Archive for March, 2010

Five Questions: Steve Anker

03.31.2010  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Steve Anker is the Dean of the School of Film/Video at CAL ARTS and the curator of three programs in the 75 Years in the Dark film series: Material and Illusion, Bush Mama and tomorrow’s screening of Chris Marker’s Le joli mai.  He lives between San Francisco and Northern Los Angeles.... More

Notes toward a Lecture on the Invisible and Art

03.30.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

We are all born blind, but artists are obsessed with seeing the invisible, unseen, and ignored.

Our physical eyesight can be cybernetically enhanced by telescopes, microscopes, or cameras, to make the impossibly distant, small  or brief things in the universe available to us. This is the popular, default, banal meaning of invisibility.

Our brains are evolutionarily developed to edit out most extraneous information that enters our eyes, information that it believes is not crucial to our survival. This is why, when you visit the Galapagos Islands, the naturalists explain that the frigate birds will ignore you because you are neither a threat nor prey. It’s not to be mistaken for friendliness, it’s that in essence they don’t see you. But if you tried to pet one it’d put a hole through your hand with its powerful six-inch beak.

“Attention is much more than simply taking note of incoming stimuli. It involves a number of distinct processes, from filtering out perceptions, to b... More

LOBBIES, and their varieties

03.29.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Is it too much to hope that when Mehretu’s work is taught in the future, that the fortunes of Goldman Sachs will be discussed too?

More

Power and Patronage

03.27.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

I’m struck this week by Calvin Tompkins’s piece in the March 29 New Yorker on Julie Mehretu‘s recent commission for Goldman Sachs in NYC.

“It took me a long time—six months or so—to decide I wanted to do this,” Mehretu told the writer. Mehretu is thirty-nine, friendly, and open. “One reason was this wall, which is so cle... More

Particles Matter

03.27.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

In a fit of nervous energy, last night I started a new website called Particulated Matter. A brief description:

Particulated Matter lists only artist-produced books, printed materials, and dispersed ephemera created with online print-on-demand services. These include lulu.com, blurb.com, and others. As a clearinghouse for these autonomously-publi... More

Dance Anywhere Part III

03.26.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

As a fairly cynical short-attention-span-generation type, I am always amazed how much seeing live dance gets me all choked up.  This is the third year in a row the SFMOMA Atrium’s been host to an impromptu Dance Anywhere performance. Two years ago Kara Davis and Nol Simonse performed a duet.  Last year there were three dancers.  Today Kara was back, this time with her group Project Agora.

Thanks to Ian, our social media maven, for the video! More, from all three performances, here.

More

Venus in and out of Furs: Joseph Losey’s “Eve” & “Accident”

03.26.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Eve plays tonight, Friday, 3/26/10, and Accident shows this Sunday evening, 3/28/10 — both at the Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, as parts of the retrospective Joseph Losey:  Pictures of Provocation. Click here for more information about this series.

Joseph Losey’s massive body of work exists against an even greater body of odds. An uppe... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

03.26.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Did you know that SFMOMA produced one of the first-ever TV shows dedicated to art?  Chris de Rham a.k.a. ah zut caught visitors taking it in.  You can too in 75 Years of Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show, up now on the 2nd floor.

We choose the Flickr pictures of the week from anything tagged “SFMOMA”. You tag too!

More

Re: Mission Dialogue Continues

03.24.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Poet, activist, and publisher, James Mitchell has posted a smart and bracing response to my Mission School post of two weeks ago on his own blog, Plainfeather.  Mitchell has lived in San Francisco since the late 50s and has seen the edges of the Beat Movement, danced through the Summer of Love, and took to the streets during the gay lib movement.  Editor of the early gay literary magazine, Sebastian’s Quill, he later co-founded the preeminent Bay Area literary arts organization, Small Press Traffic, still going strong 36 years later.  Along with Francesca Rosa, he’s the publisher of avant-garde, yet populist, press Ithuriel’s Spear.  Check out his intriguing overview of... More

Facts, for a change

03.23.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Okay I’ve been threatening to bring some numbers to bear on the perennial claims made by folks about artistic realities in the Bay Area without any research to back up their assertions. I’ve gotten a copy of “The Artists and the Economic Recession Survey: A Report Comparing Main Survey Artists [i.e., national] and Artists Who Live or Work in the Bay Area.” While not an exact match with what we’ve been discussing here, it does offer some interesting insights. The following research has been done by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Helicon Collaborative and Leveraging Investments in Creativity. The latter group seems to exist to help artists; their web site is here.

