Visual Art

'Fire' insight: talking with David Wojnarowicz biographer Cynthia Carr

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The following interview took place with Cynthia Carr, author of Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz (Bloomsbury USA, 624 pp., $35), on an early fall afternoon at the old Odessa Restaurant on Avenue A in the Lower East Side, New York City — one of the few places left where you can still pretend you're in the LES of Wojnarowicz's day. Carr will be at the San Francisco Art Institute Wed/3 to discuss her book. Read Erick Lyle's review of the book here.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Your book is the first real biography of David Wojnarowicz. Up until now, the best book on him I thought was that Semiotext(e) book, David Wojnarowicz: A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side. Your book has a lot of that same feel, the layers and layers of neighborhood detail. But, of course, your book has the advantage of having all of David's thoughts and perspective on the same events because you have his journals and his correspondence. How were you able to access all of that material?

Cynthia Carr All of his papers are at Fales Library at NYU — all of his journals and the letters he kept. And I did get letters from quite a few other people, like his boyfriend in Paris, Jean-Pierre. At the beginning of the relationship, David wrote to JP at least every other day and later at least once a week.

When I went to Paris I took a scanner with me and back home I printed them out. The stack was like four inches thick! It was filled with information about what he was doing or working on every day. While the journals from those times are mostly about him going to the piers for sex, which he didn’t tell his boyfriend too much about! [Laughs.] The letters, though, are all about where he was living or where he was working, or ... really, most of the time, he was looking for work… I was very fortunate to get that.

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Stealing the American dream back from Chuck Norris

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Why'd we let him do it, United States of America? All of a sudden (maybe this happened awhile ago), the face of "America" was no longer the face of the people who'd been there for millenia, but rather a gun-toting, karate-chopping, Christian blogging white guy (there may have been steps in between the two.)

Reminder brought to you by Gerardo de Sepulveda, the painter behind the comically-rendered "Chuck Norris and the Theft of the American Spirit" and one of the Bay Area Native Americans featured in Galeria de la Raza and the Indigenous Arts Coalition's group exhibition "Native Diaspora Now." Read more »

"Z is for Zest": A kids book of alphabet affirmations

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Perhaps you have run aground of late, or know someone who has. Maybe you've forgotten your alphabet (or know somebody who has.) At any rate, a Bay Area couple would like to help. Rebecca Kovan and Daniel MacIntyre have put together a lovely, illustrated ABCs book perfect for remembering your values. Its name is Alphabet Living, and we challenge you to click through the above slideshow and not dissolve in a puddle of love. Or a stain of irritation, depending at what point in your Folsom Street Fair comedown you are. Read more »

Beyond the curtain

Karen Kilimnik challenges ballet archetypes in 'Dance Rehearsal'

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Photographic perspective: Salvaged shots from Japanese tsunami come to Intersection of the Arts

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Let the photos above serve as a reminder that your humpday muck-ups really aren't the cataclysms they seem to be.

The shots are from an exhibit that opens today at Intersection for the Arts called "(re)collection: Family Photos Swept By the 3/11 Japan Tsunami". They're representative ofa massive collection of photographs salvaged from crushed homes in the wake of the 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake offshore from the island nation. That'd be the one that caused the devastating tsunami, flattening coastal towns like Tohoku, where massive numbers of lives were lost and where these images were collected by rescue workers.  Read more »

"The f*cking building was looking like a f*cking jail. But now it's like a museum."

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A guy who is on the board of the Oakland Museum of California buys an abandoned 36,000 square foot warehouse (1350 Fourth St., Berk.) He doesn't realize the structure is a hot spot for local graffheads, but when he sees the art inside his new purchase he decides to roll with it, at least until he turns it into office space. Enter Endless Canvas, the superlative Bay street art site that Mr. Property Owner taps to curate the building. Read more »

Graffiti, now: Guerrero Gallery shows USDA prime street writers

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There was no wine and cheese at the opening of "Leave the Beef on the BBQ." There were massive slabs of meat though, onto which Guerrero Gallery owner Andres Guerrero slathered sauce and tried to look inconspicuous.

The crowd, which spilled out onto the sunny Saturday streets of San Francisco on August 25, was mainly there to see art anyhow. The exhibit was the most diverse graffiti-themed assemblage Guerrero had shown to date, and the graff heads in attendance had a lot to look at -- not to mention reflect on. Graffiti, if the works inside were anything to judge by, is at the junction of, about 70 different artistic directions.  Read more »

Barry McGee, you tricked me

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Granted I'm not out in Berkeley a ton, but I found it strange that someone had tagged an entire concrete side of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive the very first week that thousands of impressionable minds were invading the UC Berkeley campus and waiting in half-block lines to enjoy a free grilled cheese sandwich in between classes.

"SNITCH," the 15-foot-tall graff screamed, with a bubble dotting its "I." Wow, I thought, proceeding to the media preview of Barry McGee a.k.a. Twist a.k.a. Lydia Fong a.k.a. Ray Fong's first mid-career retrospective (opening today, through Dec. 9) -- someone's not big on Twist. Read more »

Election 2012: Here's the beef

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Fabulous food-and-junk-drawer-oriented collage artist (and legendary SF club denizen) Jason Mecier is back in our virtual orbit lately. His meme explosion beef jerky portraits of Obama and Romney seem to be everywhere. And his wonderful makeup-y likeness of Phyllis Diller, RIP, is giving us sad LOLs. But wait, the "meatraits" of Obameat and Meat Romney are sponsored! And there's a video! Let's go to the jerky tape:

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Enter the abyss: Gay men draw vaginas (and you can too!)

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A black whorl navigated by a rowboat. A luscious pair of pink lips, gaping wide. Earmuffs, a box of muffins, a crawling rodent and a wide-eyed kittycat. All at once. Such is Anthony of New York City's intrepretation of female genitalia. Gay men draw the darndest things! Writer Shannon O'Malley and photographer Keith Wilson -- the same team behind the macabre-beloved Apocalypse Cakes -- have cobbled together a whimsical Tumblr of such images, donated from around the country. Plus, they invite all comers to draw vag imaginings of their own at Dolores Park Gay Beach art parties (the next one is Sept. 2, fyi.) 

Why is this happening? We emailed the two to find out. Read more »