Archive for January, 2011

One on One: Arnold J. Kemp on Sargent Johnson’s Forever Free

01.31.2011  |  By

Our “One on One” series features artists, writers, poets, curators, and others, from around the country, responding to works in SFMOMA’s collection. You can follow the series here. Today I’m so pleased to welcome artist, educator, and writer Arnold J. Kemp.

Untitled, 1933

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Here is the statue of queen whats-her-name
she feel fever roof
a real black mother of black equestrian vivacity.

Perhaps you are too.

yes yonder
you you you

But nothing
Blond Negress
but no

other bodies are coming to take her c... More

In Search of Christopher Maclaine 14: The THE END Tour – A Work in Progress 12: CHRIS B

01.31.2011  |  By

This is the fourteenth in a multipart series unofficially conjoined to the publication of Radical Light: Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945–2000, and the accompanying film series currently being presented by the Pacific Film Archive and San Francisco Cinematheque (in partnership with SFMOMA).

With my friend Brian Dar... More

One on One: Jill Dawsey on Vik Muniz’s “Spiral Jetty after Robert Smithson”

01.24.2011  |  By

Our “One on One” series features artists, writers, poets, curators, and others from around the country, responding to works in SFMOMA’s collection. You can follow the series here. Today our guest is Jill Dawsey, acting chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and former SFMOMA assis... More

Where Art Is a Matter of Life and Death

01.23.2011  |  By


Up in the Yukon they say that you can freeze to death in less than an hour. It’s especially true when temperatures drop to 48 degrees below zero — like they did last week. So if you don’t dress right or your car dies and you get stuck outside, things can get bad really fast. The cold does violence to the skin first, signaling your capil... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

01.21.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Masami Kawazato, a.k.a mamichan, made her own personal installation on the 5th floor turret bridge with her gray shoes and dress alongside the steel mesh of the bridge.

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

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Celebrating The Uncelebrated

01.19.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

John Koch’s solo debut, Interpenetrations at Right Window Gallery closed a little over a week ago, but it was such a joyous surprise of a show that I wanted to share it with those who may have missed it.  Consisting of a large high-contrast photograph blown up to fit the full frame and right angle of the window and back-lit with fluorescent ... More

Sequent Occupancy, Josh Singer, and The Trappist (Part 1)

01.18.2011  |  By

I don’t drink coffee, so let’s have a beer … My posts are always collaborations and are presented in two parts. Part 1 is a summary of a shared experience with my collaborator(s). Part 2 is a response, often in the form of a project created specifically for this blog.

“Interdisciplinarity is not the calm of an easy security;... More

Dominic Willsdon: Things Will Have to Change

01.17.2011  |  By

The exhibition The More Things Change samples SFMOMA’s collection to present a range of works made since 2000, offering a selective survey of the art of the last 10 years and a thematic and psychological portrait of the decade. The exhibition is also an unusual collaboration among all five curatorial departments at the museum, and over the course of the year, Open Space will present texts from each of the 10 curators.

Things Will Have to Change

The title The More Things Change was Curator of Architecture and Design Henry Urbach’s idea. ... More

In Search of Christopher Maclaine 13: The THE END Tour – A Work in Progress 11: CHRIS A

01.16.2011  |  By

This is the 13th in a multipart series unofficially conjoined to the publication of Radical Light: Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945–2000, and the accompanying film series currently being presented by the Pacific Film Archive and San Francisco Cinematheque (in partnership with SFMOMA).

With my friend Brian Darr, ... More

Trish Keenan – An Appreciation

01.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Yesterday, I woke up to the tragic news that Trish Keenan, frontwoman for the UK band Broadcast, had passed away from complications stemming from pneumonia contracted while on tour in Australia. She was 42. Since becoming a columnist on Open Space, I had hoped to bring in musical topics to the blog. While I would never have wished this to be that ... More

Paris Hilton’s Tears

01.11.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

In 2004, I really wanted to try and watch 1 Night In Paris, or at least to try and see what it looked like. The stills that accompanied news articles about its release made it seem like a painting: the scene seemed so green, filthy, the Rembrandt-light of surveillance footage. Not real sex with real bodies, but colliding glass and Black American Ex... More

Collection Rotation: Maria Naula

01.10.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

[Our regular feature, Collection Rotation. Each month a guest organizes a mini-“exhibition” from our collection works online. Maria Naula works in SFMOMA’s Accessions Department supervising the acquisitions process, and it’s possible she knows the collection, at least as it’s grown over the last decade, more comprehensively than a... More

Visitor Flickr Photo of the Week

01.07.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

You may remember a Flickr pic of the week post from last May of Sol Lewitt’s Steel Sculpture. Here’s another take on the same work that I couldn’t pass up. Christie Landrie took 365 pictures of herself in 2010, and we were lucky that she took #273 at SFMOMA.

Thanks, Christie!

