The Art of Participation

1950 to Now

Tom Marioni, The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art, 1970 - 2008, 1979 installation view at SFMOMA; © 2008 Tom Marioni; photo: Paul Hoffman


On the occasion of The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now, the Media Arts and Education departments have come together to transform the Koret Visitor Education Center into D-Space — a crucible for dialogue, debate, and discussion. D-Space is intended as an open forum for conversation, live art and performance, film screenings, and new forms of public gathering. In D-Space you can experience projects commissioned by SFMOMA especially for The Art of Participation, and also explore web-based works that are part of the main exhibition in the fourth-floor galleries. All activities are free with museum admission; drop-ins are welcome.

Here are some of the interactive projects you will encounter in D-Space:


Stack to Fold, 2008

Lauren Crahan, John Hartmann, and Brian Briggs of the Brooklyn-based design firm Freecell created Stack to Fold specifically for D-Space. The modular cardboard environment features perforated shapes that you may remove and reconfigure as benches, tables, desks, or sculpture. What starts as a two-dimensional instruction kit in the do-it-yourself tradition becomes a dynamic three-dimensional landscape for interaction — the literal building blocks of D-Space.

MTAA (M.River & T.Whid Art Associates)

Automatic for the People: ( ), 2008

For their SFMOMA commission Automatic for the People: ( ), the Brooklyn-based duo Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden invite you to vote on ten components, including location, time, props, themes, and subtitle, of their performance, to be enacted at SFMOMA on Saturday, February 7, 2009. To cast your vote electronically, visit the MTAA kiosk in D-Space or log on to the project website.

Tom Marioni's The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art, 1970 - 2008

Enjoy free beer, meet people, and hang out with friends at this weekly informal gathering hosted by Marioni. Since 1970 the pioneering Bay Area conceptual artist has staged regular salons at his studio as well as a variety of museums and alternative spaces, enlisting his friends as bartenders and beer drinkers as collaborators in this social artwork. A sculptural installation related to Marioni's 1979 salon at SFMOMA is on view in the fourth-floor galleries during the exhibition. Check the calendar for event details.

Free with museum admission; space is limited and entry is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Must be 21 or over with valid ID.

The 1000 Journals Project

In conjunction with The Art of Participation, the SFMOMA Education Department presents an exhibition in D-Space chronicling the collaborative art experiment known as The 1000 Journals Project. Co-curated with anonymous project creator Someguy, the display includes a selection of the original thousand books that have passed from person to person around the world since 2000, in the process being filled with a rich tapestry of stories, drawings, and personal reflections. Journals and art supplies are available to inspire your own creative contribution. Read more about the exhibition or visit to learn more about the project.

Group Work

A collaboration between three different types of institutions — an art school (California College of the Arts), a research university (Stanford University), and a modern art museum (SFMOMA) — Group Work looks at how educational strategies have been used by artists working in participatory ways, even as it provides a new kind of platform for such practices. Public programs related to this collaboration take place in D-Space throughout the run of The Art of Participation.

The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is generously funded by The James Irvine Foundation and SFMOMA's Collectors Forum. Additional support is provided by Goethe-Institut San Francisco. Media support is provided by The Examiner and

The James Irvine Foundation