Missing pieces

Gallery 16's "These Are the People in Your Neighborhood" defined by theft and irony

NEWS/REVIEW At this point, any review of Gallery 16's fifteenth anniversary show "These Are the People in Your Neighborhood" must revolve around its missing pieces. On the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 15, two paintings by Margaret Kilgallen were stolen. Of the 68 works on display, they were among only a handful not for sale. When one takes the exhibition's layout into consideration, it appears that Untitled and Easy — a pair of small enamel-on-wood works that Kilgallen had given to gallery owner Griff Williams — were part of a behind-your-back theft.

Rough ironies are left in their wake. The first is the friendly title of the exhibition itself. "Please stop stealing the stemware," asks one page of Tucker Nichols' line-drawing zine Fifteen Yrs Give or Take: A Commemorative Guide to Gallery 16. "One bad day in like 15 years," says another. With a show by Lydia Fong reaching the end of its run in San Francisco, and Barry McGee (whose work has also been stolen: check out a Luggage Store interview in an old issue of ANP Quarterly) one of the main focuses of a recent Artforum issue dedicated to "Art and its Markets," the Kilgallen theft is a high-priced mystery.

What remains at Gallery 16? For starters, I like: Michelle Grabner's update of op art's love affair with the circle; Gay Outlaw giving form to inversion with uncharacteristically Mission-like materials; a number of unassumingly beautiful watercolors by Cliff Hengst; Jim Isermann's brash '90s version of the understated loom pieces Ruth Laskey is making today; Alice Shaw's hypnotic lenticular photos; Lauren Davies' Dirtballs with Snow (a deal at $350 each); the Jerome Caja-eseque shrinky dink humor of Andrew Romanoff's Ipod Sucks Brain Out; and Alex Zecca's and Wayne Smith's amazing ink-on-paper screens or patterns.

Regarding the Kilgallen pieces, here's a message from Gallery 16's Vanessa Blaikie and Griff Williams: "There is very little of Margaret's original work out there for sale, if any, and so we are asking that everyone please keep their eyes and ears open with respect to these two works. Should they resurface for sale, or should you see these in a private residence, we ask that you please contact us immediately. Any information would be much appreciated."

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD Through Nov. 7. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Gallery 16, 501 Third St., SF. (415) 626-7495, www.gallery16.com

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