Archive for May, 2011

Justice

05.31.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Last week I was called in for jury duty. Like most everyone who was instructed to report to the Civic Center courthouse that morning, I hoped to be ignored, or to find a way out of it with strong opinions. Alas, I was the second person to be called into the jury box for interrogation as potential juror. While I was screened by the defense attorney,... More

5 Questions: Aimee Shapiro

05.31.2011  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Aimee Shapiro is currently the education associate for school and teacher programs, but she will be leaving soon — after five years at SFMOMA — to pursue her art practice. Among many other things, Aimee was responsible for the teen mural project in DeFremery Park a few years ago, which she d... More

Erin O’Toole: Photography and Change

05.31.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

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... More

Why We Should Read Bouvard and Pécuchet

05.29.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Bouvard and Pécuchet, characters in Gustave Flaubert‘s last (and unfinished) novel, are two copy-clerks, men of a certain age who meet by chance on the hot summer streets of 1840s Paris. As they walk, live, and explore the world together, they discover an infinity of shared habits and interests: writing their surnames in their hats in case of loss, inspecting public works, and an eternal quest for knowledge.
In dozens, even hundreds, of discussions and arguments characterized by thesis, antithesis, and on occasion, synthesis, B and P skim over a dynamic world of discoveries and information, dipping into book after book as if floating through an old-fashioned library. Converting a surprise legacy from an estranged uncle into a country homestead, they take up agriculture, scientific experimentation, and an autodidactic confusion of theory and practice, hoping to live in a state of eternal emergence. Many of us might want to do the same today.
Their crops fail to grow, or combine i... More

Visitor Flickr Pic

05.29.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

A group of California College of Arts MBA in Design Strategy students met at the museum for a social outing and activity. They were asked to take three pictures of things that moved them, and as you can see, some took that literally by reenacting Eadweard Muybridge‘s Jumping over boy’s back (leap frog) on the third-floor landing. A new spin on Jumping in Art Museums?

Thanks to Laura Ramos for snapping this great pic and to Jessica Watson for posting it on Flickr!

We choose the Flickr pictures from anything tagged “SFMOMA.̶... More

Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert: The Economic Realities of Being an Artist

05.27.2011  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

As a postscript to the suite of Shop Talk conversations, I wanted to leave you with artist team Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert’s PowerPoint presentation from the closing evening of discussion. The question we focused on that night — and there were many other threads of direction we might have followed — was What are the economic realit... More

The Steins Collect: Back to the Bay

05.26.2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

The landmark exhibition The Steins Collect opened last Saturday. It is fantastic; do come see it. American expatriates in Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife, Sarah — were responsible in many ways for the turn-of-the-century revolution in the visual arts. T... More

Preliminary Designs for the Expanded SFMOMA

05.25.2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Snøhetta! The press release is here. Pictures (click for larger view) are here:

You can find out more, and follow details of SFMOMA’s expansion, here.

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Positive Signs #23 & 24

05.25.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Positive Signs is a weekly series of interpretive diagrams, quotes, and speculations on creativity, optimism*, and the lives of artists, published every Wednesday through June.

*Notwithstanding brief forays into the nature of space, stuff, experience, and cognition.


Next Wednesday: Positive Signs #25, 26, & 27 on experiential perspectives.
See all Positive Signs to date.

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Shop Talk 3 Respondent: Helena Keeffe

05.23.2011  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[On Thursday, May 12, Open Space and Art Practical hosted the last of three conversations organized loosely around issues and themes raised by Stephanie Syjuco’s multiartist project Shadowshop, which closed May 1. We’ve been tracking the discussions in a number of posts here, and if you haven’t had a chance to look at some of that material, I invite you to do so here. Today, artist Helena Keeffe responds to the final conversation.]

Is “No” a NoNo?

What are the economic realities for artists? This was the central qu... More

Fair Trade

05.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

I was chatting with friends near a makeshift bar at the opening night of the much-anticipated ArtMRKT fair, nibbling on a muffuletta finger sandwich, washing it down with complimentary tequila, when someone inadvertently knocked a fanciful floral welded metal sculpture from its pedestal. The surprisingly heavy artwork hit my lower leg before meetin... More

Visitor Flickr Pic

05.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Thanks to Leonard Davich for catching this shot of a visitor adding one more blue color block to Ellsworth Kelly’s Red Yellow Blue White and Black with White Border (1952–53) from the Fisher Collection.

