Bruce Conner, BREAKAWAY, 1966 (still); collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Conner Family Trust, San Francisco


Cosmic Ray: Bay Area Art and Experiment, 1950s to Now

Part of SFMOMA 101

From the Beats to the hippies, from the Gold Rush to the tech boom, the San Francisco Bay Area has been a place for many kinds of outsiders, mavericks, and dreamers. Its diverse artistic output can be characterized by a willingness to experiment, especially through collaboration across creative fields. A series of illuminating conversations with writers, scholars, curators, and historians will explore how Bay Area art has cross-pollinated with music, poetry, performance, film, and activism, placing artistic practice into the broader context of the region’s unique social and cultural history.


October 11: Art and Performance

Constance Lewallen, adjunct curator, University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Shannon Jackson, associate vice chancellor for the arts and design; Cyrus and Michelle Hadidi Chair in the Humanities; and professor of rhetoric, performance studies, University of California Berkeley
Tanya Zimbardo, assistant curator of media arts, SFMOMA

October 18: Art and Film

Antonella Bonfanti, director of the Canyon Cinema Foundation
Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice, SFMOMA

October 25: Art and Music

Jeff Chang, journalist, music critic, and executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University
Adam Lerner, director and chief animator, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

November 1: Art and Poetry

Juliana Spahr, poet and English professor, Mills College
Alejandro Murguía, San Francisco poet laureate
Frances Richard, poet and adjunct professor of fine arts and visual studies, California College of the Arts

November 15: Art and Activism

Christian Frock, independent curator, writer, and 2015–2017 scholar in residence, Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts
Chris Johnson, artist and professor of photography, California College of the Arts
Deena Chalabi, Barbara and Stephan Vermut Associate Curator of Public Dialogue, SFMOMA