At the cacophonous intersection of Sun Ra's wheeling jazz cosmology, P-Funk's psycho-disco logorrhea, Clarence 13X's alpha-beta-culto Five-Percent Nation, the early '90s vainglorious hip-hop of X-Clan, Isis, and Blackwatch, and The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly (1950-64), that sprawling, tinfoil-bedazzled outsider masterpiece by Washington, DC, handyman James Hampton, lies a crazy-ass aesthetic of African American visual and performance culture the culture of flash. Read more »
REVIEWThose of you who can remember them know that cassette tapes aren't exactly sturdy. Forever getting tangled in car stereos or being left to bake on dashboards, during their commercial heyday they practically advertised their obsolescence Maxell ads be damned. But anyone who has managed to wrest the audio from within a warped plastic shell knows that the metamorphosed sound can be strangely beautiful. Read more »
REVIEW The day after the last 2008 presidential debate, the stock market rollercoastered, however tenuously, to a high point, and oil prices plummeted. One would think those would be hopeful omens on NPR, a woman interviewed on the street claimed lower gas prices were akin to a miracle. Yet the current ability to get the news the moment it happens where would we be without e-alerts regarding daily Wall Street dramas? has conditioned us to believe tomorrow might offer a radically different story. Read more »
PREVIEW San Francisco Center for the Book makes an ideal SF setting for "Banned and Recovered," a group exhibition devoted to censored literature. (The exhibition also has an East Bay installment at Oakland's African American Museum and Library.) Not all the contributors present examples of book art, though. Enrique Chagoya's large painting Double Portrait of William Burroughs turns its subject's face into, among other things, a pizza of disconnected Peter Bagge-like facial features. Read more »
While the bankers who took your money were grabbing even more of it last weekend, a different sort of highbrow crowd those whose investment, whether financial or personal, rests mainly in art weren't quite sure what to do. At the Frieze Art Fair in London's Regent's Park, the theme was non-commitment. "It feels like the old days," gallerist Jack Hanley said on the second evening of the four-day international fair. Read more »
NEWS/REVIEW At this point, any review of Gallery 16's fifteenth anniversary show "These Are the People in Your Neighborhood" must revolve around its missing pieces. On the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 15, two paintings by Margaret Kilgallen were stolen. Of the 68 works on display, they were among only a handful not for sale. Read more »
America is a very poor lens through which to view Las Vegas, while Las Vegas is a wonderful lens through which to view America.
Dave Hickey, "A Home in the Neon"
If, as Oscar Wilde once claimed, a lie can tell the truth, then what Dave Hickey writes is truer than ever: looking at Las Vegas is a terrific way to see the United States. Paul Verhoeven knew as much when he made Showgirls (1995). The fact that his old-school Euro-Hollywood auteur vision of Sin City offended so many bourgie film critics only proved its lasting, um, value. Read more »
PREVIEW The third weekend of Open Studios focuses on spaces in Bernal Heights, Duboce Triangle, Glen Park, Eureka Valley, Noe Valley, and the Castro and Mission districts. Here's a lucky-seven list of artists worth seeking out.
Matt Sarconi Spatial clarity is a major aspect of Sarconi's photography; his use of frames within frames elevates images that might be pretty as a greeting card into something more contemplative. His settings span from the Bay Area to Spain and Croatia.
REVIEW Andrew Schoultz is prescient. A week or two before Wall Street and Washington were forced to admit they'd obliterated the US economy, he unveiled new work that literally slices and blows up the dollar bill. In his A Litany of Defense and a Liturgy of Power (Come) from the Palm of His Hand, shards of the pyramid, all-seeing eye, and other mint-y green fixtures slice through the air alongside similar fragments of currency from other countries. Read more »