Visual Art

"transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix"

Artists gathered by curators Viet Le and Yong Soon Min are the children of Andy Warhol and Coca-Cola
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REVIEW Spam, napalm, and derivative pop songs weren't quite the only legacy of U.S. military sojourns through Asia — and specifically Korea and Vietnam — as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' "transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix" exhibit demonstrates. The artists gathered by curators Viet Le and Yong Soon Min are the children of Andy Warhol and Coca-Cola.

Credit goes to the organizers for pointing to the connections between Vietnam and Korea, which are seldom at the foreground stateside: both shared a history of rapid modernization facilitated by U.S. Read more »

"Yan Pei-Ming: YES!"

The struggle between material creation and the subject
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REVIEW James Elkin starts off his wonderful book What Painting Is (Routledge, 1998) with the simple statement that "painting is alchemy," an elegant encapsulation of the process by which combining oils and pigments, applying that mixture onto a canvas, and generally getting one's hands dirty results in something as ethereal as one of Monet's Water Lilies. Elkin's words came to mind while looking at Franco-Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming's massive watercolor and oil paintings. Read more »

"Michael Light: New Work"

Gorgeous, absurd, disgusting, and lovely shots of landscapes under human siege
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REVIEW After viewing Trevor Paglen's contribution to the SECA Art Awards exhibition at SFMOMA, you can stroll six or seven blocks to Hosfelt Gallery, for a small — yet vast — sample of new work by Michael Light. Read more »

A search for patterns in the light - and dark

SECA: Trevor Paglen, Tauba Auerbach, and Jordan Kantor
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A search for patterns in the light — and in the dark

ENIGMATIC: TREVOR PAGLEN AND THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN

Trevor Paglen's section of the 2008 SECA Art Award exhibition is somewhat centrally located — you have to pass through it to get to Jordan Kantor's room, as well as to a small room containing pieces by all four awardees. Read more »

She's a magic woman

SECA: Try to understand — the play is the thing in Desirée Holman's masked wonderlands
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SECA ART AWARDS

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There is a lot of play going on in the work of Desirée Holman. Read more »

The SECA art awards

SECA: Bay Area artistic energy times four
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SECA, SECA now. Behold a free-floating netherworld where masked versions of Roseanne Barr and Bill Cosby boogie down together. Stare for one last time into the static of the soon-extinct analog TV to see what patterns emerge. Take an x-ray of Manet. Spy on government secret agents. Read more »

"Every Sound You Can Imagine"

The ambitious exhibition at New Langston sets concepts into motion
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REVIEW Art is in the air at City Hall, thanks to Bill Fontana's "Spiraling Echoes" installation. In contrast, an ambitious exhibition at New Langton Arts explores the visual properties of musical pieces. Curated by Artforum contributor Christoph Cox, "Every Sound You Can Imagine" is rife with inkjet or offset prints of compositions — Morton Subotnick's smudgy pencil jottings are an exception. A hefty percentage of works avoid standard notation to create sight-based sonic suggestions. Read more »

Hear, here

Bill Fontana and Jacob Kirkegaard play your ears
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As I walk into City Hall, I hear a horn from the street — not a car horn, but a single trumpet. Further inside, what might be a few notes from a harpsichord hover in the air, followed by the twitters and chirps of swooping birds. A man sits on the steps at the foot of the rotunda stairs, looking up in slight bewilderment, wondering where in the hell the trees and small jungle might be. Read more »

"Fabliaux: Tom Marioni Fairy Tales"

The exhibition summons noisy spirits and stands up to multiple listening sessions
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REVIEW I like Tom Marioni for the same reasons that I dig New Order. Though the band came after Marioni's early sound sculptures, both arose with driven clarity, holding up 20th-century culture to the eye of the storm. They're like woodsy fairy tales gone splendidly, mockingly urban: you'll remember the imagery, hear the melody, find them in your dreams, and hallucinate them on old concrete walls long after you've left the show. Read more »

"Takako Yamaguchi"

From the vantage point of Yamaguchi's landscapes, you can see for miles and miles
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REVIEW For anyone who has attempted to stare down one of Bridget Riley's hypnogogic vortices or contemplated the point at which two color blocks mesh in a Rothko, Takako Yamaguchi's recent set of paintings at Jancar Jones Gallery should produce some pleasantly familiar sensations. Upon entering the shoebox-size space, one sees five three-by-four-foot canvases that form a seemingly continuous horizontal vista of graduated lines and patterned strips done in earth tones and blues, with the occasional wink of metallic shimmer. Read more »