Your Art Here


Are you one of the following?

a) an artist with work to share

b) not an artist by title, but have work to share

c) incapable of producing anything worth hanging on a wall, but still like to look at other people’s art and support their efforts.

If yes, then you should swing by the event – one part innovative fundraiser,  and one part celebration of local artists in all their forms – going on at the Boulder Museum of ContemporaryArt this evening. This event is the annual Open Wall Party.

Whatever your medium, whatever your skill, there are nails, hammers, some tables and pedestals, and, of course, open walls waiting for you to display your art. First come, first displayed, so make sure to get there before space fills up. Live music, featuring the talented Harper Philips and her ukulele (hear some of her songs here), and a cash bar help to create a great atmosphere for getting to know the artists in the Boulder area. The night’s silent auction of the works on display will benefit both the artists and BMoCA – and you’ll get to take home a completely original piece of artwork.

The Open Wall Party at BMoCA is hosted by Elephant Journal, an eco-minded publication with the mission of “bringing together those working and playing to create enlightened society.” In addition to putting on a great evening, Elephant has also put together a room of local and eco-art pieces, and will be providing tips on how to “green”-ify your art studio.

What: Elephant Journal’s Open Wall Party

Where: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, Colorado.

When: 7-10 p.m.

* a $5 donation is suggested.

RSVP on Facebook here.


It’s a Feast


Feeling like you have put on a few pounds with the holidays well underway and the weather getting colder? Then why not head to an exhibition that celebrates the art of the feast?

Tomorrow (December 10th), the Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, Texas will be hosting a Fine Food Art Night in honor of their new exhibit: Feast. Partnering with Edible Austin, a $10 donation will get you a feast of your own – local caterer will be preparing food inspired by the exhibit. Did we mention that besides good food and good art, you’ll also have the opportunity to do a little good yourself? Proceeds go to Urban Roots, a sustainable agriculture focused youth development program.

Looking through the exhibit preview, I personally enjoy the Magritte-esque painting entitled Banana, which depicts two delicious looking tomatoes.

The event will begin at 6:00.


When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Conservationist


Photo by Paul Keleher

The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois, got into the Halloween spirit a little early this year with the 3rd Annual Eden Place Pumpkin Festival. This event, which took place October 17, is an interesting example of how successful and rewarding collaboration can be when a museum is willing to take the risk.

The Eden Place Pumpkin Festival, which counts the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus as other organizing partners, is an effort to provide opportunities for urban youth to engage with nature and ultimately create a new generation of conservationists. Click here for more details on the event.

Jo-Elle Mogerman, Vice President of Planning and Community Affairs at Brookfield Zoo, was kind enough to share a little bit more about how the partnership developed, the aims of the Eden Place program, and how sometimes a museum’s mission is met outside the confines of your institution.

1) How did this partnership between Brookfield Zoo/Chicago Zoological Society, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and  the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus form?

Through our government affairs staff, we had the opportunity to discuss the Society’s efforts to engage African-American youth in education programs focused on wildlife and nature to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

2) How many years has this event taken place?

The Chicago Zoological Society has been involved with the Eden Place Pumpkin Festival for the past three years.

3) Why did you choose the red-tailed hawk and great horned owl as the animals for this event?

In the end, our red-tailed hawk and a dog visited Eden Place.  Both the red tailed hawk and great horned owl are native travel well and are Illinois species that you might even find in urban areas like Chicago neighborhoods.  Both the dog and hawk were a big hit with the children and families.  Many children don’t have pets and the dog provided an opportunity to get up close and pet it.

4) The Annual Eden Place Pumpkin Festival seems to place a strong emphasis on creating conservationist of the future. How do you approach educating children about conservation? Is the emphasis on building positive connections with nature rather than focusing on some of the more negative problems affecting the environment? Does the approach change depending on the age or gender of the child?

You are right, the focus is on building positive connections and transferring the great observation skills many urban children have to explore nature and science.  For example, for leaf necklaces the kids had to find the fallen leaves they wanted to make their necklace out of.  Some of the other activities were pumpkin painting where we encouraged kids to express their thoughts about fall, animals or nature.  In the planting activity, we helped the kids plant a plant in a yogurt cup.  For family programs like the harvest festival, we try to bring activities that are interesting to families, where the parent can choose to assist.  We remind the parents about the activities they can do at home.  The Society’s Center for Conservation Leadership provides age appropriate programs and activities both at the zoo and beyond to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

5) How do these children continue learning about conservation and nature after the event?

