We place our bets on the best gallery and museum shows this fall
1. Billy Childish Who can fathom the mind of a Childish? The insanely productive garage rock legend carves out a space in yet another medium, exhibiting the woodcuts and paintings that inspired him to cofound the stuckism art movement, a figurative response to the Charles Saatchichampioned so-called Young British Artists.
Sept. 530. Reception Sept. 5. Needles and Pens, 3253 16th St., SF. (415) 255-1534, www.needles-pens.com 
2. "American Cuisine" To serve man? Ramekon O'Arwisters riffs on the notion that people of color will be dished at America's last supper, cooking up sculpture and other pieces that examine the cultural codes crammed into Oreos, watermelons, bananas, and other loaded comestibles.
Sept. 14Oct. 14. Luggage Store Annex, 509 Ellis, SF. (415) 255-5971, www.luggagestoregallery.org 
3. "Cliff Hengst and Scott Hewicker: S.A.N.E." The acronym may stand for the head-scratching "something, anything, nothing, everything," but we can all relate to the bad trips, group gropes, and ritualized get-downs of psychedelic flip-outs both yesterday and today. Those are the focus, filtered through '60s exploitation flicks, of Hewicker's paintings and videos, while Hengst relies on handmade signs and wall drawings to explore other unhinged hues. In conjunction with the exhibit, the duo have also put together Good Times: Bad Trips (Gallery 16 Editions), a volume of ill-fated acid-gobbling accounts.
Sept. 14Nov. 3. Reception Sept. 14. Gallery 16, 501 Third St., SF. (415) 626-7495, urbandigitalcolor.com/gallery16/galleryframe.html
4. "John Slepian: Caged" Is it an alien hedgehog or some hairy displaced and dismembered body part? The onetime San Francisco Art Institute instructor's interactive sculpture delves into what makes us feel human and how we identify with the, ugh, other.
Nov. 29, 2007Jan. 5, 2008. Catharine Clark, 150 Minna, SF. (415) 399-1439, www.cclarkgallery.com 
5. Maria Forde Keep your peepers peeled for this follow-up to the San Francisco artist's 2006 solo show, "A Strange 31 Years," which comprised 32 oils based on each pop culturedappled year of her life.
Dec. 122. Little Tree Gallery, 3412 22nd St., SF. (415) 643-4929, www.littletreegallery.com 
1. "Bruce Conner and James Rosen" Multimedia artist and filmmaker Conner will show a number of highly detailed drawings, contrasting with Rosen's take on the often-religious paintings of old masters.
Oct. 31Nov. 24. Gallery Paule Anglim, 14 Geary, SF. (415) 433-1501, www.gallerypauleanglim.com 
2. "Something Was There: Early Work by Diane Arbus" An exhibition of more than 60 prints highlights the otherworldly, haunting world of Diane Arbus, capturing her early years, from 1956 to 1962.
Sept. 6Oct. 27. Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary, SF. (415) 981-2661, www.fraenkelgallery.com 
3. "Will Rogan" The artist's photographs work an uncanny magic as deceptively everyday subjects are choreographed in a poignant, poetic way.
Oct. 4Nov. 3. Jack Hanley Gallery, 395 Valencia, SF. (415) 522-1623, www.jackhanley.com 
The contemporary art world tends to get all academic and serious on us, so it's interesting to note that a good number of fall gallery and museum offerings mine colorful, dreamy realms of spectacle, luxury, and humor a welcome respite from all the truly problematic shit going on out there.
1. "Libby Black: The Past Is Never Where You Think You Left It" This Goldie winner may have left San Francisco for her home state of Texas, but the move has served to sharpen her handmade take on the LVMH luxury empire. Black's new work includes a Louis Vuitton disaster-center cot, complete with deluxe valise and accessories that stow perfectly underneath, and a series of paintings that exude the pansexual myths of the West as found in high-fashion adverts. It's the perfect prelude to the Union Square opening of the retail dream house, Barneys New York, this fall.
Sept. 6Oct. 27. Reception Sept. 6. Heather Marx Gallery, 77 Geary, SF. (415) 627-9111, www.heathermarxgallery.com 
2. "Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson" and "Jeff Wall" Fitting factoid: Danish artist Eliasson, the subject of a San Francisco Museum of Modern Artorganized survey, was actually commissioned by Louis Vuitton to create its 2006 Christmas windows. The works that constitute this much-anticipated show are large scale and immersive and use water, light, and scent to generate natural phenomena and delightful shifts in perception. We're looking forward to the tunnel that will wrap around the fifth-floor catwalk. A related exhibition is a showcase for Eliasson's BMW-sponsored hydrogen-fueled race car enmeshed in a skin of stainless steel and ice. If you need something with a different kind of theory, check out SFMOMA's other big fall exhibit, a major survey of Wall's glamorously, cinematically politicized light boxmounted photographs, co-organized by SFMOMA director Neil Benezra.
"Take Your Time" runs Sept. 8, 2007Feb. 24, 2008; "Jeff Wall" runs Oct. 27, 2007<\d>Jan. 27, 2008. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org 
3. "Michael Arcega: Homing Pidgin" Bay Area artist Arcega's stock in trade is a smooth fusion of easily accessible materials (his infamous manila folder galleon) and politically barbed pun (it was called Conquistadork). As part of the de Young's Connections Gallery program, Arcega has been rooting around in the museum's extensive Oceanic collections, creating new display contexts that highlight colonialization and the ensuing cross-cultural visual influences. Serious stuff, but Arcega's sure to imbue it with incisive wit.