First, this survey is unusually inclusive. That is, 5,389 artists responded, all last summer. Another 1,583 were contacted through the end of November. So this data is very fresh. Particular attention was paid to keeping the sample balanced by age, race/ethnicity, educati... More

My Barbarian – “La Reina de L.A.”

03.22.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Hey all, a brief clip from last Thursday’s fabulous My Barbarian performance in the Atrium. This LA-based performance collective has been producing “site-specific plays, musical concerts, theatrical situations & video installations” since 2000, and this was a great introduction for many of us in the audience that night, as we ... More

A Curious Summer at the Studio for Urban Projects

03.19.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Looking for unusually creative summer projects for the young people in your life? The good folks at the Studio for Urban Projects have developed “A Curious Summer” –  a series of weekly programs designed to inspire the creativity of young minds, ages four and up. From the Curious Summer website:

“A Curious Summer is a seri... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

03.19.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Graham Currie aka gc1 snapped this pic of the aptly titled exhibition The View from Here.  We like your view, Graham!

We choose the Flickr pictures of the week from anything tagged “SFMOMA”. You tag too!

More

Come! Kota Ezawa premieres new work Thurs eve

03.17.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

As part of tomorrow night’s Long Play: Bruce Conner & the Singles Collection screening in the Wattis: we’re happy to host the premiere of  Kota Ezawa’s brand-new Beatles Über California. PLUS beautiful 16mm prints of Bruce Conner’s BREAKAWAY and MEA CULPA! and many others, including one from another artist well known to th... More

A little bit of…

03.17.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Who are we?

03.16.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

I was speaking yesterday with the Bay Area artist and illustrator, Owen Smith (who’s showing at my gallery starting this week). He mentioned that he was a twin, and that his twin is also an artist who teaches at an art school in Southern California. This touched a nerve in me about something I think about a lot: where do artists come from? Owen’s parents are both professionals: a surgeon and a teacher. I know of another pair of brothers, Bob and Bill Morrison, who both became artists. There were no artists in their middle class family, growing up in Fresno. I grew up in a working-class family in NY; neither of my parents went to college nor had any connection to the arts. My one sibling is a CPA and tax attorney. I have spent almost every day of my life for the past 30+ years looking at, thinking about, or writing about art. How did I get in this fix? I know that my mother was obsessed with language, and that she passed that love on to me, and that my entry into the arts wa... More

Five Questions: Alexandro Segade

03.15.2010  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Alexandro Segade lives in Los Angeles and is an artist working collaboratively with the band/performance/theater group My Barbarian.  He and his bandmates Malik Gaines and Jade Gordon will be performing at SFMOMA this Thursday as part of the Now Playing event.]

Do you collect anything?

Not really.... More

T.W. Five, “On Time,” at the Soap Gallery

03.14.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

There’s that one triangle in the Mission I always think is going to be so easy to navigate and I always wind up overshooting my mark by a mile.

You know where it is, in that mystic region where parallel lines meet and Valencia bumps into Mission with a startled glare like a Peter Arno cartoon.

That’s where the Soap Gallery is and that’s where... More

The art of the infographic

03.12.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

We are suckers for the infographic. What good typography is to prosaic prose, the Tuftean figure is to otherwise ambivalent data. At least it does something on the page. At least it entertains, at least it delights, for a moment, even if offering only a coy invitation to scrape deeper to find out whether you should rethink upcoming demographic booms or find mystical beauty in the numeric rhythm of a railway schedule.

What’s peculiar about the precise and beautiful chart is the logic it scores in spite—or because—of the unwieldiness, softn... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

03.12.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Thanks to Ohad for snapping this photo of the SFMOMA Rooftop Garden growing some new vines!