We try to gear at least one of our activities to be something that can go home with the kids.  This year they took home their painted pumpkin, leaf necklaces and plants.  This provides an opportunity for continued learning at home through watching the plant grow or having family conversations about the activities and the day.

6) The Eden Place Pumpkin Festival aims to take urban kids and their families and introduce them to nature in a non-urban environment. Is there any future or existing program that deals with nature within an urban environment? As a zoo, how do you address the fact that many of your visitors live in or near a large urban area?

We partner with Eden Place through our Grassroots Zoo program funded by The Field Foundation.  The Pumpkin Festival is just one of a series of programs that we work with Eden Place staff to provide to the community.

We understand that many of our guests come from large urban areas.  We provide guests the opportunity to see animals up close, talk with our keeper staff through keeper chats and in exhibits like Hamill Family Play Zoo and the Children’s Zoo even touch them.  In addition, interpretation through signs and youth and adult volunteers provide additional opportunities to connect with the animals and even the grounds.   The Zoo grounds themselves, provide even more opportunities to just be in nature in a safe place.

7) How does Brookfield Zoo plan on using this event to draw in visitors to the zoo itself? What other external programs of this nature do you partner with?

Our mission is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.  We believe inspiring conservation leadership doesn’t have to lead you to the zoo.  Therefore, for events like Eden Place Pumpkin Fest, we use Brookfield Zoo as a hook to draw people to the festival so that nature connections can begin but not necessarily draw those program participants to the zoo.  We hope or presence leaves a good impression with them and if they want to come to the zoo great!  We have another community based organization partner for Grassroots Zoo, the Juan Diego Community Center.

8 How do you hope to measure the success of this event? Turnout at the event itself? Subsequent visitors to the zoo? Or is it something more long-term, like an increase in the number of individuals from urban areas working in conservation related fields?

Great question!  I see several measures of success for such an event.  1) Short-term measure–The turnout which for a rainy chilly day was great! 2) Mid-term measure—future participation in Eden Place and Grassroots Zoo programs.  3)  Long-term—more youth in conservation related programs and including a conservation perspective in the academic and professional pursuits (This is the hard one to really measure)
After some great answers, however, Jo-Elle didn’t know the answer to this question off the top of her head. So, I will put this one to my readers…

9) And one last question that is not about the event: why is the Chicago Zoological Society’s logo a buffalo?


Thanks again to Jo-Elle, and we hope that this partnership is only one of many interesting museum collaborations to come.


This Pickpocket Will Leave You (Culturally) Richer


About a week ago, I stumbled across an interesting program at SFMOMA that had the potential to put a whole new spin on both cultural education and museum learning. Known as Pickpocket Almanack, this program is billed as “an experimental school without walls.” Curious to know more about the school and about the implications for museums, I posed some questions to Joseph Del Pesco (more info here and here) – SFMOMA independent curator and creator of Pickpocket Almanack. Here are his responses, hope you enjoy them as much as I did…

1) Why is it called Pickpocket Almanack?

The title means, roughly, “stolen calendar.” It’s because the program borrows and compiles event calendars from all the venues in the Bay Area to make a sort of meta-calendar—which is subsequently used by the faculty to create courses. The word “pickpocket” was actually suggested by artist Anne Walsh as a more provocative way of naming an experimental school. I think her suggestion was “Pickpocket Academy,” which I liked, but ultimately I decided not to use the terms University, Academy, School etc after talking with artist Brian Conley. I told him I wanted to try to break the teacher-student hierarchy, or at least disrupt the conditioned roles inherent in formal education. He suggested one way to send this signal was to use different language. I took his advice. When I was was first thinking about the word “Almanac” I was looking at Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack, which was his most populist publication. The extra “k” is in homage to him. As is some of the typography of the website, designed by the brilliant Scott Ponik.

2) Can you tell me a little bit more about Pickpocket Almanack? What was the inspiration for the program?

For the last couple of years I’ve been compiling research into artist initiated schools. This includes Amy Franceschini’s Playshop, Tsuyoshi Ozawa’s University of Sodan Art, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Jon Rubin’s Independent School of Art, Ted Purves’ Momentary Academy, The Mountain School (not to be confused with Black Mountain College), Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse, and Pablo Helguera’s School of PanAmerican Unrest. All of these excellent and extremely varied approaches to education serve as markers of a changing artworld, and informed my thinking about the Pickpocket Almanack.

