November 13, 2008


For serious, I have been waiting to post that headline for over a year.  Starting tonight! and for the next three months, we are hosting Bay Area conceptual artist and sculptor Tom Marioni‘s weekly salon, The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art. If you’re not familiar with this work, Tom has been organizing these salons, where friends and artists can convene, converse and drink beer, in his studio and elsewhere, for more than two decades.

Each week we’ll have special guest bartenders and readers, & I’ll try to keep you apprised: tonight’s bartender is Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts, and the reader is Mr Tom Marioni himself. Do come by! It’s free, with museum admission of course; keep in mind that space is limited (see below). Entry will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Like any drinking establishment, you must be over 21 & carrying vaild ID.

Here’s Tom’s FREE BEER sculpture as we have it in our collection (and as you can see it on view now on the fourth floor as part of AoP)—the piece is made from the detritus of the salon as it was exhibited/hosted here at SFMOMA in 1979:

Tom Marioni: Free Beer

Tom Marioni, FREE BEER (The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art), 1970-79; refrigerator, framed print, shelf, beer bottles, and lightbulb, installation view at SFMOMA; collection SFMOMA; photo: Ben Blackwell; © 2008 Tom Marioni

Here’s the bar set-up in the Koret Vistor Education Center, ready for bartenders to dispense FREE BEER and for art lovers and friends to drink it happily and I hope noisily together:

And here are the still QUITE EMPTY (as of today) shelves which will hold and store our many emptied bottles of beer:

No one lacks expertise in this particular form of art, or if you do, now’s a great time to hone your skills. Come on by, or, we hope to see you soon!

Comments (5)

  • Is ‘Free Beer’ a lower form of art if the people there are not your friends?

  • Hey!

    Oh I so wish could come for a visit again soon. I mean it just kills me to not like come out there Saturday morning. & Alli, oh yeah, one of the all time great images right there.


  • Can’t help but think of Dr. Dre’s “Nothing But a G Thang” video. The enticing shot of the fridge stocked full of 40ozs.

  • Hi Dana Ward!

    You would have loved the scene here last night, and the scene would have loved you. So many all kinds of people. Tom gave a great reading, including the score for the beer bottle sonata/orchestra, there was a lot of whistling into the half-fulls and then the folding of cardboard furnitures into something like towering exclamation points.


    Come visit the bay Mr Dana


  • Well, no shock here perhaps but this is one of my favorite pieces ever. Tom came through Cincinnati with this work a few years back. I was lucky enough to perform with his beer bottle orchestra. Pacifico I think was the instrument of choice. It was heaven.


Leave a comment

Please tell us what you think. We really love conversation, and we’re happy to entertain dissenting opinions. Just no name-calling, personal attacks, slurs, threats, spam, and the like, please. Those ones we reserve the right to remove.

Sign Up

Join our newsletter for infrequent updates on new posts and Open Space events.
  • Required, will not be published

Dear Visitor,
We regret to inform you that Open Space is no longer active. It was retired at the end of 2021. We sincerely appreciate your support and engagement over the years.

For your reference, we encourage you to read past entries or search the site.

To stay informed about future ventures or updates, please follow us at

Thank you for being a part of our journey!