Visual Art

The yard sticks

A train-hopping trip from the Polaroid Kidd's hobotopia to William T. Vollmann's tramps -- and the truths in between
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I hopped my first freight train in the spring of 1993, outside a small central Florida town. My first train sat behind a drive-in theater along old Highway 301, among the pines sometimes seen in old photos of turpentine camps and prison work crews. Under a Southern moon, I battled mosquitoes and listened to a chorus of swamp frogs that must have been heard by the very men who built the railroad. Read more »

"Broken Promised Land"

Shai Kremer's subtle treatment of Israel's disfigured landscapes
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REVIEW "Broken Promised Land" is a distracting title for Israeli photographer Shai Kremer's exhibit at the Robert Koch Gallery. Though broken dreams and bombed-out promises are certainly present in the 11 color photographs on display from Kremer's seven-year project shooting Israel's militarily disfigured landscapes, it's ultimately the subtlety of his work that defines its wide-ranging resonance.

Kremer also has shown works from this series at New York City's Julie Saul Gallery. Read more »

Unfreeze my tableaux

The Rape of the Sabine Women arrests and exhausts
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REVIEW Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation's epic 2006 video opera The Rape of the Sabine Women is a sprawling and beguiling reinterpretation of classical myth, art history, and film-as-sculpture. Working improvisationally on the scale of a Cecil B. Read more »

"Fox in the Mirror"

Eerie vignettes and a dance of sex and sadness
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REVIEW When artists speak of found objects, they sometimes mean found — in a marketing plan. But Liliana Porter is different. Read more »

Found objects

Liliana Porter's "Fox in the Mirror"
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REVIEW When artists speak of found objects, they sometimes mean found — in a marketing plan. But Liliana Porter is different. Read more »

Watch what she makes

"The Way That We Rhyme: Women, Art & Politics" hurls feminist art into the present
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Feminist art has reemerged in the past few years as the focus of major exhibitions including "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and "Global Feminisms" at the Brooklyn Museum, which coincided with the unveiling of the museum's permanent home for Judy Chicago's iconic The Dinner Party (1974–79). Read more »

"Propagations"

Abstract ecosystems with a guiding force
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REVIEW Paul Hayes' gorgeous folded-paper-and-wire sculpture Cultivated Momentum hangs from Johansson Projects' ceiling like the canopy of an origami kelp forest. Light dapples through its dense clusters of folded, white paper forms, as black coils of wire slither in curved formation, evoking a school of eels. Organic associations aside, Hayes' abstract ecosystem has developed with help from a guiding force, as the first part of the work's title suggests. Granted, all the art on display in this mixed-bag group show was created by someone. Read more »

Neo Geo trio

Fresh patterns emerge from SF's post-Mission School landscape
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"Bay Area Now" roundups have come and gone since Glen Helfand coined the term "the Mission School" in an influential 2002 Guardian cover piece (See "The Mission school," 04/07/02). Read more »

"Form +"

Art with a sense of history
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REVIEW With the evolution of the gallery into a white, blank space, the artwork displayed within its walls has metamorphosed as well. The first-floor exhibit at the Meridian Gallery, "Form +," — curated along with two adjacent shows, "Franck André Jamme: New Exercises" and "Dhyana" by California College of the Arts dean Larry Rinder — call into play both of these factors.

In its very nature, the three-story Victorian that houses Meridian already opposes the clean lines most contemporary art galleries aspire to. Read more »

"Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg"

America wasn't the only place that wanted a revolution
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REVIEW While most Americans equate 1968 as the ground zero of political tumult in Chicago, New York City, and throughout the South, the revolutions that spread across Europe that year were of equal historical importance. Largely a reaction to the political asphyxiation of post–World War II policy and a much larger rejection of the feudal monarchist, industrial-capitalist, and communist regimes that had subjugated the masses for many years, the continent was suddenly positioned at the precipice of deconstruction. Read more »