A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness – Brent Green and Brendan Canty in Live Cinema

Text about Brent Green's performance with original drawings 

“If Mark Twain were with us today, he would probably be engaged in endeavors comparable to Green’s films.”
– Saul Ostrow, Art in America

Santa Ana Sites #19
Brent Green and Brendan Canty
A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness
a co-presentation between Grand Central Art Center and Santa Ana Sites

In co-presentation with Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana Sites is pleased to present the 19th edition of their traveling art forum – Brent Green’s A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness. Green will be joined by his longtime collaborator, Fugazi drummer, Brendan Canty on Saturday, April 28 at The Frida Cinema in Downtown Santa Ana.

During the experimental live cinema experience, self-taught visual artist and filmmaker Brent Green will serve as the narrator and musician and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty will act as the percussionist and foley artist.  The evening features works that all have played at the prestigious Sundance Festival, including A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness, Carlin, Paulina Hollers, and Strange Fates. Focusing largely on stirring visuals, live music and foley, the emotionally charged films enchant audiences through lyrical narrations and somber underlying themes with flickering stop-motion Southern Gothic flair.

Sites #19 honors the relationship with Grand Central Arts Center, who served as the incubator for Sites in its’ early days. It also marks the return of Sites to The Frida Cinema, OC’s only non-profit independent art house cinema.

About Brent Green

Working on his farm outside of New Paltz, NY, Brent Green is a self-taught visual artist and filmmaker. Green’s films have screened, often with live musical accompaniment, in film and art settings alike at venues such as MoMA, BAM, The Getty, Walker, Hammer Museum, The Kitchen, Boston MFA, Wexner, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Rotterdam Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival as well as rooftops, warehouses and galleries throughout the globe. Often, his sculptural work and large-scale installation are displayed alongside his animated films, he’s had a number of solo exhibitions, including at the ASU Art Museum, Site Santa Fe, 21c/Art Without Walls, Diverseworks Houston, The Kohler Arts Center and the Berkeley Art Museum. Green’s work has been supported by Creative Capital, the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society and the MAPfund. His art is in some fine public collections including MoMA, the Hammer Museum, and the American Folk Art Museum. Green is represented by the Andrew Edlin Gallery in NYC.

About Brendan Canty

Brendan Canty is best known as the drummer in the band Fugazi. Canty joined Fugazi in 1987, before which time he played in Rites of Spring, One Last Wish, Deadline, Insurrection, and Happy Go Licky. In addition to producing records for all kinds of great bands (the Thermals, Ted Leo, Garland of Hours, Benjy Ferree) Canty frequently composes soundtrack music, primarily for Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel documentaries and independent features.

In 2004, Canty co-founded the DVD label Trixie to release an ongoing series of music-related films entitled Burn To Shine. The series involves independent bands from a particular city showing up to perform one song each, live, without overdubs or corrections, in a condemned house. It’s beautiful. The films and performances are urgent and inspired, and the portraits of musicians and houses expose the transient nature of our world.

Trixie has also produced films about Bob Mould, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Eddie Vedder and the Decemberists.

He currently lives in Washington, DC with his wife and four children and has been touring around with his new band Messthetics.

Practical Info:
Tickets will be $10 General Admission, $8 Students with ID, and $7 for Frida Cinema Members.
Doors @ 7pm, Show starts 730pm

Open Studios Event March 3rd

Four artworks by MFA students at California State University Fullerton
(clockwise from top left works by Pamela Susan Rush, Hadley Mattwig, Caitlin Christianson, Hunter X. Huang)

Open Studios
March 3 from 7-10pm

CSUF Grand Central Art Center hosts resident graduate open studios featuring work from the CSUF Departments of Painting and Drawing and Illustration. Studios will be open to the public and are located on the main floor of GCAC, just down the hall from our Main Gallery.

These CSUF MFA students live and work on-site at GCAC. Apartments are available for students who have been accepted into California State University, Fullerton’s College of the Arts MA or MFA visual and performing arts programs. Each MFA resident who rents an apartment is assigned a studio and parking at our Downtown Santa Ana location.

MFA students participating in open studios include:
Caitlin Christianson
Hunter X. Huang
Hadley Mattwig
Pamela Susan Rush

Exchange: Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry

Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry
March 3 through May 15, 2018
Opening Reception: March 3 from 7-10pm
Exchange quietly refers to the “One Drop Rule” in which a person with as little as one drop of black blood in their heritage was considered “colored.” The nineteenth-century law, originally instated as a means to increase the slave population in the United States, directly lead to laws prohibiting miscegenation. Through the action of ritual blood transfer and the merging of historical sound: slave testimony, police footsteps charging “Freedom Summer” marchers and politicians denying the existence of murdered civil rights workers, McCullum and Tarry navigate ideas of blood as taint and stain, as an agent of healing, as pact and purity, Eucharist and memory.


Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry worked collaboratively from 1998 through 2012, with works exhibited globally.  They sought to surface and discuss issues revolving around marginalized members of society. The work, which moves fluidly between large-scale public projects, performative sculpture, painting, photography, video, and self-portraiture, challenges audiences to face issues of race and social justice in communities, history, and the family. Embedded within their work, whether it is of a historical, personal, or civic-based nature, is an ability to address the complicated and layered issues of race and power as a mixed-race artist collaborative.
A review of Exchange by Art and Cake writer Evan Sen can be found here.

Cog•nate Collective: Regionalia – Reception + Public Programs

Cog•nate Collective: Regionalia
March 3 – June 17, 2018
Opening Reception: March 3 from 7-10pm
Public Programs: Listed Below


What does it mean to be a citizen? How can we enact citizenship in a region that is marked by transnational flows of bodies and cultures? How is political solidarity + social resilience established and/or expressed within transnational communities? What role can culture play in this process?

Since 2010, Cog•nate Collective’s work has sought to tease out some of these concerns in the context of the Alta/Baja California border region, a terrain where the political boundary between the United States and Mexico is contested and negotiated not just on a rhetorical level, but at the scale of the everyday. Since 2014, Santa Ana has served as a central node within this work, establishing a site from which to theorize the US/Mexico border not as a line or a wall, but as a region anchored by the comings and goings of citizens making Southern California and Northern Baja California their personal and collective home.

The objects in the exhibition showcase work created over the span of nearly 4 years that the artists have served as artists-in-residence at Grand Central Art Center, establishing numerous collaborations with residents, students and community groups in the region.

Cog•nate would like to thank Resilience OC, Manos Unidas Creando Arte, Chulita Vinyl Club Santa Ana, Cal State Fullerton Professor Karen Stocker, Manny Escamilla, Kate Clark, Omar Pimienta, Christina Sanchez, Jimena Sarno, Collective Magpie and the many other community collaborators that made this work possible.

Amy Sanchez Arteaga writes, teaches, and makes art about living as a transborder subject between the Californias. She received her MFA from UC Irvine with an Emphasis in Critical and Curatorial Studies. Her work has been published in KCET Artbound, Haunt Journal of Art, Campo de Relámpagos, and most recently in L.A. Collects L.A. – Latin America in Southern California Collections (Vincent Price Art Museum, 2018). In 2016, she edited the bilingual anthology Notes on the Occasion of the Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Ajonjoli Press, Tijuana).


Misael Diaz is a Southern California based cultural producer and educator. He received his MFA in Visual Art from UCSD in 2012. He has taught and presented widely on his work in public markets along the border between Baja and Alta California. He has served as a contributor to KCET’s Artbound, and most recently co-authored an essay in L.A. Collects L.A. – Latin America in Southern California Collections (Vincent Price Art Museum, 2018).


Cog*nate Collective has shown and presented at various venues nationally and internationally including the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Craft and Folk Art Museum Los Angeles, Arte Actual FLACSO in Quito, and Organ Kritischer Kunst in Berlin. They have received awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2016), Art Matters (2015), SPArt (2015), and NALAC (2014) for their work.


Throughout the exhibition, Cog•nate and Grand Central Art Center will be hosting a series of conversations around citizenship and belonging, central topics explored through the projects on view. For each conversation, the artists will propose a guiding question as a point of departure and invite local scholars, community members, musicians and activists to open the conversation with their responses and thoughts. Afterwards, they will open the conversation, inviting all those in attendance to share their own responses.

Saturday, March 3rd — Conversation #1
How do marketplaces help us make home? A conversation on Markets and (Be)Longing

Sunday, April 29th — Conversation #2
What does home sound like? A conversation on Music and (Be)Longing

Saturday, May 5th — Conversation #3
Whose streets? A conversation on Activism and (Be)Longing

Saturday, June 2nd — Conversation #4
Who do you root for? A conversation on Sports and (Be)Longing

Announcing New Director’s Circle!



Portrait Collage of Director's Circle

Through strategic invitation, Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) has formed a support group, the Director’s Circle.

