August 09, 2013

5 Questions: Chad Coerver

This summer, 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 Chad Coerver, Chief Content Officer, 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 go to meetings all the time, and when I’m not at meetings all the time I’m working with my team to strategize the best ways to deliver great content and experiences, both analog and digital, to our audiences. Some of these we create ourselves, some we create with community partners of all different sorts.

What are you thinking about now that you weren’t thinking about before the museum closed?

I’ve been interested in a couple of different things. One is: Where’s the border between productive chaos and complete entropy? Right now we have so many things to tackle for the museum’s expansion that chaos can be a really interesting design constraint and keep you from overthinking a problem. Other times you just can’t deal because the chaos is overwhelming. So how do we balance that as we are planning and managing all these different timelines? The second is: How can we transport the messiness of the internet into the building without totally overwhelming the art viewing experience itself? Museums tend to be too tidy.

If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

My grandmother. We’d be sitting on the porch of her New Orleans house in the late afternoon, drinking a very dry martini or two and having our usual talks about religion (mostly my wayward ways).

If you could steal any artwork in the world to have in your home, what would it be?

Hands down, Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas. I used to teach Baroque art in a past life and the painting is like Fermat’s Last Theorem of Art History—a riddle that has no easy solution. That’s why I love it.

What’s your favorite tool? Why?

The Schaedler Ruler. In my previous gig, as publisher at SFMOMA, the best moment in creating huge books was to sit down, very Zen-like, and go through the final galleys making sure everything was in order before we told the printer to start up the presses. We had to check that the grids were all working and everything was lined up. For someone who is a bit obsessive, this was an extremely meditative process.

Have you ever run out of money?

All the time. If you’re not running out of money regularly then you’re not leading an interesting enough life.


Comments (1)

  • Frank Lostaunau says:

    Las Meninas! I agree! Whenever I’m luckY enuf to view the painting I almost collapse! VIVA LAS MENINAS! GORA!

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!