Posts in Conversations

Interviews, exchanges, and in-depth dialogue between writers, artists, curators, and creative practitioners of all types

Faces of War

03.11.2014  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

I was invited by Corinne Silva, coordinator of a National Media Museum project on photography and humanism, to have an exchange with Julian Stallabrass, a London-based critic and curator who has taught at UC Berkeley and is the author of Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images. What follows is the edited transcript of a conversation tha... More

José Esteban Muñoz, in Memory and Futurity

01.20.2014  |  By

On December 26, 2013, D-L Alvarez sat down with theater maker Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas to talk about the death and lasting influence of noted critic José Esteban Muñoz (1967–2013).

D-L: I’m not sure I can conjure up my first meeting with José. It must have been in 1996, and Nao Bustamante would have handled introductions. Was it in a gall... More

Amiri Baraka Will Be Missed

01.12.2014  |  By

There will be both a wake and a funeral next weekend in New Jersey, where Amiri Baraka lived and worked. The wake will be important because his passing has been a cause for deep reflection among the countless poets, writers, and artists that he touched. Collaborating constantly, he was in Paris just last year performing with his old friend virtuoso pianist and composer Cecil Taylor.

Baraka also had many friends in the San Francisco Bay Area and made frequent under-the-radar appearances on KDVS with Justin Desmangles, jazz historian and chairman... More

Keep Your Heart Strong: An Interview with Kati Teague about Healing from the Prison Industrial Complex through Art and Organizing

01.08.2014  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

In this mini series I interview three young artists and recent graduates of UC Santa Cruz whose work addresses policing, state violence, and creative forms of resistance to the prison industrial complex. The second of these interviews is with Kati Teague, whose series Have You Seen My Mother? reckons with her experience of her mother’s incarceration. It was created for the 2013 Irwin Award Show, a group exhibition recognizing twelve emerging artists and graduating seniors at UC Santa Cruz’s Sesnon Gallery. This series is cross-post... More

Police Eyes: A Conversation with Joshua Clover

11.29.2013  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

“Polis is eyes.” — Charles Olson

As I think I told you, I read your article “White Wigs, Black Masks: On Pop Surveillance” in The Nation and thought how good it would be to talk to the author, before glancing up to see it was written by a person I know. So I am very pleased to be able to communicate about this and thought... More

#AskaCurator Twitter chat with Corey Keller

09.18.2013  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

This morning SFMOMA curator of photography Corey Keller took on crowd-submitted questions via @SFMOMA_Curator for Ask a Curator Day. Here is the transcript from the chat, which turned out to be a lot of fun. What does Corey say when asked what single work from our collection she’d save if the building were burning? Or if she’s seen any good erotic photography lately? (To read the whole chat, make sure to click “read next page” at the bottom.) Enjoy!

[View the story "Ask a Curator Day with Corey Keller, SFMOMA Curator of P... More

Have a question for Corey Keller, SFMOMA curator of photography?

09.17.2013  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

On Wednesday, September 18, curators from museums and galleries around the world will be answering questions on Twitter for Ask a Curator Day. Here at SFMOMA, I’ll be sitting down with Corey Keller, SFMOMA curator of photography, to dive into crowd-submitted questions relating to life as a curator, the medium of photography (did you know SFMO... More

Developers Destroy 5,000-Year-Old Pyramid in Peru

07.09.2013  |  By

What a shame. Sometimes you just have to wonder how people can be so irresponsible, so blind.

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago developers used bulldozers and heavy equipment to completely demolish and then remove a five-thousand-year-old pyramid near Lima, Peru. Afterward they covered the site with trash and burned it to conceal what they did... More

Where the Silence Is: An Interview with Artist Noah Miska About the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

07.08.2013  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

In this miniseries, I interview three young artists and recent graduates of UC Santa Cruz whose work addresses policing, state violence, and creative forms of resistance to the prison industrial complex. The first of these interviews is with Noah Miska, whose untitled multimedia installation educates viewers about the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike and ... More


06.20.2013  |  By

The Ghost of Flight 401 (shown in the post “1976”) is an open-hallway of a film. All that space was a gallery waiting to happen, and the inspiration for a three-part exhibition called Psychometry that I curated (at Exile, Arratia Beer, and Right Window) in 2009–10. Artists created responses that, in a way, sat like furniture within the ma... More

