Jennie Ottinger's last solo painting show at Johansson Projects, "ibid," presented an assortment of ghostly figures — ballerinas, nurses, schoolchildren, businessmen — lifted from found photographs. The less-is-more aesthetic of Ottinger's small oil and gouache canvases underscored the fact that, save for the recovered images used as source material, the everyday people depicted in them had long been lost to history.Read more »
VISUAL ART Going into "Huckleberry Finn," the final installment in the Wattis Institute's trilogy of group shows organized around canonical American novels, it is perhaps best to heed the notice Mark Twain places at the outset of the text from which this exhibit takes its name and inspiration: "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."Read more »
In her pieces, Jennifer Locke has, variously, jumped rope for 30 minutes in a full-body latex suit (cutting out a hole in the bottom afterward to drain out her accumulated sweat and urine); wrestled with a partner at the Berkeley Art Museum smeared in stage blood; covered herself in Elmer's glue, let it dry into a second skin, and then peeled it off; received a lap dance from a male stripper; and branded a fellow participant.Read more »
Five minutes into talking with Amanda Curreri over a slice and coffee at Mission Pie, I've agreed to take part in a piece she's working on as part of Shadowshop, the in-gallery artists' marketplace Stephanie Syjuco is organizing for SFMOMA's upcoming survey of work made in the past decade.
"It's called Afghanistan Insert," Curreri explains, speaking in the measured fashion of someone who carefully considers her words. "I'm trying to insert Afghanistan into SFMOMA and into San Francisco's art community."Read more »
HAIRY EYEBALL In a characteristically poetic passage within 1980's Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes describes early cameras, given their cabinet-like appearance and precise mechanical innards, as "clocks for seeing." I couldn't shake the phrase while taking in Will Rogan's "Stay Home," an ambiguous smile of a solo show composed of photographs and three-dimensional photographic collages at Altman Siegel.Read more »
MUSIC That old saw about how the Velvet Underground's first record may not have sold well but everyone who heard it went on to form their own band could also be said of Austrian composer/producer Christian Fennesz's 2001 release Endless Summer (Mego).Read more »
HAIRY EYEBALL The secret lives of teenagers aren't so secret. They're just password protected and might only be on view to a close circle of Facebook friends. Alternately, they might be lived via text message or on YouTube. Typically only the most sensational and tragic episodes involving wired teens seem to make the news pregnancy pacts, cyber bullying, suicides even if teenagers were having unprotected sex, harassing others and being harassed, or choosing to end their lives long before MySpace or smart phones.
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