The Art of Participation

1950 to Now

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Life² (screenshot), 2006-present; online project; collection of the artist; © 2008 Lynn Hershman Leeson c a l c and Johannes Gees, communimage (screenshot),1999-present; courtesy the artists; © 2008 c a l c and Johannes Gees

Online Artworks

Since the 1990s many artists have used the internet to create alternative platforms for participation. The following artworks were designed specifically for the web or feature key online components. They represent different ways of encouraging the contributions of networked communities, from utilizing public discussion forums to sharing tools with users.

Please note: URLs listed below may change or become invalid after the close of the exhibition.

Blank & Jeron and Gerrit Gohlke

1st Public White Cube, 2001/2008
Bid for the right to alter the artists’ gallery space at SFMOMA. Over the course of the exhibition they will hold seven eBay auctions; this website provides information and documents the entire process.

Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Mike Bennett

BumpList: An email community for the determined, 2003
Subscribe to this mailing list and bump off another subscriber. Join once or join often—you might get bumped yourself!

c a l c and Johannes Gees

communimage, 1999–present
Contribute to a growing collaborative artwork composed of images uploaded by thousands of people.

Minerva Cuevas

Mejor Vida Corp., 1998–present
Peruse an array of free products and services—including counterfeit barcodes, ID cards, and subway tickets—offered as part of a witty and subversive critique of global corporations.

Lynn Hershman Leeson

Life², 2006–present (access this address from Second Life application)
Lifeⁿ, 2008–9
Explore the artist’s animated archive of past projects, reworked in the virtual world of Second Life, and interact with other avatars in this dynamic environment. Also available is information on Lifeⁿ, a yearlong Bay Area exhibition series on Hershman Leeson’s work.

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

Automatic for the People: ( ), 2008
Vote on the ten components of a performance piece to be enacted by the artists at SFMOMA on Saturday, February 7, 2009. Check the project website for final details.

Antoni Muntadas

The File Room, 1994–present
Browse resources and an evolving archive of incidents involving censorship; submit a case of your own.

Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv

ShiftSpace, 2007–present
Use the project’s tools to add an annotated layer above any web page, then share your interventions with the rest of the net.

Warren Sack

Conversation Map, 2000
Use this newsgroup browser to analyze large-scale conversations online.


Work Room 4, 2008
Torolab organized a writing workshop and designed a website expressly for museum employees. The blog shared the unique perspectives of SFMOMA security guards and front-desk staff.


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