5 Questions: The Food Bank

06.04.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

SFMOMA’s Schwab Room was to the gills with representatives of San Francisco’s culinary pioneers this past Friday, May 31, for The Kitchen Sisters’ The Making of a Charitable Food Movement, coordinated by Mission Chinese Food and, and featuring presentations and sample bites from La Cocina, Tartine, and Flour + Water, among othe... More

5 Questions: The Kitchen Sisters

05.31.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

Bringing you stories of Bay Area craftspeople and pioneers, from the makers of violins to jars of jam to the queer car service, Homobile, The Kitchen Sisters are Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, radio producers and collaborators since they first met in 1979. The pair are currently hosting The Making Of… at SFMOMA, part of the museum’s four-day... More

5 Questions: The Workshop Residence

05.31.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

Founded in 2011 by Bay Area arts patron Ann Hatch, The Workshop Residence is based in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood and hosts eight individual artists—four local, four international—per year. The for-profit program pairs its resident artists with local factories or visiting artisans in order to design and make locally manufactured, af... More

Five Questions: The Treatbot Karaoke Ice Cream Truck

05.30.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

The Treatbot Ice Cream Karaoke Truck trades in—yup!—ice cream and karaoke. Based in the San Jose area, they’ll serve you up a scoop of Eastside Horchata or Mango Ice and throw in the opportunity to belt out your tune of choice to whoever’s listening. Today, Thursday, May 30, and tomorrow, Friday, May 31, they’re parked outside SFMOMA on T... More

Moira Roth Talks to Agent Ruby

05.29.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

SFMOMA commissioned the online project Agent Ruby by acclaimed San Francisco artist Lynn Hershman Leeson in 2001–2002. Since that time Agent Ruby—an artificial intelligence internet entity—has conversed with online users, which has shaped her memory, knowledge, and moods. On May 23, 2013, art historian, playwright, and poet Moira Roth met Age... More

What We Do Is Secret: Sydney Cohen

05.17.2013  |  By


Lately I’ve become obsessed with the paintings of Sydney Cohen, the Oakland-based artist who is also an adjunct painting/drawing professor at California College of the Arts. We met there last summer teaching painting in the Pre-College Program on the Oakland campus. She is warm and unpretentious, and we became fast friends commiserating... More

Sunlight and Shadows: Al Wong in Conversation

05.03.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

We are presenting daylong screenings of Al Wong’s Twin Peaks (1977) in SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Theater on Free Tuesday, May 7. Over the course of a year the San Francisco native shot this contemplative journey, winding around the distinctive hills in the city. Twin Peaks was featured at SFMOMA in a spotlight screening of his work in 197... More


04.22.2013  |  By

On Saint Patrick’s Day, at Travis Air Force Base in California, an aircraft nicknamed the Hanoi Taxi lands with twenty POWs aboard. There are more than four-hundred family members there to greet them, and journalists ready to capture the moment. Slava Veder snaps the shot (at the bottom of this post) that brings this reunion home in a single image. In the far left, Lt. Col. Robert Stirm has his back to the camera; his back to the war you could say. In front of him, his fifteen-year-old daughter, Lorrie, rushes towards him with open arms, ... More


04.18.2013  |  By

The measuring of time is fine-tuned in accuracy down to the leap-second, on New Year’s Day of this year. The epoch of this scale, however, goes back to midnight, January 1, 1970. The scale also measures time before 1970, but in negative numbers. At 15:30:08 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), on Saturday, December 4, in the year 292,277,026,596... More

George Bolling: Invisible is the Medium

03.29.2013  |  By
Filed under: Back Page, Conversations

Watching the mesmerizing coverage of the Mars Rover landing this summer, I was reminded of video artist George Bolling’s 1974 pioneering, real-time broadcast event Jupiter Flyby which attracted over 25,000 visitors to the Exploratorium in San Francisco between November 26 and December 2 of that year. During the event, Bolling was stationed at NAS... More

Living Room Dispatch: Harlem Arts Salon with Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Mildred Howard, at the home of Margaret & Quincy Troupe – this SUNDAY

02.22.2013  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Join Open Space columnist Chris Cobb on Sunday for an experimental live stream from the New York living room of Margaret Porter Troupe and Quincy Troupe, as the Harlem Arts Salon hosts Nobel Laureate, novelist, and grande dame of American letters Toni Morrison. Joining Ms. Morrison in conversation will be preeminent poet, writer, and MacArthur R... More

