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The contemporary art world tends to get all academic and serious on us, so it's interesting to note that a good number of fall gallery and museum offerings mine colorful, dreamy realms of spectacle, luxury, and humor a welcome respite from all the truly problematic shit going on out there.
1. "Libby Black: The Past Is Never Where You Think You Left It" This Goldie winner may have left San Francisco for her home state of Texas, but the move has served to sharpen her handmade take on the LVMH luxury empire. Black's new work includes a Louis Vuitton disaster-center cot, complete with deluxe valise and accessories that stow perfectly underneath, and a series of paintings that exude the pansexual myths of the West as found in high-fashion adverts. It's the perfect prelude to the Union Square opening of the retail dream house, Barneys New York, this fall.
Sept. 6Oct. 27. Reception Sept. 6. Heather Marx Gallery, 77 Geary, SF. (415) 627-9111, www.heathermarxgallery.com
2. "Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson" and "Jeff Wall" Fitting factoid: Danish artist Eliasson, the subject of a San Francisco Museum of Modern Artorganized survey, was actually commissioned by Louis Vuitton to create its 2006 Christmas windows. The works that constitute this much-anticipated show are large scale and immersive and use water, light, and scent to generate natural phenomena and delightful shifts in perception. We're looking forward to the tunnel that will wrap around the fifth-floor catwalk. A related exhibition is a showcase for Eliasson's BMW-sponsored hydrogen-fueled race car enmeshed in a skin of stainless steel and ice. If you need something with a different kind of theory, check out SFMOMA's other big fall exhibit, a major survey of Wall's glamorously, cinematically politicized light boxmounted photographs, co-organized by SFMOMA director Neil Benezra.
"Take Your Time" runs Sept. 8, 2007Feb. 24, 2008; "Jeff Wall" runs Oct. 27, 2007<\d>Jan. 27, 2008. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org
3. "Michael Arcega: Homing Pidgin" Bay Area artist Arcega's stock in trade is a smooth fusion of easily accessible materials (his infamous manila folder galleon) and politically barbed pun (it was called Conquistadork). As part of the de Young's Connections Gallery program, Arcega has been rooting around in the museum's extensive Oceanic collections, creating new display contexts that highlight colonialization and the ensuing cross-cultural visual influences. Serious stuff, but Arcega's sure to imbue it with incisive wit.
Oct. 6, 2007Jan. 20, 2008. De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF. (415) 750-3614, www.thinker.org/deyoung
4. "© MURAKAMI" Los Angeles is not such a long haul to stop you from getting a look at this humongous homage to the Japanese artist, who arguably comes closest to carrying Andy Warhol's torch. Takeshi Murakami's got his own factory and corporate ID, KaiKai Kiki, and with it he's produced a sprawling range of licensed characters, sexualized manga heroes, art business strategies, and a brand-new giant self-portrait as Buddha, all of which will be included in this show, organized by Paul Schimmel, the curating impresario who brought us the notorious art spectacles "Helter Skelter" and "Ecstasy."
Oct. 29, 2007Feb. 11, 2008. Geffen Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, 152 N. Central, LA.