The Northern California Art Historians (NCAH) is a College Art Association (CAA) affiliated society. As an NCAH member, you will be able to:

  • Connect with other Northern California art historians and arts professionals;
  • Participate in NCAH salons;
  • Receive e-mail notices of local and regional events of interest to art historians;
  • Attend events organized exclusively for NCAH members; and
  • Vote for officers, plan events, select CAA session panel topics at the NCAH annual meeting.

Our members represent a wide range of specialties within the field of Art History. We are actively recruiting members from the rich Northern California pool of university and community college faculty and instructors, curators and museum professionals, recent Masters and Ph.D. graduates, and members of the community at large who have a passion for the arts. Membership is open to all Northern California residents with an interest in the history of art, and members are encouraged to hold CAA memberships for full participation in NCAH activities.


Membership dues are $10 per year.

NCAH bylaws

Northern California Art Historians (NCAH) Affiliate Society Special Sessions
College Art Association Conference, Washington, D.C., February 3-6, 2016

Elaine O’Brien, Sacramento State University
Pacific Standard Time North: San Francisco Art, 1960 -1980
Thursday, February 4, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Washington 3, Exhibition Level


Inspired by the 2011-2012 Getty Pacific Standard Time initiative for Southern California, which redrew the center-periphery map of art historical influence after World War II, this session likewise counters the established view of New York as the center of the postmodern art world and all other world cities as peripheral. Presenting case studies of Northern California-based art 1960-1980, Pacific Standard Time North argues that the San Francisco region was a center for artistic innovation in the early postmodern era when art historical relevance shifted away from the North Atlantic and streamed in multi-directional, horizontal circuits among world cities. This session displays San Francisco, the cosmopolitan hub of Northern California, as part of an expansive interactive art network in decades when the shift from the modern to the postmodern was remapping all global systems of exchange.

Panel Presenters:

Constance M. Lewallen
UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Conceptual Art in Northern California from the Late Sixties to the Late Seventies

The story of Bay Area Conceptualism begins in the mid-1960s as the region became an incubator for social change and youth-oriented counterculture. The despair over the Vietnam War in particular had a major impact on the artists. The old order was under attack, revolution was in the air, and traditional forms of art seemed remote and wholly inadequate to the concerns of the moment. New art was rarely produced in the studio, even less often in the museum or commercial gallery; it took place in the streets, artist-run galleries, and other non-art venues. Although Conceptual art and related new genres emerged in the region concurrently with similar tendencies in New York, Europe, and elsewhere, they still remain lesser known. This paper will examine the work Bruce Nauman, Tom Marioni, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Terry Fox, Paul Kos, Linda Montano, Bonnie Sherk, the collective Ant Farm, and others.

Matthew Weseley
Becoming Robert Colescott in 1970s Oakland

Robert Colescott (1925-2009) characterized his signature paintings of the 1970s as “messages from myself to myself,’ in which he reckoned with the cultural forces that had demoralized and oppressed him as a black child growing up in Oakland, California. This paper argues that Colescott’s personal and artistic evolution began with his coming to political consciousness in the 1960s and culminated in the paintings he created in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1970s, when he found himself among a group of fellow artists who shared his aesthetic values, in an environment conducive to the creation of his provocative paintings.

Tatiana Reinoza
University of Texas at Austin
Visualizing Political Prisoners in Third World San Francisco

The international dissemination of silkscreen images was central to the expansion of San Francisco as a global art capital. This paper examines 1970s collaborative silkscreen practices in San Francisco’s Latino Mission District. Specifically, I excavate the making of a feminist icon in Latino print culture: the silkscreen Lolita Lebrón: ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre! (1975). I remap the genealogy of this image from a nationalist canon to one of global systems of exchange. Many San Francisco artists traveled to Cuba on the heels of the revolution and found their use of ideological print culture irresistible. While in Cuba, these artists learned about the plight of political prisoners being held in U.S. prisons including Lebrón who led an armed assault on the U.S. Capitol in 1954. I argue that visualizing political prisoners aided San Francisco artists in connecting their struggles for gender and racial justice with third world liberation movements.

Previous NCAH sessions

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