October 21, 2015

User Guide to the New Open Space & the Fall Season

When we started working on the Open Space relaunch, it quickly became clear that our contributors would benefit from an expanded — rather than condensed — set of places and ways we could organize their content. Our new platform preserves many of our old (and beloved) standards while adding new ones, and gives us an effective new way of presenting contributions in themed issues. We are very excited to share our evolved publishing program:


Our publishing calendar will unfold over three seasons in a year. Each season, multiple contributors will consider a particular idea, question, or problem. We begin today, looking at questions of ownership, loosely described, taking as our point of departure the museum’s landmark agreement and partnership with the Fisher family, which brings more than a thousand new artworks under SFMOMA’s stewardship. The first three articles in the series are up today. Art historian Jennifer González considers the question “Who owns visual culture?”; the 3.9 Collective interviews several of its members about their experiences living and working as artists in a post-gentrification, post-priced-out San Francisco, where “[t]he word ‘Black’ is now synonymous with ‘Vanishing.’” And, Jill Sterrett, SFMOMA director of collections and conservation helps us understand what an object label can tell us about the way an artwork has entered a museum’s collection; later this fall museum historian Marjorie Schwarzer will unpack the SFMOMA/Fisher partnership directly. Stay tuned for more investigations and explorations throughout the season.


Our columnists-in-residence program — in which our regular writers are free to write and publish without editorial oversight from Open Space or SFMOMA — are the heart of what we do. We are thrilled to welcome three new columnists to our masthead this season: LA-based poet, performer, and artist Kate Durbin (working with photographer and artist Rollin Leonard); local comedian and musician George Chen; and documentary videographer and critic Brian Karl.


As distinct from columnists, our columns are recurring features to which multiple contributors are invited to respond. We are keeping some old favorites (Collection Rotation, One on One), and in coming weeks will be introducing several new columns — among them Work on Work, in which we’ll regularly address questions of labor, ethics, and money in the arts; and UX: Art & Tech, which will explore, naturally, the nexus of art and technology.

Community Spotlight

On the Open Space homepage, our right-most sidebar will be a rotating spotlight on the individuals, collectives, and organizations that make up the fabric of the Bay Area cultural scene. Several times a season we’ll catch up with a former contributor to Open Space to hear about what they’re up to and get their take on the Bay at present. Our About page now features a layered, filterable map of hundreds of local arts organizations large and small. Twice each season we’ll spotlight one of these orgs with an in-depth Q&A — what do they do, how do they do it, and for whom? And — critically — where does the money come from?

Expanded Archive

With hundreds of contributors and thousands of posts, the Open Space archive is various and deep, and we wanted our readers to have greater access to the rich content there. Our expanded archive offers multiple ways to filter and explore, and the new platform allows us to reissue suites of articles as a group; we launch today with several Reissues, gathering notable events and series from Open Space history.

Commissions + Projects

Look for some special surprises later this fall!




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