Pickpocket Almanack: Spring 2010

Courses take place between February 22 and May 30, 2010.

The Pickpocket Almanack is an experimental school-without-walls.  Each season, a temporary faculty of artists, curators, writers and filmmakers create courses by selecting from public events already scheduled to take place at venues around the Bay Area.  Each course takes these pre-existing events (lectures, screenings, workshops, panels) out of context and gives them a new thematic frame.  The result is a set of journeys around Bay Area cultural life, some unexpected connections, new discoveries, and a different angle on the Bay Area led by some of its most distinctive cultural figures.  Faculty for the fall season includes Claudia Altman-Siegel, Jim Fairchild, Amy Franceschini, Renny Pritikin, and Jerome Waag.

Discussion will be conducted online between participants during the course, and participants and faculty will meet in person at the end of each season. There are no age or experience requirements, and all courses are free and not for credit (tickets may be required for some programs and events). Participants may enroll in a maximum of two courses per season; space may be limited for some courses. Enrollment for the Spring season (February 22-May 30, 2010) will begin on February 15, 2010.

View courses and sign up at

Joseph del Pesco is an independent curator, art journalist, regular collaborator, and web-media producer. He has organized curatorial projects at Artists Space in New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; Galerie Analix in Geneva, Switzerland; the Rooseum in Malmö, Sweden; Articule in Montréal, Canada; the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada; and the Nelson Gallery at the University of California, Davis. He has contributed interviews, reviews, and other texts to Flash Art, X-Tra, Proximity, Fillip, and NUKE magazines and Art in America's website.

Claudia Altman-Siegel is the owner and director of Altman Siegel, a new contemporary art gallery in San Francisco that represents a select group of emerging and established artists. The exhibitions focus on rigorous content in a range of mediums, and the program seeks to contribute to the international cultural discourse. Altman-Siegel has formerly worked as an independent curator, writer, and private dealer, and she was the senior director of Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York. Altman-Siegel has organized numerous museum and gallery exhibitions including Trevor Paglen's SECA Art Award show; Larry Clark's retrospective at the International Center for Photography; Christopher Wool's survey at the Musee d'art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg; Rachel Whiteread's shows of new work at the Guggenheim Museum and the Kunsthaus Bregenz; Janet Cardiff's survey at P.S.1; and numerous other exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Jim Fairchild is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, and explorer. He is the current leader of All Smiles, a band that exists as a roving collective of musicians, with members of Modest Mouse, Menomena, Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, and many others. He was the guitarist in Grandaddy, a band that was best known for their dreaming synth-pop folk songs depicting the disintegration of California's Central Valley. Fairchild has spent the last 15 years touring the world, playing on and producing records for his various projects. He is currently the guitarist of the acclaimed rock band Modest Mouse. His home is a blur of San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; and Los Angeles.

Amy Franceschini is an artist, designer and educator whose work interrogates the social, cultural, and environmental systems that surround her. Often working in collaboration, her projects involve the development of new formats for exchange and participatory modes of production. Because of Amy's deep interest in science and ecology, a recurring subject of her work is the perceived conflict between humans and nature. In 1995, Amy founded Futurefarmers, an artist collective and design studio. In 2004, Amy co-founded Free Soil, an international collective of artists, activists, researchers, and gardeners who work together to propose alternatives to the social, political, and environmental organization of space. Her solo and collaborative work has been included in exhibitions internationally at ZKM, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, among others. She is the recipient of the Artadia, Cultural Innovation, Eureka Fellowship, Creative Capital, and SFMOMA SECA Awards.

Renny Pritikin is a contemporary art curator and poet who served as the codirector and director of New Langton Arts in San Francisco from 1979 to 1992. He was the visual arts director then chief curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from 1992 to 2004. He has been director of the Nelson Gallery at UC Davis since August 2004 and is currently a senior adjunct professor of the curatorial practice program at the California College of the Arts, a position he's held since 2003. Pritkin has lectured in museums across Japan on a fellowship from the United States Information Agency. He received the Koret Israel Prize to travel throughout Israel and received a Fulbright New Zealand fellowship to lecture in New Zealand on museum practice. In 2002 he curated the exhibition that represented the United States at the Cuenca Biennial in Ecuador. During his tenure at YBCA he became known for his work with popular and material culture: he brought the first Star Wars show to an American museum in 1995, organized retrospectives of legendary figures like the Southern California auto customizer Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, the tattoo artist and painter Don Ed Hardy, the Blade Runner set designer Syd Mead, and most recently, the magician, historian, and collector Ricky Jay.

Jerome Waag is an artist and chef at Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. His work borrows from performance and installation art to create frames for social interaction. He is part of OPENrestaurant, an experimental restaurant collaborative relying on art practices to explore issues associated with the production, distribution, and consumption of food, and has performed at SFMOMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and New Langton Arts. His personal work includes Meet My Mom at the the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin County, California; The Flavor of Democracy at 667 Shotwell and The Lab in San Francisco; and The Borrowed Kazan at the Global Art Lab in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

Image courtesy of Joseph del Pesco.

Pickpocket Almanack is commissioned by SFMOMA and curated by Joseph del Pesco.