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James D. Phelan Art Award in Printmaking

The James D. Phelan Art Awards were established by the trust of James D. Phelan (1861-1930), former San Francisco Mayor, United States Senator, and arts supporter, to recognize the achievements of California-born artists in a variety of disciplines. The Phelan Art Awards are also given in photography, film and video and are part of the Awards Program of The San Francisco Foundation. The James D. Phelan Art Award in Printmaking honors two California-born artists with a $4000. cash prize and an exhibition at the Kala Gallery. This year’s esteemed juror, Berin Golonu, Associate Visual Arts Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, selected Diane Rosenblum Althoff and Randy Hussong from a competitive field of artists working in a wide array of print processes.

Berin selected three artists to be acknowledged as recipients of Honorable Mentions for their high quality applications. Print works by Honorable Mention artists Amanda Boehm, Favianna Rodriguez and Breanne Trammell will also be included in the exhibition.

Diane Rosenblum Althoff creates complex conceptual digital print works based on the visual language of well-known contemporary artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Richard Misrach and Damien Hirst. Incorporating art market sales results obtained from artprice.com, the artist meshes graphical displays of information based on Edward Tufte’s theories with the recognizable style and imagery of the artist being analyzed. In a work titled Agnes Martin Painting 1989-2004, the sales data is displayed in a grid indicating time moving from left to right, while prices rise vertically, referencing the work of this legendary minimalist painter through a combination of scale and the use of the grid format. Althoff’s conceptual work is neither parody nor appropriation, but an insightful and sophisticated commentary on the intersection of art and commerce.

Randy Hussong presents a free-wheeling gallery installation that mixes appropriated pop culture print imagery with meticulously handcrafted three-dimensional sculptural objects. Infusing his work with equal parts zany humor and genuine tragedy, Hussong comments on the promise of human potential and the reality of grand failures. Utilizing the vocabulary of American car culture, Hussong displays a great cynical wit as he channels a cast of characters including garage inventors and rock and rollers with a hot rod sensibility to comment on serious topics ranging from the Gulf wars, environmental issues and personal risky behaviors. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the artist cites Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, also known as the Salvador Dali of car customizers, as major inspiration for his work. Randy Hussong is on the faculty of the art department at the University of California, Berkeley where he teaches printmaking. He is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco.

In addition to the Kala Gallery and exhibition reception for the artists, there will also be an awards ceremony held at the office of The San Francisco Foundation on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 5:30 – 8:00 pm. The ceremony will acknowledge the awardees in a variety of other artistic and literary disciplines.

The San Francisco Foundation is located at 225 Bush Street, Suite 500 in San Francisco. To RSVP for the awards ceremony, please contact The San Francisco Foundation at 415-733-8500 or online at www.sff.org

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.