We choose the Flickr pictures of the week from anything... More

The Artists’ Bar

01.06.2011  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

If you want to find out what’s going on in the San Francisco Art World don’t go to the galleries — go to the bars. That’s where all the artists are. I know because I drank a lot when I lived there. It was easy to do because anywhere you could swing a dead cat — bam — you’d hit a bar! In North Beach alone you have Kennedy’s, Specs, Vesuvio, Mr. Bing’s, Tosca, Grant & Green, the Saloon, Savoy Tivoly, Gino & Carlo, 15 Romolo, O’Reilly’s, Sweetie’s, Hawaii West, Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store, and that’s just half the places I can remember.

Now I know some of you might say “Oh what a shocking admission of guilt he’s just made!” but rest assured, I am a quiet drunk, not the loud kind like others you may know. Besides, way too much emphasis is placed on career and not the act of  creation or the environment where ideas have a chance to get tossed around among friends. Art school is just one place where that happens. It’s worth noting that there a... More

R. H. Quaytman and Jack Spicer

01.06.2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, One on One

Jack Spicer was an American poet, born in 1925 in Los Angeles, and something of the grit and the gold of Southern California clung to him throughout his life, even after moving to Berkeley, then San Francisco, when the Second World War ended in 1945. There’s supposed to be a giant feud between LA and SF, but I can’t say I’ve seen it in actio... More

Andy Goldsworthy: Big Tears (Part 1) and A Gift to the Backyard (Part 2)

01.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

I don’t drink coffee, so let’s have a beer … My posts are always collaborations and are presented in two parts. Part 1 is a summary of a shared experience with my collaborator(s). Part 2 is a response, often in the form of a project created specifically for this blog.

In early December my son Sam and I sat down to watchRivers and ... More

The Fruit of Labor

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

On red-letter days in the gastronomic calendar, from harvest home (“thanksgiving”) to the saturnalia at the turning of the year, the issue of “food miles” has become a staple of conversation around Bay Area dining tables — a ritual culinary mea culpa which no tithing by gourmet penitentes at local farmers’ markets c... More

75 Reasons to Live: Robert Bechtle on Richard Diebenkorn

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: One on One

Robert Bechtle on Richard Diebenkorn’s Coffee (1959). “An artist looks at those hands and says, ‘That guy knows how to paint hands, but he’s not trying to prove it to you. They’re doing what they need to do to get that coffee cup up to her lips, and that’s it.’ ” Click thumbnail for larger version, yo... More

75 Reasons to Live: Megan Brian on Marilyn Minter

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: One on One

Our beloved Megan Brian, education and public programs coordinator, who can clearly do anything, stepped in at the 11th hour when one of our speakers couldn’t make her talk, and gave us this brilliant bit on Marilyn Minter’s Strut (2005). More on the artist.

NEWS: We’ll be revisiting the 75 Reasons to Live talks on the big screen:... More

75 Reasons to Live: Kamau Patton on Nata Piaskowski

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: One on One

Artist (and recent SECA awardee) Kamau Patton on Nata Piaskowski’s Untitled (Playing Handball) (1950).

We’ll be revisiting the 75 Reasons to Live talks on the big screen: tomorrow, January 4, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Join us!

Remember the end of Manhattan, when Woody Allen asks himself what makes life worth living? Last January, during SFMOMA&#... More

75 Reasons to Live: Leslie Shows on Arthur Dove

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: One on One

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Artist Leslie Shows on Arthur Dove’s Silver Ball No. 2 (1930). “I love the literalness of using metallic silver paint to depict a silver ball … yet he also uses this silver paint in the atmosphere around the silver ball, so the silver depicts not only silver but depicts the luminousness of moonlight, luminousness of the atmosphe... More

75 Reasons to Live: Jeffrey Fraenkel on Diane Arbus

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: One on One

Jeffrey Fraenkel opened his San Francisco photography gallery more than 30 years ago. On Diane Arbus, and A Young Brooklyn Family Going for a Sunday Outing, N.Y.C. (1966, printed ca. 1971): “I come back to her work because of what she tells me about what it’s like to be human.” Thanks so much, Jeffrey.

NEWS: We’ll be revisi... More

75 Reasons to Live, Revisited: All-day screening tomorrow

01.03.2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Remember the end of Manhattan, when Woody Allen asks himself what makes life worth living? About this time last January, during SFMOMA’s three-day 75th anniversary celebration, 75 people from the Bay Area creative community gave extremely short talks — 7.5 minutes or less! — on a single work of their choosing from the museum’s collection. As The Anniversary Show and the museum’s 75th anniversary year are drawing soon to a close (Jan 16, to be exact), we’re going to celebrate by screening these videos all day long, TOMORROW, in the Phyllis Wattis Theater. Do come down.

11 a.m.–5 p.m. FREE.

AND: Following the 75 Reasons marathon, we’ll be screening David Wojnarowicz’s FIRE IN MY BELLY, beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be a public discussion, with members of the Bay Area arts community and SFMOMA curators, following the screening. ALSO FREE.

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