Visual Art

Just say no

HAIRY EYEBALL: "Negative Space" at Steven Wolf Fine Arts transforms pessimism into something unexpected

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HAIRY EYEBALL Summertime is supposed to be about taking it easy and soaking up good vibes. This is decidedly not the case with "Negative Space," Steven Wolf Fine Arts' current group show that, like an old punk rock mix-tape, delivers one lean, catchy declaration of refusal after another.Read more »

California dreaming

Metal quilts and radical piss-taking marks YBCA's Bay Area Now

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HAIRY EYEBALL In his review of the latest Venice Biennale, Boston Globe art critic Sebastian Smee threw down something of a gauntlet when he wrote, "The received wisdom is that contemporary art is mostly about ideas. In truth, however, it's mostly about gestures."Read more »

A minor place

The Mission school resurfaces with shows by Margaret Kilgallen and Chris Johanson

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HAIRY EYEBALL The painter Margaret Kilgallen died in 2001; she was just 33 years old. A year later, critic Glen Helfand would write in the Guardian ("The Mission School," 7/1/2002) a coming out party for Kilgallen, her husband Barry McGee, and friends such as Chris Johanson and Alicia McCarthy, whose scruffy, heartfelt, and street-influenced art had started to attract a popular following abroad as well as intense interest from beyond the Bay Area art world.Read more »

Fake-out

Stephanie Syjuco plays with the art of plundering, Matt Bryans calls up photography's ghost.

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HAIRY EYEBALL It's not just the title of Stephanie Syjuco's solo show "RAIDERS" — her first at Catharine Clark Gallery — that brings to mind Indiana Jones. Something of the latter-day swashbuckler comes across in Syjuco's art, which, like Indy, initially seems to be playing to all sides for the sake of plunder — when in fact this cleverness is the outward expression of a deeper skepticism toward the very institutions it's engaged with.Read more »

Crying in public

Being brave through site-specific choreography on Market Street 

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HAIRY EYEBALL Weaving my way through the groups of slower moving shoppers and tourists ambling out of the Powell Street BART Station, I realized I was already too late.

I had wanted to be present for the June 11 noon kickoff of Market Day — the large-scale public art event tied to Allison Smith's current Southern Exposure exhibit "The Cries of San Francisco" — but when I reached Mint Plaza and had been handed a schedule I saw that my timing had been off by an hour.Read more »

Art fair city

Can artMRKT and ArtPadSF validate this city's role as a haven for visual arts?

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL The booths have been dismantled, countless plastic cups and empty liquor bottles are heading to recycling centers, and the exhibitors have returned to the quiet of their respective white cubes. San Francisco's big, busy art fair weekend has come and gone. By many accounts it was a success for a city that two years ago hadn't had an art fair in almost two decades, even if, in retrospect, it doesn't feel like the lay of the land has been significantly altered.Read more »

All that glitters

Jamie Vasta updates Caravaggio for the literary queer

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HAIRY EYEBALL What happens to appropriation after camp? That's the intriguing question posed and answered by Jamie Vasta's glitzy and technically impressive homage to late 16th- and early 17th-century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, currently hanging at Patricia Sweetow.Read more »

Exercises in style

Former SF resident Will Yackulic explores painting in a new show at Gregory Lind, while Camilla Newhagen sculpts fabric at Jack Fischer

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HAIRY EYEBALL Will Yackulic's return to painting has none of the grandiosity or pretension that the phrase "return to painting" might suggest. Rather, Yackulic's abstract canvases at Gregory Lind offer a contained (one might say modest, even, as each rectangle measures in the neighborhood of 144 square inches) but no less exhilarating exploration of the tension between the two qualities of his work that are so perfectly pinpointed by the show's title, "Precision and Precarity."Read more »

Lucky charms, safe journeys

Yukako Ezoe reimagines the nature of self-portraiture in "Bahama Kangaroo"

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Touching from a distance

Song Dong's work at YBCA radiates an electric current of emotions

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HAIRY EYEBALL "Art enables us to meet my parents again after they have departed," the contemporary Chinese artist Song Dong says in a statement that introduces his current show at Yerba Buena Center of the Arts. "In my art, they have never been away, and will live with us forever. I think they might still be worrying about our children and us. I wanted to have an exhibition where we would bring them back to us and tell them, 'Dad and Mom, don't worry about us, we are all well.' "Read more »