Immigrant Movement International, (2010-Ongoing); Asociación de Arte Útil event, in association with the Queens Museum and Creative Time, 2011; image: courtesy Estudio Bruguera
Public Knowledge

Does Art Have Users?

September 28–30, 2017

Does Art Have Users? is a symposium exploring art in terms of its use value — that is, whether and how art can be used as a tool — focusing on the roles that individuals and constituencies play in socially engaged artistic practices. From the platforms needed to support community-created artwork to the role of documentation and archives, participants will discuss the varied ways in which artists work with individuals and organizations at the intersection of art and activism to imagine new contributions to social, civic, and political life.

Bringing together the leading voices of the Arte Útil (Useful Art) movement, along with participants from related fields, the event incorporates the second international Arte Útil Summit. Focusing on specific needs and urgent questions animating Bay Area neighborhoods, the symposium includes panel discussions, presentations, and workshops that explore art and its potential usership from a wide variety of viewpoints. Topics include immigration, youth development policy, and civic knowledge sharing.

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 in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library. The project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

NEH logo

Header image: Immigrant Movement International, (2010-Ongoing); Asociación de Arte Útil event, in association with the Queens Museum and Creative Time, 2011; image: courtesy Estudio Bruguera

Symposium Sessions + Schedule

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fractured Atlas: A Mission Neighborhood Walk with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Meeting place: Bernal Heights Park Parking Lot, 3450 Folsom Street
4–5:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Panel: Can We Teach Artists to Be Useful?

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
10:30 a.m.–noon

Panel: What Can We Learn about Art’s Social Uses?

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
12:30–2 p.m.

Panel: What Happens at the Intersection of Art and Data?

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
4–5:30 p.m.

Panel: What Does a Useful Museum Look Like?

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
6–7:30 p.m.

Opening: Public Knowledge Library

SFMOMA, Koret Education Center
7:30–9 p.m.

Friday, September 29, 2017

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

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
10:30 a.m.–noon

Panel: What Can Public Knowledge Be?

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
1–2:30 p.m.

Panel: How Can Libraries Incubate Contemporary Art?

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
3–4:30 p.m.

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

San Francisco Public Library, Main Library, Koret Auditorium
7–8:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Workshop: In Print/Imprint: Designing Political Print Pieces with Users in Mind

SFMOMA, Koret Education Center, Studio 2
11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Workshop: Seeing Social Practice

SFMOMA, Koret Education Center, Studio 1
11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Roundtable: What Role Should Art Have in Civic Life?

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
2–6 p.m.