3) What is the most interesting event you have featured in this season of Pickpocket Almanack? What sort of events pique your interest or what criteria is used to select events for the school?

The way Pickpocket is set-up, I’ve collected a master calendar of about 100 events, including lectures, panel discussions, workshops, screening etc. I subsequently presented these to the five faculty member’s we’ve asked to organize courses. These cultural experts living in the SF Bay Area will undoubtedly each have a uniquely different selection process and criteria, and I won’t attempt to speak for them. However, I can say that the program is less about picking favorites and more about constructing an alternative narrative. Of course I expect that they’ll pick events that are worth going to, but as the selection is happening this week, I’m not yet sure how things will turn out. I’m as excited and curious as any of the hundred or so people who have already expressed interest in singing-up. Ultimately, I think the most interesting event will be the final group meetings with the faculty at the end of each course. (Thanks go to legendary Bay Area curator and my friend Renny Pritikin for suggesting this aspect of the program).

4) Why did you choose to operate Pickpocket Almanack through a museum? Would it be successful/unsuccessful if it was not conducted through any organization?

I first started discussing the rough ideas for Pickpocket Almanack with Dominic Willsdon who was working on some plans that involved connecting various institutions in the Bay Area. It was a proposal germane to an ongoing conversation and was developed within that context. Dominic is the Curator of Education and Public Programs at SFMOMA, and he has been a huge help in pushing the program as far as it could go. I couldn’t have done it without him.

5) Do you hope that people go through the program and to events alone or do you see this as a more communal learning experience?

That is one of the big questions, and we’ll have no way of knowing how it’s going to work for individuals until the courses start. Everyone signed-up for a particular course will be connected via email groups, but wether they’ll decide to become “communal,” to use your word, is still one of the great unknowns. We’ll do a few things to help make this possible, to break the ice, but that’s as far as we’ll go. The rest will be up to them. It’s also interesting to note that while the five key events that make up the course will be made public via the website (for anyone to “audit”), there will be other events and readings available only to the participants who’ve signed-up, sent out via email by the faculty.

6) Since this is an “experimental school,” are you aiming to create a new way of learning, or are you hoping to enhance people’s experience with Bay Area culture, both, or something else altogether? Essentially, what is your goal with this program?

I’ll answer this in a personal way. I tend to go to events (lectures, screenings, symposia etc.) either when I already know of the artist or writer or filmmaker or at the recommendations of friends and colleagues. If no one points out a particular person or event to me, I rarely go. And while I have some affinities for certain institutions in the Bay Area, and do occasionally read the papers and websites, the rarity of recommendations means I get stuck in routines and don’t typically go to things I know nothing about. I suspect this is true of most people interested in culture living in big cities. That they’re willing but don’t tend to go to unfamiliar events without some nod or pointer. PIckpocket is, at its most basic, a structure for guiding these decisions, through taking the advice of those respected in the field. In compiling the master calendar for this Fall, it became obvious like never before just how much I’ve been missing.

7) Do you see Pickpocket Almanack, or some variation of it, taking root in other museums? Or do you feel that there is something distinctly Bay Area about the program?

I do think the idea is portable, but I think it’s best suited for cities that have too many interesting things happening. It’s a good problem to have, and Pickpocket is just one way to address it. To develop the master calendar we’ve partnered with, the best listing of art related events, places and people in the SF Bay Area, hands down. Websites like Happenstand are invaluable resources for tracking the pluralistic landscape of contemporary art.

Enrollment for the Fall Season of Pickpocket Almanack (October 1 – December 11) begins September 23.


Chicago Museum Roundup


In other Chicago museum news…

Pirates at the Field Museum. This exhibit (February 25 – October 25) tells the tale of the Whydah, which went from slave ship to pirate ship, and covers the golden years of pirating history.  Learn to tie pirate knots and how to fire a cannon (hey, we all need job skills in this economy).

The Chicago History Museum is hosting the Chicago Maritime Festival on February 28. There will be knot tying workshops here as well, but the other lectures, workshops, and demonstrations cover a slightly less swashbuckling range of topics than the pirates exhibit at the Field. Lake Michigan is part of Chicago’s identity, so come on down and celebrate the city’s seafaring past and present this weekend.

