Congratulations to The Present Prize: Net Love Nominees

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be getting some additional information from these artists and building a platform for the public voting phase. In the meantime, get to know the projects!

We Who Feel Differently by Carlos Motta

Supercruft and Live Disasters by Andrew Venell

NSKYC by Mike Bodge by Andrey Yazev

Cultural Differences by Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz  (declined to participate)

Cloaque founded by Carlos Saez and Claudia Mate

Open_Close.txt and The Internet Makes Me Happy by Emilio Gomariz by Packard Jennings

C RED BLUE J by Chris Sollars

HD Jellyfish Footage by Julian Dawe (declined to participate)

Peter Hasson: Praying Ping Pong by Jesse Nichols by Anthony Antonellis

Molteni Net Works by Maria Molteni and the New Craft Artists in Action

Sanctuary by Aaron Vincent Elkaim


Artists from this month’s AMP show + curator Dena Beard talk! March 22nd. @ProArts


Inverse Internet Operating Manual Live Artist Talk

7:30 p.m., March 22
150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza  Oakland, CA 94612

Join the artists of Inverse Internet Operating Manual and curator Dena Beard to reverse engineer the World Wide Web. Cycling between physical and virtual states, they will impart daring instructions for browsing, poaching, crowd-sourcing, misusing our favorite non-site. Finally, exasperated, they may ask: how do we look at art online?


This talk will be broadcast live at
Pose your questions in person, via the website, email (, or twitter (@AMPatronage).

Hosted by Art Micro Patronage, a project of The Present Group.




Annotated Links: “I want you to have this”: Art and activism

Steve’s Links:

A 2006 interview with comedian Jimmy Carr and Amy Sedaris on PRI’s The Sound of Young America:  The Jimmy Carr interview is interesting in it’s own right and I have referred to points he made in there often. But Amy Sedaris mentions hosting a “indoor garage sale” at her parties around this time and that idea was seeded in my mind.

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston: This is a book I found in a house while on vacation in 2003 (i think). I read it all in an afternoon and then started finding ways of getting rid of stuff. Some of it is a little wild even for me, but I can fairly say, this book changed my life.

Jack Kornfield on Generosity
:  I’m not sure where I originally heard this, and I don’t think this is the recording, but what I took away from it was the most cynical part – that there were different kinds of generosity and even the most begrudged, reluctant, or accidental generosity was considered on the same level as the most selfless kind.

Art and Activism, Generosity:

Aaron Gach and The Center For Tactical Magic: The Center for Tactical Magic engages in extensive research, development, and deployment of the pragmatic system known as Tactical Magic. At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.

Amy Balkin: an artist pursuing “speculative counter-spaces”, her work includes Public Smog, where she created clean air public parks by purchasing pollution credits on the open market and reserved them from use, and This is a Public Domain, where she purchased land and attempted to designate it as a global commons

Packard Jennings: “I make work that delves into the realm of activism, not only to connect with individuals in provocative and meaningful ways, but also to recast my role in the system. I often put my work out into the world for chance interactions with people; this involves ad hoc installations and subversive infiltration of public and semi-public spaces, where the pieces are left to their own fate. I employ humor as a device for lowering a viewer’s guard to the reception of difficult content.”

Red76: Red 76′s work centers on the practice of grassroots publishing (both zines small newspapers, and online), conversation, and alternative economies which center around a larger theme of the American Revolution (the 76 in their name references 1776, the year the US independence) and a general revolutionary spirit.  Projects like Ghosttown and Taking Place sought to charge space and create an atmosphere wherein the public may become highly aware of their immediate surroundings, and their day to day activities, is an often recurring element within many of the groups activities.

The Yes Men: The Yes Men are a group who use any means necessary to agree their way into the fortified compounds of commerce, and then smuggle out the stories of their undercover escapades to provide a public glimpse at the behind-the-scenes world of big business.  Their main goal is to focus attention on the dangers of economic policies that place the rights of capital before the needs of people and the environment.  They’ve got a movie.

REBAR is an interdisciplinary studio operating at the intersection of art, design and activism.  Their work encompasses visual and conceptual public art, landscape design, urban intervention, temporary performance installation, digital media and print design.
Rebar remixes the ordinary, repurposes the ubiquitous and restructures the fabric of the urban environment by exposing hidden assumptions and shared meanings embedded in the everyday experience of the built world.

Placemaking with Public Art: Who decides?

VSmoothe over at A Better Oakland has a recap of a recent Oakland Planning Commission Meeting in which the above Oaksterdam University signage was judged to violate Oakland business signage size ordinances.  As she notes, since “the Planning Commission was clearly sympathetic to Oaksterdam University” discussion turned to redoing the sign as a “mural” or “special sign” in order to skirt the legal issues.  As this discussion has been going on for a year, Oaksterdam had already put out an open call to attract artists to redesign the sign as a mural.  This is when the Planning Commission decided it was their place to choose which of these public art proposals should go forward.

