The boundaries between life and art are porous. An artwork is a fragment, chipped out of its context. It is an idea and a type of record. The person who observes it and responds from their mirrored position is a critic. This is a point of contact, and a clarifying, communal act. Sometimes the mediating object is neither a song nor a sculpture, but there is still an audience. We think criticism can describe the world as it is and pursue the utopic without mythologizing.

How does San Francisco feel on the ground? What does the rest of the world look like from the Bay? Nothing is as fixed as it seems.

San Francisco Review of Whatever seeks dynamic perspectives on any topic — the arts or whatever — by experienced writers and by people who think of themselves primarily in other ways. We are interested in practitioners. We are used to describing each others’ work, as it relates to our own, in conversation with friends, as a way to understand the moment.

We know you know something we don’t. Let’s form connective tissue. We are timely if not time-sensitive. We would like to experiment with the review form. Let’s rotate expectations by 45 degrees. This is a conversation. You are smart and attentive. We love beautiful ideas. Everyone is a critic.

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