Carlos Villa


Carlos Villa, born and raised in San Francisco, studied at the SF Art Institute with, and became close to, fellow artists Joan Brown and Manuel Neri. He also befriended Bruce Conner, and showed in Conner’s Rat Bastard Protective Association show. He spent 6 years in New York exploring an abstract style, showing with his cousin Leo Valledor before returning to SF in 1969.

In California, Villa shifted away from his largely minimal practice, embracing his lived experience and identity as a man of Filipino descent as essential to his work. In 1969, he became an instructor at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he practiced and taught as one of the first post-war artists to actively incorporate cultural motifs and materials into his paintings, sculptures, and performances. A dedicated educator, he launched the project “Rehistoricizing Abstract Expressionism in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1950s–1960s,” which publicly highlighted the contributions of women and artists of color

working alongside the likes of Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. His work was recently featured in the Berkeley Art Museum’s exhibition “Way Bay” that featured a symposium on "Worlds in Collision”, his influential series of exhibitions, symposia, curricula and publications from 1976 until his passing in 2013.

Villa has won several awards, including a Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the San Francisco Art Institute, the Rockefeller Travel Grant, and the Adaline Kent Award. The 2019 Singapore Biennial will feature Villa’s work as a precursor to and central to concerns in contemporary Asian art.

Carlos Villa
Untitled (Painting with Collage and Bones)
c. 1981 - 1985
Acrylic on paper with bone and collaged elements
53h x 38w in
Carlos Villa
Untitled (Painting with Collage and Bones)
c. 1981 - 1985
Acrylic on paper with bone and collaged elements
53h x 38w in
Carlos Villa
Untitled (Face Prints)
c. 1979 - 1982
Acrylic on canvas with collaged canvas elements, bones, hair, and fabric
Carlos Villa
Untitled (Face Prints with Wig and Photograph)
c. 1979
Acrylic on canvas with collaged canvas elements, wig, and photograph
Roughly: 97 x 107 in
Carlos Villa
Untitled (Lavender with red body imprint/ mauve collages with white face imprints)
1 Silver print and 1 scrrenprinted text panel

Born: December 11, 1936

1957: First drawing lesson from Leo Valledor.

1958:  Enrolls as a freshman at the California School of Fine Arts

(Now the San Francisco Art Institute).

1958:  Invited by artist Bruce Connor to exhibit work with Joan Brown,
  Alvin Light and Manuel Neri in his “Rat Bastard Protective
  Association” Show at Spasta Gallery.

1959:  Awarded “Honorable Mention” prize in painting at the Annual
Exhibition, Richmond Art Center, and Richmond, California.

1961:  Conferred B.F.A. degree (Education) San Francisco Art Institute.

1963:  Conferred M.F.A. degree (Painting) Mills College, Oakland,

1964: Lives and works in New York.

1964-66:  Shows with Park Place Group.

1967:  First New York solo exhibit at Poindexter Gallery

1969:  Leaves New York for San Francisco.

1969:  Starts new series of abstract works done with an attitude of utilizing
  personal heritage and roots as a possibility for subject matter...
  Meaningful discovery of African, New Guinea, Aboriginal and
  Polynesian ritualistic art.  Uses acrylic paint, canvas, cowry shells,
            blood, bone, spit, sperm, hair, teeth, silk ribbon, mirror, and
            feathers as materials for work.

1972:  Whitney Annual, Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC

1976:  Producer and guest curator, “Other Sources”, a multimedia,
           multicultural Art Exposition (with catalog), Emanuel Walter
           Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1982:  “Synthesis”, discussion and presentation of art by American born
            Filipino artists of Northern California at the Oakland Museum,
            Oakland, California.

1985:  First career retrospective..

1986:  Guest Artist, “The Arts in a Multicultural Society”, Second Annual
           Distinguished Artists Forum, California State University at
           San Jose; San Jose, California.

1987: Guest Artist, American Academy at Rome, Rome Italy.

1988:  Guest Artist, “Counter Visions, Pioneers in Bay Area Art”,
           Art Department Gallery, San Francisco State University,
           San Francisco, California.

1989:  Organizer and Producer, “Sources or a Distinct Majority”,
           a series of four symposia, San Francisco Art Institute, 1989-1991.

1989:  Invited Participant, Tercera Havana Bienal, Cuba; Havana, Cuba.

1989:  Documented for the Archives of American Art,
           Smithsonian Institute; San Francisco, California.  August 1989.

1989:  “Coming Together”, a conversation with Moria Roth in concern with Bay Area Multiculturism; Artweek, November 9, 1989.

1990:   La Tercera Habana Bienal, Cuba” Galeria Bellas Artes, Habana, 


1990:  Coordinator, “Viewpoint: Tercera Havana Bienal, Cuba,”
           San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco, California.

1990:  Moderator, “Native Retreat”, Headlands Art Center, Sausalito,

1990:  Panelist, Association for Asian American Studies Conference, University of California, Santa Barbara, California.

1990:  Panelist, “Asian Influences on West Coast Art”,
           Natsoulos/Novelozo Gallery, Davis, California.

1990:  Lecturer, “Diverse Approaches to Art Education”, ARTABLE,
           De Young Museum, San Francisco, California.

