Visual Art

This old house

"3020 Laguna Street in Exitum" transforms a doomed Cow Hollow domicile into nine site-specific artworks

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HAIRY EYEBALL Aside from its prime Cow Hollow location, the modest single floor, above-garage residence at 3020 Laguna Street is a largely unremarkable piece of real estate. Over its 150-year existence it has served as a home to people now forgotten, any relations of its last known occupants having cut all ties to this particular place. What's left is the building itself, which, judging from its dingy stucco exterior and the tidy beaver dam of exposed lath covering what had been a bay window, looks as if it has an imminent appointment with the wrecking ball.Read more »

Riding the 'Dark Wave': Jay Howell comes home for a zine release

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Jay Howell may have left us for the palm trees in Silverlake, but that doesn’t mean that he’s gone forever. 

You may know Howell for his zine Punks Git Cut, his drawings of people with neon faces on vintage book pages, or as that really tall guy you always used to see in the coffeeshop. Upon moving to sunny (and smoggy) Los Angeles, Howell has gotten a car, finished up doing the character development for Bob’s Burgers, and is currently working as the art director for a show on Nickelodeon. He returns to San Francisco on Sat/18 for an art show at Fecal Face Dot Gallery to celebrate the release of his new zine The Dark Wave -- a 50-page comic book about the lead singer of a death metal band and his existential journey to the ocean. Read more »

Life after the fall: John Felix Arnold's post-apocalyptic musical comic book art

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Artist, illustrator, and graphic designer John Felix Arnold III lived his childhood in movement. His parents were both professional dancers and they kept the family mobile, relocating back and forth from Durham, North Caroline to Brooklyn, New York. While Arnold did not inherit a passion for dance, he was inspired by his mother and father's kinesthetic sensibilities and he grew into a visual artist.

The February 4 opening of “The Love of All Above,” his new solo show, featured musical performances by Daylight Curfew, Kool Kid Kreyola, and Him Downstairs -- a prime example of Arnold’s mixing of media and his obvious passion for the values inculcated by a deeply creative family. The musical performances took place on a funky altar composed of found objects built by Arnold, which will be on view as part of the exhibit. Read more »

This art will move you: 1AM SF Gallery's homage to truck graffiti

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“Graffiti is anti-corporation,” says Optimist, a long time Bay Area street artist in a Guardian phone interview. “Whereas advertisements on billboards are trying to sell you something, graffiti is trying to open your eyes to see who else is alive out there.” Spurred by this love of street art, Optimist partnered up with fellow street artist Plantrees to curate “Truck Show SF,” a group show which opens at 1AM SF gallery on Fri/10. Read more »

The Performant: Science, Honor, Psychogeography

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The Phenomenauts and Alley Cat Books shoot for the moon.

Trapped in a world they didn’t create, the spacecraft-garage band known to us as The Phenomenauts must surely come from a more evolved time and place, as evidenced by the spiffiness of their natty uniforms -- and the electric jolt of their stage shows. As refinement and heroism (the band motto is “Science and Honor”) are qualities in tragically short supply among your run-of-the-mill rock groups, bands which contain both are bound to stand out, with or without the additions of attention-grabbing technical flourishes such as pinpoint lasers, billows of stage fog, and the custom-built Streamerator 2000, which shoots festive streamers of toilet paper out onto the frenetic crowd. Speaking of frenetic, I love a band that can make San Franciscans dance as if possessed by dervishes with hyperkinesis. For that feat alone, they deserve an intergalactic medal for courage in the face of cosmic indifference.

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Headshots for the homeless? Photographer Joe Ramos connects art and social work

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Images of homelessness are not hard to come by. These scenes are often pathetic, clichéd. In the worst cases, the homeless are portrayed as inhuman heaps of blanket and facial disfigurement, people reduced to their time spent sleeping on the streets or begging for money. But in “Acknowledged,” photographer Joe Ramos’ exhibit at the Main Library that opens Sat/28, unhoused subjects are shown in a way that’s truly radical: as people just like us. Read more »

Abstract truth

Navigating an art movement — and a local gallery's history — in "Surrealism: New Worlds"

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VISUAL ART A museum-quality show in terms of ambition and achievement, "Surrealism: New Worlds" fleshes out a forgotten, if not effaced, chapter in American art history, even as it incidentally tells the story of the gallery showing it.Read more »

Wall played

Art Basel take two: Street art in Wynwood, it's complicated

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Also in this issue, Guardian writer Matt Sussman on who got the hype -- and who earned it -- in the galleries at Art Basel Miami 2011Read more »

What recession?

Art Basel Miami, take one: Buzz outflashed protest at this year's beachside art fair

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The Performant: Please appropriate me

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Bryan Boyce and Negativwobblyland pump up the culture jams at L@te

Nighttime at the Berkeley Art Museum. An undercurrent of glee emanating from the patrons, as with a roomful of children up past their bedtimes. Enhancing the playground vibe, a giant orange mountain of rippling wooden waves designed by Thom Faulders, squats in the middle of the room, serving as seating for the assembled crowd, as well as pre-show entertainment as we scramble up its sides.

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