Matt Sussman

Slick

San Francisco plays host to three different art fairs this week

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"Surface, surface, surface." Patrick Bateman' pithy summation of the dominant aesthetic of his times in American Psycho could easily serve as a subtitle for Takeshi Murata's colorful still lifes currently hanging at Ratio 3 (Murata's computer animated short, I, Popeye, which plays in the gallery's backroom, merits less discussion despite its gallows humor).Read more »

The long goodbye

YSL's legacy looms large in L'amour fou

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arts@sfbg.com

Pierre Thoretton's documentary L'amour fou opens with two clips of men bidding farewell. The first, from 2002, is of the French-Algerian couturier Yves Saint Laurent announcing his retirement in a moving and emotional speech worthy of his favorite writer Marcel Proust. The second is of Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's longtime business partner and former lover, eulogizing his departed friend at the designer's memorial service six years later.Read more »

TV eye

Anxiety of influence and smudged portraiture at CCA and Romer Young 

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL In 1976 artist Clive Robertson reflected on a performance he gave that same year, in which he dressed up as and restaged pieces by the famous postwar German performance artist Joseph Beuys. "We have to adapt legends so that they become portable and can fit into our pockets," he wrote. "Unfortunately for the artist, that is the fight we label history."Read more »

A bang and a whimper

A weird future awaits in End of Animal and other Kafka-inspired films

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arts@sfbg.com

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Science fiction's open secret is that it has never really been about the future. As William Gibson explained to an interviewer in 2007, echoing earlier genre criticism by writers such as Samuel R. Delany and Joanna Russ, science fiction is, at its heart, "speculative fiction, but you don't really have the future to work with, so you are always working with history and with the present."Read more »

All that glitters

Jamie Vasta updates Caravaggio for the literary queer

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL What happens to appropriation after camp? That's the intriguing question posed and answered by Jamie Vasta's glitzy and technically impressive homage to late 16th- and early 17th-century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, currently hanging at Patricia Sweetow.Read more »

The joy of life

Bill Cunningham New York captures a reticent master at work 

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM To say that Bill Cunningham, the 82-year old New York Times photographer, has made documenting how New Yorkers dress his life's work would be an understatement. To be sure, Cunningham's two decades-old Sunday Times columns — "On the Street," which tracks street-fashion, and "Evening Hours," which covers the charity gala circuit — are about the clothes. And, my, what clothes they are.Read more »

Exercises in style

Former SF resident Will Yackulic explores painting in a new show at Gregory Lind, while Camilla Newhagen sculpts fabric at Jack Fischer

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arts@sfbg,com

HAIRY EYEBALL Will Yackulic's return to painting has none of the grandiosity or pretension that the phrase "return to painting" might suggest. Rather, Yackulic's abstract canvases at Gregory Lind offer a contained (one might say modest, even, as each rectangle measures in the neighborhood of 144 square inches) but no less exhilarating exploration of the tension between the two qualities of his work that are so perfectly pinpointed by the show's title, "Precision and Precarity."Read more »

Touching from a distance

Song Dong's work at YBCA radiates an electric current of emotions

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL "Art enables us to meet my parents again after they have departed," the contemporary Chinese artist Song Dong says in a statement that introduces his current show at Yerba Buena Center of the Arts. "In my art, they have never been away, and will live with us forever. I think they might still be worrying about our children and us. I wanted to have an exhibition where we would bring them back to us and tell them, 'Dad and Mom, don't worry about us, we are all well.' "Read more »

By demons driven

San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival's spooky-shocks retrospective

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The unseen enemy

HAIRY EYEBALL: Trevor Paglen photographs the invisible, and Deva Graf sculpts contemplation

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Trevor Paglen's photography has always been about making the unseen visible. His luminous chromogenic prints unsettlingly reveal that the machinery of war and surveillance controlled by the military-industrial complex is more often than not hiding from plain sight; one need only have the right high-powered lens to gaze back.Read more »