press release

On view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from November 8, 2008, through February 8, 2009, The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now presents an overview of the rich and varied history of participatory art practice during the past six decades, exploring strategies and situations in which the public has taken a collaborative role in the art-making process.

Organized by SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling, this large thematic presentation gathers more than 70 works by some 50 individual artists and collectives, and will feature projects both on-site and online, as well as several new pieces commissioned specifically for the exhibition. From early performance-based and conceptual art to online works rooted in the multiuser dynamics of Web 2.0 platforms, The Art of Participation reflects on the confluence of audience interaction, utopian politics, and mass media, and reclaims the museum as a space for two-way exchange between artists and viewers.

The exhibition proposes that participatory art is generally based on a notion of indeterminacy—an openness to chance or change, as introduced by John Cage in the early 1950s—and refers to projects that, while initiated by individual artists, can be realized only through the contribution of others. This artistic approach entices the public to join in; it questions the conventional divide between artists and their audiences, and it challenges assumptions about the symbolic value of art as well as the traditional role of the museum as a container for objects rather than a site for social engagement or art production.

The Art of Participation traces the influence and transformation of this concept across various genres, identifying its signal moments and charting a lineage of participatory art across a wide spectrum of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, film, video, photography, online projects, and interactive media installations. Seminal works by major historical figures will contextualize more recent projects, linking key aspects of contemporary participatory practice to their historical precedents.

SFMOMA, in association with Thames & Hudson, has published a 224-page, fully illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring original essays by Robert Atkins, Rudolf Frieling, Boris Groys, and Lev Manovich. SFMOMA will also produce a companion volume (a small print-on-demand paperback, to be released after the exhibition closes) reflecting the participatory aspects of the show by collecting texts, visuals, and other content contributed by artists and visitors.

Complete List of Featured Artists Abramović/Ulay; Vito Acconci; Francis Alÿs; John Baldessari; Joseph Beuys; Joachim Blank, Gerrit Gohlke, and Karl Heinz Jeron; George Brecht; Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Mike Bennett; John Cage; c a l c and Johannes Gees; Janet Cardiff; Lygia Clark; Minerva Cuevas; Maria Eichhorn; VALIE EXPORT; Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin; Fluxus collective; Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz; Jochen Gerz; Matthias Gommel; Felix Gonzalez-Torres; Dan Graham; Hans Haacke; Lynn Hershman Leeson; Allan Kaprow; Henning Lohner and Van Carlson; Chip Lord, Curtis Schreier, and Bruce Tomb; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; Tom Marioni; MTAA (M.River and T.Whid Art Associates); Antoni Muntadas; Yoko Ono; Nam June Paik; Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv; Raqs Media Collective; Robert Rauschenberg; Warren Sack; Mieko Shiomi; Torolab; Wolf Vostell; Andy Warhol; Stephen Willats; Erwin Wurm

The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now

Künstler: Marina Abramovic / Ulay , Vito Acconci, Francis Alÿs, John Baldessari, Joseph Beuys, Joachim Blank, Gerrit Gohlke, Karl Heinz Jeron, George Brecht, Jonah Brucker-Cohen / Mike Bennett, John Cage, Johannes Gees, Janet Cardiff, Lygia Clark, Minerva Cuevas, Maria Eichhorn, VALIE EXPORT, Harrell Fletcher / Jon Rubin, Fluxus collective , Kit Galloway / Sherrie Rabinowitz, Jochen Gerz, Matthias Gommel, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Lynn Hershman, Allan Kaprow, Henning Lohner / Van Carlson, Chip Lord, Curtis Schreier, Bruce Tomb, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Tom Marioni, MTAA  (M.River & T.Whid Art Associates), Antoni Muntadas, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Dan Phiffer / Mushon Zer-Aviv, Raqs Media Collective , Robert Rauschenberg, Warren Sack, Mieko Shiomi, Torolab , Wolf Vostell, Andy Warhol, Stephen Willats, Erwin Wurm ...