Posts Tagged “Opinion”

Sports(wo)manly Conduct

08.23.2010  |  By
Filed under: Essay

I just spent a whole month of my life glued to all manner of screens devouring world cup football (or soccer as you call it here in America). There were many things I should have been doing, instead I was watching the beautiful game unfold in South Africa. Now I know that for most of the American public this is a sport that lacks excitement, a game can end with no one scoring any goals; and confuses, the offside rule. FIFA’s refusal to allow instant playback is seen as archaic and nonsensical. But if you grow up anywhere outside the USA, th... More

The Grass is ALWAYS Greener

07.27.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

The Grass is ALWAYS Greener AND that is OKAY

In February of this year, Renny Pritikin posted Artist Who’ve Left Town and 97 comments followed, confirming that this topic is one many find pertinent. Most of the discussion offered insight from those who have moved, those who have stayed or those who have considered either option, while other responses concluded that some (either participating in or following the arts) will often have similar complaints without offering productive means to achieve solutions.

In the post, Pritikin listed 60 ... More

“What isn’t a remix now?”

07.05.2010  |  By

Browsing on YouTube I click play and a video begins showing pretty hipster girls gazing longingly at the camera. They are dancing with boys with long hair and handsome beards, all of them bathed in the golden light of youth and optimism. The day is almost over and they are dancing their hearts out. In Dolores Park, on rooftops and in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, this is young San Francisco remaking shot for shot an homage to an homage, a copy of a copy. They really mean this and they really are this pretty.

This video is part of an intriguing phenomena of call and response video’s posted on YouTube in homage to the fan video, “the brat pack mash up” which was first posted in the spring of 2009.

The original video, composed of various edited scenes mostly taken from the movies of John Hughes,  ‘mashed up’ with the song, ‘Lisztomania’ by French pop group Phoenix  inspired a group of twenty something friends in Brooklyn to remake it shot for shot with their beautiful p... More

El derrocamiento de la sintaxis

06.26.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

My relationship with language and misunderstanding became compounded this week with my enrollment in a Spanish language immersion course. 3 hours, 3 times a week for 4 weeks, all in preparation for my upcoming move to Madrid, Spain. While, my scotopic sensitivity syndrome is useful for the type of slippage I am invested in within my art practice, but it is not so useful in conjugating verbs.

Arturo, my teacher at the Mesoamerica Institute in Berkeley, has been incredibly patient. Still my progress is slow. Perhaps, because I inevitably get derailed with such seemingly tangential matters as the assigning of genders to nouns. For any one who has studied one of the romantic languages this is not a new concept (and perhaps its just PRIDE week on my mind) but the binary constriction of masculine and feminine made concrete in language is a little more than my somewhat queer sensibility can take. How then, can we conjure multiple ways of being if the words we are using demand only two? What h... More

If I still have your attention… Save Plus-X!

05.05.2010  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

If interested in helping to preserve all the currently available Kodak black & white motion-picture film stocks for use by artists and others, please sign this petition created by Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty of 40 Frames.

I was very excited to discover that, due to my post from yesterday receiving an astonishing number of Tweets (including from some movers-and-shakers) it, and more importantly, the message it helped to convey, has spread far and wide—our cause has built momentum. An unfortunate vagueness in that piece, however, led some to believe that Kodak plans on ceasing sales of ALL black & white motion-picture film stocks. This, thank God, is NOT the case, but might rather be described as HALF the case — while their low speed Plus-X Negative and Reversal film stocks (in 35mm, 16mm, and Super-8 forms) are scheduled to be phased-out, their HIGH speed Negative and Reversal black & white stocks, Double-X and Tri-X, remain in production.

Plus-X is a low contra... More

Is Photography Over Finally Over?

04.30.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

[Not quite. Joshua Chuang sends some final notes on last week’s symposium. Other posts and more information on “Is Photography Over?” can be found here.]