There is a fundamental problem when the planning commission is choosing artwork.   That is not their job, and the fact that they refused the help of Oakland Public Art Advisory Commission is deplorable.  Steven Huss politely and rightly offered the PAAC‘s services, since it is their place to help decide on works of public art, but also because they have experience guiding organizations, businesses, and individuals in matters of budget, permits, and the hurdles that one has to cross when working with artwork in the public sphere.  But instead, the Planning Commission moved forward with their own opinions, deciding which work had the “broadest appeal” and which was too “on the edge.”

Here’s the one the planning commission preferred:

Proposal 1

And here’s what V Smoothe had to say:

I mean, the whole original discussion about the idea of sign or mural was about placemaking. And whether one thinks this mural is pretty or not, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the neighborhood. Oaksterdam is not on Lake Merritt, nor is it at Oakland City Hall. I live in the heart of Oaksterdam, and I cannot see either Lake Merritt or City Hall from my apartment. The only thing about the mural that identifies the neighborhood at all is the text with the name of the business.  read more>>

If we’re talking about a mural with a purpose for place-making, that mural should be judged not only for relevance to the area and the people there, but also specifically for it’s innovation and interpretation of those concepts. This proposal does not address the specific locality as a place, other than being located in Oakland.

A mural will not assist in place-making if 1. it does not address the specific place and 2. is aesthetically bland.  Artworks and architecture can have a drastic effect on the community and pride of an area, especially if it is something that stands out.  The TransAmerica Pyramid was deplored when it was built. But what would the San Francisco skyline be without it?  Bold moves are sometimes required.  Risk is rewarded with awareness, even if some people hate it.  Richard Serra’s Titled Arc was eventually removed, but now many people think of Federal Plaza as the place where it existed.

Here are two other top contenders for the Oaksterdam mural:

Proposal 2

Proposal 3

Since we’re all into voting these days, which do you like the best?  Perhaps an art audience has a slightly different opinion than the Planning Commission?

Which proposal for the Oaksterdam Mural do you like best?

View Results

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People and Places: A Symposium of Public Practices

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 29th - 30th, 2010
7:00 – 9:00pm, FREE!

Ann Chamberlain, Untitled Installation 2, 2006. Ink on graph paper, fifty sheets, 8.5 x 11 inches.

A two-day symposium in honor of former SFAI faculty member and artist Ann Chamberlain, People and Places launches a sustained inquiry at SFAI into contemporary public practices. Pursued in conventionally artistic or increasingly hybridized, permissioned or nonpermissioned, and publicly underwritten or privately supported ways, the work of cultural producers in the public sphere is ongoing.

People and Places is structured around a series of open-ended questions relating to this vital strain of cultural activity: What does it mean for a contemporary artist to work in public settings or to solicit exchanges with the general populace? How do notions of “generosity” as a mode of social interaction, of “storytelling” as a project of collective history, and of “community” as a way of defining common ground inform creative strategies of public engagement? How are such negotiations located in particular places and enacted within particular social and political contexts?

Taken up by practitioners who work with people and places in a wide variety of forms and approaches, these questions will inform three moderated conversations: Defining Community, Practicing Generosity, and Telling Stories. These conversations will culminate in a roundtable discussion.

Andrea Bowers, Glen Helfand, Jessica Hobbs, Walter Hood, Helena Keeffe (TPG #11), Julie Lazar, Malcolm Margolin, Jeannene Przyblyski, Pedro Reyes, Susan Schwartzenberg, and Natasha Wheat

SFAI  Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Free and open to the public

Web hosting that supports artists.


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Lego Hello World
I wish all my printers were made of legos.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Images from Life Magazine going back to 1860′s, hosted by Google

Coming Face To Face With The President
Well crafted story about an under-heard point of view.

In California, Pot Is Now an Art Patron
A new funding source for the arts – reaping big rewards and funding many projects.  It’s pot.

Notes on Portraiture in the Facebook Age

Celebrity Book Club: A List to End All Lists
Because, well, it’s sortof awesome.

Are "Artists' Statements" Really Necessary?
The pros and cons about that nemesis for most artists.

This to That
You tell it what you’ve got and it’ll tell you what to glue them together with.

Work of art: Online store for buyers, sellers
Not the TV show!  Kelly Lynn Jones from Little Paper Planes is interviewed on her project, gives us a cheat sheet to local affordable art resources.

How to make a Daft Punk helmet in 17 months