Visual Art

Bling and the kingdom

"Maharaja" at the Asian Art Museum and "The Matter Within" at YBCA focus on India's past and present

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HAIRY EYEBALL "Why curate an exhibition focused on a single country in an age of disappearing boundaries?" is one of the questions posed by the curatorial text at the start of "The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art from India," Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' survey of recent photography, sculpture, and video from the subcontinent.Read more »

GOLDIES 2011: Tammy Rae Carland

Offering photographic retorts to hoary stereotypes

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GOLDIES The beds in the photographs are like any other unmade beds — messes of rumpled sheets and dented pillows occasionally punctuated by a stray article of clothing or a curious pet. Except that they are not like other beds: they are, as the title of Tammy Rae Carland's 2002 series of depopulated portraits informs the viewer, "lesbian beds."Read more »

GOLDIES 2011: Ana Teresa Fernandez

A glossy realism that foregrounds physicality and sensuality

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GOLDIES When I meet Ana Teresa Fernandez at her studio at the furthest edge of Hunters Point, she tells me she has just come from surfing. Water, it seems, is very much Fernandez's element, frequently appearing in her dream-like video installations and her gorgeous, large-scale, photorealistic oil paintings as both setting and metaphor — and sometimes even as medium.Read more »

Occupational hazards

Geof Oppenheimer's politically charged new show at Ratio 3 juxtaposes polyphony with cacophany

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HAIRY EYEBALL  Weds/2 marks the first citywide general strike in our country since 1946. Spearheaded by Occupy Oakland in the wake of the Oakland Police's grossly excessive use of force against protestors last week, the strike is further proof that the only definitive thing one can say about the Occupy movement is that it is growing at a remarkable pace.Read more »

Spellbound

Houdini's fascinating magic endures at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

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Harry Houdini: the name conjures up a multitude of images and ideas about what a magician and escape artist should be. The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is currently celebrating that rich and long-lasting legacy with Houdini: Art and Magic, a new exhibit featuring a collection of vintage photographs, event posters, archival film, original props, art installations, and more, focusing on the world's most famous magician — who died in 1926, on Halloween.Read more »

Uncomfortable truths

The SF Arts Commission's "SHIFT" asks America to put aside its discomfort and talk about race

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HAIRY EYEBALL Sometimes it seems like Americans would rather undergo a root canal than honestly talk about race in this country. Witness the rounds of recrimination and defensive posturing on all sides that followed the Washington Post's recent front page story that the hunting camp Texas governor Rick Perry has long frequented was formerly known as "Niggerhead."Read more »

The sight of sound

Punting audible obsolescence with Christian Marclay's cassette-based photograms and Fran Herndon's poetic echoes. 

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Caves of forgotten dreams

Brice Bischoff's "Cave X" and Colin Christy's "Wild and Scenic" turn the outside inward

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HAIRY EYEBALL If you follow Canyon Drive from Hollywood Boulevard all the way up into the hilly territory of Los Angeles' Griffith Park, you'll reach a cul-de-sac. Beyond that, accessible by foot, is a small stone bridge which leads to a dirt trail that eventually lets you out in what's known as Bronson Valley. This is where you'll find the Bronson Caves.Read more »

Vision statement

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Our visual arts column Hairy Eyeball sizes up fall's gallery and museum shows

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FALL ARTS You better start doing your stretches and invest in a good pair of walking shoes. There's as much ground to cover as there is art to see this fall, and if you get to every gallery, studio, and museum on this far-from-comprehensive list your eyes will probably be as sore as your feet. But as any seasoned hiker will tell you, the views are well worth any aches incurred along the way.Read more »

The persistence of objects

Dadaist hybrids breathe remarkable new life in Berkeley Art Museum's "Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage"

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL German artist Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) acted as an interpreter for the discards of modern life, or what Alfred Barr, the first curator of New York's Museum of Modern Art, tellingly referred to as, "witnesses stolen from the ground." He listened to what the matchbook covers, torn ticket stubs, crinkled packaging, scrap paper, fabric remnants, and other junk that he took back to his studio had to say about form and color, and in turn, re-presented their testimonies to the world in which they once circulated.Read more »