Art

Demon amulets and building codes: a sound installation that'll "bowl" you over

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At a recent sunny day preview of The Bowls Project at YBCA, I was very confused. I had spoken with Jewlia Eisenberg of the group Charming Hostess a few days earlier on the phone, and she had given me the impression her new sound installation at the gallery was about ancient Babylonian incantation bowls used to summon demons for help in the domestic arena. “I refer to it as apocalyptic intimate,” she told me, “they're things from the home, but they have angels and demons, things you have to deal with.” She read to me from wild inscriptions she's found through research on these bowls, which serve as some of our only records of female voices from the era. They include curses against gossips that their “tongue should cling to the roof of their mouths,” calls for Anwar next door to become “inflamed, heated” for the commissioner of the bowl – even an ode to the overthrow of the heavens. It was rad. But there I was, at the YBCA, listening to the description of -- a sustainable architecture project? Read more »

Native American artists take back culture of their art

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“Museums are, historically, piles of loots with a roof on them,” says Kim Shuck as she carefully beads a black raven onto the back of a pow-wow vest in the de Young's Kimball education gallery. I go to touch her intricate stitching, then draw my hand back. Shuck is telling me about her work's cultural significance, the struggle of the Native American community to coexist with the white art world. Am I really about to manhandle her sacred creation? “I appreciate your impulse to touch, and then not be sure if you can,” she says laughing, as she grants her approval for me to poke and prod the curving lines of tiny beads. Moments like these are what her current project's about – exposing folks to indigenous art, and teaching them the limits and guidelines to their interaction with it. Read more »

Love Art Lab's sexy shade of green

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“She's more high brow, and I'm more...” Golden girl of classic porn, and ex-prostitute, Annie Sprinkle and I are eating lunch in her Bernal Heights kitchen. She's searching for the words to compare her partner Beth Stephens' and her own artistic repertoires. The two women are in the midst of what they call the Love Art Lab, a far reaching, seven year project that's seen them married eight times all over the globe in lavishly creative ceremonies that invoke Sprinkle's and Stephens' commitment to “ecosexuality.” Read more »

Global-eyed: The street art of Chile

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These pictures are a mix of Chilean street art I found in Santiago and Valparaíso (which is really similar to SF in too many ways to list). It was really cool walking though the back streets and stumbling across these beautiful and colorful pieces. I tried to focus my lens on the best murals, funniest cartoons, and the pieces that I felt were more than just "graffiti."

Reupholstering "Defenestration"

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 all photos by Erik Anderson

“Can you wait about fifteen minutes?” Brian Goggin asks as he climbs into the harness that will lift him up to the fourth floor of the abandoned building on Sixth and Howard. Out of respect for this remarkable artist (and rapt awe his elevation has on the observer), we wait, standing to the side on the pavement below. Goggin’s restoration of his iconic piece of public art, “Defenestration,” bears witnessing. Read more »

CounterPULSE's three day maypole

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It’s a big weekend for celebration. May 1st is International Worker’s Day, it's the day when winter has finally left the Northern Hemisphere building, and marks the dawn dances of the pagan Beltane. All in all, it’s an apt time for rejoicing in the people and places what that make our world beautiful.

And given that we’re in the Bay, one of the Earth’s great cradles of populist art, there may be no better place to do that than CounterPULSE, the community art performance space that is celebrating 20 years (five in their current location) of helping cool artist do what they do. CounterPULSE has been sponsoring classes, performances, and residencies for some of our most progressive and exciting artists over the past decades -- and they're making it easy for you to throw some dough their way with three days of diverse, exciting programming that could really only happen here in San Francisco Read more »

Hidden folds at the Cherry Blossom Festival

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In Japantown yesterday, pet owners walked small dogs dressed in mini kimonos to the beat of taiko drums. The festivities were on account of the 43rd annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the state's largest celebrations of Japanese culture. The Sapporo beer gardens lubricated sale of T shirts and bento boxes, and Safeway had erected a pop up grocery store near the main stage.

But in the basement of the Kabuki hotel, one could follow makeshift signs to a cultural display without brand names and ID checks. Small meeting rooms held samurai swords and their aficionados, traditional paper doll creations and creators. The Cherry Blossom Festival had created this peaceful forum for an array of Japanophile collecters and crafters.

Oh, but the origami room! Read more »

Youth Speaks' young poets roar

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“Poetry’s made a big difference in my life. It’s allowed me to express myself in ways that I never would have been able to,” says Erica McMath Sheppard, 17, one the winners of Sat/3’s Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam at the Warfield Theater.Read more »

White Walls gives street art a place to hang its hat

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Since writing my article in this week’s Guardian on the state of street art in San Francisco, the definition of the term has been… not rankling me, but sitting in my head like things that can’t be resolved tend to do. But a recent conversation I had with the owner of White Walls and Shooting galleries, Justin Giarla gave me a good look at why street artists go indoors. He took me through his current exhibition of works by the legendary stencilist Blek Le Rat, Hush, and Above -- “street” artists all, who are finding brave new worlds through work on canvas. Read more »

Holy smokes, could it be... the biggest SF mural ever?

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The answer is yes, yes it will be. And how did the madness begin? “I was in the neighborhood and I saw this wall. And me being me, I got really excited and wanted to paint it.” And so it started, Brian Barneclo’s latest SOMA mural project, whose launch will be celebrated alongside "Systematics," his solo (indoor art) show at fabric8 on Sat/10. Read more »