The current exhibition at the SFMOMA, "The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now" is a wild cacophony of classic pieces of participatory conceptual art. The works collected for the show act more like a role call of significant moments in late twentieth century conceptualism. All your friends are there: John Cage, Yoko Ono, Lygia Clark. "The Art of Participation" is a brilliant survey. Looking back nearly sixty years, "The Art of Participation" explores the relationship between the artist and the viewer in the process of making art. Historical installations and performances are restaged, giving young, bookish art history students to feel a little bit closer to the fables we've studied for so many years. There is a corner dedicated to Erwin Wurm's one-minute sculptures-- short, punctuated participatory experiements in which visitors are invited to recreate Wurm's surreal tableau social sculptures and hold the pose for a full minute on a white platform, inviting other visitors to cheer and gape. Lygia Clark's sensory masks "Máscaras sensoriais" are featured as well. The first time I saw them was in Chicago, heartbroken, and they became a major character in a short story I wrote: We share the topology of this room, the plastic beaded curtains, the faint sounds of Caetano Veloso records: meia lua inteira sopapo na cara do fraco estrangeiro gozador copa de coqueiro baixo. Covering my eyes, I'm nostalgic for sight. Covering my nose, I'm nostalgic for scent. A sound installation by Matthias Gommel welcomes visitors, inviting them to share in conversations of delayed audio. Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin asked visitors to share photos from their wallets, some of which were blown up and hung like major works of art along a foyer. Crumpled, yellowed copies of little boys at bat and girls on their first day of school treated with the reverence often reserved for the Italian masters. As far as the timeline for "Art of Participation" is concerned, the curators approach John Cage's 4'33'' as the major turning point. I especially like how the piece is described by Danielle Sommer, an artist and writer for Bay Area public radio. She describes 4'33'' as "a piece that invites you to listen to yourself listening. The piano (closed and untouchable) and the sheet music (blank) are on display, as well as a video of several different performances, all forming the centerpiece to the first room of the exhibition -- both a chronological and a physical precursor to virtually all the other works on view." Overall, "The Art of Participation" is a perfect survey of different ways we are invited to view the art object and the role of the museum. As a whole, the exhibition is self-reflexive and determined to showcase the list of significant pieces which have shaped our relationship to art concepts. A great show. View "The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now" until February 8 at SFMOMA. (Photo by Brita d'Agostino/Wired.com)