Oct. 6, 2007Jan. 20, 2008. De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF. (415) 750-3614, www.thinker.org/deyoung 
4. "© MURAKAMI" Los Angeles is not such a long haul to stop you from getting a look at this humongous homage to the Japanese artist, who arguably comes closest to carrying Andy Warhol's torch. Takeshi Murakami's got his own factory and corporate ID, KaiKai Kiki, and with it he's produced a sprawling range of licensed characters, sexualized manga heroes, art business strategies, and a brand-new giant self-portrait as Buddha, all of which will be included in this show, organized by Paul Schimmel, the curating impresario who brought us the notorious art spectacles "Helter Skelter" and "Ecstasy."
Oct. 29, 2007Feb. 11, 2008. Geffen Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, 152 N. Central, LA. (213) 621-1741, www.moca-la.org/museum/moca_geffen.php ?
1. Open Studios Yes, the museums and even some smaller spaces have epic shows planned this fall. But are any of these blockbusters as truly expansive as Open Studios, an event that's also closer to the everyday creation of art in the city than any other? Look for an interview in our Pixel Vision blog with ArtSpan executive director Therese Martin, whose vision includes activist elements and who is bringing new facets to Open Studios.
Oct. 6Nov. 4. Throughout San Francisco. (415) 861-9838, www.artspan.org 
2. "Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination" and "Douglas Gordon: Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work from About 1992 until Now" These neighboring shows should illustrate waves in the flux between film and video and spark discord and discourse about their connections to museum space. Obviously, Cornell's legacy is broader and richer than such concerns as the rather opaque name of his exhibition hints, maybe? As for Gordon, 24 Hour Psycho is here.
"Joseph Cornell" runs Oct. 6, 2007Jan. 6, 2008; "Douglas Gordon" runs Oct. 27, 2007<\d>Feb. 24, 2008. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org 
3. "Capp Street Project: Mario Ybarra Jr." SoCal contemporary artist Ybarra has made a metamural for our city, the result of intensive research into the history of murals and the history of the Bay Area. I can't wait to see it.
4. "The Fox Sisters Crack Their Toes" Paintings that use glitter and beauty products as main ingredients are a special San Francisco treat, thanks to the polish nail polish, that is flair, and talent of Rodney O'Neal Austin and the late Jerome Caja. Now Jamie Vasta adds ambiguity to the practice; you'd have to be looking beneath the sparkle to figure out she's butch and, in some cases, to realize that she's even using something other than traditional ingredients.
Nov. 1Dec. 15. Patricia Sweetow Gallery, 77 Geary, mezzanine, SF. (415) 788-5126, www.patriciasweetowgallery.com 
5. "James D. Phelan Art Award in Photography" This year's winners include Walt Odets. As a teen, Odets had the guts to photograph family friend Jean Renoir and the observant instinct required to do an excellent job of it. Today he discovers surprising planes of vision, details, and passages within everyday settings.
Oct. 23Nov. 17. SF Camerawork, 657 Mission, second floor, SF. (415) 512-2020, www.sfcamerawork.org 
1. "There Is Always a Machine Between Us" Love your laptop more than your boyfriend? Logging on more than getting off? Salvage your relationship and sharpen your carpal-tunnel vision at this exhibition of interactive works inspired by and sourced from the Internet, where Chechen secessionists, mail-order brides, hand lickers, and Morrissey-mad conspiracy theorists meet the ghosts of David Wojnarowicz and Princess Di.
Sept. 6Nov. 17. SF Camerawork, 657 Mission, second floor, SF. (415) 512-2020, www.sfcamerawork.org 
2. "Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson" From some freezing fjord located in the dreamland between Vespertine and Volta comes Icelandic multimedia artist Eliasson, whose immersive installations play with temperature, moisture, and light to icy-hot effect. This ambitious retrospective the artist's first major US show promises to transform SFMOMA's pristine galleries into hallucinatory zones of global warming and feverish desire.
Sept. 8, 2007Feb. 24, 2008. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org 
3. "Hiroshi Sugimoto: History of History" A welcome follow-up to this summer's spectacular Sugimoto retrospective at the de Young, this savvy exhibition juxtaposes the Japanese artist's deceptively minimalist photographs with prehistoric fossils and 15th-century religious artifacts from his personal collection. Will this be a history of progress, faith, or violence?
Oct. 12, 2007Jan. 6, 2008. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin, SF. (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org 
4. "Biotechnique" Featuring a hothouse of hydroponic organisms, semiliving objects, mad-professor lab equipment, bacteria paintings, easy-being-green gizmos, and Silicon Valley inventions, the creepy-crawly conceptual "Biotechnique" digs beneath the topsoil of technology to unearth decidedly unnatural growths and cultures. Or, in the words of tennis racket<\d>wielding arachnophobe Alvy Singer, "We're talking major spider."
Oct. 26, 2007Jan. 6, 2008. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. (415) 978-2700, ybca.org
5. "Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at Versailles" Froufrou flourishes pile up like buttery petits fours in this frilly, silly, splendid re-creation of Kirsten Dunst's shopaholic alter ego's Versailles getaway. Queeny interior decorators, slip on your pretty pink pumps, eat cake, and prepare to swoon.
Nov. 17, 2007Feb. 17, 2008. California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park (near 34th Ave. and Clement), SF. (415) 750-3600, www.thinker.org/legion