Archive for February, 2010

Eesuu Orundide’s Exhibit “Sugar”

02.28.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Eesuu Orundide Untitled Multimedia Art piece “Haiti”

I was in West Oakland yesterday at the studio of painter Eesuu Orindide. His latest body of work is titled “Sugar.” It touches on a lot of the personal, political, social and historical problems inherent in the production of sugar.

Installed in the blue room of a West Oakland Vict... More

THIS WEEKEND! Bay Area Invaded by Ross Lipman’s Multiple Personas

02.27.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

In the many years I’ve known Ross Lipman, he’s always been up to something. Avoider of the obvious, lover of zig-zags and unexpected curlicues, the ever-present mischievous glint in the eyes of this former Bay Area film community staple  foretells inevitable trouble. Whenever I hear he’s about to make one of his parachute drops back into town, I know to rip out those days in my engagement calendar, ’cause all plans and preconceptions are about to go KABLOOEY! It’s OK by me – I like surprises, like your classic sudden cream-pie fight, or when a bomb goes off, and you’re left maniacally blinking in shock, ashen but intact, like in the cartoons I watched Saturday mornings when I was a kid… The childish prankster is very much alive in Ross, and true to form, he has many hands in multiple pots. Award-winning restorationist of independent film for the UCLA Film and Television Archive, filmmaker, and the creator of oblique quasi-narrative video... More

A ripple in the fabric of the code

02.27.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

The Psycho Buildings: Artists take on architecture exhibit at the Hayward, 2008

Our urban practice began with the tentative exploration of the social dynamics of some of San Francisco’s endogenous niche spaces, starting with the undervalued real-estate of the parking space. Anticpating punitive feedback from City authorities we were instead m... More

Unknown/Untitled

02.25.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

In 2012, one of the recent rash of apocalyptic disaster films, the governments of a dying world band together and secretly build arks to brave the tempestuous seas of Mayan Armageddon. The film asks, rather feebly, who/what deserves salvation? The original list is restricted to the rich, world leaders, and the Mona Lisa. Humanists argue this is wrong, that the bellies of the arks should open to the throngs of ordinary people squirming on the docks begging entry. Cut to SFMOMA, January 17, 12:50 p.m.: a camera crew is setting up in front of ... More

Jim Dennis and Ted Pontiflet Artist’s Talk

02.23.2010  |  By
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just last week I had the pleasure of attending a reception and Artist’s talk  for an exhibit of photographs by Jim Dennis and Ted Pontiflet. The exhibit is in the California State building atrium located at 1515 Clay Street in Oakland. The call and response between Jim and Ted was entertaining and enlightening. The work of these two elder master... More

“A Few of My Favorite Things,” with apologies to Julie Andrews

02.23.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Leaving aside venerable things like the Coit Tower murals, or for that matter the Rivera mural at the SFAI, what interesting, current art phenomena do you point to as specific to the Bay Area that you really like? A few of mine, inspired by the video of the Giant Pillow Fight at the Embarcadero and the Southern Exposure Alternative Exposure grants recently announced (that I had the good fortune to jury along with Weston Teruya and Margaret Tedesco):

1. The Prelinger Library.  Rick and Megan started a library with the sweepings of other libraries. Now it is an epic poem disguised as a library. An homage to skewed priorities and the logic of  aesthetic inebriation. An archive of the real world by folks who cherish racks of tourist brochures. The next time I’m asked to nominate someone for a MacArthur it’ll be these two.

