SFMOMA’s Open Space started as a blog, back in 2008; a redesign in 2015 created a hybrid publishing platform with room for a magazine, recurring features, interdisciplinary projects, and a continuing feed that echoes some of the site’s bloggy roots. Like the new(est) SFMOMA building, this architectural amalgamation has both its pleasures and pains; you can see some of our digital seams showing as you move between different publishing eras within our archive, which is many hundreds of contributors and articles strong, and growing at an almost daily rate (except in August and around the New Year, when we give it a rest).
Our focus, as you’ve maybe already gathered, is art, however we can coax it onto these pages. Though we’re housed within a big museum, we mostly look beyond the edifice. And we occasionally host parties, performances, conversations, and other live events; the best way to keep track of any or all of this activity is by signing up for our email list.
Open Space is based in the Bay Area and we’re interested in what it means, in this day and age, to speak from a place. But we also like to rove around, commissioning and supporting critical, experimental, and poetic ruminations by artists, writers, and thinkers from all over the world; this is a departure from our namesake, a San Francisco poetry rag from the 1960s that, fantastically, was forbidden — per Jack Spicer — from leaving the city limits. (If you haven’t yet read Lewis Ellingham and Kevin Killian’s Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance… well, get off the internet and get on it.)
But anyway, art: as itself, as criticism (and vice versa), as whatever it wants to be… we’re all for it. Weird things, screw ups, messes — yes, please.
What else can we tell you? We try to be contributor focused, working in close collaboration with organizations and individuals — unless they’re our columnists in residence, who are free to write and publish without editorial oversight from Open Space or SFMOMA. Our columnist program, which grants life-long access to our site, is (so far as we know) a unique publishing experiment among major art institutions, which tend to like their control mechanisms.
We welcome pitches, questions, etc., at openspace [at] sfmoma.org, and apologize in advance if we don’t get back to you. Email… you know how it is.