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

1986

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

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1985

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

1984

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

1983

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

1982

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.

TRANSITORY, MOMENTARY
JULIANA SPA... More

5 Questions: Jana Machin

11.29.2013  |  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 Jana Machin, director of SFMOMA’s MuseumStore, in the store’s temporary location on Yerba Buena Lane, where it will be unti... More

Field Of Disappointments / Shame On My Hands

11.26.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Well my fair faggots,
Here’s the last installment of my record, Cosmic Surgery. I hope when you are sitting around your Thanksgiving table this week you remember to give thanks to Dynasty Handbag’s childhood traumas for making your life so much better by the gift of music and laughter that she has blessed you with. Then say just kidding! Then go throw up all the guilty meat-eating you just did. Stay skinny!

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Collection Rotation: Annie Albagli

11.25.2013  |  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

FIELD WORK: Frances Richard

11.21.2013  |  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.

Composite Emptiness
Frances Richa... More

Never Enough of Anything!

11.20.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Whn ws chld w ddnt hv ngh fd. thrr ws lwys hngr.

Nw m ldr nd stll thnk thr s nt gng t b ngh, nt ngh fd, lv, mny, tm, spc. Mst lt g tht tht pttrn.

Ts f n se nw. Thr s ngh fr vryn. Ngh sn.

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What’s At Play in the League of F.A.M.E.?

11.20.2013  |  By

Mary Anne Kluth

The League of F.A.M.E. (Fantasy Art Market Enthusiasts), just wrapping its inaugural season this month, is a participatory art project by “Commissioners” Josh Pieper and Tim Sullivan, based on fantasy sports leagues. The first season, which launched on Open Space October 1, involved nine players “drafting” rosters of any ten... More

On the Contemporary: erica kaufman, The Leaves Changed and I Didn’t Notice: 10 Jilted Starts

11.20.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

This fall, Open Space will feature a series of reflections by artists, writers, and curators on “the contemporary.” Today’s piece is by New York–based writer and teacher erica kaufman.

the leaves changed & I didn’t notice: 10 jilted starts

for N.E. and S.W.

1.  My initial response to this question of the contemporary was to turn to Gertrude Stein and her sense of the “continuous present.” In “Composition as Explanation,” Stein writes, “the time of the composition is the time of the composition.” The contemporary is the present tense, and so our experience and knowledge is always present tense. But, I feel unsatisfied beginning here, as if it is too easy, not because Stein is easy, but because I always turn to Stein.

2.  A first few thoughts on the contemporary: the government shutdown; Dana Yahalomi’s performance work; the Stolpersteine in Berlin; the turkey found wandering around Battery Park; Nicole Eisenman’s sculptures — refiguring figures; ... More

1981

11.19.2013  |  By

AT SIXTEEN I THRASH IN SERIAL TRANSPORTATION AND THE BLEAK APARTMENTS OF FRIENDS’ OLDER BROTHERS.

A road trip to San Francisco to see Prince perform from the Controversy album. Morris Day and the Time are the opening act. The audience is 99 percent African American, and dressed to the nines. Dancing with arms thrown up; we’re in church. Our minister preaches: I’ll Jack U Off!
In May, I have my first gay sex. We warm up with vodka, orange juice, and his collection of every David Bowie video he recorded off Friday Night Videos. FNV is an ho... More

Diary of a Crazy Artist: Is Art Criticism Over?

11.18.2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Is art criticism dead the way painting was supposed to be ten years ago?
Is art criticism helpful anymore in the age of Yelp?
Is it allowed to critique criticism?
Is a bad review helpful to anyone?
Is genuine criticism best left for the artist studio?

In a group show, why are certain artists written about and not others?
How does a jumble of words ... More

1980

11.15.2013  |  By

David Lynch’s The Elephant Man just opened at the Stockton Royal movie theater. Because you are a cool kid, and know about these things, you tell me that David Bowie played the part on stage. We love Bowie. We play your new Scary Monsters album as often as we can get away with it whenever I visit you at your home.

When asked about his directorial styling, David Lynch has more than once quoted the Beach Boys, saying, “Be true to your school.”

In 1968 Charles Manson and his followers moved from San Francisco down to LA. There, while hitchhi... More