2. The Long Now Foundation. The best thinkers of San Francisco’s 60′s movement didn’t all burn out or move to Humboldt County.  Stewart B... More

Lessons of Darkness: Jacques Tourneur’s The Leopard Man

02.21.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

It’s axiomatic that people go to Hollywood movies in search of unsubtle thrills. The last three decades have seen the stripping away of the grace and mystery previously characterizing American commercial filmmaking at its best. The false gods Television and Internet bestride the ruins of that pagan temple complex from which once issued a stupendous, all-consuming body of work, a 20th C. Renaissance every bit the equal of the first. Instead, we are now treated to an Orgy of the Obvious, in de-sacralized space, by which our emotions are less manipulated than informed of their proper deportment, and in which every character, rather than being as guarded as necessary for survival in daily existence, reveals him or herself an open book, a puppy panting for comprehension and acceptance. Works bearing the influence of the more hifalutin’ corners of academic postmodernism often reveal a sub-variant weakness: characters as paper-doll cut-outs, programmed by social forces, cast adrif... More

Interview with Art Practical

02.21.2010  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Art Practical is a new and ambitious platform for chronicling contemporary art and visual culture in the Bay Area. According to the website Art Practical “represents the current shifting landscape of arts journalism by serving as a juncture for critical dialogue…”  To learn more I posed four questions to the editor, Patricia Malo... More

The Fragmented City

02.18.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

An area of ongoing interest and research for Rebar is an exploration niche spaces, loopholes in systems of regulation, fragmented sites and liminal territories within the spatial systems of the city. We tend to trace the contemporary origins of this type of work to Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Fake Estates” project from the 1970′s.... More

THIS WEEK! Scott MacDonald program 2, Ozu + Judith Rosenberg & S.F. Cinematheque’s Weekend of Live Cinema

02.18.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Field Notes

Just a quick note to appraise all and sundry of at least a portion of the cream of this week’s Bay Area rep film offerings:  This Thurs (that is, Tonight) graces us with the second program of Scott MacDonald’s 3-part contribution to 75 Years in the Dark:  A Partial History of Film at SFMOMA: Some American Experiments. This rather underwhelming title masks an over-stuffed sausage of a program composed of excitingly disparate parts, including early animation classics like Winsor McCay’s Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), and the Ub Iwerks/Disney Steamboat Willie (1928), as well as major Avant-Garde classics such as Man Ray’s Le retour à la raison and Maya Daren’s Ritual in Tranfigured Time. Great as these all are, I’m especially anxious to see Frank Stauffacher (mastermind of the museum’s legendary Art in Cinema series)’s incredibly rare Zig-Zag, and The Bells of Atlantis by Ian Hugo (one-time husband of Anïs Nin, who was incarnated by Richard... More

Art Work (Part 2)

02.16.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Last month I posted a series of Mp3s with the idea of producing of an audio version of the “Art Work” newspaper, inviting readers of the blog to record their own oral recitation of one of the texts (see http://www.artandwork.us/). Some friends got in touch and a few made recordings. I’m posting three more here as a follow-up. I’ll also reiterate the invitation in greater detail below in the form of a mini how-to.

Download > This Is Our Real Job
by Temporary Services
(read by Alison Gerber)

Download > Personal Economy
by Anonymous
(read by Matthew Rana)

Download > Watch Where you Are Putting That Pencil
by Anthony Elms
(read by Patricia Maloney)

(more…)

More

Techno Kisi: Interview with Artist Karen Seneferu

02.16.2010  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

In keeping with my interest in artists that access African spirituality in their work I interviewed multimedia artist Karen Seneferu.  Seneferu is a Bay Area artist working in natural and manufactured materials to produce figures that function as new sacred objects reflective of traditional African ritual artifacts. It was probably with the literary work of Ishmael Reed that we first got hipped to the idea of new forms of sacred African ritual power embodied in contemporary Black literature and art. In 1974 Reed described his obscure short sto... More

10,000 Year Clock

02.16.2010  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Conversation with Paolo Salvagione, lead engineer on the 10,000-year clock project, via e-mail in February 2010.

