201311_dfartideas_object_590_0

I am THRILLED to co-present along with An Xiao Mina and Ben Valentine at the Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival. Please RSVP through YBCA’s site here. It will be good times and lots of great conversation. It’s been a great year thus far. Although it’s been extremely challenging to balance work, school, and freelance work, I’ve been handling it without my head completely rolling off and away from my body! Please consider checking out the festival and paying our panel a visit and talking to us. ūüôā

*          *          *          *

Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival
Sat, Nov 23, Noon‚Äď9 PM
Grand Lobby, Screening Room, Third Street Courtyard, Youth Arts Lounge
FREE w/ RSVP

YBCA invites you to participate in a one-day interactive festival in conjunction with the Dissident Futures visual arts exhibit in our Downstairs Gallery. The festival will bring our communities together to explore and investigate possible futures envisioned by artists, urban planners, environmentalists, scientists, robotic experts, designers, programmers, and food activists through dynamic workshops, lectures, performances, interactive media, music, and more.

In the Bay Area, there are a wealth of future-facing projects, involving practical innovations in technology and science. Some of these creative yet pragmatic endeavors are informed by utopian dreams and fueled by a local culture that looks to the future with hope and a predominant strain of optimism at what may come. The worldwide effort to consider and shape the future is being conducted by diverse actors including artists, scientists, teachers, and activists. The breadth of ideas and emergent forms ranges vastly, and given the scope and rising pace of these activities, ideas, and aspirations around the future, it is an exciting time for us to look critically at the participants and the outsiders in this conversation.

We want to bring people together in dialogue with members of our Bay Area community who have the tools to envision a future that expands on the best of our aspirations and builds on our technological advances, but keeps in check negative vectors such as climate change, rising income inequalities, and gaps that exist for power distribution and influence. We want to look at the entire ecology and foster discussions that move us forward.

*          *          *          *

Noon: Opening Remarks by YBCA Executive Director Deborah M. Cullinan and Talks by Ray Gilstrap and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), Grand Lobby

Noon‚Äď8 PM:¬†Artist booths by Fantastic Futures, Takehito Etani, Peter Foucault, Young Gifted and Black, GAFFTA, and Institute for the Future,¬†Grand Lobby

Throughout the Day: Food, Music, Performances, and Mini Maker Faire, Third Street Courtyard

1‚Äď8 PM:¬†Artist Presentations

1‚Äď2:30 PM:¬†Future Cities Lab: Work of Future Cities Lab,¬†Screening Room; Walidah Imarisha: Workshop on Sci-Fi and Social Movements,¬†Youth Arts Lounge

2:30‚Äď4 PM:¬†Code for America: Discussion on Open Government,¬†Screening Room; Long Now Foundation: Manual for Civilization and GAFFTA: Creative Technology for Social Good and Urban Prototyping,¬†Youth Arts Lounge

4‚Äď5:30 PM:¬†Institute for the Future Fellows: Creating a Future for Good,¬†Screening Room; Green House Project: Urban Agriculture‚ÄĒRethinking Urban Density,¬†Youth Arts Lounge

5:30‚Äď7 PM:¬†InsTED Talks with Jaime Cortez, L. M. Bogad, Bill Hsu, and Jenifer Wofford,¬†Screening Room; Kal Spelletich: Research and Survival in the Arts,¬†Youth Arts Lounge

8‚Äď9:15 PM:¬†Video Game Monologues,¬†Screening Room; Dorothy Santos, An Xiao Mina, Ben Valentine: The Honeymoon‚Äôs Over‚ÄĒArts and Culture Criticism in the Age of Networked Power,¬†Youth Arts Lounge

2‚Äď4 PM:¬†Performance by Michael Zheng,¬†Grand Lobby; Performances and music by Brontez Purnell, Majo, Pangea F.C.,¬†Third Street Courtyard

7‚Äď8 PM:¬†Performance by Jenifer Wofford and Kyle Herbert,¬†Grand Lobby; Music performances,¬†Third Street Courtyard

