From Kurt Schwitters' dwelling-consuming accretion The Merzbau to Tim Noble and Sue Webster's silhouette-casting garbage heaps, making art from the discard pile is by no means a new gesture. It can still be a potent one, though, as evinced by "Art at the Dump," a 20-year survey of the fruits of Recology's artist in residence program at Intersection for the Art's new gallery space in the historic San Francisco Chronicle building.Read more »
NOIR (AND NOT) FILM SERIES Like many of its hardboiled antiheros, film noir is a career criminal on the lam. Constantly eluding the clutches of the historically particular and categorically retentive, it's especially skilled at flying under the radar only to stealthily reappear years down the line. Just look at the number of times it has been sighted (as well as cited) since its initial appearance in postwar France, when critics first identified something particulier about the 1930s and '40s American films that filled Parisian cinemas.Read more »
FILMThe Kids Are Alright isn't the only film this summer that subtly skewers the suburban upper-middle class by following a seemingly well-adjusted family as they're thrown into crisis when a shadowy father figure attempts to enter their orbit. Only in the case of Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime, instead of a sperm donor, Dad is a convicted child molester.Read more »
It is an understatement to say that the work of Matthew Barney elicits strong reactions. Critics have alternately hailed him as "the most important American artist of his generation" (that's the New York Times' Michael Kimmelman) and complained of his art's Wagnerian grandiosity, needless inscrutability, pretentiousness, and icy perfection ("loveless" was one of the words the San Francisco Chronicle's Kenneth Baker used to describe "Drawing Restraint 9," Barney's 2006 show at SFMOMA).Read more »
FILM On the night of June 28, 1969, police embarked on what they thought would be a routine raid on a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village, the sleazy, Mafia-run Stonewall Inn. The ensuing three days of rioting — during which mostly young men and drag queens accustomed to being marginalized and hauled off to jail stood their ground and fought back — became what historian Lillian Faderman has called "the shot heard round the world" for LGBT activism: a spontaneous expression of street-level outrage that fueled the birth of a movement.Read more »
ART Let's start with the obvious: the massive art collection of Gap Inc. founders Doris and the late Don Fisher is by far one of the largest and most significant windfalls SFMOMA has received in its 75-year history. More important, the collection — which had primarily been viewable throughout the Gap's SF headquarters only by company employees and visiting tour groups — is finally being made accessible to the general public.Read more »
HAIRY EYEBALL Amanda Curreri wants you. Like the open-ended phrasing of its title, "Occupy the Empty," Curreri's second solo show at Ping Pong Gallery is both a basic statement of what an artist does within an exhibition space and a call to action soliciting the viewer to step in, step up, and take a stand. Or perhaps the phrase should be "take the stand," since, as the artist explained to me during a recent gallery visit, the arrangement of the installation's components roughly mirrors the layout of a courtroom.
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