Minna Choi, Diana Gameros, Marcus Shelby, and Ahkeel Mestayer at the Western Addition Branch Library in Josh Kun’s Open Rehearsal (For a New Song, For a New City), July 13, 2017; photo: Beth LaBerge


Does Art Have Users? Day Three

Friday, Sept 29, 2017

10:30 a.m.

Panel: How Do Artists Create More Inclusive Systems of Power?

Time: 10:30 a.m.–noon

Location: SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater

Participants: Jeanne van Heeswijk, Tania Bruguera, Brett Cook; moderated by Shannon Jackson

How do artists act as instigators of more inclusive systems? How do they build a power base? What is the impact of artists’ work in the communities where they are working? Speakers will discuss how constituencies become the cocreators of their projects, and how such collaborations can help to drive social change. How does the concept of users apply if members of the public are not simply the audience for this work but also the cocreators?

Panel: What Can Public Knowledge Be?

Time: 1–2:30 p.m.

Location: SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater

Participants: Bik van Der Pol, Minerva Cuevas, Stephanie Syjuco; moderated by Deena Chalabi

Artists from SFMOMA’s new Public Knowledge initiative will explore their prior work and the ideas behind—and stakes involved in—their evolving projects in San Francisco. What kinds of public knowledge can art provide or create that other fields cannot? How can art created in response to the forms and institutions of public knowledge, and in dialogue with communities, strengthen the fabric of civic life? How can these artistic projects respond to the cultural impact of rapid urban change?

Panel: How Can Libraries Incubate Contemporary Art?

Time: 3-4:30 p.m.

Location: SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater

Participants: Omar Berrada, Rick and Megan Prelinger, Jeff Gunderson; moderated by David Senior

At a time when artistic thinking has been so informed by the idea of the archive, librarians and curators explore the ways in which a library model of “usership” might translate to the practicing and teaching of contemporary art. How might art and other cultural institutions be made more “useful” by thinking of themselves as visual libraries, and what is the role of information retrieval in artistic practices?

Panel + Performance: What Is the Sound of Your San Francisco?

Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Location: San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, Koret Auditorium

Participants: Josh Kun, Mohamed Bilal, Thao Nguyen

Musicians: Idris Ackamor, Minna Choi, Marcus Shelby, Ahkeel Mestayer

As San Francisco continues to struggle with crises of gentrification, eviction, and extreme neighborhood change, what happens when music becomes a model for imagining a new city? Scholar, music critic, and artist Kun presents a conversation about and music from his Public Knowledge project, Hit Parade. Kun will share his early research into the sheet music collection of the San Francisco Public Library, and his work with community storytelling in San Francisco neighborhoods that resulted in open rehearsals with local musicians.

Part of SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Distinguished Lecture Series, as well as our Public Knowledge initiative, Does Art Have Users? is presented in partnership with the Asociación de Arte Útil and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and its exhibition Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder.

Public Knowledge is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). The project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Additional support is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Activities in the Koret Education Center are generously supported by the Koret Foundation.