WRITING ♦ for and about museums


93.78.1-7_03_d03-600x472Slow Art Day: Twitter Hijack, Open Space

Social media has as ubiquitous a presence in the galleries of museums as it does anywhere — come to SFMOMA on any given day and you’ll see people smiling for Facebook pics next to iconic artworks, while others stand still, compulsively tweeting their every thought. In a world of quick status updates and Instagram posts, is it possible to put the brakes on the accelerating, careening car that is social media and get people to really think?

In collaboration with the people over at Slow Art Day, we’re running a set of slow-looking experiments in mindfulness, and one of them has me (the person who has written 99.9% of @SFMOMA’s tweets over the past two years) feeling a little nervous: we have invited four artists to hijack SFMOMA’s Twitter account over the next few days. Social media is a medium after all, so we’ll be giving complete control over to the artists for 30 minutes so that they can transform our feed from museum mouthpiece into whatever they please…”

Willa Koerner on Janet Cardiff’s The Telephone Call, Open Space

Just for a moment, press rewind and allow yourself to enter an alternate universe in which another’s past becomes your present. For now, your only anchors to reality are a handheld video camera and your own two feet hitting the floor. You are inside SFMOMA. Other museum visitors mill about as you become a visitor inside a stranger’s head. The camera pulls you away from your life and into the stranger’s, articulating her own experience of being present. As you gaze at the world through her eyes, the stranger dares you to look more closely, to see meaning where you hadn’t noticed it before. For 15 minutes you’re isolated in public, immersed in an experience that isn’t exactly yours, but has somehow taken you over…”

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 2.17.58 PMCrissy Field Notes: Dogs on di Suvero, Open Space

It has been rewarding to see people enjoying the di Suvero sculptures with their canine companions during visits to Crissy Field. While checking out the Instagram photos people have shared from their visits to the exhibition, I fell in love with one group of particularly wind-blown, glamorous canines whose perfectly posed portraits were hard to overlook. With a little investigation I was able to identify trainer Aimee Porter, the don of what she calls her “Doodle Mafia,” an astute group of art-loving labradoodles (and a few non-labradoodles, “doodles by association”). I recently met up with Aimee and the Doodle Mafia for a walk through the exhibition, and was delighted to see how the dogs playfully interacted with the artwork…”

matthewbarney#MuseumOlympics Torch on Fire: A Story of Collaboration and Social Innovation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

As the world’s best athletes prepared their minds and bodies to compete for gold in London two weeks ago, a group of Bay Area museum staffers were preparing for a different kind of challenge: how to leverage the Olympic torch’s fiery brightness to shine a little light on art and culture. Thus began the story of the #MuseumOlympics: a collaborative, experimental, and hilarious showdown between cultural institutions on Twitter…”