Posts in Back Page

Spirited posts and ramblings by contributors and staff; odds and ends

Dennis Leon: Site Works in the Bay Area

01.06.2014  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Back Page

It is with great pleasure that Open Space is reproducing online for the first time select documentation by Dennis Leon (1933–1998) of the majority of his environmental sculptures. With deepest thanks to Christin Nelson. — TZ

Dennis Leon began making unsanctioned, site-specific installations in the Bay Area in 1975, first with a suite of text-ba... More

Diary of a Crazy Artist: 2014 Is YOUR Year of Getting Things Done

01.03.2014  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Field Notes

Sick of hearing everyone talk about what they are going to do?

Me too.

That’s because now, more than ever, talk is cheap and what artists really need is support.

For the new year, I put together this list of helpful hints, carefully selected, or you could say curated for you — places for artists to get jobs, places to get grants, things li... More

Happy New Year!

12.31.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

12.24.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Magic Is Everywhere: Mel Henderson (1922-2013)

12.04.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Back Page

In tribute to Mel Henderson (November 10, 1922–October 4, 2013).


“I’ve been involving myself with the landscape of San Francisco since 1969 — its abrupt geology, the beauty of its architectural geometry, and the diverse composition of its people. The city offers a lot of physical options for outside public events, especially events t... More

From the Open Space Archives: On the City

11.15.2013  |  By

From the Open Space Archives is a thematic digest of content culled from the last five years of posts on Open Space.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only
because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

What makes a city a city? Does th... More

“It’s a fact … women don’t paint very well.” – Georg Baselitz

10.30.2013  |  By

Old people say the darndest things, don’t they? Take Georg Baselitz for example. At seventy-five, he’s one of the uber-macho Neo-Expressionist painters that dominated contemporary art back in the 1980s. That old boys’ club was famous for their leather jackets, cocaine parties with hookers, living lavish lifestyles (Baselitz lived in a castle for the past thirty years), and in the end one of them, Martin Kippenberger, even drank himself to death at the age of forty-four.

Now, in an interview for the German magazine Der Spiegel,... More

From the Open Space Archives: Unicorns

10.25.2013  |  By

From the Open Space Archives is a thematic digest of content culled from the last five years of posts on Open Space.

Are unicorns real? Truth lies somewhere in between words and images. These posts explore the space between meaning and representation, fiction and reality.

That is because the images project onto imaginative space, and the light that shines behind them is the infinitude of language. Anne Lesley Selcer’s “Language to Be Loved At” –>

To see the unseeable is glorious... More

From the Open Space Archives: Roll Tide

09.27.2013  |  By

From the Open Space Archives is a thematic digest of content culled from the last five years of posts on Open Space.

This time of year – football season – where I’m from in Alabama “Roll Tide” isn’t just a cheer heard at Crimson Tide games, it’s an ardent salutation. When you run into a friend on the street during a fall stroll: ... More

José Montoya (1932-2013), Royal Chicano Air Force Co-Founder

09.26.2013  |  By

When I grew up in Sacramento, everybody knew who José Montoya was. Known variously as a poet, artist, muralist, printmaker, and teacher, he was the quintessential man about town. He was always in art shows or reading his poems somewhere. He was the guy everyone respected. Sadly, his family just announced his passing. He was 81.

When Montoya started the Royal Chicano Air Force (first called the Rebel Chicano Art Front) art collective back in 1969 with his compadre Esteban Villa, the world was a very different place.

It was a time when the Ameri... More

Russian Man Shot During Argument About Immanuel Kant

09.16.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

In the Russian town of Rostov-on-Dongot, two men got into “a passionate argument” about Immanuel Kant’s philosophical theories and the argument quickly escalated into a fistfight and then a shooting. Apparently, just as it seemed the brawl was over, one of the men pulled out a pistol and shot the other.

Police said the men had been waiting in line for beer at an outdoor festival when the conversation turned violent.

Fortunately, the victim was only lightly wounded because the handgun had fired rubber bullets — but even so, h... More

From the Open Space Archives: Hello World!

09.13.2013  |  By

From the Open Space Archives is a thematic digest of content culled from the last five years of posts on Open Space.

Arguably, artists do the most interesting things with technology: from interventions to manipulation, to creating new environments that make us temporarily happy. These posts contain both artists’ projects involving technology and ... More

New York Just Elected a Museum Director to the City Council

09.11.2013  |  By

Watch out — New York just elected a powerful museum director to their City Council.

Not only that, but she beat out her closest rival, Ede Fox, by nearly ten points. Although the New York Times had endorsed Fox, a former top aide to City Council Member Jumaane Williams, the Times also called Cumbo “an impressive cultural leader.”

Despite her arts background, she is hardly a newcomer. In the late 1990s Cumbo was an NYU grad student when she decided to turn her thesis project into a full-fledged museum. It became the Museum of Conte... More

Labor Day, Observed

09.02.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Should SFMOMA Sell Off Its Art Like Detroit?