“I’ve been experimenting for a while with overexposed photos as a way to enhance and isolate subjects, colours, and forms,̶... More

Visitor Flickr Pic

05.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Carter Young took this photograph of two people chillin’ in Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July’s Learning to Love You More installation. The work includes 70 assignments completed by strangers and sent in to the artists, selected by SFMOMA Media Arts Curator Rudolf Frieling and artist Stephanie Syjuco. It’s nice to see quiet moment... More

Palimpsest 11

05.20.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Palimpsest, i.e., a parchment from which one writing has been erased to make room for another.” H. D.

“It was a magic process.” Fran Herndon

Jack Spicer and Fran Herndon, poet and painter, were the best of friends. When they first met, Fran hadn’t started painting yet. As she got to know Jack, she turned that corner.

San Francisco, 1959 to ’60, it was a most exciting time for the pair. Spicer was working on “Homage to Creeley,” an amazing series of poems that became a sequence in Heads of the Town up to the Aether. Jack wou... More

The Steins Collect: Sarah and Matisse/Gertrude and Picasso

05.19.2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

It’s been all hands on deck for many, many months as the museum has been getting ready for the landmark exhibition The Steins Collect, and at last it opens, with a preview today for members and to the public this Saturday. American expatriates in Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Micha... More

Good-bye

05.18.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

The Cannes festival reported today that convicted Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof had been cleared by authorities to travel to France, but said it was awaiting confirmation. A court in December sentenced Rasoulof, along with fellow prominent director Jafar Panahi, to six years in jail and barred him from making films for 20 years. The two were released on bail pending an appeal but banned from travel abroad. “We are happy, if confirmed, that Rasoulof can come and then we will re-show his film, but we will only be really happy when his appeal and that of Jafar Panahi have been completed,” said Cannes Festival Director Thierry Fremaux. “When the love of art combines with the creator’s freedom, the festival is pleased to be able to contribute to this flowering,” said Festival President Gilles Jacob.

Cannes organizers have said Rasoulof’s film Good-bye, screened on May 14th, was made in “semi-clandestine conditions,” but his lawyer said Rasoulof had re... More

I Choose For You: Meg Chooses for Ishan (Part 1)

05.18.2011  |  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.

I Choose For You

I met Bay Area artists Cheryl Meeker and Ishan... More

Positive Signs #21 & 22

05.18.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Positive Signs is a weekly series of interpretive diagrams, quotes, and speculations on creativity, optimism*, and the lives of artists, published every Wednesday through June.

*Notwithstanding brief forays into the nature of space, stuff, experience, and cognition.


Next Wednesday: Positive Signs #23 & 24 on space and experience.
See all Positive Signs to date.

More

The Forgiven

05.17.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Last weekend, a friend offered me a ticket to see The Gurs Zyklus, a fully staged opera by Seattle-based, German-born, MacArthur-winning, musically inclined installation artist Trimpin. I accepted but had few expectations, though perhaps taste-based trepidations: I’d seen his sound-based installations in the past, just wasn’t sure it would be m... More

To the Aging Boomers (After Charles Baudelaire)

05.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

On the occasion of Open Engagement, a conference hosted by the Social Practice Department of Portland State University, Christian Nagler and I presented our research under the title “The Aging of Social Practice, or How to Get to Know Your Parents through Political Economy.” As the final gesture of the presentation, we offered a direct address to the subject of our research, the Baby Boom Generation, those born between 1946 and 1964. This address was an attempt to translate some of the basic tenets of socially engaged art practice by rewriting a text by Charles Baudelaire entitled “To the Bourgeois,” the preface to his text about the Salon of 1846. It was written two years before the French revolution, and was a respectful challenge to the bourgeois majority to consider the new prerevolutionary currents of Parisian art practice. Thanks to the wonderful Brandon Brown for pointing us to this text.

As 40% of the adult population, you are a majority — in number ... More

Are San Francisco Artists Still Just a Bunch of Liberal Hippie, Left-Wing Drug Addicts and Alcoholics that Hate America?

