Fall Arts Preview: We scope out the promising shows
•"The Wizard of Oz" Not much has changed since L. Frank Baum's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz debuted over a century ago and gave Americans something we still crave: escape to a fantastical land free of wicked witches. These days it's not the Emerald City that Dorothys everywhere are tripping toward but a place called "hope." The works in this group show curated by Jens Hoffmann, including more than 20 artists (Clare Rojas, Raymond Pettibon, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, et al.), were made either in response to the classic tale or relate to the story's many layered meanings.
Sept. 2Dec. 13. Reception Sept. 2. CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, 1111 Eighth St., SF. (415) 551-9210, www.wattis.org 
•"Vocabularies of Metaphor: More Stories" In this group show of works on paper highlighting deconstructed narratives, all but two of the 16 artists included are women one of Henry Darger's Vivian Girls drawings makes an appearance. "Vocabularies" is a chance to see how women are considering the figure female, male, and animal in a postnatural world, though this idea is not the exhibit's emphasis. Of note are Rachelle Sumpter's gauzy gouaches, Canadian Yuka Yamaguchi's dismembered turtles, and Pakistani Shahzia Sikander's nature-inspired pattern-making.
Sept. 6Oct. 18. Reception Sept. 6. Hosfelt Gallery, 430 Clementina, SF. (415) 495-5454, www.hosfeltgallery.com 
•California Academy of Sciences The mothership of scientific and sustainable nerdiness finally opens! This Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified facility includes a planetarium, swamp, rainforest, and a living roof. If you prefer your nature virtual, you can always hang out with the PenguinCam.
Big Bang opening gala Sept. 25; free to the public all day Sept. 27. 55 Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, SF. (415) 379-8000, www.calacademy.org 
•"Brought to Light: Photography and the Invisible, 1840-1900" Scientific photography of yesteryear is a healthy reminder of just how long we've been trying to discover everything that can possibly be discovered and recording it for posterity. More than 200 photographs, American and European, scientific and pseudoscientific.
Oct. 11Jan. 4, 2009. SFMOMA, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org 
•"The Gatherers: Greening Our Urban Spheres" Co-curated by Berin Golonu and independent curator Veronica Wiman of Sweden, this activist exhibition is intended to further the green dialogue through collaborations between artists and organizations, conversations with the public, and urban interventions.
Oct. 31Jan. 11, 2009. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. (415) 978-ARTS, www.ybca.org 
•"Barbara Holmes and Casey Logan" What a dump! The two artists' four-month residency climaxes with 3-D work inspired by and composed of salvaged material. Sculptor Holmes worked with wooden lattice to create a series of kaleidoscopic forms in assorted states of weatheredness, while Logan morphed musical gear and other detritus into pieces that meld with his fascination with science and fiction.
Sept. 2627. SF Recycling Art Studio, 503 Tunnel, SF. www.sfrecycling.com/AIR 
•"Nikki McClure" The graphic rep of Olympia, Wash.'s riot grrrl scene is undoubtedly best known for her bold, iconic paper cuts revolving around nature, motherhood, activism, and community. Music cover-art, illustrations, and books have all found a place in a vision grounded in simple gestures, uncontrived pleasures, and everyday labors.
OctoberNovember. Needles and Pens, 3253 16th St. SF. (415) 255-1534, www.needles-pens.com 
•"Outpost" Exploding the imaginary and futuristic dimensions of architecture, "Outpost" collects the apocalyptic planes and jagged rubble of Bay Area sculptor David Hamill and the dazzling grids and Spirograph-esque constructs of New York City artist Jeff Konigsberg.
Sept. 5Oct. 18. Reception Sept. 5. Johansson Projects 2300 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 999-9140, johanssonprojects.net
•"Hilary Pecis" Folktronica, meet your maker: the SF artist creates her downright psychedelic panoramas by layering drawings with fragments sliced from glossy magazines. Pecis was also recently named as a recipient of the 2008 Murphy and Cadogan Fellowships in the Fine Arts and will be showcased at SF Arts Commission Gallery.
Sept. 6-26. Reception Sept. 6. Receiver Gallery, 1415 Valencia, SF. (415) 550-RCVR, receivergallery.com. Also "Immediate Future: the 2008 Murphy and Cadogan Fellowships in the Fine Arts," Sept. 6-Oct. 18. SFAC Gallery, 401 Van Ness, SF. (415) 554-6080, www.sfacgallery.org 
•"Yves Saint Laurent" Viva le smoking! The beloved groundbreaker may be dead, but Yves Saint Laurent has never been hotter, judging from this autumn's many attempts at rich-hippie/gypsy folklorico, highly sexed men's wear for women, and silky Parisian-lady drag. This major retrospective's single US turn showcases more than 120 accessorized ensembles in addition to drawings, photos, and videos.
Nov. 1March 1, 2009. De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF. (415) 750-3600, www.famsf.org/deyoung 
• "I Feel I Am Free But I Know I Am Not" See "Connect four ," this issue
Sept. 4Nov. 1. SF Camerawork, 657 Mission, 2nd floor, SF. (415) 512-2020, www.sfcamerawork.org 
• "Double Down: Two Visions of Vegas" Olivo Barbieri looks at Vegas as toy town.
Sept. 18Jan. 4, 2009. SFMOMA, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org 
•"Bayete Ross-Smith: Pomp & Circumstance" and "Jonathan Burstein: Visage" Ross-Smith's prom portraits are fresh, and Burstein's paintings of museum guards trampoline off the humor present in his handsome past portraits of himself.
Sept. 4Oct.11. Patricia Sweetow Gallery, 77 Geary, mezzanine, SF. (415) 788-5126, www.patriciasweetwogallery.com 
• "Lutz Bacher: ODO"
Oct. 31Dec.31. Ratio 3, 1447 Stevenson, SF. (415) 821-3371, www.ratio3.org 
• Open Studios A step outside the galleries, museums, and art fairs for better, for worse, and for real.
Oct. 11Nov. 2. Various locations, SF. (415) 861-9838, www.artpsan.org 
• "Dustin Fosnot: Simmons Beautyrest" Fosnot's comic inventiveness should be a relief.
Oct. 14Nov. 15. Steven Wolf Fine Arts, 49 Geary, suite 411, SF. (415) 263-3677. www.stevenwolffinearts.com 
• "LA Paint" A survey of 11 painters, sure to fan a variety of Bay-and-LA flames.
Oct. 4March 8, 2009. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak, Oakl. (510) 238-2200, www.museumca.org 
• "These are the People in Your Neighborhood" Mr. Rogers is quoted for this 15th birthday celebration including work by Libby Black and Xylor Jane, among others.
Sept. 12Oct. 17. Gallery 16, 501 Third, SF, www.gallery16.com 
•"Artists Ball Seven: The New Party" Stanlee Gatti and Mos Def, together at last.
Oct. 3. YBCA, 701 Mission, SF. (415) 978-2700, www.ybca.org 
•"Warhol's Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered" A prelude to "Warhol Live," which hits the de Young next year.
Oct. 12Jan. 25, 2009. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF. (415) 655-7800, www.thecjm.org 
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