*          *          *          *

Dorothy Santos is a freelance art writer, blogger, curator, and visual and critical studies geek. Born and raised in San Francisco, she holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and psychology from the University of San Francisco. As arts editor and curator of Asterisk San Francisco Magazine + Gallery, and blogger for ZERO1 and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), she enjoys writing about artists and engaging with the community. Her work appears in ArtPractical,Stretcher, Creative Applications Network, Daily Serving, Hyperallergic, Art21, and Planting Rice. She serves as a board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in visual and critical studies from the California College of the Arts. Her research emphasis is on computational aesthetics, programming, coding, and open source culture and their effects on contemporary art.

An Xiao Mina¬†is an artist, designer, writer, and a technologist. In her research and practice, she explores the intersection of networked, creative communities and civic life. Calling memes the “street art of the internet,” she looks at the growing role of internet culture and humor in addressing social and political issues in countries like China, Uganda, and the United States. Her writing and commentary have appeared in publications such as¬†The Atlantic,¬†Fast Company,Wired¬†and others, and she has lectured at conferences such as the Personal Democracy Forum, the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium, and Creative Mornings. She is a 2013 USC Annenberg / Getty Arts Journalism Fellow and is co-founding The Civic Beat, a global research group and publishing platform focused on internet culture and civic life around the world.

Ben Valentine is a strategist and contributing author for the Civic Beat as well as a freelance cultural critic, curator, and creator based in Oakland. He recently organized Global Space, a groundbreaking exhibition for the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art on the changing face of the individual in a neoliberal and networked world. Valentine also co-curated the world’s first Tumblr Art Symposium, which included commissioned essays, panelists, and an exhibition on the visual networked culture emerging all over the world, especially on Tumblr. His writing has appeared on publications like Hyperallergic, Salon, and Medium. He is currently preparing for a residency at the Internet Archive in San Francisco and working on building a Spanish and English Twitter translation platform for citizen journalism across linguistic and geographic borders.

This is Your Brain Shopping (left), This is Your Brain on Art (right) Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I learned a phrase a several months ago – FOMO. It stands for ‘Fear of Missing Out’. However, suffering from FOMO¬†is inevitable for creative types. We constantly need stimulation to get everything going. In my last post, I¬†wrote about taking a break (because they are important). Well, you know what happens¬†when you take a break, right (besides being well rested)?¬†A deluge of ideas¬†and inspiration (and events) present themselves!¬†I took a¬†break at the most opportune time.¬†Perfect timing, actually. Last weekend, I went to The Phoenix Hotel to check out the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)¬†2012 Vernissage¬†show.¬†The MFA exhibition had¬†a handful of¬†exceptional and VERY promising artists in the showcase. Overall, the¬†collective¬†energy was impressive¬†and, as one current graduate student put it, the ‘punk rock’¬†nature¬†of the school makes the art work and the art practices quite unique from other art schools.¬†Although I’m accustomed¬†to SFAI¬†Vernissage at Fort Mason, this particular venue offered a different view and interaction with the art. I took tons of photos and will be doing a major upload to the blog.

Hoping I can get all of those pics uploaded tonight!! ::crosses fingers::

As for the weekend ahead, it is one of my favorite times of the year – the trifecta of art fairs in San Francisco! The San Francisco Art Fair¬†(Fort Mason), artMRKT¬†(The Concourse), and ArtPad¬†(The Phoenix Hotel)!¬†This is such an¬†exciting¬†time¬†for art critics, writers, and bloggers in the city!! I actually searched on Google for “Brain on Art” and found the image above! I don’t have to say this but there will be a lot of right side going on and maybe, for those with deep and generous pockets at these art fairs…the picture to the left may apply. Overall, I will be reporting on the¬†arts fairs through ZERO1¬†so be on the look out for my¬†recaps on the weekend events early next week. I’ll definitely post slide shows to my blog!!