In addressing the role of museums and curators as narrative-makers, Corey Keller noted that she and her colleagues try their best to “complicate” what might otherwise be an overly tidy story of photography’s history. This sense of necessary untidiness, alluded to by my fellow reporters, also characterized the symposium’s discourse in ways that alternately helped to identify critical issues and undermine the coherence of a given dialogue. Nevertheless, as Dominic Willsdon observed in concluding the event, there were “these moments, these flashes, when suddenly something quite urgent and important [would appear],” only to dip beneath the surface again.

A great deal of this urgency came from the audience, whose astute comments and pointed questions stirred the panelists to react. To keep them from rec... More

Is Photography Over? Friday afternoon session reports

04.24.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

This week SFMOMA hosted a major symposium on the current state of the field of photography, with two intensive panel discussions Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. Yesterday’s reports are here. The initial texts from the symposium participants are here. Other blog posts addressing the question “Is Photography Over?” can be fou... More

Is Photography Over? Day One Report, Addendum

04.23.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

[Joshua Chuang sends this brief addendum to this morning’s report.]

Apropos of the symposium’s first day, here is an excerpt from an afterword that John Szarkowski penned for a 1998 reprint of Lee Friedlander’s classic first book, Self-Portrait. Friedlander, by the way, was also in the audience last night.

“I once happened to attend a conference, designed to wring from photography its deepest secrets, and later to publish them in five (I think) languages, not including, of course, the language of photography, which is too difficult, ambivalent, ambiguous, or mysterious to be broken to pull in harness with languages that have dictionaries and grammars. In spite of the apparent hopelessness of the problem, the conference was attended by critics, aestheticians, other philosophers, social scientists of various specialties, prophets, and politicians, most of whom seemed dedicated to the proposition that the group might, if it put its common shoulder to the wheel, determine w... More

Is Photography Over? Thursday Evening Event Reports

04.23.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

This week SFMOMA is hosting a major symposium on the current state of the field of photography, with events last night and this afternoon. Today’s reports on last evening’s discussion are from Joshua Chuang, Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Yale University Art Museum, and Sarah Miller & Brendan Fay, both postdoctoral fellows,... More

Is Photography Over?

04.19.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

This month SFMOMA hosts a major symposium on the current state of the field of photography. Thirteen thinkers and practitioners will convene for a two-day state-of-the-medium summit, in advance of which they’ve each been asked to respond to the symposium’s central question: Is photography over? These texts will be used to kick off the opening panel discussion this Thursday, April 22. Throughout the month, we’ve been featuring three additional responses here at Open Space. Very pleased to have a post today from Sandra Phillips, the senior curator of photography here at SFMOMA. Look for day after event reports this Friday and Saturday mornings.

If photography is over, it might be useful to remember when it seemed as though photography had just begun. In 1964 I was a very serious young painting student who had grown up in New York and visiting museums was a part of my life as well as my study. One day I discovered the Steichen Center for Photography at the Museum of Mode... More

Is Photography Over?

04.12.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

This month SFMOMA hosts a major symposium on the current state of the field of photography. Thirteen thinkers and practitioners will convene for a two-day state-of-the-medium summit, in advance of which they’ve each been asked to respond to the symposium’s central question: Is photography over? These texts will be used to kick off the o... More

Is Photography Over?

04.05.2010  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

This month SFMOMA hosts  a major symposium on the current state of the field of photography.  Thirteen thinkers and practitioners will convene for a two-day state-of-the-medium summit, in advance of which they’ve each been asked to respond to the symposium’s central question: Is photography over? These texts will be used to kick off t... More

