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Archive for 2009
I’m a big fan of the photographer Martin Parr generally, and am the fan of fans of his series British Food, especially at holiday time. I love this picture: for the unnatural tangerine glow of the filling; that the edge of the crust that looks nearly as orange; and especially for that tiny bright triangle of sun in the picture’s lower r... More
For those of you who somehow missed the news, or for those in parts more distant: SFMOMA turns 75 this January 18. Bay Area, if it hasn’t happened already, you are about to become intimately familiar with this pretty starburst, as SFMOMA prepares to spend 2010 celebrating 75 long years of life.
This post is a ‘save the date’ card for our long weekend anniversary extravaganza, happening January 16, 17 and 18 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend).
Six special anniversary exhibitions, showcasing hundreds of objects from the permanent collection, will be open that Saturday. There will be installations by Bill Fontana (in the Wattis) and Allison Smith ( on the fifth floor); the Mike Shine Show will be parked out on our Minna pad—in a borrowed SFMOMA artists gallery truck—on Saturday and Sunday; the Schwab room (that ground floor room off of the Atrium, where the cocktail bars normally live at the member openings) will be opened to Caffè Museo as a cafe extension/lounge; Bl... More
[Five questions to SFMOMA visitors, artists, guests, or staff]
After the Kuchar Bros. screening last Thursday evening (George and Mike Kuchar, Recent Preservations: Pussy on a Hot Tin Roof, Tootsies in Autumn, A Woman Distressed, and Lovers of Eternity) I trapped Mike Kuchar in the back of the catering kitchen, near the walk-in freezer, and conduct... More
from Corey Keller, SFMOMA associate curator of photography:
On Sunday, December 13, photographer Larry Sultan passed away at home, surrounded by his beloved family. For several months he had been fighting a rare and virulent cancer, one that would not respond to treatment. In a series of humorous, thoughtful, and heart-breaking emails, he kept us a... More
December 6th marked the 40-year anniversary of what’s well known only as “Altamont”—the end of the sixties. Los Angeles-based independent curator Jenée Misraje talks with two artists (named Sam) who’ve dealt with the history of Altamont in distinct ways.
1969. It began with Richard Nixon assuming the White Hous... More
Magic is never settled; the one that should have it has it. The only definitive statement that can be made concerning its nature is that it is creative. Eros is the name of its agency.
Throughout my impassioned love for Kenneth Anger and his Magick Lantern Cycle I have heard of several stray films that over time have disa... More
I went to the Bowman/Bloom Gallery in the Lower East Side because someone had left their cell phone on the bed at poet Eileen Myles’ 60th birthday party, and eventually it rang and Eileen learned it belonged to Richard Hell, and so she arranged to run it by the gallery where Richard Hell is one of a trio of Lower East Side artists showing work in the Nincompatibles show, which actually just came down a couple days ago. I promise you that any disappointment you may feel at not being able to see this show is dwarfed by my disappointment i... More
Pity the artist who works in celluloid. If compelled towards story-telling and the budgets typically commensurate with such, one must first bed down with tycoons and their retainers, then run a gauntlet of various ideological hit-squads in order to promulgate the work. Film has a diabolic power which sits uneasily on the collective psyche of this... More
I’ll start the ‘variations survey’ with an off-handed proposal by the Diggers, who popularized the free-store as a radical transformation of space and value. Their free store (above) was realized in San Francisco, 1968.
“A perfect dispenser would be an open Automat on the street…No owner, no manager, no empl... More
Our monthly feature, Collection Rotation: some wonderful guest organizes a mini-exhibition from our collection works online. This month’s guest-curator is the totally marvelous San Francisco artist and filmmaker ANNE MCGUIRE. You can see some of her work in JIGSAMENTALLAMA, on through 12/19, at David Cunningham Projects. Thanks Anne!
1. The Believer had a party for their current Art Issue last week at Electric Works Gallery, where the Paul Madonna show Album 01: In What Era Will You Get Stuck is currently up, and I liked it a lot. The artist has a lot of pieces featuring those nubby rubber monsters you put on top of your pencils in middle school (or now), with the waggling arms, and lots of text in his work (which I love) expressing career and other popular life anxieties. The title piece dooms the viewer to a sort of style/fashion/general relevance anxiety; the question of w... More
For about a year now I’ve been an avid fan of Sketchup, a freeware 3-D modeling program developed by our peninsula neighbor friends Google. It’s billed as an everyman’s version of CAD, and it has saved my artist butt many a time by allowing me to create quick and lovely 3-D sketches of exhibition spaces and installation proposals. I used it extensively on my last project in London, “COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone,” emailing spatial mock-ups of furniture placement and measurements back and forth to the ... More
[Five questions to SFMOMA visitors, artists, staff, or guests.]
Name/ Place of Residence/ Occupation/ Hobby?
My name is Christo. I am information desk attendant at SFMOMA. I’m also a painter. A hobby of mine would be photography.
Do you collect anything?