The goal of the Director’s Circle is to bring supportive, engaged and outside the box Orange County thinkers together. The group fosters a stronger OC contemporary arts and cultural voice in our region through shared experience and inspiration. The emphasis of the Director’s Circle is on relationship building — working toward greater support, connection, and awareness of GCAC’s outreach programs, residencies, and exhibitions.

Utilizing proposed activities, the Director’s Circle has access to deepen their knowledge of, and engagement with, GCAC artists, events, and colleagues. The Director’s Circle provides unique growth opportunities and experiences while building more personal connections within, and understanding of, the contemporary art world.

Using GCAC as a hub, the Director’s Circle acts as a channel into communities through the creative actions of our institution. Through these combined efforts, GCAC leads forward-thinking conversations, provides resources and generates a more inclusive forum for ideas — creating a leadership capacity for developing innovative approaches and successful outcomes.

The Director’s Circle support role provides excellent opportunities for creative flow and exchange of ideas, helping GCAC achieve continued success.

Alessandra Caldana
Manny Escamilla
Richard Espinachio
Amy Fox
Matthew Gush
Sofia Gutierrez
Aaron Jones
Monica Jovanovich
Lane Macy Kiefaber
Ruthie Linnert
Susie Lopez-Guerra
Greg Nowacki
Louie Perez
Juliana Rico
Joanna Roche
Karen Stocker
Jonathan Webb
Kellie Stockdale Webb

Yasmine Kasem: Mwasah

Yasmine Kasem: Mwasah
February 3 – April 15, 2018
Guest Curated by Elizabeth Rooklidge

Opening Reception: February 3 from 7-10pm

Yasmine Kasem: Mwasah presents new work by the American-Egyptian artist that expands the material and conceptual territory of her practice. Born into a Muslim family in Indiana, Kasem has explored the ways in which Egyptian heritage and its value system intersect with her American Midwestern upbringing, and how these contexts shape her identity as a Muslim woman. Her most recent work, featured in Mwasah, meditates on the subject of grief through the lens of Islamic funerary tradition.

The exhibition takes its title from the Arabic word mwasah, loosely translating as “comforting someone in a period of mourning.” This series of works was kindled by the recent loss of a close friend. His funeral was the artist’s first experience of a traditional Muslim service, and she was struck by its silence, swiftness, and separation of mourners by gender. Its use of material, too, made a deep impression on the artist. In Islamic tradition, the deceased is wrapped in a clean, white shroud, bound by rope in three knots: at the head, the waist, and the feet. Kasem soon began researching early Islamic mourning rituals, particularly the phenomenon of wailing, a ritual practiced during Islam’s development in the 7th century and enacted only by women. This combination of crying, singing, and screaming was most often conducted in a group and served to collectively mourn the deceased. The women tore their clothes, scratched their cheeks, and pulled their hair, giving a brazen voice to their sorrow. Many Muslim men scorned these unsettling rituals as uncivilized. Not only did they contradict the trust in Allah essential to the Islamic faith, they were also group actions conducted and controlled by women in a patriarchal culture.

In the works on view in the exhibition, Kasem draws from the formal aspects of these historical and contemporary rituals to create physical manifestations of her own mourning. While she chooses her fabric and ties her knots carefully, the works are made quickly and intuitively. She tears, abrades, and stretches paper, cloth, and rope nearly to the point of breaking. The works express a sense of grief’s pain and sorrow, yet their surprising elegance suggests the act of mourning’s worth. In them the artist creates her own ritual-materializing her own voice, that is, like wailing, both poetic and bold.

– Elizabeth Rooklidge

About the Artist:
Yasmine Kasem completed her B.F.A at Herron School of Art & Design at Indiana University in 2015 and is currently an M.F.A candidate at University of California San Diego. Her work has appeared in solo exhibitions at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, San Juan Islands, WA and the Harrison Center for the Arts, Indianapolis, IN, as well as group exhibitions at the Crypt Gallery, London, UK; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ; and Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ. In 2015, she was the recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Art award.

About the Curator:
Elizabeth Rooklidge is an independent curator based in Orange County, CA. She previously served as Associate Curator at the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York, where she curated ten exhibitions, including Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic Tradition and OnSite Katonah, as well as large-scale public works such as Victoria Fu’s Egg and Keiran Brennan Hinton’s Chappaqua Mural. Prior to joining the KMA, she was Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, where she worked with artists such as Sarah Cain, Nicole Eisenman, and Byron Kim. She earned a B.A. in art history from St. Olaf College and an M.A. in art history from Williams College.


A review of Mwasah by Art and Cake writer Sydney Walters can be found here.