Art MicroHubs LIVE: Join us tomorrow, at NOON, online

12.10.2012  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

Tomorrow at noon (Pacific) Willa Koerner, our social media genius, and I are hosting SFMOMA’s first-ever crowd-sourced public program: we’ve invited five contributors to our Art Microhubs Tumblr project to join us online to talk about the relationship of smaller arts organizations to their local communities. Why do these places matter?... More

Show Me the Money: Daily Serving

12.09.2012  |  By

Show Me the Money is an earnest attempt to get people to talk about money in the visual arts.

Daily Serving is an international online arts magazine with 35 different contributors from around the world. In addition to exhibition reviews, they have columns reserved for longer reconsiderations of artworks and art practices outside of the review format (#Hashtags); an art advice column (Help Desk); a weekly column tying together artistic practices, exhibitions, and popular culture based in Los Angeles (LA Expanded); artist interviews; and fea... More

Location & Practice: Amy Franceschini, Dominic Willsdon, Apsara DiQuinzio

11.30.2012  |  By

Location & Practice: A Roundtable Discussion

In this brief excerpt from the exhibition catalogue for Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art, Amy Franceschini of Futurefarmers, in conversation with SFMOMA curators Dominic Willsdon and Apsara DiQuinzio, talks about what it has meant for Futurefarmers to have made a commitm... More

Show Me the Money: Kala Art Institute Part 2

11.23.2012  |  By

Show Me the Money is an earnest attempt to get people to talk about money in the visual arts.

This is Part 2 of an interview with Archana Horsting of Kala Art Institute. Go here to see Part 1.

graphic developed with Lauren Venell

Do you ever start programs because you find a funding opportunity, or does it work the other way around (you develop the project and then you look for the funding), or do you develop programs in partnership with a funder?

Archana Horsting: Well, all of those happened. While we have a long history of just doing and then finding the funding as we go along. You’re better off convincing people and educating your funders about what you want to do and what you are... More

Show Me the Money: Kala Art Institute, Part 1

11.20.2012  |  By

Show Me the Money is an earnest attempt to get people to talk about money in the visual arts.

For this installment of Show Me the Money, I will be focusing on the Kala Art Institute. Kala’s mission is to help artists sustain their creative work over time through its artists-in-residence and fellowship programs, and to increase appreciation of this work through exhibitions, custom printing, art sales, public programs, and education. Additionally, Kala offers art education to the general public and public school children through its on-site classes and workshops and its Artists-in-Schools program.

We are at an interesting point in the histories of nonprofits. In the burst of utopian exubera... More

Show Me the Money: Works Progress

10.17.2012  |  By

Show Me the Money is an earnest attempt to get people to talk about money in the visual arts.

graphic designed by Lauren Venell

Works Progress is currently run by artists Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, it focuses on creating “collaborative projects that inspire, inform, and connect; catalyzing relationships across creative and cultural boundaries; and providing new platforms for public engagement.” Works Progress began in 2009 as a group effort with three major projects: Salon Saloon, a live-action... More

1 Question, 18 Answers: The cast of Rashaad Newsome’s Shade Compositions

10.04.2012  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Today we have a twist on the usual 5 Questions interview: I asked the cast of Rashaad Newsome's Shade Compositions each the same question. See the performance TONIGHT at 9pm in the museum's Atrium! FREE with museum admission.]

What’s your favorite tool?

Rashaad Newsome: My computer

What’s your favorite tool?

Top row: Sam Zimman – m... More

5 Questions: Christian Jankowski

10.02.2012  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Last week Berlin-based artist Christian Jankowski was at the museum. He was on a trip through parts of the U.S., beginning in Chicago for the Expo art fair; followed by his partner Jorinde Voigt's exhibition opening at the Nevada Art Museum; then on to L.A. to his gallery, Regan Projects, and the ... More

5 Questions: Ed Osborn

08.24.2012  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. I recently caught up with Ed Osborn, who is at SFMOMA to install his work Night-Sea Music (1998) on the museum's third-floor landing. The work will be on view until November and if you can't get to the museum in person, check out this video of the piece in action. Ed is a sound artist living in Pr... More