We choose the Flickr pictures of the week from anything tagged “SFMOMA”. You tag too!

More

Re: Mission

03.11.2010  |  By
Filed under: Uncategorized

In January, at the opening of the Anniversary Show at SFMOMA, artist Colter Jacobsen and I found ourselves standing in the doorway of the SECA/Mission School room, which was kind of comical since Colter himself is frequently associated with the Mission School. Well, maybe not “comical.” Maybe “awkward” or “ironic” would be better. I pointed to the signage and said, “I guess the Mission School is official.” Colter nodded toward the Barry McGee assemblage bulging from the wall and said, “Yes, it’s pregnant and giving birth ... More

More Musings on Museum Building Booms

03.09.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

While I was the chief curator at Yerba Buena, I got a call from a journalist who wanted me to comment on the meaning of the opening of the then brand-new remodel of the Palace of the Legion of Honor. He asked, “Does this make San Francisco a world class art center?” He meant that after a decade of new art buildings (and with more to com... More

Congratulations, 16mm!

03.08.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

…on your first time to be used in the photography of  an Academy Award recipient for Best Picture and Direction:  Bay Area native Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. Let’s hear it for small-gauge filmmaking!!  ¡Viva celluloide!

More

Permanent collection, LOL

03.08.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Field Notes

I don’t get out much, it seems.

I used to pride myself on being really “with it,” going to shows, roaming the streets in an artistic manner and just generally being on the city’s creative pulse, rah rah rah. Ha! I know now that I am truly out of it because I have missed seeing these awesome stickers plastered in the Missio... More

Congratulations, San Francisco Art Institute!

03.08.2010  |  By
Filed under: Uncategorized

…0n the first of your graduates to take home Best Director and Picture Oscars.  The history of film instruction at SFAI includes the participation of such luminaries as Sidney Peterson, Stan Brakhage, Larry Jordan, and George Kuchar. Kathryn Bigelow continues SFAI’s currently challenged legacy of small-gauge celluloid filmmaking:  The Hurt Locker was photographed in Super 16mm.

More

On Invisibility

03.07.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Field Notes

Certain bits of a museum are there for practicality and comfort – track lighting, plugs, elevators, thermostats, water fountains. Unlike the museum building or the work it houses, these niche spaces are designed to fade away into relative invisibility, to support the museum-going experience, and certainly aren’t meant to inspire or represe... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

03.05.2010  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

SFMOMA visitors have the best taste.  Just take a look at the color and variety of their umbrellas!  Thanks to Scott DuBose who caught the very well accessorized unattended umbrella rack on a rainy day.

We choose the Flickr pictures of the week from anything tagged “SFMOMA”. You tag too!

More

SFMOMA’s 75th Anniversary Weekend Celebration: Photos

03.05.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

SFMOMA turned 75 and all I got was a teal T-Shirt.

Kidding!  There were actually tons of events happening for SFMOMA’s 75th Anniversary Weekend.  You can view the whole suite of photographs here.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Above, Pamela Z and Stephen Hartman giving their 7.5 minute talks as part of 75 Reasons to Live.  What,  your analyst doesn̵... More

What’s happening in Ethiopia?

03.04.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Rebar asks the question: How do artists engage with the space of the museum? This question was on my mind on a return trip to Ethiopia Feb 9 – 22. What does such a question mean in Ethiopia? What does a “museum” mean in Ethiopia? Of course there are countless, countless Ethiopians who do not know there is such a thing as a museum. There are also many who know of the thing, but for whom such a place is irrelevant, and those people include individuals from every class of society, including Ethiopia’s leaders and its educa... More

On the Reinvented Oakland Museum

03.02.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Following up on last week’s theme of lesser-known regional treasures, I got in touch recently with Phil Linhares, senior curator of the Oakland Museum, who graciously agreed to give me a preview tour of the remodelled galleries on Wednesday, February 17th, in advance of their reopening on May 1st. First a word about Phil: he has been a pillar... More