Visual Art

"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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johnny@sfbg.com

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 »

"Who Got the Chickens" and "Love Can Build a Bridge"

It looks like Bush isn't the only wellspring of psychic damage deep in the heart of Texas
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REVIEW/PREVIEW Although No. 43 has finally flown the coop back to Crawford, Texas, our country would do well to remember Faulkner's famous words from 1951's Requiem for a Nun: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." The psychic damage from the Bush years runs deep, and will no doubt keep resurfacing. Read more »

Round and round

David King uncovers spherical lyricism on paper and at the Dump
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johnny@sfbg.com

David King and I are staring at a baseball, some screws, and some bolts. More specifically, King and I are looking at Satellite #2, a nine-inch pointy yet round sculpture he constructed from those ingredients for an upcoming show. "To me, this is one of the more successful pieces," King says, as we look around the warehouse art studio at SF Recycling and Disposal Inc. To our left, Christine Lee — who, like King, is an artist-in-residence at the Dump — is working with James Sellier on a wood-based project. Read more »

"Brad Noble: Chaotic Resolve"

Productive opacity and surrealist abstraction
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The recent Washington Post obituary of Andrew Wyeth reveals that the figurative painter considered himself an abstract artist, because he didn't depict but rather evoked a metaphysical vision. This idea is at least as old as 1907, when antimodernist Max Nordau hurled it as an accusation at French symbolist Puvis de Chavannes, and while few use the word abstract with this meaning, I find the conception sympathetic rather than pejorative. If we can call it a lineage, then Brad Noble is part of it. Read more »

Martin Puryear

There's a lot to surprise - and refresh - the eye in this Puryear retrospective
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REVIEW It's exhilarating to see, upon entering the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's atrium, one of Martin Puryear's most renowned works, Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996), installed with such noiseless bravura: the 36-foot sapling grows slender and seems to disappear even faster into space as it floats above the elevators. Read more »

"A Trip Down (False) Memory Lane"

Curator Jessica Silverman taps into legendary queer bar history
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PREVIEW The Lexington Club is an underground landmark of San Francisco. If you're queer, and especially if you're a lesbian, the bar has probably played a role in your life at one point or another, and something important probably went down there, by the jukebox or in a graffiti-lined bathroom. Read more »

"Pinball as Art and the Art of the Pinball"

William T. Wiley's solo show takes pinball seriously
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PREVIEW One Bay Area artwork that made an impression in 2008 was William T. Wiley's Punball: Only One Earth. Read more »