Stacy Martin

Manufacturing Frida

To see 'Frida Kahlo' at the SF MOMA is to know her?
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REVIEW Though overshadowed during her lifetime by her famous muralist husband Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo is one of many examples of driven artists who achieved their icon status posthumously. And, like other historical figures with life stories loaded with tragedy, Kahlo underwent her share of suffering, which makes for great book sales and dramatic film plots. Read more »

Doing it naturally

Bay Area Now: Donald Fortescue And Lawrence Labianca take to the tides
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Donald Fortescue and Lawrence LaBianca's "Bay Area Now 5" work — jokingly referred to earlier this month as the "Top Secret Oyster Project" — is not just about the creation of a well-crafted object. The piece also deals with the current state of San Francisco Bay's wildlife, tides, and geography. Read more »

Timothy Horn: Bitter Suite

Sparkling with sugar crystals and enormous glass-blown forms
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REVIEW At some point this summer, you'll likely be asked — or roped into — accompanying visitors to see the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the de Young Museum. It's a pretty series of darkened rooms with enormous blown glass forms, lit to show off a floorshow of colors and whimsical shapes. There's nothing conceptually difficult or politically offensive in this Willy Wonka–scale display. Read more »

"Matt Gil: Reel to Real"

A nonstop catwalk of coffee-tabletop-size ceramic forms parading in a loop
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REVIEW Remember those jazzy Raymond Scott tunes that accompanied many Depression–era Bugs Bunny cartoons? The rhythmic tinkling of the xylophone, the metronome and piano one-two-ing, while the trumpets and clarinets wah-wahed to our wise-ass rabbit scrambling to free himself from the inner workings of a factory. Those images merged Technicolor fantasy and swinging wackiness to the dumb, impersonal nature of mass production, a cartoonish combo that comes to mind when entering Matt Gil's exhibition at the Marx and Zavattero Gallery. Read more »

"You Make Me Make You"

Suzanne Husky documents life in huggable 3-D
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REVIEW We photograph stuff and immediately pass it on to everyone who has Internet access. We ingest news events recorded only moments ago — and expect information on the next event even before it has completely unfolded. Artist Suzanne Husky is also driven to document what is happening right now: from social concerns to what she witnesses in her community. But she doesn't give it to us flat, like so much documentation via electronic media. Read more »

"Written on Spiders"

Berlin's Starship collective lands on all eights
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REVIEW From this side of the planet, as many in the American art world see it, Berlin is currently the art world's utopia. Things are happening there: experimentation and funding can be had, as well as cheap studios, alternative-gallery spaces, and thriving collectives galore. But this scene didn't just fall from the sky like a space virus and infect the German capital in the past few years. It's been brewing for some time. One collective, known as a hub that links dozens of contemporary German artists, is Starship. Read more »

"Tree Show IV"

Buy stuff! Save forests!
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PREVIEW In Shel Silverstein's 1964 classic book, The Giving Tree (HarperCollins), a self-sacrificing tree hands itself off to a boy — surrendering its shade and its lumber — until it ultimately ends up just a stump for the now-old man to sit on and die. Read more »

Mighty morphin' power ranger

Christian Maychack's mutating pieces challenge the boundaries of time, space, physics
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REVIEW Those of us who got to see the eastbound I-580 freeway connector overpass right after it was charbroiled by that teetering gas tanker truck understand the weirdness of witnessing a thing so hefty and solid transformed into something much like melted cheese sliding off a pizza slice. Read more »

Air play

The natural history of Bay Area artist Ruth Asawa
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REVIEW There is something about "The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air," the de Young Museum's current retrospective of Ruth Asawa's work, that initially feels a bit like a natural history museum display. The darkened space, punctuated with spotlights, showcases Asawa's floating woven wire forms, which look like giant representations of diatoms or plankton. Read more »

They rule — and drool

Clown cars riddle the work of leonardogillesfleur
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REVIEW It may sound like a toast at a wedding reception, but in order to have some measure of success in a collaborative project, there has to be an agreement between the parties involving respect, patience, and a dose of humor. The opposite would be when a couple filing for divorce cites "irreconcilable differences." For the collaborative art team leonardogillesfleur (Leonardo Giacomuzzo and Gilles-fleur Boutry), this phrase is also the clever title of their recent body of work currently on exhibit at Catharine Clark Gallery. Read more »