Jim Pomeroy – Viewing the Museum: The Tale Wagging the Dog

10.05.2009  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Thirty years ago this fall the artist Jim Pomeroy and SFMOMA curator Suzanne Foley were corresponding about his proposal to include his text “Viewing the Museum: The Tale Wagging the Dog” in her survey of 1970s Bay Area conceptual and performance practices, Space/Time/Sound.  In light of recent discussions on Open Space about the New Langton Arts crisis and the role of nonprofit arts organizations, Tanya Zimbardo, Assistant Curator of Media Arts, here revisits Pomeroy’s analysis of modern art museums vs. artists’ spaces. Wonderfully, we ... More

In Memoriam: David Ireland 1930 – 2009

09.14.2009  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

This afternoon, SFMOMA is hosting a special memorial service honoring Bay Area sculptor and conceptual artist David Ireland, who passed away last spring. Ireland was a central figure in conceptual art in the Bay Area and beyond. From the 1970s until his death, he produced a highly idiosyncratic body of work concerned with the creation and function... More

Secret Hidden Theme to the SFMOMA Sculpture Garden

08.14.2009  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Dear reader,

This is Tammy. Has this ever happened to you?

I was passing a casual afternoon in the SFMOMA sculpture garden the other day, sipping a glass of fresh tap water and soaking up some much needed vitamin D in my San Francisco summer attire, when I realized that my helmet with its tundra down lining resembled the Thought Screen Helmets m... More

Green Architecture: Building for the People?

08.08.2009  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

In response to my recent post “This land wasn’t made for you and me”, my fellow columnist, Anuradha Vikram asked me for examples of humanizing green building projects to compare to my critique of both the San Francisco’s Federal Building’s “public” plaza and the houses built by Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation (MIR) in New Orleans that I wrote about back in June. Over the past couple of days I’ve been trying hard to think of green building projects in the Bay Area that incorporate a functional shared public space.  Due to my lack of expertise in architecture, I’d like to open up Anu’s comment as a question for others to respond to:  What are good examples of humanizing green building projects in the Bay Area?

In contrast to building projects previously discussed, I’d like to briefly mention The Heidelberg Project started by Tyree Guyton in Detroit, Michigan. Back in 1986, East Detroit struggled to recover fro... More

John Cage: 4’33″: Daily

02.04.2009  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

David Bernstein, Head of Music and Professor of Music at Mills College, demonstrating 4’33″ for staff performers, back in early November. On the piano is the Irwin Kremen 4’33″ score in proportional notation, and behind the piano is Robert Rauschenberg’s White Painting (Three Panel).

[Throughout the run of the Art of ... More

On Letting Them Do It Themselves: Activated Anarchy vs. Designed Intentions

01.27.2009  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

Bay Area artist Stephanie Syjuco weighs in here on the successes and pitfalls of ‘participatory’ art, and takes a close look at New York design firm Freecell‘s Stack-to-Fold project, currently in use in our second-floor “D-space“.

“(T)hese objects, once they are assembled, will lend themselves to certain function... More

¡Viva Las Vegas Showgirls!

12.18.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Essay

[This Saturday! As part of our “Vegas Highs, Vegas Lows” film series, and in conjunction with the exhibition Double Down: Two Visions of Vegas, we’re screening Viva Las Vegas (1pm) and Showgirls (3pm). Not to be missed!]

Never have there been two films so ripe for reassessment as George Sidney’s Viva Las Vegas, and Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. Made thirty years apart, they both reside in that basket reserved for the culturally unsanctioned. Maybe it’s due to the stain of Vegas — that fata Morgana that has traditionally made the highfalutin see red. Now, in the true era of anything goes, in which the Vegas aesthetic has established itself as the norm, it’s just possible their time has come…

Why reassess an Elvis movie? ‘Cause this one’s so damned fun! There are a few decent Elvis movies. Viva is the only great one. The King is as close as the United States ever came to producing an autochthonous deity. The lack of ... More

Our winter of Are we discontent with Derek Jarman?

