September 27-30, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 4-5:30 p.m.


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

Bernal Heights Park Parking Lot, 3450 Folsom St., San Francisco


The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is a data-visualization, data analysis, and storytelling collective documenting the dispossession of San Francisco Bay Area residents amid gentrifying landscapes. Through digital maps, oral history work, film, murals, and community events, the project renders connections between the nodes and effects of new entanglements of global capital, real estate, high technology, and political economy. Join us for a walking tour of the Mission district that studies the displacement of people, and the complex social worlds of the neighborhood that are created as spaces become desirable to a new wave of citizens and consumers.


Thursday, September 28, 2017


Panel: Can We Teach Artists to Be Useful?

10:30 a.m.-noon

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


Participants: Tania Bruguera, Stephen Wright, Oriol Fontdevila; moderated by Lucia Sanroman


Artist Bruguera is joined by Wright and Fontdevila for an analysis of the effectiveness of an alternative pedagogical model. Moderated by Sanroman, the conversation addresses and evaluates the eight-week-long curriculum of the Escuela de Arte Útil. The school is a commission from Bruguera for the exhibition Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder, realized in collaboration with the Asociación de Arte Útil; the San Francisco Art Institute; California College of the Arts; the University of California, Berkeley; San Francisco State University; and YBCA Fellows.



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

12:30–2 p.m.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


Participants: students of Escuela de Arte Útil; moderated by Alessandra Saviotti


The session focuses on the presentation of students’ prototypes of Arte Útil projects realized as part of Escuela de Arte Útil. Students considered topics such as institutional self-criticism, active hyperrealism, a-legality, reforming capital, sustainable outcomes, and usership, as well as intersections with other disciplines and modes of creative collaboration.


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

4-5:30 p.m.

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater


Participants: Josette Melchor, Burak Arikan, Carla Wozjcuk; moderated by Jon Christensen


This session unpacks ways that artists find creative uses for data and technology to support strategies for social change in the Bay Area and beyond. With speakers whose work encompasses art, activism, academia, and community organizing, the panel will explore how ideas and practices from these different fields intersect with and challenge ideas about design and technology in the context of attempts to improve civic life.


Panel: What Does a Useful Museum Look Like?

6-7:30 p.m.

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater


Participants: Jeanne van Heeswijk, Alistair Hudson, Laura Raicovich; moderated by Dominic Willsdon


This panel will explore new approaches to the role and value of art institutions, looking in particular at ways that museums might borrow an idea of usership from libraries, to become more of a resource than an attraction. Speakers will discuss how art museums can build coalitions of different organizations with a public mission to serve a wider range of constituents, and how museums can adapt to accommodate and support artists who want to work in the context of civic engagement.


Opening: Public Knowledge Library

7:30–9 p.m.

SFMOMA, Koret Education Center

Join us for the opening of the newest branch of the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) on the museum’s second floor. Through winter 2019 the Koret Education Center will be transformed into a pop-up branch known as the Public Knowledge Library, featuring a reference collection of books and newspapers focused on art, activism, cities, culture, education, and technology. The library also will feature artist installations, curated displays about the history of SFPL, and a special children’s collection. For more information on the Public Knowledge initiative, please visit​.


Friday, September 29, 2017


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

10:30 a.m.–noon

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater


Participants: Jeanne van Heeswijk, Tania Bruguera, Brett Cook; moderated by Shannon Jackson


How do artists act as instigators of more inclusive systems? How do they build a power base? What is the impact of artists’ work in the communities where they are working? Speakers will discuss how constituencies become the cocreators of their projects, and how such collaborations can help to drive social change. How does the concept of users apply if members of the public are not simply the audience for this work but also the cocreators?


Panel: What Can Public Knowledge Be?

1–2:30 p.m.

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater


Participants: Bik van Der Pol, Minerva Cuevas, Stephanie Syjuco; moderated by Deena Chalabi


Artists from SFMOMA’s new Public Knowledge initiative will explore their prior work and the ideas behind—and stakes involved in—their evolving projects in San Francisco. What kinds of public knowledge can art provide or create that other fields cannot? How can art created in response to the forms and institutions of public knowledge, and in dialogue with communities, strengthen the fabric of civic life? How can these artistic projects respond to the cultural impact of rapid urban change?


Panel: How Can Libraries Incubate Contemporary Art?

3-4:30 p.m.

SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater


Participants: Omar Berrada, Rick and Megan Prelinger, Jeff Gunderson; moderated by David Senior


At a time when artistic thinking has been so informed by the idea of the archive, librarians and curators explore the ways in which a library model of “usership” might translate to the practicing and teaching of contemporary art. How might art and other cultural institutions be made more “useful” by thinking of themselves as visual libraries, and what is the role of information retrieval in artistic practices?


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

7-8:30 p.m.

San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, Koret Auditorium


Participants: Josh Kun, Mohamed Bilal

Musicians: Idris Ackamor, Minna Choi, Marcus Shelby, Ahkeel Mestayer


As San Francisco continues to struggle with crises of gentrification, eviction, and extreme neighborhood change, what happens when music becomes a model for imagining a new city? Scholar, music critic, and artist Kun presents a conversation about and music from his Public Knowledge project, Hit Parade. Kun will share his early research into the sheet music collection of the San Francisco Public Library, and his work with community storytelling in San Francisco neighborhoods that resulted in open rehearsals with local musicians.


Saturday September 30, 2017


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

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

SFMOMA, Koret Education Center Studios


How can artists design a print piece for social action that considers the needs and interests of the end users? Modeled after artist Jessalyn Aaland’s Guide for Youth Protestors from the Arte Útil archive, participants will conceptualize a politically oriented print piece that addresses an issue of concern to a particular user group, integrating the user’s attributes into the design.


Workshop: Seeing Social Practice

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

SFMOMA, Koret Education Center Studios

Facilitators: Deborah Fisher, Brett Cook


How is experiential and participatory art represented? How does this work translate into visual media and institutional contexts? What is the role of research and evaluation in representing the value of socially engaged art? What are your goals and responsibilities when you represent a social or experiential project? Explore these questions and more in a workshop presented by Fisher, executive director of A Blade of Grass, in collaboration with artist and Blade of Grass board member Cook.



Roundtable: What Role Should Art Have in Civic Life?

2-6 p.m.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


Participants: Suzanne Lacy, Pilar Riano-Alcala, Chris Johnson, Patrisse Cullors, Bill Kelley Jr., Dominic Willsdon, Lucia Sanroman, and others


If artists’ work can have uses, how might that usefulness relate to community-building, cultural memory, public policy-making, and other aspects of civic life? This set of conversations explores the politics, ethics, and value of working artistically in the public sphere, looking especially at the importance of understanding context.


The starting point is Lacy’s art, which is the subject of a forthcoming retrospective at YBCA and SFMOMA. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Lacy was a coauthor with many artists and activists on a series of projects in Oakland, California, and Medellín, Colombia, that centered on issues of youth development and urban violence. How has civic life in those cities changed over the last twenty years, and what comparisons may be made between them, particularly regarding youth lives? What key issues in public life do artists explore, how do they shape policy and public culture, and what happens when the context shifts and representations and audiences change with time or geographic distance?