San Francisco

Nam June Paik, A Tribute to John Cage, 1973/76, still from a single-channel color video, 29 minutes 2 seconds. Cage performing 4'33".

San Francisco

“The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now”

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street
November 8, 2008–February 8, 2009

Curated by Rudolf Frieling

Since the 1990s, art wedded to social praxis has fueled endless critical inquiries, exhibitions, private name-calling, and studious name-giving—the stickiest example being Nicolas Bourriaud’s “relational aesthetics.” But of course art devoted to participatory practices and communal collaboration can trace its bloodlines through the twentieth century, from Dada on. Curator Rudolf Frieling chooses to begin this scholarly exhibition with John Cage’s 4'33" of 1952, moving forward across six decades of artists and collectives ranging from such midcentury luminaries as Allan Kaprow, Andy Warhol, and the global mischief-makers of Fluxus, to Maria Eichhorn, Francis Alÿs, and recent digital initiatives by Torolab and ShiftSpace. In the catalogue, Frieling, Robert Atkins, Boris Groys, and Lev Manovich track the combustion of collectivism, activism, and bottomless artistic ambition.