There is an opening reception for A Mural Work in Progress by Hector Duarte on February 27 from 6-8 p.m. at the National Museum of Mexican Art. The exhibit, which will allow you to watch longtime Chicago artist Duarte at work, runs through June 28.

Nordic Family Researchers have their monthly meeting at the Swedish American Museum Center on February 28 from 10-12. Recommended materials: a computer and some Nordic family history (one might be easier to come by than the other).


Don’t blame us if you’re bored


There are quite a few events to cover this week. After all, there are quite a few museums to host them. Let the roundup begin…


  • The Mapplethorpe Affair raised questions about tax dollars, art funding, obscenity, and free speech. The “Symposium on the Mapplethorpe Affair” at Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania digs a little deeper. Feb. 12-13. Visit here for info on times and locations.
  • The founder of the Mayor’s Institute for City Design will discuss “Preservation and Redevelopment of the American City: The Charleston Experience” at Houston Hall Feb. 12. Can’t make it on the 12th? There are other events being put on by the Institute through Saturday. Visit here for details.


Two Lincoln events worth exploring…

San Diego Area:

  • The roundup was done for me here


  • “Many Rivers to Cross: The Toronto Journey, 1900-1950” at St. Lawrence Hall. Details here.


  • Don’t miss your last chance to see “Max Ernst in the Garden of Nymph Ancolie” at the Menil Collection. This is the exhibit’s final weekend.
  • Unfortunately, the last lecture in the Rice Design Alliance’s Exposing Graphic Design series has passed us by. However, this is an organization to keep an eye on if you are an architecture or design buff.

Los Angeles:

  • “America” at the Phyllis Stein Gallery is a series of new works by the artist Deborah Martin. Opens Feb. 12.

San Francisco:

  • Perhaps not the way Darwin would choose to celebrate his birthday, but the California Academy of Sciences is going to throw a party in his honor anyway. Check out “Nightlife” tonight from 6-10.


  • If you happen to find yourself near The Ohio State University, stop by the Wexner Center for the Arts to see “Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms.” The exhibit closes Feb. 15. Click here for details.

Black History Month Roundup:

  • Another ready-made roundup for events around the country celebrating Black History Month.


  • “Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism” at the Tate Modern
  • “Saul Steinberg: Illuminations” at Dulwich Picture Gallery
  • “Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize” at the National Portrait Gallery. 60 works chosen from the over 6,700 submitted are on display through the 15th.
  • “War and Medicine” at the Wellcome Collection also closes on Sunday.
  • Courtauld Institute’s 8th Biennial “East Wing Collection” opens Friday. The exhibit is curated by current students and there promises to be quite the party afterward.
  • “2009 Design Awards Winners Exhibition” at the London Design Museum opens Friday. Can’t make it, you can see the winners here.

If you’ve heard of any great upcoming events at a museum in your town, please let us know!


Philly, Brooklyn, D.C., SF


Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

What: First Saturday Tour: Third Space…lecture on the works of Odili Donald Odita

When: February 7 @ 2 pm

Where: The Brooklyn Museum

What: Black History Month celebrations

When: February 7 @ various times

Where: National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.) in McEvoy Auditorium

What: “A Portrait of Porgy”

When: February 7 @ 7

Where: San Francisco Zoo

What: Woo at the Zoo

When: Feb. 7 @ 6; Feb. 8 @ 12; Feb. 14 @ 12 and 6


Music and Art in Chicago


Where: Morton Arboretum
What: Peggy Macnanmara discusses her book, Architecture of Birds and Insects: A Natural Art
When: 7-9 pm tonight Feb. 3

Where: Art Institute of Chicago
What: 360 Degrees: Art Beyond Borders series welcomes the musical stylings of Florian Kitt and Rita Medjimorec
When: 12-1 this afternoon Feb. 3


Design as Activism

Here’s a multiple choice question for you…
A) You live in Atlanta
B) You are interested in architecture
C) You are interested in design
D) You would like to learn how B and/or C can make a difference in the world

If any or all of the above answers apply to you, head on over to Expanding Architecture: Conversations on Design as Activism panel discussion in Atlanta. The discussion will take place tomorrow, January 22, at Steelcase (located at 303 Peachtree Center Ave NE). Registration is required seeing as space is limited, so go here for more info on registration, panelists, and more.

Note: Los Angeles and Chicago will also be hosting similar panel discussions in the upcoming months. Stay tuned.

« Previous Page