From left to right: Holland Cotter, A (very) excited and smiley Dorothy, and Bill Berkson

Founder and director of Art Practical, Patricia Maloney invited me to attend a reception¬†at the Asian Art Museum to meet¬†Holland Cotter! HOLLAND COTTER! Okay, if you don’t know¬†who Holland Cotter is, please don’t feel bad. I told my Mom, she smiled,¬†saw my elation, and¬†politely asked, “Who is Holland Cotter?”¬†Mr. Cotter¬†is a New York Times art critic awarded¬†with the 2009 Pulitizer Prize for Criticism. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Art Critics. You can learn more about him here.¬†Oh, AND, he is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. Humble and incredibly kind. I was at a loss for words. I really was BUT I got up the nerve to ask for a picture.¬†I couldn’t stop smiling. He repeated my name and said, “I will look for you”. WHAT?!?! Wow. I know he’s swamped with work and other aspiring art writers and critics contact him all the time¬†but to meet him and have him get a sense of my excitement, enthusiasm,¬†and passion for art criticism and listening to him share¬†similar sentiments¬†about the¬†art writing process was simply amazing.¬†I spoke with and met formally,¬†Bill Berkson, an American poet, writer, art critic, and teacher.¬†A few years ago, I took a writing workshop for emerging art writers (facilitated by Art Practical and The Lab) and he sat in on a panel¬†with¬†Whitney Chadwick (art history scholar and very nice – LOVE her!) and remember him sharing the advice, “Write as if you are writing to an intelligent friend¬†that doesn’t¬†take BS!” I have tried to¬†stay true to that¬†adage.¬†Again,¬†it was an¬†incredible feeling to meet and chat with these¬†writers! Most importantly, being¬†invited to this event¬†and meeting the¬†Art Practical editorial staff was phenomenal. What a talented, mega intelligent, and fun¬†group!!¬†As I’ve¬†mentioned to friends, I’m indebted to one of my art heroes, Patricia¬†Maloney, and her team for allowing me to hone my¬†writing¬†skills over the past¬†two years¬†and include me in on such an unforgettable evening. ūüôā

OKAY, OFF to go see some performance art by another art hero and mentor, Jenifer Wofford at the SOEX!

Permission obtained from both Kenneth Lo and Francesca Pastine

Since virtual life has been on my mind lately, I figured looking at social networking was apropos to the overall discussion. Quite honestly, it’s impossible to see, know, and experience the entire virtual world. It’s constantly expanding and growing and at such a rapid pace. Like others, it’s much more realistic to read and follow sites and/or blogs that hold one’s interest. Some time ago, I wrote the post, Paying my Respects to Kenneth Lo. He’s a phenomenal Bay Area artist and I’m a huge fan of his work. His Facebook¬†statues regarding the arts (amongst other updates) are always these pearls of wisdom and truth so I couldn’t help but share one of his many witty updates.¬†Although he has no intention of stirring emotions, his eloquent points always draw friends into a discussion (via comment thread) filled with humor and candor. Last week, he posted the status, “Sorry, this is rather bitchy of me, but it’s so very disheartening to see work that gets shown and celebrated, and think it to be so much gratuitous drivel.” I agree but it takes a brave soul to bring up such a point. When¬†one feels compelled to re-visit an artist work over and over again it’s because the work¬†resonates, which is a great thing!¬†This happens all the time with music, film, performance art, etc. Yet, bad art (whatever that means to you) does exist. Being the die-hard optimist, I’ve said time and time again that the negative is just as valuable as the positive. Believe it or not, there is art I don’t like or don’t value (personally) BUT I try to understand its message or lack thereof to better understand my own notions and ideas of art.

Bottom line: Art criticism and dialogue is imperative for its growth and evolution to take place.

