Visual Art

SFMOMA reveals new look, it is sexy

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We were a bag of mixed artfan emotions when SFMOMA sent us a peek at what the museum will look like in early 2016, when the renovations that will shutter its doors in June are complete. The bad: our city's preeminent modern art museum will be sorely missed -- after all, who else would have let us bring Boychild, Lil Miss Hot Mess, and Lady Bear to run amok in the upstairs cafe on a Thursday night? (Memories.) But, the good: there is a lot of good. Read on for the highlights of what we can expect from the museum's new incarnation, and what's going to be happening while we wait. Read more »

SFAI's Gutai exhibit opens with a dirty good time

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The crowd cheers as a man decked out in stars and stripes makes his way through a packed staircase. He pauses at the landing and raises his arms over head in a salute of glory to the whooping and clapping masses below him.

"San Francisco, we give you the death match of the century," a voice booms from speakers.

The costumed figure presses through to the opening in the center of the room and circles the white platform where his foe awaits. He slaps the hands of a few children sitting in front before disrobing until he wears only blue knee-length tights and a bushy brown beard. He enters the square and stands above his opponent.

The announcer continues: "Mud versus the man himself, Jeremiah Jenkins." The man dives into a brown mass that resembles a giant pile of feces.

This was the scene at the San Francisco Institute of Art last Friday, where the Gutai Historical Survey and Contemporary Response exhibition opened with a bang — or rather with the revving of the dirt bike that Guy Overfelt blasted through four paper screens later in the evening. The event, which included the two theatrical pieces by local artists Jenkins and Overfelt, brought the Japanese avant-garde movement to life by recreating the sense of revelation upon which Gutai formed in 1954. Read more »

Salute new Hi Fructose boxed set at free YBCA party tomorrow

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You could practically hear the sharpening of claws in the Guardian office when the Last Gasp-published Hi Fructose Collected 3 boxed set arrived on our proverbial doorstep. For fans of quirky, dark arts, this was the motherload: a tidal wave of a book stuffed with visual artists from around the world, all accompanied by a sweet bear (sheep? I say sheep. There was debate) mask by Mark Ryden, ready to be fastened on one's face with a lightly-colored ribbon. There was a velvet-flocked triptych by Martin Ontiveros, Skinner, and Junko Mizuno. A fantasy city on a poster. Stickers. All of it. Read more »

Guerrero gallery bites Zero Graffiti convention

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"The difference between art and vandalism is permission." So said Dwight Waldo, retired San Bernadino cop, at the Zero Graffiti convention earlier this month in San Francisco. The event drew law enforcement officials from multiple countries, convening them for lectures on graffiti prevention, on street art's connection to gangs and hate speech, and on ways to apprehend graffiti artists ("the Internet" figured prominently here, judging from the talks I managed to catch during the convention's public portion.) In his talk, Waldo prided himself on shutting down a graffiti-inspired legal art show because it was being organized by an illegal graffiti artist. 

But it would appear that the art community isn't satisfied with allowing those that hold the anti-graffiti wipes to be the arbiters of taste. The folks at Guerrero Gallery have branded their show opening Sat/2 with Zero Graffiti's imagery to put scrutiny on San Francisco and other cities' efforts to repress graffiti. Read more »

Framing devices

Taking stock of early 2013's group exhibitions

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VISUAL ART Several recent, notable group exhibitions have me thinking a bit more actively about the roles curators play as artists in the shows they assemble. As much as DJs or editors, curators are present in their shows as artists, sometimes demurely, sometimes not.Read more »

The Haight Street Banksy rat is looking for a good home

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Kerfuffle attended the publication of my Street Seen column on the reappropriated Banksy street art that popped up at Context art fair during Art Basel week in Miami last month.

Hamptons gallerist Stephen Keszler wrote to tell me that my account of him taking two of the pieces from Palestine and affixing $400,000 price tags to the them was so boring that it made him fall asleep in the bathtub (probably just part of growing old, darling.)

But I also received an interesting communique from a man who claimed responsibility for getting the Banksy rat originally painted on Haight Street's Red Victorian hotel and cafe to Miami. He says it needs a home. Read more »

State of the art

As art fairs boom and galleries struggle, is there hope for artists (and the art geeks who love them)?

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arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN VISUAL ART Maybe it's the Mayan calendar thing. Large cycles and turnings, old giving way to new, and all that. But in thinking about 2012, I can't help but think about big seismic shifts and changes to infrastructure that are moving large pieces of the art world around, setting adrift transformations that won't settle down for some time.Read more »

Art Basel diary: SCOPE-ing, Context-ualizing, and a quick dip in Fountain

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Last week, Miami was swept up in Hurricane Art Basel and goddammit if we weren't there to cover the thing. Check out Caitlin Donohue's past posts on the scene in South Beach, and the rundown on Wynwood and Art Asia. Here's her take on SCOPE, Context, and Fountain

SCOPE: This fair focuses on contemporary art, and always has some mind-blowing, large-scale stand-outs (check out my run-down from last year.) I even ran into my old friend, rhinestone hamburger -- who was joined by his friends this time around, rhinestone can of Spam, rhinestone bagel sandwich, and more. America! Read more »

Art Basel diary: The other side of the causeway, street art, Art Asia

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Read part one of Caitlin Donohue's Art Basel diary: South Beach here

It would be a mistake to characterize the Art-Basel-that's-not-in-South-Beach parts of Miami as containing more DIY/indie/anti-consumerist detritus than Art Deco land during the arty wheeling and dealing that occured last week (transactions worth, the Miami New Times helpfully noted, approximately the GDP of Guyana.)

Not-South-Beach, after all, included the Design District, where my camera memorably died for the last time during our Florida adventure as I was photographing an exhibit entitled "Architecture For Dogs."  Read more »

Art Basel diary: Air-kissing South Beach on day one

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Caitlin Donohue does South Beach during the country's most excessive week of art. Check out her other Basel 2012 posts here

Faced with a daunting calendar, we went straight to the belly of the Art Basel beast on our first day in Miami: South Beach. The centerpiece of this belly, of course, is Art Basel -- "Art Basel proper," as one must call it during a week with over 20 satellite fairs in orbit around the main event. Read more »