Archive for September, 2011

5 Questions: Dominic Angerame

09.29.2011  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Today we hear from Dominic Angerame, a filmmaker and the executive director of Canyon Cinema. Tonight Dominic is joined by filmmaker and Canyon Cinema cofounder Bruce Baillie for a screening of his film Quick Billy in the museum’s Wattis Theater.]

Do you collect anything?

I am a collector o... More

Third Hand Plays: Putting It All Together, the “Comedy of Separation”

09.27.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

I’m sure some of you have noticed that a fair portion of my examples illustrating these “comedies” can best be described as harmless doodles — one-offs by bored adolescents, digital “folk” art by people otherwise preoccupied with their day jobs as graphic designers or computer engineers, or forays into digital text by artists whose main... More

Images in Dialogue: Paul Klee and Andrew Schoultz

09.26.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Please welcome curator John Zarobell on Images in Dialogue, currently on view.

Paul Klee has long been known as an artist’s artist. Though he was a seminal figure in modern art, he has never had the name recognition of a Picasso or Matisse. But he worked prodigiously (the catalogue raisonné of his work is nine volumes), inventing more worlds tha... More

Bruce Baillie and Canyon Cinema present QUICK BILLY @ SFMOMA on Thursday, Sept. 29

09.26.2011  |  By
Filed under: Uncategorized

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Canyon Cinema, and the recent release of Quick Billy on DVD, Bruce Baillie and Canyon Cinema present the restored version of QUICK BILLY in all its four-reel, 16mm glory at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 29, in SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Theater, followed by a reception. For more information, incl... More

A Leaf

09.25.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

A LEAF, treeless
for Bertolt Brecht:

What times are these
when a conversation
is almost a crime
because it includes
so much made explicit?

(Paul Celan, quoted in ACTS, A Journal of New Writing, eds. David Levi Strauss & Benjamin Hollander, Issue 5, 1986. Thanks to John Sakkis for sending.)


Why Not Forgive All Student Loans to Artists to Stimulate the Economy?

09.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

If big banks, credit card companies, and Wall Street firms can get hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts and loan forgiveness, why can’t the students of America? Or more precisely, the art students of America? The way I see it is that the most creative people in the country are waiting tables, slaving away as secretaries, and doing menial jobs because their art degrees haven’t translated into earning potential. As a consequence, possibly tens of thousands — or maybe hundreds of thousands — of creative people around the country have given up their art and switched to non-art activities in order to pay the rent. So in 2009 (most recent year for census data), out of the 89,140 BFAs, 14,918 MFAs, and 1,569 PhDs granted in fine arts, just how many of those people are really making a living in the arts? My guess is: not many.

Does that seem fair? When the housing bubble popped and the economic crisis began, politicians never expected the bankers and Wall Street traders to give ... More

Brain Drain

09.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Accolades for smart, creative people are rarely as glamorous or lucrative as the MacArthurs. I always get a little thrill when the annual “genius awards” are announced, as the idea of an artist getting five hundred grand is a wonderful thing, something akin to winning Best Picture at the Oscars. There’s pleasure even in begrudging a ... More

Third Hand Plays: “Bodies of Water” by David Clark

09.21.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

David Clark’s major internet works — including “88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played by left hand),” “Sign After the X,” and “A Is for Apple” — are dense, encyclopedic Flash pieces that are replete with imagery, sounds, graphics, voiceover narration. Clark’s visual sensibility is probably closest to that of a graphic... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Encryption

09.20.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Encryption is the age-old practice of taking a message, commonly known as a “plaintext,” and enciphering it to make it illegible to the unpracticed eye — this new text is known as the “ciphertext.” Prior to the use of ciphers, messages could be conveyed secretly by simply hiding them — shaving a messenger’s head, for example, and letting the hair grow back before sending him on his way, only to have it be revealed after a drastic haircut on the other end. Invisible ink was another common practice. A very basic form of encryption i... More

Collection Rotation: Gina Osterloh

09.19.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Our regular feature, Collection Rotation. Each month I invite someone to organize a mini-“exhibition” from our collection works online. Today, please welcome artist Gina Osterloh.

(I was not able to see this installation — part of Project, Transform, Erase — but I imagine there are similarities to Line Describing a Cone, which I experienced in Frankfurt. As one enters the room there is uncertainty about what one sees, what one perceives. There is a collapse of two- and three-dimensionality, physicality, the ephemeral, and optics. Famil... More

5 Questions: Satomi Matsuzaki

09.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Today we hear from Satomi Matsuzaki, singer from Deerhoof. They perform TONIGHT as part of Now Playing.]

Do you collect anything?

For the past five years, I haven’t been collecting anything. I am fond of lightness and neatness. I like getting clothes, but then my closet gets full so I give ... More

Third Hand Plays: “Struts” by J. R. Carpenter

09.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The very prolific J. R. Carpenter seems, more than most writers of electronic literature, most keen on bridging the worlds between the digital and the social, creating a middle ground in her pieces where nature, community, geography, and politics can intermingle with the play of algorithm and the range of image-making abilities computers afford. Two major recent pieces, collected in the Electronic Literature Organization‘s second grouping of key works, aptly demonstrate her interests. “Entre Ville” is a project that investigat... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Automation

09.13.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The comedy of automation is present in all electronic literature works that dynamically generate “literary” content without the work of a writer; we can see it in any number of works in the previous posts, particularly in the comedies of dysfunction, recursion, exhaustion, and association. I decided to create this additional category specifical... More

Anne Boyer on Julia Margaret Cameron’s Photograph of Her Grandchild, Archie Cameron, Aged Two Years, Three Months

09.12.2011  |  By

I think Julia Margaret Cameron understood that a photograph cannot present a clear distinction between a sleeping child and a dead one. In a photograph there is no motion to indicate breath: no warm arm to touch, no murmur or cry. The connection of an infant to its own life is barely established, and for most of human history, tenuous.

A sleeping i... More

Third Hand Plays: “automatype” by Daniel C. Howe

09.08.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Daniel C. Howe, like joerg piringer and Erik Loyer, can be described as both an artist and a researcher. His homepage lists a number of projects, many in progress, some merely sketches, but he doesn’t make any clear division between research and art, not surprising given his array of degrees and residencies. An early project involved developing a series of 3-D fonts, which puts him in a tradition of experimental font makers including the previously mentioned Paul Chan, who replaced individual letters with words, scribbles, or abstract sha... More

George Kuchar 1942-2011

09.07.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Collection Rotation: Steve Evans (2)

09.06.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The SFMOMA “summer of Stein” comes to an end this evening, when we say farewell to The Steins Collect, closing today. In this second of his two Collection Rotation–style summer posts, loosely adjacent to the exhibition, Steve Evans offers a Steinian twist on SFMOMA’s collection. (Steve’s first post is here.) Enjoy!

For thi... More

New Flag for Libya

09.01.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

François Mori/AP

Libyans wave national flags in Tripoli’s Green Square, renamed Martyr’s Square, during morning prayers Wednesday on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Libyans are also celebrating the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.

* * *

“The children are drawing pictures of the new Libyan flag, something that would have gotten them arrested only two weeks ago.” (National Public Radio, 31 August 2011)

* * *

The first time I ever heard of Tripoli was when, as a child, in a school classroom, our music teacher taug... More