Spencer Young

Free art school

Steal this art education with the Pickpocket Almanack

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Yes, it is summer. And yes, you look great in your tankini chewing ice cream and leathering your face. I am aware that school is out of session and out of fashion. And I know the institutional dinosaurs in tweed make you sneeze. But school is cool again — or at least it's not as stale and stubborn as it once was.Read more »

Streets of San Francisco: City talk

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On Friday, May 7 at 12 p.m., I stood at the intersection of Van Ness and Market with a pen, notepad, and die in hand. The pen and notepad were used to capture discernable language overheard, while the die served to dictate the initial direction of my walking as well as the decision made at each new intersection. The following is a transcription of one-hour of that journey—eventually the die led me to the ocean—or an attempt to quilt together found language from San Francisco’s streets. Read more »

Color forms

Three artists use copyedit, counterfeit, and tech to tease art out of context
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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART It's not immediately apparent walking around Catharine Clark Gallery's four white, well-manicured rooms, but the space's three current shows — by two white men and one Asian woman, from diverse locales — share some attributes. Visually, they go by the name Red No. 40, Yellow No. 6, and Blue No. 2; and conceptually, by the terms artifice and appropriation. Together they make for pleasant artificial coloring and sweetening for the eye and brain. Yet as conscious consumers know, that shit leaves traces of guilt, and worse, carcinogens. Read more »

Three things I learned at SxSW

SX isn't SW, interactive isn't interactive, and FREE! isn't free

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Japanese avant-garde, Tropicalismo, and North Korean ideology -- onscreen at SxSW

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Just as Downtown 81 is worth watching for its live DNA footage, the Japanese avant-garde music documentary We don't care about music anyway... is worth a look for the five minutes of two-piece noise rock band Umi No Yeah!. Read more »

SXSW: See me! Hear me!

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The days tend to blur here at SXSW. The festival's sponsors and participants are pouring information and alcohol in you everywhere you go. You forget that you are an autonomous being, not just a receptacle for emails and fliers and Sobe in small plastic cups and little goo bars that taste like chocolate stuck in carpet that are thrown -- literally thrown -- at you on every street corner. Read more »

This kiss' progress

A journey through Tino Sehgal's staged situations — and a talk with the artist

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Tino Sehgal doesn't like objects. But it's not just the thing-ness of things he shuns; it's also the traces of things. In addition to refusing any recordings of his work, Tino (his last name is too "thingy" even for me) also refuses to deal with artist statements or written contracts, or anything, really, that might leave a material residue. (Digital photos? Sorry, they can be disseminated and printed.)Read more »

Dolce utopia

Work vs. entropy as hustlers, philosophers, and experimenters get down in sweet new (art) spaces
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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART Amid day-to-day art world caprice, an event titled "Dynamic Adaptability: A Conference on New Thinking and New Strategies for the Arts" took place Jan. 28 at Herbst Theater. Rather than vie for stability, the organizers envisioned the gathering as an opportunity "to explore our changing environment and offer fresh ways of thinking about the future" of Bay Area arts. "This is a time," they asserted, "of tremendous potential for new ideas to take root." Read more »

Art, work, and artwork

Artist-run groups move beyond doodling for dollars in a screwed-up economy
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VISUAL ART The global financial crisis continues to impoverish and displace those within reach of its residual tremors. Yet in the art realm, there have been signs of hope. Recent fairs — Frieze Art Fair in October and Art Basel Miami Beach earlier this month — brought reports of strong sales and optimism within the distressed economy. So why are artists everywhere worried about their futures, and more critically, panicking about their present tenses? The squeeze has to do with the work in artwork. Read more »

Attention cultural mutants

Past, present, and future through the transcendent audio and video dregs of Jacob Ciocci
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arts@sfbg.com

"Jacob Ciocci is," as Wikipedia attests, "an American [Pittsburgh] visual artist, performance artist and musician ... he is one of the three remaining founding members of Paper Rad, an artist collective ... He also performs and tours regularly ... in the band 'Extreme Animals'..." Ciocci's work, especially with his recent video collection release, 2 Blessed 2B Stressed (Audio Dregs), is almost entirely not his own. His videos recycle pop cultural detritus as fast and furiously as his band freaks beats. Read more »