The bottom line, though, is that in the present model of international art, change is driven by the marketplace, and these institutional spaces exist outside the commercial gallery arena that makes certain cities more visible art hubs than others.
There was, however, movement in the local commercial realm. Catherine Clark broke from 49 Geary to open a Chelsea-style space in the shadow of SFMOMA. Ratio 3 unveiled a surprisingly large and cannily designed new space near 14th and Valencia streets, not far from Jack Hanley Gallery's two spots on Valencia (another recently debuted in New York) and Southern Exposure's just-opened second temporary site. Combined with other galleries nearby Intersection for the Arts, Needles and Pens, Adobe Books, etc. the neighborhood could be turning into a destination alternative to the exhibition spaces on the first block of Geary. The Dogpatch neighborhood shows promise of becoming another art zone with the ambitious Silverman, Ping Pong, and Ampersand galleries, which have all been staging interesting shows, though the area is still a bit under the radar.
All said, we're at a transitional moment, and forward thinking seems in order. The year ahead offers huge potential for new faces, directions, and already scheduled programs at many of the aforementioned venues. I'm anticipating the Gilbert and George show at the de Young Museum, Lee Friedlander at SFMOMA, and a Paul McCarthy project at the Wattis, as well as the 2008 openings of the California Academy of Sciences and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. All provide plenty reason to stick around. *
GLEN HELFAND'S TOP 10
The following exhibitions, events, and films enthralled me with their winning combinations of joy, originality, and serious subtext.
Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal's Ten Chi, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
The Book of Shadows," Fraenkel Gallery
Liz Larner's lecture, San Francisco Art Institute
"© Murakami," Geffen Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Mitzi Pederson's "Unlet Me Go," Ratio 3
Ratatouille, directed by Brad Bird
"A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s," Berkeley Art Museum
"Rudolf Stingel" Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Unknown Forces installation, REDCAT, Los Angeles, and his film Syndromes and a Century