I’ve noticed a collection of cameras in my apartment. And that just kind of happen... More
Will Yackulic’s books have always seemed to me a well-deserved respite from his exacting geometric typewriter works. Even before his art involved pulling paper through a wide carriage Remington, the books were a break from painting thousands of white and turquoise cubes. These earlier landscapes resembled the stark terrain of Superman’s planet Krypton.
[Stephanie Pau, SFMOMA manager of interpretation, sifted through many hundreds of paper bits and pieces to put together a mini-retrospective of the museum’s paper-trail history since 1935, on view now in our visitor education center.]
A few weeks ago, a new exhibition opened at the Koret Visitor Education Center, located on the second floor of the museum. It’s called Dispatches from the Archives, and I’ve organized it as part of the 75th anniversary suite of exhibitions. Dispatches is as much a reflection on as it is a celebration of ... More
The movie about the early days of Nelson Mandela’s unprecedented presidency in post-apartheid South Africa will be released on Friday, December 11th. It’s the first major film about Mandela and post-apartheid South Africa filmed on location in South Africa. The film is based on the novel “Playing the Enemy” by South African writer John Carlin. The story is about the South African rugby team’s quest for the world cup and its affect on race relations in the post-Apartheid society.
I have an ongoing interest in the play of images that p... More
[Five questions to SFMOMA visitors, artists, staff, or guests. George Kuchar, legendary San Francisco filmmaker, lives in the Mission district and teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute.]
I like making pictures, videos, movies. Videos now, etc.
Do you collect anything?
I got a whole bunch of things because I didn’t like painting the ... More
Last summer my friend Tony and I began watching feature-length films that portray artists. Growing up in the US, these films were our first models for what it meant to live and behave like an artist. Watching them again has been an exercise in nostalgia but also a critical investigation into the national image of the artist. A few weeks into our research a friend pointed us to an excellent survey of artists-in-film by Temporary Services called Framing the Artists. It includes Bucket of Blood (1959) and Color Me Blood Red (1965), two B movies we had already watched that cast artists as serial killers. These are just two of dozens of films we found that not only stereotype artists but cast them as sociopaths, idiots, misanthropes etc. This from Temporary Services: It is our contention that by continually watching, cataloging, and analyzing these portrayals, artists can also gain a better understanding of their own responsibilities to their viewers and how the stereotypes hurt their abili... More
While visiting Githinji’s studio at 1018 Pine street in West Oakland we talked about a lot of things, mostly about the notion of ritual and process. Like many Black/African artists the ritual process of creating the material art object is foremost in Githinji’s mind. The ritual of making is the “art” and knowing that makes seeing and experiencing the object that is the residue of his ritual even more rich. He describes the process with an earnest look on his face “…that is what we do. It’s like James Brown, you know, to get under i... More
Man I am so jacked up on the biggest Shirley Temple in a dirty glass from Vesuvio, extra formaldehyde from the maraschino cherry, please. I went there for a mocktail after hearing Kevin Killian read from his latest book, Impossible Princess, at City Lights. Kevin Killian is so freaking funny, and his work is so brazenly vulnerable in that it’s vulnerable to be so weird and risky and also risque, and he just plunges into the hilarious muck of it with pretty much the best vibes I’ve ever felt off a writer giving a reading. Some litera... More
[Five questions to SFMOMA visitors, artists, staff, or guests.]
Name/Place of Residence/Occupation/Hobby?
Fayette Hauser, Los Angeles, California. Occupation is a dilemma. Right now I would say artist, writer—I’m writing a book, and archiving my photography, contributing to other peoples’ books, so it’s really a lot of history at this momen... More
*an ongoing series of individual images presented for speculation and scrutiny, with only tags at the bottom to give context. Because sometimes words are never enough…
In the first in an occasional series of posts focused on issues of conservation, managing editor of communications Apollonia Morrill talks with director of conservation and collections Jill Sterrett, about an installation by Barry McGee, and the ways the field of conservation evolves to meet the demands of new artwork.
As a student of art history, I was always fascinated by the field of conservation. I started out studying medieval art; of those who work in with this material, conservators seemed most linked to its inner life and its makers. ... More
Try as we might to get away from the museum, it always lures us in with something bright. This summer in San Francisco, we had the Richard Avedon exhibition and the show which matched Georgia O Keeffe and Ansel Adams (as some wags call it, Ma and Pa Kettle on the Farm.) Then there’s “Not New Work,” curated by SFMOMA’s Apsara Di Quinzio and selected by Vincent Fecteau from the museum’s own hoard of antiquity.More
I first paid a visit to 871 Fine Arts when it was housed at 49 Geary. This must have been about three years ago. The long and wide room had posters on its walls, as well as original works by George Herms, Jim Dine, Franz Kline, and many others. In the very back was a tight square room packed with art books organized into interesting sections: Prints, Drawings, California Artists. The poetry section had an emphasis on its inevitable intersection with visual art. I went back a few times, often during the first Thursdays, in which the building was... More