Visual Art

Watch what she makes

"The Way That We Rhyme: Women, Art & Politics" hurls feminist art into the present
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Feminist art has reemerged in the past few years as the focus of major exhibitions including "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and "Global Feminisms" at the Brooklyn Museum, which coincided with the unveiling of the museum's permanent home for Judy Chicago's iconic The Dinner Party (1974–79). Read more »

"Propagations"

Abstract ecosystems with a guiding force
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REVIEW Paul Hayes' gorgeous folded-paper-and-wire sculpture Cultivated Momentum hangs from Johansson Projects' ceiling like the canopy of an origami kelp forest. Light dapples through its dense clusters of folded, white paper forms, as black coils of wire slither in curved formation, evoking a school of eels. Organic associations aside, Hayes' abstract ecosystem has developed with help from a guiding force, as the first part of the work's title suggests. Granted, all the art on display in this mixed-bag group show was created by someone. Read more »

Neo Geo trio

Fresh patterns emerge from SF's post-Mission School landscape
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"Bay Area Now" roundups have come and gone since Glen Helfand coined the term "the Mission School" in an influential 2002 Guardian cover piece (See "The Mission school," 04/07/02). Read more »

"Form +"

Art with a sense of history
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REVIEW With the evolution of the gallery into a white, blank space, the artwork displayed within its walls has metamorphosed as well. The first-floor exhibit at the Meridian Gallery, "Form +," — curated along with two adjacent shows, "Franck André Jamme: New Exercises" and "Dhyana" by California College of the Arts dean Larry Rinder — call into play both of these factors.

In its very nature, the three-story Victorian that houses Meridian already opposes the clean lines most contemporary art galleries aspire to. Read more »

"Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg"

America wasn't the only place that wanted a revolution
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REVIEW While most Americans equate 1968 as the ground zero of political tumult in Chicago, New York City, and throughout the South, the revolutions that spread across Europe that year were of equal historical importance. Largely a reaction to the political asphyxiation of post–World War II policy and a much larger rejection of the feudal monarchist, industrial-capitalist, and communist regimes that had subjugated the masses for many years, the continent was suddenly positioned at the precipice of deconstruction. Read more »

"Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization"

Are we forgetting our clothing's origins, inspired by traditional garments?
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REVIEW In an age of inexpensive fashion knockoffs proliferated by stores like H&M and Forever 21, it's become almost effortless to access catwalk trends. But while it's a fashionista's wet dream to possess such designer approximations, one wonders whether we're forgetting our clothing's origins, born from the creative genius of haute couture, which in turn found its inspiration in many of the world's traditional garments. Read more »

Unchain my art

"The Prison Project" shines a light on works by artists touched by incarceration
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REVIEW The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world, with more than 1.8 million people currently behind bars. Read more »

"Friedlander"

A personal obsession with traveling and shooting the country
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REVIEW Throughout Lee Friedlander's 50-year oeuvre, much of which is now on display at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the photographer has been lauded for his liveliness, optimism, and mobility. Yet his paean to modern Americana often resembles monochrome memento mori. Taken as a whole, Friedlander's work has always seemed driven to two poles: the ephemeral and the haunting. Read more »

"Drama and Desire: Japanese Painting from the Floating World 1690-1850"

An exhilarating survey of early modern Japan and its sumptuous -- and often costly -- pleasures
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REVIEW Drawn almost entirely drawn from the near-mint-condition holdings of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, "Drama and Desire: Japanese Painting from the Floating World 1690–1850" is an exhilarating survey of early modern Japan and the sumptuous — and often costly — pleasures that were available to the upper echelon of its newly solidified class system.

One can follow the contextual trail laid down by the show and take in the long view of history inscribed with brush and natural pigments: the relocation of Japan's capital to Edo (now Tokyo); the establishmen Read more »

"From San Francisco to Silicon Valley"

Many viewers may recognize the city as they know it: construction, do-not-enter road signs, and a distant skyline
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REVIEW The camera loves San Francisco. Weather, light, hills, and landmarks all make it primary fodder for photographers, too many of whom hew to the postcard views. Known for his architectural documentation of the industrial outer rings of Europe's cities, Italian photographer Gabriele Basilico came to the Bay Area to capture its transitional developments: Silicon Valley and the San Francisco of strange buildings and telephone wires. Read more »