For an introduction to what we’re talking about here’s a short excerpt from a piece by Michael Chabon, published in 2006 in Details: ….Have you heard of this thing? It is going to be a kind of gigantic mechanical computer, slow, simple and ingenious, marking the hour, the day, the year, the century, the millennium, and the precession of the equinoxes, with a huge orrery to keep track of the immense ticking of the six naked-eye... More

Mapping the city by falling down

02.12.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

As I was stepping into a crosswalk on my way home through the Mission the other day, a teenager just ahead of me did a quick dance step as he crossed into the street. The manueuver was as brief as it was out of place—a quick spin off the curb on one heel, a slide, and then a finish into regular gait, all completed before the second zebra strip... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

02.12.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

At SFMOMA. Photo: Tom Noble

Ellen has this image on her Flickr stream of model Raponesa in front of Chris Johanson’s The Sunlight of the Spirit Is the Warmth of Love installation.  Thanks to Tom Noble, the photographer, for capturing the love.

This couple was also feeling the love:

Jen and Jeremy stopped by SFMOMA on day 10 of their Califo... More

TONIGHT! Jacques Tati’s Playtime & Scott MacDonald program 1

02.11.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Field Notes

As an exclusive service to OPEN SPACE readers, I’m adapting the approach of my Film on Film Foundation blog, “Highly Recommended!” of last year, in which I attempted to dispense opinions and advice re. every (to my mind) worthwhile show in the Bay Area repertory film scene (you can see why it only lasted seven months!) as a semi-regular feature in these pages for the duration. So that I may retain a hold on my demi-sanity, I’ll be limiting myself to writing about 2-3 shows per week, on a totally arbitrary basis… To give an idea of the tone of 2009′s 33 columns, Now It Can Be Told! – My original title was actually “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”, which my bully of an editor refused to countenance… (In point of fact, he did a reasonably good job, enough so that I grew to appreciate the aff... More

Disclosure

02.11.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

When I visit SFMOMA I am both an outsider without status and an artist in my own right, with a peculiar variety of privilege. Being a writer, I’m not central to the Bay Area art scene, but I bisect with it in overlapping circles. If you know any curators, the first thing that you’ll realize is that in private they love to act out, to throw off the formal constraints of writing copy for catalogues and signage, or whatever they call those informative blocks of text that hang on the gallery walls, from which the first person in forbidden. In private they take enormous pleasure in disclosing, in writing the forbidden, getting all personal and critical and gossipy, throwing around the first person with abandon. Get them alone and they’re eager to extricate themselves from the official discourse of the museum, to show the human side of the process, all the insecurities and resentments and near catastrophes. They expose their feelings about their jobs, and how at times when rushing... More

The Pickpocket Almanack: Season Two

02.10.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

After a recent sit-down with one of the new faculty for season two of  Pickpocket Almanack, I was reminded how useful it can be to air some of the key ideas behind the program— the constellation of forces that led to its inception. But first, and for the benefit of anyone learning about this for the first time, I’ll briefly explain how Pic... More

Artists Who’ve Left Town

02.09.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

How many times have you had an out-of-town art world visitor look you right in the eye and insult you with a sentence like, “San Francisco of course is an irrelevant art scene.” Which always translates to my ear as, “I’m from a first rate art scene and I have the authority to inform you that you are not.” It’s as though this were an objective fact, like, “Oh look, there’s a bird flying by.” And then following it up with, “Of course all the important birds are in New York.”  This is not meant to be a whiny complaint blog however;  I’m too old to care that much about such things, but I am interested in thinking about clarifying exactly what people mean when they talk like that. A friend of mine was interviewing for the position of chief preparator at a major LA museum in the late 90s and when he mentioned how much he loved being a part of the Bay Area art scene, was informed by the chief curator there that “S... More

One on One: Lisa Sutcliffe on Jim Goldberg

02.08.2010  |  By
Filed under: One on One

[Alongside our weekly in-gallery curator "One on One" talks, we post regular ‘one on one' bits from curators & staff. Follow the series here. Today's post is from assistant curator of photography,  Lisa Sutcliffe, who will be talking about Jim Goldberg's  The Orchard this Thursday at 6:30pm. And look for a conversation between Lisa and Jim, upc... More

Please welcome! Our newest columnists on Open Space

02.08.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

I’m tremendously pleased this morning to welcome our latest cohort of columnist-bloggers to Open Space, as they begin to get started this week:

Renny Pritikin was director of New Langton Arts for more than a decade, chief curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and is currently director and curator of the Nelson Gallery and Fine Art Collection at UC Davis. He’s written a zillion catalogue essays, and is also a poet.