12.06.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Hello all. A small group of us have been having the occasional post-screening discussion in response to the Jarman retrospective now on. As I noted yesterday, none of us have been quite sure how to gauge our encounter with Derek Jarman. Weighing in below are Brecht Andersch, our projectionist, and Stephen Hartman, film-loving psychoanalyst! (You may remember them from our summer of Alexanderplatz). If you have thoughts, we’d love to hear them.]

Stephen Hartman:

So fond of techno am I that I have always refused to listen to—I’m sure I’ve even said “hated”—opera without knowing much about it. Then, recently, a dear friend set out to convert me. We spent a wonderful evening listening and comparing. As I write now, my new heroine Régine Crespin is belting out Verdi. Alas, me…a convert?

Unfortunately, diving back into Derek Jarman after many years had the opposite effect. Where I was once an Act Up boy overwhelmed by the poetry of The Garden... More

So long, Sol

09.16.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

[At 6am this Wednesday morning, the iconic and colorful Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings #935 and #936 will be “deinstalled” (read: painted over), in part to make room for some VERY BIG sculptures that will be part of the upcoming Martin Puryear exhibition in November. Any SFMOMA search on Flickr will immediately turn up dozens of images of th... More

Summer and Smoke

09.04.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Dear Reader,

This is Tammy. Hey look! Summer’s gone up in smoke and it’s back-to-school time. And although my academic pursuits were stopped short many years ago by an ergonomic accident, September still brings with it a pain in my gut. Summer vacation drifts into a landslide of work and anxiety. Will my coworkers laugh at my back-to-school Toughskins and non-name-brand sneakers AGAIN this year? I ignore their petty, school-kid crap and plunge head first into my work. Thankfully, Stein and my boss, curator of media arts Rudolf Frieling, are keeping me busy with a lot of assignments. Stein even proposed I make my little postings here a regular column. (Name options: True Random Thoughts, Non Sequitur, Obvious Observations.) I’ve also been gearing up for the Art of Participation show, opening in November, editing interviews with Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer, and some more mundane projects, like hiding the filing I didn’t do this year and reorganizing the ... More

“Works by the Late Bruce Conner” – (Part 2)

07.11.2008  |  By
Filed under: Essay

[from guest writer Julian Myers]

“I quit the art business in 1967 for about three years… At that time, whenever I’d get any letters about art related events, I’d send them back or throw them out. Sometimes, I’d write deceased on them. I was listed in Who’s Who in American Art and I sent back all their correspondence with “Deceased.” After three years, Who’s Who believed me… So the artist is definitely dead.”

On Monday, July 7, 2008, Bruce Conner died in San Francisco. It wasn’... More

Farewell, Franz Biberkopf, our extraordinary ordinary man

07.03.2008  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Conversations

And so at last we bid our beloved friend Franz Biberkopf goodbye. It’s been a long but wonderful month watching, thinking, and talking together with everyone about all things Berlin A & RWF. Farewell Mieze, farewell Lina, farewell Franzë, Cilly, Ida, Pums, Meck—look, even in a blogpost I’m loathe to wish “fare well” to those awful villains Rheinhold & Luders!—

Dominic & I both want to thank all of our round-table-ees: Brandon, Cynthia, Julian, & Stephen, as well as Brecht our projectionist, Dana Ward our Cincinnati correspondent, and everyone else who’s been along with us in the theater on Thursdays and Saturdays, and in the comment boxes all along the way.

It seems kind of sweetly fitting to close with this last post in from Dana Ward, who didn’t quite make the summit with us:


“…What a shame for me that just as I had calibrated the pace of my reading with the bundles of your viewing, I w... More

Berlin Alexanderplatz: Epilogue: Redux:

07.02.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Another illuminating post from Brecht Andersch, our projectionist and Berlin Alexanderplatz expert-in-residence, as we wind our way down:]

