Projects + Perspectives
Art and the African American Experience
Artists of color have not traditionally been recognized in Western art history. Today, museums still struggle to make Blackness visible — these artists and their stories explore and challenge ideas of agency, representation, and what it means to be a contemporary artist and a person of color.
Museums are places of dialogue and diversity, reflection and solace — but they can also be places of historical exclusion, cultural and economic homogeneity, and even protest. How can cultural institutions support art and artists that respond to or amplify dissent? What is the role of the "citizen museum" in a climate as charged as the one we currently find ourselves in? The stories and artists below tackle these and other questions as we think about the United States and the world beyond January 20.
Meet Grace McCann Morley
Grace McCann Morley, SFMOMA’s founding director and the subject of the current exhibition To Those Who Have Eyes To See, was a tireless advocate for the Bay Area’s burgeoning art ecosystem, supporting artists of all backgrounds and fostering broad public engagement with their work. Get to know this seminal figure in Kara Kirk's introductory essay.
Cloud Cities and Tomás Saraceno’s Visionary Architecture
Tomás Saraceno’s immersive installations are visually arresting spaces that challenge viewers’ relationship to the built world, offering models for the utopian cities of the future. Learn more about Saraceno’s work and his fascinating collaborators.
On William Kentridge’s The Refusal of Time
Time—it can be concrete, discrete, arbitrary, or elastic. Artist William Kentridge’s immersive artwork, The Refusal of Time, evokes an embodied history of time while exploding the very notion of how we mark its passage. Learn more about this artwork and the artist's practice.
50 Artists: Martin Puryear
The thousands of artworks at SFMOMA offer countless opportunities to look closely and think deeply about some of the most amazing artists of our time. To celebrate both the artists on view in the newly expanded museum and the creative communities of the Bay Area, 50 Artists invites local artists and creative professionals to share how icons of modern and contemporary art matter to them. This week, Indira Allegra explores the abstract sculptural work of Martin Puryear.
Artists Respond to History
Working from both personal experience and deep research, artists around the globe seek answers—or at least solace—in their responses to turbulent historical conditions such as war, apartheid, censorship, and totalitarianism.
Deconstructing the Camera
Photographers who experiment with unconventional methods discuss their processes.
Liminality of Form
This issue of Open Space, edited by ARTS.BLACK, takes on Wilmer Wilson's essay "Five Points on Straight Lines" as a point of departure. We are bound by lines; identities framed by sharp parameters of language, politics, nationhood, history. Arbitrary, often, in their composition despite their concrete consequences. Do these lines betray us? What lies on the other side of the rapture of that which is linear? Perhaps it is the fracture, the linebreak itself, that must inform our processes of cartography. Can we punctuate, unravel even, lineage(s) and all ...the seemingly objective forms delineated on a map?
Notes on Border Crossing
Immigration has defined this country since its inception. The debate about this issue is not new, but the tone of the latest political rhetoric has been particularly vitriolic. It’s good to remember how many different perspectives exist. Here are a few thoughtful and considered takes on the immigrant experience and the concept of home.
Notes on Border Crossing, Imagined and Invisible Places, Invented Cartography and Purposeful Cultural Smuggling
The Female Gaze
The practitioners featured here work in and around issues that define and affect what it means to be a woman, from Ishiuchi Miyako’s photographic forays into areas of Yokosuka deemed unsafe for women; to Helène Aylon’s “midwifing” and “birthing” of painted pieces; to Tomoko Sawada’s photo investigations of Japanese womanhood and girls’ schools.
Activism + Aesthetics
As #blacklivesmatter protests continue to sweep the streets and gentrification radically remakes our cities, art can feel like a wan bystander. But can art make room for debate, resistance, subversion—and maybe even hope? Explore these poetic and powerful meditations on how art can help us along the way as our communities strive for social justice and equality.
For What It’s Worth
Labor and class issues are dominating the headlines, but what about people whose trade is creativity? The starving artist myth is an utterly unromantic reality. From writers to painters to poets to performers, hear how these artists grapple with doing what they love and getting paid to do it.
PlaySFMOMA is a museum initiative that supports the development of avant-garde and artist-made games, and investigates instances of interactive play throughout art history. By providing a platform for artists working in this medium, PlaySFMOMA introduces museum audiences to the expressive potential of games.
On Digital Experience
At SFMOMA, we don't view our “digital strategy” as distinct from an analog or a human-to-human strategy. Rather, we believe that the ultimate goal of every museum activity is to help foster a rewarding in-person encounter with art. In these stories, we share how experiments with new technologies can open up new ways of thinking and seeing within the museum context.