Visual Art

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 »

Next level: this weekend's SF Youth Arts Summit takes SOMArts

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San Francisco’s next great designer, sculptor, or filmmaker could possibly be in attendance this Sat/8 at the second annual San Francisco Youth Arts Summit taking place at SOMArts Cultural Center.Read more »

Freedom fighter: SF underground art icon Xara Thustra

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Since the late 1990s, Xara Thustra's art has been inseparable from resistance and community in San Francisco, providing many of the signature visual images of the anti-displacement and anti-war struggles of the era. His work first appeared as graffiti in the streets of the city during the height of the first dot-com boom and soon grew to include artistic collaboration with and in support of neighborhood organizations, like the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition and the Coalition on Homelessness.

As his work evolved over time from agitprop street art into elaborate performance and filmmaking, Xara has collaborated with countless others on many now-legendary art events like the Anti-Capitalist Fashion Show, the 949 Market Squat, and the band Manhater, while contributing stunning murals to Clarion Alley Mural Project and the Mission Neighborhood Health Center (with Kyle Ranson). Xara appeared in the 2002 Bay Area Now show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, but has since resisted overtures from the art world, and preferred to instead make work in spaces like Adobe Books, Needles and Pens, and, still, in the streets.

Thu/6 at a presentation of new work at Needles and Pens, Xara and friends will celebrate the release of the self-published, 500-page book, Friendship Between Artists is an Equation of Love and Survival. It's an epic photo documentation of the past 15 years of his work and collaborations in San Francisco.
Note: this interview took place between Erick Lyle (in Brooklyn) and Xara Thustra (in the Redstone Building) over Skype ...

Read more »

The Bay at Basel (Come to Miami with us this weekend!)

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There are two moments from my 2011 pilgrimage that duel in my mind for the title of quintessential Miami Art Basel. One, when that couple at the SCOPE Festival was examining the multi-thousand-dollar rhinestone hamburger for purchase. Two, Pharrell climbing onstage before Yelawolf's set at the much-hyped "party of the year" Basel Castle and telling us that "this week, it's all about the artists. But also, it's all about... you guys." Read more »