Visual Art

Double trouble

Alice Shaw and Kelli Connell get down with the looking glass
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Rosie O'Donnell, in a recent New York Times article about the TV star's video blog, has been outed as a woman of many personalities. The piece notes the shades of O'Donnell's various public talk-show personae, from closeted lesbian girl next door to outspoken View-er, and surveys her current makeup-free webcam self. Read more »

Flaming creators

Hot shots of a dozen-plus-one LGBT artists bringing wild fire to the Bay Area
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They've got passion to burn, whether there's 100 percent pride or a potent dose or two of critical shame in their game. They're the dozen-plus-one LGBT artists who constitute this year's lineup of flaming creators — individuals and groups adding radical perversity, butch dyke glitter, b-boy funk, punkified monkey love, dandified bear flair, and more to the Bay Area. Read more »

Speed thrills

The surface seductions of Martin Munkácsi
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Whither beauty? Withered on the prickly postmodern vine. Sour grapes, you say? Read more »

Mission: school

Alicia McCarthy turns her studies into art
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REVIEW When I walked into the Berkeley Art Museum for a first look at Alicia McCarthy's contribution to "Fer-ma-ta," the 37th annual UC Berkeley MFA graduate exhibition, I was given a small stash of pencils — the kind you use to mark scores in bowling or putt-putt golf. Note-taking is allowed in museum spaces, but pens are a definite no-no. The self-consciousness brought about by such a rule and the gift of the pencils only served to enhance the direct address of McCarthy's work. Read more »

Mighty morphin' power ranger

Christian Maychack's mutating pieces challenge the boundaries of time, space, physics
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REVIEW Those of us who got to see the eastbound I-580 freeway connector overpass right after it was charbroiled by that teetering gas tanker truck understand the weirdness of witnessing a thing so hefty and solid transformed into something much like melted cheese sliding off a pizza slice. Read more »

Prints charming

In a new SoMa location, Electric Works is building the Land of Yes
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PREVIEW If only it were prix fixe. The lamb curry wrapped in crystallized mint leaves sounds delectable, but the butternut squash ravioli catch your eye first. Then you notice that one of the items on the menu is made entirely with ingredients from the chef's garden. The choice is obvious. As you munch on homegrown multicolored heirloom tomatoes, conversation turns to how much is in our own backyards. Read more »

Love machine

Peering under the hood of Charles Sheeler's magnificent mechanical obsession
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REVIEW To look at the formally austere self-portraits made by the American artist Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) at various points throughout his career, you might surmise, from the repeated images of his stiff, unsmiling visage, that he toiled in obscurity for dry, dusty decades as an administrative underling at a low-level law firm, forever obsessed with organizing his paper clips, pausing from his tedious task only long enough to clean his spectacles on a crisply starched pocket handkerchief and tie the laces of his uncomfortable shoes, polished d Read more »

No hidin' SECA

Searching for thematic threads at the biennial exhibition
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REVIEW Each SECA Art Award exhibition, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's biennial and only official nod to Bay Area artists, is cause to revisit the curious, contested idea of place in contemporary art. Read more »

Scruff trade

Berkeley Art Museum's marvelous Bruce Nauman show locates inspirations in the hood
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Forty years ago Bruce Nauman made a squat, unpainted block of plaster sculpture titled A Cast of the Space under My Chair. This single work, one of dozens in the Berkeley Art Museum's absorbing exhibition "A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s," is said to have provided enough inspiration to fuel the career of British artist Rachel Whiteread, who famously cast the interior of a condemned Victorian house. Nauman's sculpture, here seen as cast exhibition copy, could easily be overlooked. Read more »

Fresh hedonism and sound artifacts

Bill Owens and Christian Patterson shoot for skin, sin, and salvation
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America's holy trinity — beer, barbecue, and the Bible — forms a belief system of carnivorous consumption and garish glitz in recent photographs by Bill Owens and Christian Patterson, well paired in concurrent exhibitions at Robert Koch Gallery.

Owens's "Flesh," with its uncomfortable close-ups of pork parts and gnashing teeth, picks through gristly ribs, charred bacon strips, and headless mannequins, revealing an eat-or-be-eaten society starved for gustatory and spiritual succor. Read more »