1990:  Moderator-Panelist, “Multicultural Planning- Hopes and Fears”, Mid-America Conference, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.

1990:  Designs and Teaches the first multicultural art history course at the San Francisco Art Institute, “Worlds in Collisions.”

1990:  Produces fifteen (15) one (1) hour programs form the multicultural symposia, “Sources of a Distinct Majority” for BRAINSTORM, radio station KPFA, Berkeley, California.  Broadcast August, September, November, 1990.

1990:  Visits the Philippines.

1991:   Participant, “Mapping the Terrain: The New Public Art”,
San Francisco, California.

1991:  Guest Artist, Art History Department, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

1992:   Moderator, “Educating the Artist for the 21st Century”,
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1992:   Participant, College Art Association, 1992 Annual Conference: “Asian-American Art Identities”. Chicago, Illinois. 

1992:   Juror, 17th Annual Competition, Falkirk Cultural Center,
San Francisco, California.

1992:  Visiting Lecturer, Art History Department,
University of California, Santa Cruz, California.

1992:  “Rethinking U.S.  Art History”, participant and production,
  San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1993-1994:  Project director: Filipino American Arts Exposition,
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco and
Skyline College, Daly City, CA.  A three-week symposia series, Multimedia Art Installation, film and video festival, theater production and Pistahan.

1993:  Juror: Kayumanggi presence, International Filipino painting and sculpture exhibition, Academy of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii.

1993-1994:  Project Director for publication Worlds in Collisions, Dialogues Toward Multicultural Issues.  Co-edited with
Reagan Louie and associate, David Featherstone, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California. 

1994:  Elected Board of Directors, College Art Association.

1994:  Visiting Artist, Art Department, University of Kansas,
Lawrence, Kansas.

1994-1995:  Administrator, research and documentation of four pioneer artists as a cornerstone for Bay Area Filipino American Art History project.

1995:  Six-hour interview (with Dr. Paul Karlstrom), Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Museum, San Marino, California.

1995-1996:  Designs Worlds in Collisions 2 course.  Team-taught with Julia Marshall at San Francisco Art Institute,
San Francisco, California.

1995:   Symposium Participant, “With New Eyes Toward an
Asian American Art History in the West”, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.

1995:   Juror, 4th Annual Juried Luggage Store Show, Luggage Store/509 Cultural Center, San Francisco, California.

1996:  Symposium, “Memories of Over development: Philippine Diaspora in Contemporary Visual Art, curated by Vince Golveo and
Cirilo Domine, Fine Arts Gallery, University of California at Irvine, California.

1996:  Study guide for Worlds in Collision, New Dialogues Toward a Truer American History, co-produced with Laura Alavarez. San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1996:   Facilitator and Administrator, Worlds in Collision Web Site, in collaboration with San Francisco Art Institute students, French- American School, San Francisco.

1996:  Moderator and Participant, “Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965”, M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.

1997:  Symposium participant, Ninth Annual California Studies for Community Artists, “Asian American Art”, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.

1997:   Symposium participant, Education and Training for Community Artists, San Francisco Art Commission and San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1997:  Symposium participant, Worlds, Orbits and Flickering Lights, produced by Domingo Nuno and the Worlds in Collision web site, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1997: Symposium participant, Partners in Art and Resistance (Jane Quick To See Smith, George Longfish, Moria Roth), C.N. Gorman Museum, University of California, Davis; Davis, California.

1997-1998:  Senior Curator, Sister City Sisters: San Francisco Babaylan, Contemporary Art Installation: art from eight San Francisco Bay Area women artists.  Museum NG Manila, Manila, Philippines-San Francisco State University Art Gallery, San Francisco.

1997-1998:  Co-organizer, Symposium commemorating 100th Anniversary of the Independence of the Philippines, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.

1998:   Elected Board of Trustees, Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California.

1998:  Co-organizer for the 1998 Fall Lecture Series (artists and speakers from the high art mainstream and hip hop communities, also a
Post Modern Pop Wow centered around AIDS awareness.) San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California.

1999:   Recipient of the 1999 Award from the National Council of Art Administrators (NCAA): “Exhibition and Community: Community Relations, Values, Service, and Outreach”, Cathedral Hill Hotel/ San Francisco State University.

1999:  Moderator: “Where is Art”, at group exhibition What is Art For?, curated by Mary Hull Webster and William T. Wiley, Oakland Art Museum, Oakland , California.

2000:   Recipient of the first Annual Panama Award, Filipino American Art Exposition.  Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, California

2000:  The Downtown Introductory class is successor to “Worlds in Collision 2” class.  Team-taught with Laurie Lazer and Darryl Smith.  The class is relocated to the Luggage Store Gallery, Sixth and Market Streets, San Francisco, California.

2000-2002:  Team-teaches Worlds in Collision 1 class with Rigo 00.  Supervises student gathering of artist interview material for the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art website:

2003:  Teaches Worlds in Collision 3, Filipino American Art History at University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California.  Collaborates with original curriculum concept with D. Gonzales and Jerome Reyes.

2003:  Team-teaches Worlds in Collision Community Actions and Awareness class with Julio Morales.

2004:  Travels to China.  Tours Beijing, X’ian, Guilin Yangshou, Shanghai, and Sizhou.