Warm up your vocal chords. When SFMOMA reopens this Saturday, May 14th, a karaoke booth will be among the creative installations in the museum's new Koret Education Center, where Learning To Love You More—a web-based art project founded in 2002 by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher—will be brought to life by editors of San Francisco's The Thing Quarterly—and by you, dear art lovers.
In the new Koret Center, a lounge-meets-exhibition space located on SFMOMA's second floor, photographs, videos and various other artifacts are interspersed between pebble gray sofas and blond wood bookcases, making a setting that's ideal for exploring art in more interactive ways. The pieces here comprise more than 8,000 responses to 70 creative assignments from Learning to Love You More (LTLYM), a project that challenges people to step away from their computers and to engage with the world through their own bits of performance art.
Since 2002, LTLYM has invited global participants to connect with each other through their unique interpretations of simple ideas: "Take a picture of the sun." "Make a video of someone dancing." The karaoke booth at SFMOMA is a materialization of Assignment #24, in which folks were challenged to cover the '80s hit "Don't Dream It's Over." Think you can sing it? Here's your chance to prove it.
Learning to Love You More's Assignment #27: Take a picture of the sun. (Ryn, Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA, from Learning to Love You More, Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July, 2002-9; collection SFMOMA)
"Exhibits involving film, public participation—a different kind of art from what's being shown elsewhere in the museum—will be the focus" of Koret Center, says Dominic Willsdon, curator of education and public programs, who tapped Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan, founders of The Thing Quarterly, to curate the exhibition.
"When the museum purchased LTLYM in 2010, it was part of Miranda and Harrell's wish to have other artists curate the project," says Willsdon. "Jonn and Will's work at The Thing resonates with both LTLYM's participatory spirit and the Koret Center's event-driven, performance-based program."
Herschend and Rogan "publish" everyday objects as art pieces that are open to reinterpretation, sending them out in quarterly "issues" like a magazine; in LTLYM, the audience submits their interpretations of everyday things. "Both explore questions of how objects circulate through the population, and what a thing is in a digital world," says Willsdon.
By turns quirky and unsettling, the exhibit combines submissions drawn from the original LTLYM project with Herschend and Rogan's fresh takes on the creative assignments. "We see what we're doing with LTLYM as extending the project," says Herschend of the exhibit's karaoke booth (based on the assignment "Sing a song") and forthcoming lecture series (based on the assignment "Start a lecture series"). "Previous installations of LTLYM always emphasized the inclusive, uplifting aspects of the work, and we were looking to bring out its darker edge. We wanted to achieve a balance."
July and Fletcher kicked off the lecture series on April 30 and, beginning on May 19th, will be followed by a diverse lineup of local speakers. Hear such Bay Area creatives as musician Thao Nguyen and product design giant Yves Behar talk about objects that hold meaning for them.
// May 14 through Aug. 21; Learning to Love You More, at SFMOMA (SoMa), sfmoma.org; lectures run May 19 through June 9, Thursdays at 6pm; for more information, visit thethingquarterly.com.
A poster and schedule for the lecture series(Courtesy of The Thing)