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YEAR IN VISUAL ART: Can the various democratizations of 2011 art trickle up?

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Kathryn Vandyke's show, including "You Never Know til You Know," at Stephen Wirtz was a 2011 highlight


KATHYRN VANDYKE "PAINT" AT STEPHEN WIRTZ GALLERY, MAR. 16-APRIL 23

Who said non-representational collage was done for? VanDyke's colorful, mixed media mash-ups of paint and paper flaunted the grain of their materials and the elegance of their compositional logics with the disciplined flourish of a master flamenco dancer.

 

SFMOMA PUBLIC PROGRAMMING

Whereas SFMOMA's track record in regard to exhibitions has been mixed this year (cheers to the recent Richard Serra and Francesa Woodman retrospectives; good riddance to the slog that was "Exposed"), its public programming has brought an invigorating mix of poets, musicians, performers, and audiences to the institution, making that word seem an awfully staid descriptor for a venue that has consistently hosted such unexpectedly engaging and fun events.

 

"BALENCIAGA AND SPAIN" AT THE DE YOUNG MUSEUM OF FINE ART, MAR. 26-JULY 4

The sculptural, late 1960s pieces in this quiet stunner of a show highlighted the influence of Spain's many forms of national costume upon its most gifted native sons, couturier Cristobal Balenciaga — and should shush the grousing of anyone upset over the rise of fashion and textile exhibits at major art institutions. To appropriate a nugget of praise once paid to Yves Saint Laurent, we can debate whether or not fashion is art until the cows come home, but there is no doubt that Balenciaga was an artist. Bring on the Gaultier!

 

DAVID IRELAND AT GALLERY PAULE ANGLIM, NOV. 2-26

Ireland's early '70s canvases of cement, dirt, and rock are slices of time, fragments of place. They are numinous, fragile reminders of being, as well one piece of the legacy of this late, great Bay Area artist.

 

PACIFIC STANDARD TIME, VARIOUS VENUES, LOS ANGELES

If you haven't already planned a weekend around the Getty's massive, multi-institution survey of postwar California art (www.pacificstandardtime.org), you owe it to yourself to head south ASAP. Many of the participating exhibits close in late January, so get!

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