Curatorial Research Bureau
Curatorial Research Bureau

Issue 7, Mar 2019

A monthly communiqué featuring news on programs, publications, exhibitions, students, and faculty with content and activities threaded together by a guiding theme.


In this issue

“Design Forward”→ Institutional AttitudesThe Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude→ Community ArtThe Ethics of Art→ IN-FO.CO and Inventory Press→ David Evans Frantz→  Frances Richard→ Barbara Stauffacher Solomon→ Case Studies: Metahaven→ Yomna Osman→ Sara Dean→ Viniita (Vee) Moran→ Jacqueline Im


A bookshop, a learning site, an exhibition and public program, Curatorial Research Bureau unites education and consumerism inside a contemporary arts institution, prioritizing context—of art, ideas, people, places, and things—as an active ingredient in the practice of curatorial research.

Curatorial Research Bureau at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco is the hub of learning for the California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice.


Made possible with funding and support from California College of the Arts and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Produced by Bureau for Open Culture, in collaboration with Motto Books.

This Month

Design foregrounds and drives almost every discussion and activity in the operation of Curatorial Research Bureau. From the color of an accent wall and arrangement of book displays, to the layout of posters and positions of our twenty-four moveable furniture modules, to the sequence of songs on our playlists—design is essential. Even the appearance of an internal memorandum doesn’t escape impromptu critiques. Our attention to the spatial, visual, aural and online characteristics of CRB is part of an intention to critically and comprehensively think about how to provide an effective context and situation to mediate art and ideas for our visitors, guests and students. We see design and its potential for a totalizing affect as indispensable, extending beyond visual communication and object placement. We see this work with design as part of a practice of curating forward. 

While aesthetic decisions influence the overall experience of Curatorial Research Bureau, learning about and practicing design is an increasingly important component in the curriculum of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice. This spring the “Exhibition Design” course is taught by faculty in CCA’s graduate design program. Last year we welcomed figures such as James Goggin whose innovative and imaginative work encompasses publications, exhibitions, printed matter, online technologies, and education. Last month we hosted Julia Born, a Zurich-based designer who, among other incredible projects, has turned catalogues into the spatial reality of exhibitions. And only last week, the artist Josiah McElheny talked about forgotten and overlooked graphic design tactics and fonts during a presentation of his publications. This week: we will collaborate with CCA’s design division to welcome Los Angeles-based designers Shannon Harvey and Adam Michaels, founders of IN-FO.CO and Inventory Press. At the end March, the great Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, who pioneered the use of Supergraphics, will grace the CRB to talk about books as an essential facet of her wide-ranging pursuits. 

These are figures whose expansive practices go beyond design. They are practitioners who think holistically about how immaterial concepts and ideas combine visual materials and architecture to foster different kinds of spaces, from the book, web, and public space, to exhibitions and even the interiors of bathrooms. Their critically engaged work is what we would call design forward. 

“Design Forward” is the theme this month. With the above in mind, the future-forward Dutch collective Metahaven, who considers design “a mediating force within an economy of signs,” is the focus of our seventh Case Studies. Metahaven is responsible for design of the Antennae book series (a selection featured below) published by Valiz, Amsterdam.

James Voorhies, Chair, CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice

In the Bookshop


Selected CRB Programs

on View

Case Studies: Metahaven—PSYOP: An Anthology

Our seventh Case Studies uses this 2018 anthology of (and designed by) the Dutch collective Metahaven to further our explorations into experimental design practices.

California College of the Arts Seminar Highlight


Global Art Worlds

Through selected readings and discussions, this seminar course includes critical analyses of artworks and exhibitions from late modernism to the present by artists and curators whose practices engage with questions of nation-state, immigration, and colonialism. The course includes close studies of recent editions of perennial exhibitions—such as documenta and Skulptur Projekte Münster—organized by institutions in the West with satellite or branch components in non-Western parts of the world. Overall, studies in this course seek to define an aesthetic of the colonial in contemporary artistic practices and exhibitions in order to consider the efficacy of critical positions within the context of globalized contemporary art and visual culture.

From California College of the Arts Curatorial Practice

CCA Student

Yomna Osman

CCA Faculty

Sara Dean


Viniita (Vee) Moran

CCA Alum

Jacqueline Im

On View at Institutions Nearby


San Francisco Public Library

In Search of the Glass Slipper: San Francisco, 1974


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

25th Anniversary Party


California College of the Arts

Gordon Matta-Clark Film Screening


The Lab


CRB Dispatch Archive

Issue 1, Sep 2018: “Institution”
Issue 2, Oct 2018: “Audience”
Issue 3, Nov 2018: “Place”
Issue 4, Dec 2018: “Corporate Mentality”
Issue 5, Jan 2019: “Counter Education”
Issue 6, Feb 2019: “Distribution as Practice”
Issue 7, Mar 2019: “Design Forward”
Issue 8, Apr 2019: “Support”
Issue 9, May 2019: “Pedagogy”