Best in show

The Year in Visual Arts 2008
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YEAR IN REVIEW The time is right to pay tribute to the Bay Area's artists and galleries. Without further ado, here's an alphabetical guide to 2008's delights.

A is for the amazing SF art opening section at www.artbusiness.com; and for Ryan Alexiev, whose "Land of a Million Cereals," at Mission 17, hit Larry King and Damien Hirst with sugary comedy

B is Todd Bura, whose "Misfits" at Triple Base used minimalism to make one see things anew; Jonathan Burstein, whose "Visage" at Patricia Sweetow Gallery turned museum recycling into the year's best portraiture; and Luke Butler, whose "Invasion," at [2nd floor projects] tickled with Spock landscapes and Republican presidential beefcake

C is for Victor Cartagena, "The Invisible Nation," at Galeria de la Raza; Julie Chang, "Ox-herding," at Hosfelt Gallery; Ryan Coffey, "Recent Works," at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery

D is for Lauren DiCioccio, threading through the death of the newspaper era in "Lauren DiCioccio, Aliza Lelah," at Jack Fischer Gallery; and Emory Douglas, making his own activist news in "The Long Memory: Works Past and Present," at Babylon Falling

E is for David Enos, Frank Haines, and Wayne Smith, pronouncing "Zen With a Lisp," at [2nd floor projects]; and 871 Fine Arts, the Bay's best art books, now at a new site.

F is for Matt Furie and his "Heads," at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery; and "Nature Freak," at Jack Fischer Gallery

G is for the Great Tortilla Conspiracy, who — with help from a Paris Hilton Endowment for the Tortilla Arts — served up "Tortilla Art for the 21st Century," at SomArts Gallery

H is for Jay Howell, who teamed up with Matt Furie for Receiver Gallery's "Return to Innocence," and brought curatorial goodness to 111 Minna

I is for inventiveness

J is for Bill Jenkins, whose self-titled show at Jancar Jones Gallery was the understatement of the year; and Ian Johnson, whose "Other Voices/Other Rooms" turned jazz into color bursts at Park Life

K is for the brother duo George and Mike Kuchar, presenting dinosaur and dog love via "paintingsdrawingspaintingsdrawingspaintings," at [2nd floor projects]

L is for Ruth Laskey, and the amazing intricacy of her "7 Weavings," at Ratio 3; and Frank Lyon and David Wilson, "Enter the Center," at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

M is for Dave Muller, " Medium (Six Times,)" at Anthony Meier Fine Arts

N is for nothing

O is for Open Studios

P is for Nathan Phelps, turning a corner from white to black with "The Neti Project," at 20 GOTO 10 Gallery

Q is for Queen's Nails Annex, which saw the future with Maximo Gonzalez's "Recession: The Alternative Economies of Maximo Gonzalez."

R is for onetime Bay Area queer punk Gwenaël Rattke, bringing collage back with "Nouveau Système," at Ping Pong Gallery; and Lordy Rodriguez, blasting us with color in "201 Drawings," at Hosfelt Gallery

S is for Bott Scarry, tweaking op art and his name with "Weezing the Juice," at CCRider

T is for David Tomb, heeding the call of the wild with the beautiful paintings of "Birds of the Sierra Madre," at Electric Works

U is for underground art that you keep at home and show only to friends

V is for Jacques Villegle, whose "Decollage from 1965-2006" brought the art of torn posters to Modernism Gallery

W is for William T.

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