Best in show

The Year in Visual Arts 2008

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; 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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