05.13.2011  |  By

For about two years now I have been living away from San Francisco, and I am constantly being confronted by the stereotypes people have of the art scene in the Bay Area. Apparently there are a lot of people who are quick to dismiss the art and artists in SF as being maybe not as serious as they are out here in New York. But by serious they mean hard work. Politics. Professionalism. Attitude. Getting Paid. Stuff like that. So I find myself wanting to tell the people I meet it’s not so simple, that it’s an apples & oranges comparison and that artists in San Francisco are not the crude stereotypes they make them out to be.

Still, it’s hard to fight a stereotype — especially one that has grains of truth in it. For better or worse, the San Francisco brand was writ large by the 1960s counterculture movement. Consider how, in 1967 during the Summer of Love at the first “Human Be-In,” Timothy Leary told a crowd of 30,000 people in Golden Gate Park to “Tune in, turn o... More

Palimpsest 10

05.13.2011  |  By

“Palimpsest, i.e., a parchment from which one writing has been erased to make room for another.”H.D.

Painter Philip Guston & poet Clark Coolidge are major collaborators in the tradition of poets and painters working together. In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a delicious new book from the University of California Press, Philip Guston... More

This Is Not a Film

05.13.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

The Cannes Film Festival announced on Monday that Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof will be screening two films that were smuggled outside the country in recent days. Both directors have appealed their sentences of six years in prison and a 20-year ban on filmmaking.

Jafar Panahi wrote to the Cannes Film Festival Festival on May 5th: “Our problems are also all of our assets. Understanding this promising paradox helped us not to lose hope, and to be able to go on since we believe wherever in the world that we li... More

Art School Confidential 2: The MFA Show

05.11.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Spring, at art school, isn’t exactly about sunny days and waiting for the first heirloom tomatoes to show up at farmers’ market. It’s a frantic season of creative pushes, buffing edges, and occasional artistic breakthroughs. More often, it’s a season of anxiety levels spiking along with pollen counts. I’m in deep — thesis advising,... More

Positive Signs #19 & 20

05.11.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Positive Signs is a weekly series of interpretive diagrams, quotes, and speculations on creativity, optimism*, and the lives of artists, published every Wednesday through June.

*Notwithstanding brief forays into the nature of space, stuff, experience, and cognition.


Next Wednesday: Positive Signs #22 & 23 on explanatory style examples for artists.
See all Positive Signs to date.

More

Talking Restraint

05.10.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Five hundred people showed up on April 30 to hear Matthew Barney receive a film-related award, talk, and screen the 30-minute Drawing Restraint 17 during the San Francisco International Film Festival. The show was sold out.

I got the gig, at Barney’s request, to conduct the onstage interview. I was honored, though I knew through experience that I... More

Their Dreams

05.10.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

This is the latest in a series of observations from the 10th Sharjah International Biennial, Plot for a Biennial.

Adel Abidin‘s Their Dreams is based on drawings from and interviews with children from various locales, including Iraq, Palestine, Switzerland, Jordan, and Finland, who were asked to illustrate their dreams and what they hope to ... More

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde

05.09.2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

It’s been all hands on deck for many, many months as the museum has been getting ready for the landmark exhibition The Steins Collect, opening May 21. American expatriates in Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife, Sarah — were responsible in many ways fo... More

Palimpsest 9

05.06.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

“Palimpsest, i.e., a parchment from which one writing has been erased to make room for another.” H.D.

Saâdane Afif

Born in Vendôme, France, in 1970; lives and works in Berlin

Untitled (More More, 2003 / Neon light, pile of photocopies / Dimensions variable), 2008; Installation view, Technical Specifications. Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. Photo: Bob Goedewaagen

“My work today does not rely on the object: It is developed through the accumulation or interweaving of elements that can be more or less visible. One of t... More

Bohemia of Finances (pt. 6)

05.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

In “I Dreamt I Was a Nymphomaniac,” Kathy Acker somewhat wryly describes the art world as “the bohemia of finances.” Still, questions of money and capital in the art world continue to transpire. Occasionally I will post discussions with artists and curators about the economics of their practice. This sixth installment is an e-mail conversation with the editor of local arts publication Art Practical, Patricia Maloney.

BB: Could you describe your practice for SFMOMA blog readers in broad terms?

PM: These days, my primary calling card bear... More