See Raunchy Photos from CalArts in the 1970s

David Hasselhoff at a school dance, Photo: Michael Jang/Vocativ
Performance art? Photo: Michael Jang

Performance art?.
Photo: Michael Jang.

The California Institute of the Arts, established in 1961 by Walt Disney, was the first school to house visual and performing arts under one roof. With a laundry list of notable alumni, from Tim Burton to Ross Bleckner to Don Cheadle, it is now considered one of the top art schools in the world. But back in the 70s, it looked more like Animal House, with even more nudity. At least, that’s how it was captured through the lens of photographer Michael Jang, who showed up at CalArts in 1971, bought a used camera, and began documenting the madcap antics that surrounded him.

David Hasselhoff at a school dance,  Photo: Michael Jang/Vocativ

David Hasselhoff at a school dance.
Photo: Michael Jang.

“I used the camera to interact a lot, to have something to do,” Jang told Vocativ, “Otherwise I would just be a wallflower. I used the camera to get myself into events and situations that I had no business being in.”

Though a successful photographer today, Jang had never shown the photos from his college years, some of which feature now-famous people like David Hasselhoff and Paul Reubens (of Pee-wee Herman fame). Four decades after graduation, he decided to publish them in a book, aptly titled College. After the book sold out immediately, he continued digging through his archive and sharing his raucous finds on Instagram.

Students get naked on Valentine's Day. Photo: Michael Jang/Vocativ

Students get naked on Valentine’s Day.
Photo: Michael Jang/Vocativ.

But the photographs aren’t just exciting because they’re peppered with people who eventually made it big. They are a window into a vastly different time, when art school kids could do crazy things and be photographed doing them and not have to worry about the evidence being plastered all over the Internet (until four decades later, of course).

“It had a totally different meaning to be photographed back then,” Jang says. “We didn’t carry all these devices around. We were just living our lives.”

Follow artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.