From November 1, 2008 through April 5, 2009, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present The 1000 Journals Project, a special exhibition in the Koret Visitor Education Center. This presentation will complement The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now (on view November 8, 2008 through February 8, 2009), a major exhibition that explores the practice of participatory art from the past six decades.
Organized by Stephanie Pau, SFMOMA’s manager of interpretation, and Someguy, the project’s creator, the exhibition features a selection of journals that have traveled from hand to hand throughout the world since 2000 as part of a project called 1000 Journals. Each time a journal changes hands, stories and drawings are added to it, creating an ongoing, collaborative body of work that engages multiple participants and points of view. The presentation at SFMOMA will include a history of the project, a rotating selection of journals, and special art-making stations where visitors can craft their own journal contributions.
“Peeking into a journal from The 1000 Journals Project is like peeking into a stranger’s diary: enormously compelling, and slightly voyeuristic,” says Pau. “The words, photography, and artwork give you revealing glimpses into the lives that the journal has touched.”
About the 1000 Journals Project
Created and maintained by Someguy, a San Francisco–based graphic designer who chooses to remain anonymous, the 1000 Journals project is designed to stimulate collaboration and understanding among perfect strangers. The project began when blank, 220-page books from San Francisco were distributed around the world—sent through the mail or delivered by hand to discrete locations. A stamped set of instructions inside each journal invites participants to make their mark in it by drawing, pasting, cutting, ripping, folding, burning, or writing on its pages. When finished, participants pass the journals on. A website (www.1000journals.com) tracks the books and their contributors, and displays scans of the pages.
The journals have traveled by air, sea, and land throughout 40 countries and all 50 states. They’ve come to rest in hostels, cafes, and law offices, and they’ve been passed on in phone booths, bathrooms, and bookstores. The journals have been the subject of treasure hunts (journal #354), hidden in remote caves (journal #285), abandoned at airports (journal #001), left in the lost and found (journal #300), and stolen at gunpoint (journal #949). The journals feature 100 unique cover designs (appearing on 10 journals each) created by a variety of emerging and well-known artists including Amy Franceschini of futurefarmers, renowned rock-poster artist Mark Arminski, illustrator Gary Baseman, and digital design guru Joshua Davis.
Begun in August 2000, the 1000 Journals project has attracted a following among journalers, artists, and writers alike. The project has inspired many participants to resume forgotten artistic endeavors, while others have been influenced by the collaboration the journals foster. Still others look to the project for escape. Based on flux and faith, the 1000 Journals project is an experiment in which the journals themselves are a museum and every participant is an artist.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a feature-length film about the project by Andrea Kreuzhage that will be screened monthly in the Koret Visitor Education Center throughout the run of the exhibition. A 212-page hardbound full-color book titled The 1000 Journals Project (published by Chronicle Books) will be available in the SFMOMA MuseumStore for $22.95. Additionally, the museum will host a special exhibition-related Art in Conversation program (details to come).