Posts in Projects/Series

Thematic multi-post projects produced by our columnists and artists-in-residence; recurring editorial features; interviews with artists, staff and visitors; guest-curated online exhibitions

On Being-Hated: Werner Schroeter, Erika Staiti, “Community”

03.23.2015  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

Let’s start with where I can’t go. I could have one lover, maybe two; I could text someone I don’t know from the Internet and meet them on a street corner, kiss them when we don’t yet know each other’s names. I could stand on the same street corner, abandoned callously by someone else’s lover, weeping. I could get an email from someone ... More

Collection Rotation: Facundo Argañaraz

03.18.2015  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

For our regular feature Collection Rotation, we invite a guest to organize a mini “exhibition” from our collection works online. Today, please welcome artist and curator Facundo Argañaraz.

As a practicing artist and, more recently, as a gallerist, I navigate the stream of (monetized) digital information available via the Internet on a daily basis: endlessly browsing color-corrected images of artworks and premeditated installation shots, getting lost in high resolution fluorescent-white gallery walls of well-known or non-existent art spa... More

Other Half Orbit

03.16.2015  |  By

We met with Ingrid Rojas Contreras and Jeremiah Barber in the gallery of their current joint exhibition Lo real maravilloso at Mission Cultural Center to talk about their ongoing collaboration. Ingrid identifies primarily as a writer and Jeremiah as a visual artist; however, their connection and collaboration of more than a decade blurs boundaries ... More

On Being-Hated: Banks Violette, Pharmakon, Karaoke.

03.09.2015  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

Let’s start with where I am. It could be anywhere. I’m on a train to Philadelphia, I’m on a plane back to New York. I’ve just moved to Oakland. I’m wearing a pair of fingerless leather gloves and there’s a slim choker around my neck loose enough that the buckle’s constantly slipping over to the front.


Collection Rotation: Madalyn Merkey

03.03.2015  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

This conceived collection examines aspects of shifting cultural situations, as well as artists whose work challenges the institutional inclination to group artworks according to medium; it is rooted in large scale environmental and performance works. My desire with this exhibition is to experience a revolutionary art form capable of addressing contemporary social and political concerns.


The Rumpus Pops Up in New York

03.01.2015  |  By

A few weeks ago here in New York, when it was so cold outside that puddles were frozen in the gutters and lethal sheets of ice clung to the sidewalks, I went to a reading put on by the Rumpus.

It was the sort of chilly hell no sane person would want to go out into.

But that clearly didn’t stop people from going; all of the tables were ... More

BOOM: Turfing Inspiring The World

09.29.2014  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

My first two posts on Oakland turf dancing emphasized some of the sites where turfing takes place, or is subsequently shown: from the art gallery, to the Oakland Ballet, to the stages where Johnny Lopez’s TURFinc battles take place. That is, turfing is visible in a number of known venues for art. But there is another site that is critical to this... More

Miley Cyrus and Her Enigmatic Mask of Teddy Bears

09.25.2014  |  By

As surely as the sun rises every morning, there was a kind of cosmic certainty that one day Miley Cyrus would start making art. The show made the New York art world pause for a minute, like it did for Jay Z and James Franco before her, and then it moved on. And yet, after seeing her show of tween trinkets glued onto various mannequin heads, there’s a ringing in my ears that won’t go away. It’s like I stood too close to a loudspeaker in a club and all my senses got thrown out of whack. In that confused state I unconsciously... More

Taking Up Room On The Floor

09.22.2014  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

The RIP videos made by Oakland turf dancing crew Turf Feinz appeared in 2009-2010, commemorating recent deaths of young people in Oakland. It’s been four years or more since most of them were posted, which in turfing time, like internet time, might as well be forty. However, many, if not all, of the dancers in those videos are still dancing in O... More

