State Long Beach campus.
The museum’s new name honors the generosity of Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld, an artist, poet, and passionate supporter of authentic self-expression. Her gift enables our growth, allows for unprecedented collection access, and STEAM educational partnerships. We welcome you to join us, as we focus on co-creation and active conversation. Our new identity honors our community—one made up of many diverse communities and many people working toward greater representation, resources, justice, and equity.
Paul Baker Prindle named Director of the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach
Paul Baker Prindle will join California State University, Long Beach as Director of the campus art museum, following his directorship at University of Nevada, Reno. Highly experienced in capital expansions and capacity building, Baker Prindle will work with stakeholders ahead of a significant expansion, as the University Art Museum is transformed into the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, or the Kleefeld Contemporary for short. He has opened two new museums in the past ten years while also engaging in major acquisition and program innovation initiatives. He looks forward to deepening the museum’s commitment to collecting and sharing exceptional contemporary art.
In regard to these organizational changes, College of the Arts Dean Cyrus Parker-Jeannette affirms that, "The renaming of the campus museum represents an exciting new era, as we receive a large gift, add the Kleefeld Collection to a significant permanent collection, and plan major renovations; I can think of no better steward and collaborator to manage this transition than Paul Baker Prindle."
Baker Prindle’s professional practice emphasizes diversity, inclusiveness, and viewer participation in arts programming, while serving an expansive community of art viewers and makers. An advocate for growing museums into higher quality, community-facing institutions, Baker Prindle has developed programs that serve students, school districts, community elders, and marginalized populations. He has successfully built two museum permanent collections that challenge pervasive collecting shortcomings through diversification of museum holdings to be more inclusive and to better reflect the communities museums serve. He works to support and collect the work of self-taught artists, LGTBQ artists, Indigenous Americans, and artists who identify as women. Most recently, his collecting efforts at The John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art grew the percentage of works by women in the museum’s collection from 3 percent to 47 percent.
Dean Parker-Jeannettealso shared that, “Throughout the search and selection process, Paul Baker Prindle impressed us with his experience, articulately presented viewpoints, and vision. He comes on board as Director at an exciting time, just as the museum is receiving a new name and looking forward to an upcoming expansion. His expertise, educational perspectives, charisma, and incisive intelligence are sure to propel the museum forward in profound ways during its next chapter.”
Baker Prindle will oversee a growing collection, including significant holdings in the Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Gordon F. Hampton Collection, Works on Paper Collection, and the Kleefeld Collection, a recent gift to the museum. He expresses his enthusiasm in saying, “I'm excited to join this team of museum professionals at an important time in the life of the museum. We are eager to partner and collaborate while we explore and develop new ways of connecting the arts with the community. My vision is for the museum to be an outward-facing institution that foregrounds innovation, scholarship, and service within a region of great diversity. The success of our efforts hinges on thoughtful and sustained engagement with our neighbors, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to build deeper connections between the University and the people we serve.” His first day will be July 22, 2019.
He has curated well over one hundred exhibitions in the past. He co-curated Air, Land, and Seed, a collateral exhibition at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and has worked alongside artists to organize SEE HER: New Works by Dyani White Hawk and many other projects. He is a contributor to the forthcoming catalogue David R. Harper: My Own Personal Ghost. In January 2019, Baker Prindle opened the John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art at University of Nevada, Reno, where he taught and directed University Galleries for six years. He has held positions at Gagosian Gallery, Edgewood College, and John Michael Kohler Arts Center.