"Pinball as Art and the Art of the Pinball"

William T. Wiley's solo show takes pinball seriously
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PREVIEW One Bay Area artwork that made an impression in 2008 was William T. Wiley's Punball: Only One Earth. For the centerpiece of a large solo show at Electric Works, Wiley took a 1964 pinball machine from Gottlieb and redesigned it — with characteristic humor — into a global warming game in which "eye scabs [were] melting" and (to quote a review by Guardian contributor Ari Messer) "globes [were] drunk on their own worldliness."

Wiley's machine isn't included in "Pinball as Art and the Art of Pinball" at Lucky Ju Ju Gallery, but curator Michael Schiess has organized an 11-artist group collection of pinball machines, paintings, photographs, back-glasses, and playfields. He's out to demonstrate that the medium exemplifies art just as thoroughly and effectively as other popular forms like comic books or cartoons. The venue is ideal: Lucky Ju Ju Pinball is a paradise for vintage pinball and — after some arresting past shows such as photographer Linda Kramer's "American Carnival Portraits" — this is its gallery's 50th exhibition.

PINBALL AS ART AND ART AS PINBALL Through Feb. 4, 2009. Fri.–Sat. 6 p.m.–midnight (party Wed/31, 6 p.m.–1 a.m.), $5–$10. Lucky Ju Ju Pinball Gallery, 713 Santa Clara, Alameda. (510) 205-9793, www.ujuju.com

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