Hairy Eyeball

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Not forgotten

The SF Arts Commission Gallery's "Afghanistan in 4 Frames" brings together images from a quartet of photographers. SFMOMA's mammoth exhibition "Exposed" errs on the side of excess.

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL Around 500 people a day pass through the long corridor that bisects San Francisco City Hall's lower level: supervisors dashing to the café for a quick lunch; tour groups of elementary school children; aides making a post office run; the occasional member of a wedding party looking for the bathroom.Read more »

Every little star

Eva Hesse is showcased at Berkeley Art Museum, while Katy Grannan brings the streets to Fraenkel Gallery
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HAIRY EYEBALL In 1979, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive received a generous and somewhat unusual gift from the sister of the late German-born, pioneering American sculptor Eva Hesse: an assortment of small experimental works, made by Hesse herself, in materials such as latex, cloth, wax, fiberglass, wire mesh, and masking tape. What made these objects so unusual was their very indeterminacy. Should they be thought of as proper Hesse pieces? Read more »

La Frontera

Hairy Eyeball: Tracey Snelling's 10-year retrospective at Rena Bransten haunts the edge of town, while Max Cole's show at Haines gets geological

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL Walking through Tracey Snelling's 10-year survey at Rena Bransten brings to mind the famous opening tracking shot of Orson Welles' 1958 noir Touch of Evil. For over three tension-ratcheting minutes Welles' camera — all swooping omniscience — takes in the garish sights and sounds of a tourist outpost along the U.S.-Mexico border as it tails an American car that, unbeknownst to the couple behind the wheel, has been planted with a bomb that's about to go off.Read more »

Coming attractions

Hey young (and more seasoned) art lovers -- here's some 2011 gallery musts

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL Welcome to 2011. It's a new dawn, it's a young decade, and I'm feeling good about the following shows worth eyeballing now or further down the line.

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Look forward in anger

YEAR IN ART: A firestorm of controversy in the larger art world -- but here in San Francisco, visions were clear and wide-ranging

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL/YEAR IN ART The year in art is ending on a note both sour and defiant. On Nov. 30, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough, caving to criticism voiced by conservative politicians and religious groups, ordered the removal of David Wojnarowicz's 1987 video A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture." It was a cowardly decision; one that ultimately has undermined the credibility of Clough and his institution.Read more »

SF Camerawork and YBCA do the right thing (Updated)

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Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before: a Washington DC art institution caves in to right wing politicians and conservative Christians calling for the removal of "controversial" work made by an openly gay artist. Read more »