07.26.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Field Notes

If you had asked the New Yorker a few days ago, they would have said yes. So why not sell SFMOMA’s Matisse paintings, the Mark Rothko, and the Magritte? Why not pack up the Clyfford Still room and the Warhols and the Ansel Adams photographs, then when it’s all finished, sell off the valuable land? Why not? Just think of the MILLIONS!!!

... More

Jazz Pioneer Cecil Taylor Awarded $500,000 Kyoto Prize

07.24.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Maybe you have never heard of Cecil Taylor, but clearly someone has—he was just awarded a half-million dollars for his art.

If you are curious, a good place to start is his Unit Structures from 1966, but play it on a stereo or through good speakers—this is really great music, and you will never really hear it if all you do is YouTube it. Trust me on this.

For those who listen deeply to music and approach jazz the way wine experts approach fine wine, Taylor is an American treasure, a supreme master of what he might call the jazz piano langu... More

Diary of a Crazy Artist: Best Intellectual Joke Ever

07.01.2013  |  By

Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies, “I’m sorry, monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”


The NSA Is Watching You Watching Porno

06.26.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Essay

Obviously the NSA is the ultimate voyeur.
Obviously the NSA knows about every porn site you have ever looked at.
Obviously the NSA knows you sent some pretty mean and emotionally messed up e-mails to your ex-wife.
Obviously the NSA knows you check your e-mail eighty-five times a day.
Obviously the NSA knows you check Facebook 150 times a day.
Obviously the NSA knows you scan the Craigslist dating section all the time.
Obviously the NSA knows your cell phone is just a sophisticated tracking device that can also be used for phone calls and textin... More

Stop Hating on James Franco

05.23.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Two words: Professional Jealousy. Busy people get things done because, well, they are busy. But don’t bother telling that to the hipsters who keep spray-painting sarcastic graffiti on the mural Franco just made last weekend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—they won’t care.

To them he’s just another good-looking guy with all the money and a... More

Missed Connections: It Must Be Spring

05.15.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page



San Francisco Art Invades New York

05.15.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Field Notes

Sometimes in New York this thing happens—you are going out and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by folks you know from San Francisco. After a while you might pause, stare up at the sky, and ask to nobody in particular, “Where are they all coming from?”

Even when you talk to complete strangers—if you talk with them long enough, ... More

Diary of a Crazy Artist: Good Quotes about Cats

05.07.2013  |  By

I’m not the kind of cat that’s going to cut off an ear if I can’t do something.
Bob Dylan (musician and poet)

What do I care about the purring of one who cannot love, like the cat?
Friedrich Nietzsche (philosopher)

My house is run, essentially, by an adopted, fully clawed cat with a mean nature.
Anthony Bourdain (chef and author)

The order of the world is always right — such is the judgment of God. For God has departed, but he has left his judgment behind, the way the Cheshire Cat left his grin.
Jean Baudrillard (philosophe... More

Did Occupy Really Change Contemporary Art?

05.01.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Essay, Field Notes

I almost spilled coffee on myself yesterday when I read this bombastic headline in the New Republic: “How Occupy Changed Contemporary Art.” Then I laughed out loud.

It’s just that I die inside a little bit more each time when I read yet another “art review” written by someone purporting to be an authority on the subjec... More

Diary of a Crazy Artist: Dumb Art Jokes

04.26.2013  |  By

It’s easy to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall, it’s a painting. If you can walk around it, it’s a sculpture.

What do you get if you cross a painter with a boxer? Muhammad Dali.

What happened when a ship carrying red paint collided with a ship carrying blue paint? Both crews were marooned.

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to hold the giraffe and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine tools.

Recently a guy in Paris nearly got away with stealing several paintings from the Lo... More

File Under: Pranks, But No, Really, Maybe This Is a Good Idea

04.24.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Back Page

Some museum staff were recently relocated to new office digs in preparation for our big expansion. Working late one night and perhaps under the influence of too much fluorescent lighting, I took it upon myself to repurpose this prime office real estate. You know what they say, when life gives you some drab, recently vacated office space, make some ... More

Social Media Bomb: Garbage in, Garbage Out

04.20.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Essay

Has social media made us all stupid? During the Boston manhunt for the marathon bombers, the #tweeters, the Facebookers, and Reddit users spread all kinds of erroneous rumors, provided tons of false leads, and misidentified several individuals as the bombers. If that wasn’t bad enough, several mainstream media outlets ran with stories that weren’t true.

First, during the Boston manhunt, CNN’s John King breathlessly reported the bomber was a dark-skinned male who had just been arrested. Of course, that went viral immediately. U... More

An Artwork Made in Cambridge, MA, at the Public Library

04.19.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Field Notes

In light of the insanity that has gripped Boston for the past few days — the bombings at the marathon’s finish line, the manhunt that resulted in two deaths, and the final capture of one of the bombers — I thought I would share an art piece I made back there in 2009 but never showed anyone.

I was walking on the grounds of the public lib... More

Missed Connection: MuseumStore

04.17.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Back Page