BOOM! Turfing Against the World

09.15.2014  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

In 2010, the annual juried show at Southern Exposure was titled BOOM! Thinking back on it now, I love that curator Astria Suparak called it BOOM! It was a little melodramatic for a few rooms of generally non-explosive works of art, but prescient in a way. BOOM! – the beat comes in and everybody moves.  BOOM! – fireworks and their long echoes a... More


07.31.2014  |  By

What is without reason, is monstrous. What is with singular reason, is monstrous. What ignores reason over a singular, driving motive, is monstrous. What is reasonable will get you from the top of the steps of your home, where you tie your shoes and feel the first breath of the day’s weather on your skin, to a table across town that sits near the door of the place where you do business, but this will never be anything anyone would pay to see on a screen. Only the monstrous is entertaining and profitable.


James Franco: To Barf or Not to Barf, That Is the Question

04.26.2014  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

As the saying goes,  if everybody hates you, you must be doing something right, right? So what happens when both of the top art critics in New York slam your work on two different days, delivering a one-two knockout punch? It’s enough to drive most artists to suicide!

The question is, do you go down for the count or do you to get back up and try to keep fighting? Jerry Saltz went so far as to say that George Bush is a better artist than James Franco. Roberta Smith pleaded for someone  to get him to stop making art.

Sure, maybe Franco is... More

Five on Transition

Nicole Archer: Curtain Calls

04.15.2014  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Curtains gather in the margins of everyday life. They claim to be insignificant, save for those pivotal moments when they dramatically rise or fall. Yet without them, we seem to run the permanent risk of confusing all our beginnings for our ends.

Five on Transition

Jarrett Earnest: Three Waves

04.15.2014  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Ocean waves are animated by celestial forces: pull of the moon, wind churned by the sun. Vija Celmins’s Untitled (Ocean) (1977) is a drawing not only of water, but of breeze and sunlight, too — a vignette of our planetary arrangement.

Five on Transition

Christian Nagler: Silicon Spring

04.15.2014  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Let’s think about the desert. Place where not much seems to be happening. But we know there’s actually a lot going on, right? Life is hiding, blinking, doing sweet push-ups in the shade, hot sap pulling beneath slow oceans of crust.

Five on Transition

Dushko Petrovich: Emigre

04.15.2014  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Emigre was initially a magazine about actual émigrés. Very few people remember it that way, but the revolutionary design publication actually was founded by immigrants — including husband-and-wife duo Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko — in order to present “the unique perspective of contemporary poets, writers, journalists, graphic designers, photographers, architects, and artists who live or have lived outside their native countries.”

Five on Transition

Maria Popova: Against Interpretation

04.15.2014  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

“It’s only when the heart begins to beat wildly and without pattern — when it begins to realize its boundlessness — that its newly adamant pulse bangs on the walls of its cage and is bruised by its enclosure.” — Kay Larsen



04.03.2014  |  By

“The game is a machine composed of interconnected mechanistic devices. These devices facilitate bad faith interaction… A con or snow job is the site at which X preys upon the hopes, fears, and anxieties of Y for ulterior motives and/or personal gain. The machinations which vehiculate this manipulation can have wide effect—ranging from the ... More


03.27.2014  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Projects/Series

At the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, filming a soft drink ad in front of a crowd of fans, a pyrotechnic malfunction ignites the singer’s hair causing second degree burns on his scalp and face. The case is settled out of court and the settlement is donated to the Brotman Medical Center, which is rechristened in honor of their benefactor. The President invites the singer to the White House to give him an award for his support of charities that helped people overcome alcohol and drug abuse (the First Lady’s pet cause). Inspired by ... More


03.17.2014  |  By

Hard sunlight bullies through smoke and soot. Something awful is burning all the time and a haze mutes even medium distances into old photographs. Our town is shrouded in perpetual smoke that fades red to an 1890’s sepia, and clouds any blue to a dusty gray. Muted colors make us feel like we’re in some scratchy old movie. That in turn slows everything down. Traffic lights halt movement for almost all of a Linda Ronstadt song even when there’s nothing to wait for. Birds seldom fly and when they do they don’t flap. They circle the ... 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


12.22.2013  |  By

Rainer Werner Fassbinder finished Querelle this year, and started work on another film, this next one called Rosa L. On June 10 the script for this project, based on the life of Rosa Luxemburg, is beside him when he’s found at 3:30 a.m. by his editor and companion, Juliane Lorenz, quite dead, a cigarette still between his lips.

