SFMOMA and SFPL Partner on Public Knowledge

For Immediate Release: September 8, 2017 Media Contacts: Michelle Jeffers, SFPL (415) 557-4282
SFMOMA and SFPL Partner on Public Knowledge

Two-Year Project Engaging Artists and the Public to Explore

the Cultural Impact of Urban Change in the San Francisco Bay Area

  San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) are proud to announce an exciting partnership that will bring artists and scholars into the libraries and the museum to explore the changes happening in our city. The two-year project entitled Public Knowledge, launches in late September, 2017 with:
  • A special musical performance on September 29 at the Main Library of What’s the Sound of Your San Francisco? a new project by MacArthur “genius” award winner Josh Kun that explores gentrification, eviction and neighborhood change in San Francisco through local music history
  • A symposium exploring the question Does Art Have Users? in partnership with the Asociación de Arte Útil and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, September 27 through 29.
  • A new temporary branch of the Library inside SFMOMA opening on September 28 that will be free and open to the public throughout the two-year project.
  Public Knowledge aims to promote public dialogue on the cultural impact of urban change and the role of public institutions in the city. The project was created in response to the profound social and economic shifts taking place due to the rapid growth of the Bay Area’s technology industry. It will explore how contemporary art and culture can illuminate important issues, and create spaces for new conversations, through artists in residence, talks, discussions, workshops, performances, and other events in neighborhoods and libraries throughout the city. All programs will be free and open to the public. In a time when providing access to public information and social engagement, once a key role of public institutions, is now being taken over by technology, the Public Knowledge project seeks to examine the historic role of public institutions and reinvigorate their relevance today. By experimenting with new ways of forging relationships and nurturing connections, we look to act as a catalyst for participants to exchange ideas and learn from one another, and together to develop new approaches to strengthening the fabric of civic life. Among the first artist’s commissions taking place as part of Public Knowledge is Hit Parade, which is inspired by SFPL’s musical archives.  Hit Parade, was conceived by MacArthur “genius” award winner, and University of Southern California professor of cultural history Josh Kun. Working with the Bayview, Mission and Western Addition branches of the library over the past several months, Kun gathered musical histories and the stories of musicians to explore contemporary issues of gentrification, eviction and neighborhood change through local music history. The San Francisco Main Library will offer a special after-hours presentation on September 29 at 7 p.m. called What’s the Sound of Your San Francisco? with a musical performance and talk inspired by this collaboration. Public Knowledge Library at SFMOMA As part of the partnership, SFMOMA will open a temporary branch of the San Francisco Public Library called the Public Knowledge Library in SFMOMA’s Koret Education Center on the second floor of the museum. This branch will be open to the public from September 28, 2017 through winter 2019. The Public Knowledge Library will feature a reference collection of books and newspapers focused on activism, art, cities, culture, education, and technology. The library also will feature artist installations, curated displays about the history of SFPL, a special children's collection, and will host free public programs. Future Public Knowledge Artist Collaborators Public Knowledge involves collaboration between humanities scholars and artists, specifically artists whose primary medium is not painting or sculpture, but public engagement. In addition to Kun, the participating roster of international artists includes: Burak Arikan, a New York and Istanbul-based artist whose practice involves working with communities to create digital maps of complex networks and social relationships. Bik Van der Pol, an artistic team from Rotterdam that is developing a project inspired by the history of the Gold Rush that sees libraries as places to gather the expertise of community members. Stephanie Syjuco, a Bay Area artist who creates large-scale installations composed of collected cultural objects and archival materials. Minerva Cuevas of Mexico City, who will engage library users in dialogue about the city’s changing cultural ecology through a project that explores the theme of fire. Participating scholars are UC Berkeley’s Julia Bryan Wilson and Shannon Jackson, UCLA’s Jon Christensen, UC San Diego’s Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, UC Santa Cruz’s Jennifer A. Gonzáles, and Stanford University’s Fred Turner. Support The project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Additional support is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Activities in SFMOMA’s Koret Education Center are generously supported by the Koret Foundation.   Additional Information For more information on the Public Knowledge partnership, please visit publicknowledge.sfmoma.org or Public Knowledge Branch.   About SFMOMA 151 Third Street San Francisco, CA 94103 SFMOMA is dedicated to making the art for our time a vital and meaningful part of public life. Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, a thoroughly transformed SFMOMA, with triple the gallery space, an enhanced education center and new free public galleries, opened to the public on May 14, 2016. In its inaugural year, the expanded museum welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors. Visit sfmoma.org or call (415) 357 - 4000 for more information. About San Francisco Public Library San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center, and four bookmobiles. More information at sfpl.org
September 11, 2017