Patricia participates in a panel discussion, "All Ships Rise Together," at the Art Publishing Now summit, hosted at
Southern Exposure on October 9, 2010. Photo by Smitty Weygant.

Shaun Leonardo
Jody Medich
Jerry Barrish
Patricia Maloney
Peter Pau

alumni profile

Name: Patricia Maloney
Program: History and Theory of Contemporary Art, MA 2008
Hometown: Berkeley, CA

When Patricia Maloney was a student at SFAI, her Master’s Collaborative thesis was about failure. Called Shaving the Mammoth, the project examined visual representations of impossibility, collapse, desire, and absurdity. But since graduation, Patricia has entered a realm littered with casualties—publishing—and emerged as founder and editor-in-chief of a thriving online magazine, Art Practical.

Art Practical is about creating consciousness as well as an archive of the activities that happen here in the Bay Area and that define the Bay Area artistic community,” explains Patricia, who launched the site in October 2009. The publication serves as a nexus of local arts coverage: while nearly 30 regular contributors produce original reviews, interviews, and features for bi-weekly issues, Art Practical also shares content with the exhibitions calendar Happenstand, the podcast Bad at Sports, and Daily Serving, an international forum for contemporary visual arts.

Many of Patricia’s interests on display in Art Practical—collective and collaborative activities; the construction of identity; the formation of locality and place—were honed at SFAI, where she entered the master’s program in History and Theory of Contemporary Art in 2006, its first year. Studying with faculty who had wide-ranging insight into contemporary art, particularly in relation to sociopolitical and economic conditions, “I realized that what I wanted to pursue was my development as a critical thinker, as a critical writer,” she says. “I came out of the school with this question of, 'how does one develop critical dialogue?' ”

For Art Practical, the answer involves both written criticism and in-person events. A special issue about performance art, Performance: The Body Politic, included a day of performances and discussion presented with the Contemporary Jewish Museum. This past spring, in partnership with SFMOMA’s blog Open Space, Art Practical staged a series of conversations called “Shop Talk,” which used SFAI alumna Stephanie Syjuco’s project Shadowshop as a springboard to examine the economic strategies that artists use to develop feasible careers.

“One of the best things you can get out of an MA or MFA program is building a group of colleagues and fellow artists who you can continue the dialogue with after you get out of school,” says Patricia. “[My cohort] really became invested in the conversations we were having and the projects we were doing, and so much of the thinking that I do now comes out of those conversations.”

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