Art is simple and complicated but its such an alluring and wonderful thing. Yet, let’s face it, money is an issue for any parent hearing their kid¬†plead for¬†an art education (trust me, I know, I begged my¬†Mom when I was in high school). Studying and participating in art is not exactly welcome in a Filipino household, I’ll tell you that much. Yet, it’s important to understand why and I wish I caught onto the Bohemia of Finances¬†series by¬†art and culture writer,¬†Brandon Brown (who writes critically about hip hop/rap – swoon!)¬†sooner.¬†I need to back track¬†as soon as¬†possible¬†but I paid particularly close attention to Part 6 of the series because he conducted an interview with Patricia Maloney, Editor and Founder of Art Practical (double sigh, one of my art heroes). In any case, it’s an interview filled with great questions and amazing answers that touch upon an artist’s practice, pecuniary matters in the art world,¬†and art theory/criticism and how they all¬†intersect. Ms. Maloney’s answers to Mr. Brown’s questions certainly bring up some salient points about how the varying levels of education affect contemporary art and how art production and consumption affect an artist’s practice as well as the market. Definitely worth reading because it’s filled with a lot of great information and insight!!

Some time last week, I watched the documentary, My Kid Could Paint That by filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev.¬†The documentary¬†is definitely worth watching being that it forces the¬†viewer to¬†make up their own mind about the Modern Art movement.¬†Pick it up and please feel free to tell me what you think. As the title of today’s posts states, my new art crush is¬†Michael Kimmelman!¬†He provides¬†his insight and thoughts in the film and, well, you guessed it, those were my favorite parts of the film.¬†Since then, I picked up a couple of his books (via Amazon) for dirt cheap and pretty excited!

  • Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, The Modern, The Louvre and Elsewhere (Random House, 1998)
  • The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa (Penguin Press, 2005)

I’ll let you know what I think but from reading some excerpts, I’m in love with his writing style!! Of course, of course…white guy writing about art (typical) but I’m attached to¬†Mr. Kimmelman’s¬†ways. He doesn’t know this but he’s helping this POC/WOC* come up in the art world.

Damn, it would be great to meet him one day…

*          *          *          *

*Person/People of Color, Women/Woman of Color – Just in case you were wondering…

*          *          *          *

Oh, and, Josef, if you’re reading this…THANK YOU for telling me to watch the film. I’m sure I would have found MK’s work somehow researching all these art historians and critics BUT you helped me make it a speedy discovery. ūüôā

My take on the 10 tips (specific to art writing and criticism)…


1. Cut the boring parts. = Talk about something exciting. If there’s a piece or a show that falls short, provide constructive criticism without being brutal. I mean, for goodness sake, artists do need to hear it when they haven‚Äôt pushed boundaries enough. Yet, writers need to be brave enough to say, ‚ÄúYou didn‚Äôt make me feel what you were trying to execute”.


2. Eliminate unnecessary words. = Take out any superfluous words and don’t be flowery (even though this is difficult for me to do, sometimes).


3. Write with passion. = Write authentically. Be genuine. People will know when you don‚Äôt mean it…


4. Paint a picture. = The whole idea of ‚Äúshow‚ÄĚ and don‚Äôt ‚Äútell‚ÄĚ. Unless you‚Äôre trying to command attention and have a specific reason to give direction, you need to describe what it is you see, especially if you‚Äôre describing art.


5. Keep it simple. = I heard it best put during a Critical Writing Workshop offered by The Lab in conjunction with Art Practical, one of the critics mentioned, ‚ÄúWrite to an intelligent friend that doesn‚Äôt have time for bullsh*t‚ÄĚ. Yes!


6. Do it for love. = See #3.


7. Learn to thrive on criticism. = People will love or hate you. Or sit on the fence when it comes to enjoying or disliking what you write. Learn to respect and appreciate opposing opinions or feedback.


8. Write all the time. = Well, create a schedule for yourself. If you’re incentive driven (like me), give yourself a reward or set a goal. Or, as Betty Edwards put it, draw (in this case, write) for 2 minutes! Typically, if you do something for at least 2 minutes and you find yourself engaged with the activity, you’ll probably continue past the 2 minutes mark.


9. Write what you know…or, what you want to know. = See #s 3 and 6


10. Be unique and unpredictable. = Hmmmm, this is debatable. Everyone is unique and has their own story but unpredictable? Well, I guess that’s up to the individual to decide.