Dodie Bellamy is a novelist, essayist, poet, and teacher. Without giving too much away, I’ll say Dodie will be writing Open Space’s first long-form commission…

Anne Walsh is a visual artist who works with video, performance, audio, photography and text, and she’s already started! with two posts just below this one.

Many of our readers I know are already fans of the great Brecht Andersch, filmmaker and SFMOMA projectionist, who’s been writing about film here at Open Space intermittently since the get-go.

Last, and not even metaph... More

15:3

02.07.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

I had the interesting task recently of taking a small group of Wheaton College alumnae (class of 1960) on a “tour” of the 4th floor show, ‘Focus on Artists,’ at SFMoMA. After we looked at the first half of the exhibition, (beautiful, exciting, invigorating) I pointed out that among the eight artists “whose iconic works have been influential in defining movements from Abstract Expressionism to Postminimalism and beyond,” * none were women. One of the alumnae (Wheaton is a women’s college) then asked if there WERE any modern women artists. Now this is a person whose question came more from a simple lack of familiarity with 20th c. art – possibly with visual art in general – than from ignorance or lack of intelligence. So even if the question is naive, it’s also one whose asking, in January 2010, by a privileged Caucasian woman  who was 22 in 1960,  ought to raise some questions for curators, not to mention educators, critics, ... More

Behind the OpenSpace scenes

02.07.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

In the spirit of transparency and beginnings, I’m going to mention a few details of the first meeting of the new cohort of Open Space writers, which took place at B bar, above YB Gardens, on a Wednesday night beginning at 7 p.m.  One of our group had just come from teaching a class in which students were presenting their completed assignment... More

1001 Words: 02.07.10

02.07.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

*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…

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So long but not farewell to our latest cohort winding down

02.07.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Hey everyone, I want to take a moment  to say thanks to our fall/winter columnists just now winding down their term. It’s been great to see how same-but-different the temperature of the blog could be with a new group posting in. Please give standing ovation to Joseph del Pesco, Michelle Tea, Duane Deterville, Stephanie Syjuco, and Cedar Sigo.... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

02.05.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Here at the Open Space, we are huge fans of a site called Jumping in Art Museums. So when we saw Malia Campbell‘s set of images in front of Ellsworth Kelly’s Stele I on the SFMOMA Rooftop Garden, we were super excited.

Malia says:

The subject in the photo is my boyfriend, Scott Hargis. He lives in Oakland and I live in Seattle. Whenev... More

Remembering ArtWeek

02.02.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes


For an upcoming project I’ve been researching the first issues of art magazines produced in the San Francisco Bay Area. The SF Bay Area hasn’t been able to sustain a contemporary arts journal for a variety of reasons, but there have been at least a dozen attempts. With the help of my brave and talented intern Simon Jolly, I’ll be scanning and presenting a number of these journals in June in conjunction with the SFAC Gallery’s 40th Anniversary. We’ll also be running OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software on a... More

One on One: Tanya Zimbardo on Howard Fried

02.01.2010  |  By
Filed under: One on One

[Alongside our weekly in-gallery curator "One on One" talks, we post regular ‘one on one' bits from curators & staff. Follow the series here. Today's post is from assistant curator of media arts, Tanya Zimbardo, who will be talking about Fried's Inside the Harlequin: Approach Avoidance III and II, this Thursday at 6:30pm.]

From the start of the 1... More