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

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

Your Day is My Night

02.07.2014  |  By
Filed under: Essay


“. . . dawn, always new, often superb, inaugurates the return of the everyday.”—Henri Levebvre

“the house protects the dreamer”—Gaston Bachelard

“. . . the non-I that protects the I.”—Gaston Bachelard

Coming into culture is also coming into discipline. It begins with trying to get newborn babies to s... 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

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