These are the years: 1964, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1989, and 1993, 1999, and 2003, and also the future years which do not have numbers yet, nor names, but are given all numbers and names. These are the ages of man: first cry... More

What Time Is It?

12.18.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

This fall, Open Space has featured a series of reflections by artists, writers, and curators on “the contemporary.” Today’s piece, “What Time Is it?” is a concluding note.
In 2011′s My Common Heart, Kansas City poet Anne Boyer writes a poem titled “Questions for Poets.”  The text opens, What time is it in Sydney? What t... More

Image + Text: Monica de la Torre and Abigail Child Collaborate

12.17.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series


Mónica de la Torre: To and No Fro is based on Luis Buñuel’s melodrama A Woman Without Love (1952), which is deemed his worst film, but is a wonderfully highbrow telenovela of sorts based on Guy de Maupassant’s novella Pierre et Jean. Its claustrophobic set designs are by the Mexican-Hungarian painter Gunther Gerzso, and the film’s c... More

Collection Rotation: Amanda Kirkhuff

12.16.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Projects/Series

Our regular feature Collection Rotation, in which a guest organizes a mini “exhibition” from SFMOMA’s collection works online. This fall artists with Bay Area ties take over the series. In addition to their rotations, we asked each artist to answer poet Robert Duncan’s request to students in his 1958 Workshop in Basic Techniques and provide us with a set of influences for their work — a “constellation of their genius.” Today, please welcome Amanda Kirkhuff.

I was recently invited by Open Space to ponder “the constellation of my ... More

5 Questions: Marina Eybelman

12.13.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Projects/Series

We’re taking our Five Questions series around the office and finding out more about SFMOMA staff members and what’s changed for them now that we’re under construction. Today we’re talking to Marina Eybelman, Technical Coordinator, in our Minna Street offices, where many of us have been located for several years and will be until 2016, when our new building opens.

Please describe your job in three sentences or less:

I provide administrative and financial support to the IT department and I am the key contact for staff wh... More

On the Contemporary: Instant Nostalgia, by Francesca Lisette

12.11.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

This fall, Open Space has featured a series of reflections by artists, writers, and curators on “the contemporary.” Today’s piece is by British poet Francesca Lisette, who currently lives in London.

Instant Nostalgia

A couple of months ago I was in California with a friend. As we took pictures of each other in the park, he joked about the fac... More

Collection Rotation: Justin Hoover

12.09.2013  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Projects/Series

In our regular feature Collection Rotation, a guest selects from SFMOMA’s collection works online. This fall artists with Bay Area ties take over the series. In addition to their rotations, we asked each artist to answer poet Robert Duncan’s request to students in his 1958 Workshop in Basic Techniques and provide us with a set of influences for... More

Inside Project Los Altos: Christian Jankowski

12.06.2013  |  By

Through March 2, 2014, SFMOMA presents newly commissioned and site-responsive projects from contemporary artists, as well as historical works and documentation, in the small suburban city of Los Altos. This Open Space series highlights artists and spaces relating to Project Los Altos through conversations with the project’s contributors and my ow... More

FIELD WORK: Juliana Spahr

12.05.2013  |  By

On the occasion of Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field, SFMOMA curator of public programs Frank Smigiel and poet and playwright Kevin Killian co-organized a small chapbook of poetry, beautifully hand-produced by Andrew Kenower and Lara Durback. We are posting selections from FIELD WORK on Open Space throughout the fall.