Visual Art

Staying power

In 2007, Bay Area arts were in constant flux
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Looking back at the Bay Area art scene in 2007 affirms our perennial difficulty in holding on to ambitious players. It's an oft-repeated story. Given San Francisco's commitment to nonprofit and alternative models over commercial ones and the high cost of living, artists find it easier to start off than to build their careers here. Read more »

Canadian astronaut

Jeff Wall's hyperreal photos at SFMOMA launch the mundane into the stratosphere
|
()

marke@sfbg.com

REVIEW Kids are bored. They're hanging on the sidewalk outside a nightclub, splashed in sick amber light. Many of the usual suspects are here: the skinny postgoth chick in golden heels, the stereotypical Russian-looking muffin top trapped on a crappy date, the about-to-ralph dude in an untucked striped Oxford, some rasta hoppers, a hipster gal in rave flats and a trucker cap. Most are smoking and none look happy, except maybe the tranny-licious blond who's about to skate the cover, glimpsed in the doorway flirting with the bouncers. Read more »

Graf legend

SPIE remembers DREAM and the golden age of SF street art
|
()

On Aug. 15, on what would have been the late Mike "DREAM" Francisco's 38th birthday, his old-school graffiti pal SPIE ONE honored his slain partner in the best way he knew how: by creating new street art, on 24th Street between Capp and Lilac in the Mission.

But it's not just on anniversaries when SPIE thinks about DREAM, the widely respected Bay Area graffiti artist who was gunned down in the East Bay in 2000. "I think about DREAM every day. A lot of us do. It keeps me going sometimes. He was a positive spirit," SPIE said in mid-November. Read more »

Up against the wall

Amid controversy, HOMEY brings together a Mission neighborhood with its latest mural
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

There's a new mural at 24th and Capp streets that does a stellar job of capturing the urban, cultural vibe of the Mission's residents. No, not the skinny jeans–wearing, Burning Man bohemians who've colonized the area in recent years. I'm talking the baggy jeans–wearing Latino youths who are the inheritors of a proud local tradition of Chicano mural art. Read more »

The reel world

Takeshi Murata at Ratio 3
|
()

Among the coverage of the horrific San Francisco Bay oil slick, I saw a short video of a fowl gliding through sea glimmering with petroleum. The bird maintained grace in this toxic environment, navigating marbled, paperlike swirls in the blackened water. Read more »

Dark sparkle

Jamie Vasta's art glitters
|
()

johnny@sfbg.com

Sparkle, San Francisco, sparkle — the Bay Area is a birthplace for visions of glitter. The Cockettes weren't averse to throwing a few antique trunks full of metallic iridescence over their song and dance routines, and the late Jerome Caja mixed glitter with nail polish and liquid eyeliner to create a bad-acid cartoon Maybelline version of Hieronymus Bosch interpreting Dante. Jamie Vasta's use of glitter isn't as campy as the Cockettes' or as lurid as Caja's, but it's on its way to becoming just as distinctive. Read more »

"Android"

Ray Potes pays homage to the history of film-based photography
|
()

REVIEW In the grand scheme of things, the mission of Hamburger Eyes is an admirable one: to perpetuate the life of film-based photography, its processing, and its printing. Read more »

Goldie winner -- Visual art: Jenifer K. Wofford

Disarming humor that's armed with liminal intent
|
()

Hey framer, don't try to frame Jenifer K. Wofford. She'll turn that frame into a threshold. Her creative identity ricochets from teacher to student to painter to performer to director to curator with a self-determining force that exposes the mutability of such labels.

In May, Point of Departure, Wofford's evolving series of postcard-size portraits of Filipina nurses, was a highlight (along with understated contributions by Bill Jenkins and Alicia McCarthy) of the UC Berkeley MFA show at the Berkeley Art Museum. Read more »

Goldie winner -- Lifetime Achievement: Creative Growth

Deep inside the hearts and minds of Bay Area art
|
()

The second I step into Creative Growth one late Friday morning, I feel slightly elated. It may have something to do with the sunlight streaming through the ceiling windows of the wide-open space, a white-walled relative of the equally amazing (in an entirely different manner) Paramount Theatre a few blocks away. It may have something to do with the fact that almost 100 people are making art at the same time and instead of hearing snippy criticisms, I'm meeting a guy named Jorge Gomez, who likes to hug. Whatever it is, it isn't an accident. Read more »

Goldie winner -- Visual art: Colter Jacobsen

Seeing double in a poetic memory tunnel
|
()

Four years ago this month Colter Jacobsen got his biggest break, his most bruising teardown, and his greatest opportunity in one 24-hour period. He'd been tapped to do a project in a much-talked-about exhibition, "17 Reasons," alongside John Baldessari, Jeremy Deller, Trisha Donnelly, and Chris Johanson, organized by California College of the Arts curator Kate Fowle and Mission gallerist Jack Hanley. Read more »