Electric truth

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: 10 strong currents within Bay Area fall visual arts
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Beatriz Milhazes, Mega Box

johnny@sfbg.com

1. New wave of California painting My thoughts on the topic are still percoutf8g, but it will soon be time to take on the inspiring subject of new California painters. Amanda Kirkhuff's superb oil portrait of Lorena Bobbitt, currently up at [2nd Floor Projects], is one touchstone. Neil Ledoux's brown invocations at Silverman Gallery earlier this year is another. The next few months bring a blitz of lively, original paintings. Brendan Lott serves up ugly-beautiful America. (Oct.-17-Nov. 14, Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, www.baerridgway.com) Alika Cooper continues her film femme fatale fascination with some Farrah. (Sept. 3-Oct. 17, Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art, www.wolfecontemporary.com) Kim Cogan pictures San Francisco. (September, Hespe Gallery, www.hespe.com) Nancy Chan sets friends floating in space and Matt Momchilov confronts weird normality head on. (Sept. 11-Oct. 17, Eleanor Harwood, www.eleanorharwood.com) But most of all, I'm looking forward to Conrad Ruiz's sure-to-be-orgasmic debut SF solo show. (Dec. 11-Jan. 23, 2010; Silverman Gallery, www.silverman-gallery.com)

2. "When Lives Become Form: Contemporary Brazilian Art, 1960s to the Present" Tropicália can't be revived often enough, even if Os Mutantes have — shame, shame — soundtracked a McDonald's commercial. This survey, which includes fashion and architecture in addition to visual art and music, has been traveling the globe. Finally, SF gets a chance to see the movement Hlio Oiticica built. Nov. 5-Jan. 31, 2010; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, www.ybca.org

3. "Moby Dick" After last fall's show devoted to L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, CCA Wattis Institute's trilogy of shows inspired by novels goes fishing for Herman Melville's biggest catch. The range of artists taking part is impressive, with the likes of Tacita Dean placed next to local talents such as Colter Jacobsen. A number of works by filmmakers — including Buster Keaton, Jean Painlevé, Peter Hutton, and Kenneth Anger — are on deck. Sept. 22-Dec. 12, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, www.wattis.org

4. "On View: Candice Breitz" A working class hero is something to be. Breitz's video portrait of 25 John Lennon fans singing along to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (Apple/EMI, 1970) sounds derivative of Phil Collins' karaoke vids of Smiths fans, but in pop, no ideas are original, and all ideas are meant to be stolen and transformed. Plus the musical source is so damn good. A side video, 2005's Mother — the title of one of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band's best songs — mines cinema. Oct. 1-Dec. 20, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, www.sfmoma.org

5. "Wonderland" Lance Fung's curatorial idea to bring together 52 artists (43 from San Francisco and nine from other countries) for 10 site-specific projects in the Tenderloin has greater potential than any standard museum or gallery show. Oct. 17-Nov. 14, various sites, www.wonderlandshow.org

6. Photography Decades of work by an autodidact who learned from Warhol, studied under Irving Penn and at least briefly influenced Larry Clark comes together in "Ari Marcopoulos: Within Arm's Reach," Marcopoulos's first midcareer survey (Sept. 23-Feb.

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