Hanna Schygulla has said that Fassbinder told her he identified profoundly with all three main characters of Alexanderplatz; “I am Biberkopf, Reinhold, and even Mieze, too.” He had discovered the novel at the age of fourteen, and it served as a mirror to this budding genius, reflecting back the splits within his own psyche. He used his experiences as petri-dish experiments in order to acquire both self-knowledge and an understanding of his world, and his findings became increasingly disturbing: humans, through their own natural needs – love, security, self-protection, etc. – were, consequent to their acquiescence to the powerful, or to the power of the collective, the source of their own oppression. The only answer lay in further, deeper self-knowledge – but how to achieve this in a nation of “StupidheadsR... More

RWF: My Dream from the Dream of Franz Biberkopf

06.28.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Or, the other side of the mountain. The BA roundtable/support group on the last round of Fassbinder’s epic masterpiece. We’ll wind down our discussion over the next few days. Ms. Heidi at Engineer’s Daughter says everyone deserves a t-shirt; I’m like to agree that all of you readers do too.]


Well, we watched Berlin Alexanderplatz.

I found everyone’s responses last week to be, to varying extents, trying to come to terms with the violence Franz displays against Mieze. The violence and initial recuperation took place at the very end of our screening. Even if indeed some of the bloggers may have been “tip-toeing” around it, everyone (including commenters) seemed to be trying to situate the crisis in terms of Franz’s character. Was it jealousy that provoked hi... More

From our B. Alexanderplatz projectionist: part 2

06.26.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Who isn’t at least a little in love with the sweet creature Mieze? I have so many feelings of excitement & anxious anticipation for tonight’s Berlin Alexanderplatz finale! Here to give us a sweeping recap and analysis of much of what we’ve seen thus far, is our projectionist Brecht. If you haven’t been following along to date, you can see ALL our Alexanderplatz posts by clicking the tag Mount-Everest-of-modern-cinema. See you tonight!]


Early in the film, Franz visits the sister of his manslaug... More

Eternities Between Many and Few: Part 2

06.23.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

[Continuing our month-long discussion of Berlin Alexanderplatz]

Brandon, Dom, Suzanne,

Forgive me for saying so, but I think you’ve been tiptoeing around what all of us experienced as a profoundly disturbing passage of film – the last forty minutes of episode eleven, wherein Franz tries to murder Mieze, the person he loves most, in exactly the same way, in exactly the same place, as he murdered Ida. Indeed Fassbinder insists on this disconcerting repetition, replaying Ida’s murder three times in the previous episodes, investing it with an ominous and totemic power.

If these scenes don’t erase my great enjoyment of the series so far, they certainly transform, violently, the terms of that enjoyment. It’s not just the beating that Franz inflicts. Unbearable as it is, we at least know it is coming. What is so horrible is first the character of Mieze’s anguish – a strangulated screaming that goes on for what feels like minutes. Is any moment in cinema so raw and devastati... More

About the Eternities Between the Many and the Few

06.21.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Hi readers! It’s Brandon, just here in small print to say how happy I am that this conversation has continued here on the blog! If it is the Mount Everest of modern cinema, then I think we’re seeing some clouds breaking at the top. Which is exciting, and terrifying! See you in the comment box!

We made it through another thrillin... More

06.16.2008  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

……This just in from Julian, who’s sticking it out with us for the Thursday night duration…..

I want to follow up on Brecht’s fantastic post. He mentions in his description the “cynical yet upbeat tone of Weimar culture.” Insofar as the series has a theme, it might be this mindset and way of viewing the world; atrocities occur, but are met by a strange and passive acceptance. Franz loses his arm and barely seems to react. The newspaperman has his balls removed one after the other, but well, ever forward. I recalled Hannah Arendt’s puzzlement, in her analysis of Adolf Eichmann’s 1961 trial in Jerusalem, over the “odd limits” of his conscience. I want to say that Fassbinder presents Franz as inhabiting a particular, peculiar, brittle, false sort of innocence – if that didn’t immediately sound so daft. (We know what is coming…)

To recall just a few moments that have stuck... More