Visual Art

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 »

I sell a rat

Public street art as private purchase? Banksy's Haight Street rat turns up in Miami

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STREET SEEN Like many of his Bay Area art world peers, the beret-wearing rat that Banksy stenciled on the side of Haight Street's Red Victorian hotel in 2010 was in Miami for Art Basel week.

But sadly, our stenciled friend wasn't available for air-kisses. The rodent-adorned chunk of wall hung behind a velvet rope and its own security guard in the VIP lounge at Context, a new-this-year contemporary wing of the sprawling Art Miami art fair.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 »

All reflected

Street artist Apex's new show — and departure from the Mid-Market area — is a sign of the times

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caitlin@sfbg.com

VISUAL ARTS Glossy and matte stripes alternate across the walls and floor of the 941 Geary gallery in the Tenderloin, occasionally illuminated by striking reflections from the exhibition's 10 hanging canvases. These are perfectly symmetrical morphs of traditional letter-form graffiti, each done in Easter-ready pastels, save for a black-and-white tag that takes up one enormous gallery wall.Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: Brett Amory

A painter who finds inspiration in local disconnect and temporal space

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GOLDIES During my phone interview with Oakland artist Brett Amory, I kept thinking he said "emotion" when he was in fact saying "motion."

"It's my Southern drawl," Amory said with a soft, apologetic chuckle. And it's true that he retains a charming trace of his Virginia upbringing in his talk — as well as the open, forthcoming manner associated with Southern hospitality — despite the fact that he's lived here for the better part of two decades.Read more »

An icon's icons

SFMOMA's new Jasper Johns retrospective explicates and transmutes

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART The new Jasper Johns retrospective currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opens not with his seminal 1955 painting Flag, but with one much less well known from 1956, a painted object titled Canvas. That work is made from a wood stretcher frame and canvas panel turned around to face the wall, the entire back of the thing covered in gray encaustic. Above it on the wall is a quotation from Johns, "I've always considered myself a very literal artist."Read more »

Don't blink

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Barry McGee, skywriting, burning rubber, giant birds, Jasper Johns, and other visual arts highlights for fall

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FALL ARTS If there's such a thing as seasonal themes in the art world, then we're about to see the summer of performance art gradually give way to the autumn of geography. Look for big institutional shows and smaller gallery projects that present ideas about places and spaces. To that point, this roundup starts with two exhibits that should get you out of the city.

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Cheeseburger wolfpack

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Gaze into the maw of A.J. Fosik's beasties if you dare

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Lens flair

Cindy Sherman's performative portraits visit SFMOMA

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART Cindy Sherman is nearly always described as a groundbreaking postmodern photographer and pioneer. The mostly excellent, just-the-hits traveling retrospective currently visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is carefully curated to justify that praise. All the high points of Sherman's prolific career are here, and her virtuosic scrambling of photographic conventions and assumptions are shown in high relief. As an act of institutional pedagogy, it's certainly effective if not exactly revelatory.Read more »

Off the walls

Strategies of performance animate art — and site — in SFMOMA's 'Stage Presence'

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART As the Cindy Sherman retrospective draws huge crowds to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's fourth floor, visitors will find it the gateway drug par excellence for a neighboring show just a few steps away. Taking in Sherman's frozen drag — in which visual art harnesses performance as both subject and tactic — is already to broach the invigorating dialogue underway in "Stage Presence: Theatricality in Art and Media."Read more »