Visual Art

"Lautrec in Leather: Chuck Arnett and the San Francisco Scene"

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll are unapologetically front and center
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REVIEW The clean-cut man in the portrait looks straight ahead with knowing eyes, his leather jacket open — an invitation, perhaps? — revealing a muscular torso and chest, on which is tattooed a purple butterfly. The painting's mix of leather and a little lace sums up much of the art and life of Chuck Arnett, a habitué and documenter of the leather bar scene during gay liberation's golden age in the 1960s through the late '70s.

The majority of Arnett's work was inspired by and made for the bars and back rooms he frequented. Read more »

"Enter the Center"

Ribbons Productions expands beyond direct collaboration
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REVIEW Full disclosure would take up the full piece, so I'll just say that in spite of knowing both David Wilson and Frank Lyon well as friends, I'm hardly alone in counting them as two of the Bay Area's most celebratory and engaging young creators. They've largely steered their efforts away from the typical venues that comprise San Francisco's music-art coordinates thus far, especially in their periodic outdoor music gatherings. Read more »

"Pablo Guardiola"

Photographs that prove deceptive yet captivating
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REVIEW Although, on entering Little Tree Gallery, it seems that Pablo Guardiola's show consists of only seven photographs, that small collection forms the crux of a multidimensional presentation. The images have slight subjects and document the finite and the ephemeral. In Much More Than a Brand of Crackers, a Beer, a Malt Beverage and a Legendary Taino Leader (2007), a bottle cap is captured after being flung onto an asphalt surface. Read more »

Home is where the art is

A quick Q&A with Margaret Tedesco of [2nd floor projects]
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Margaret Tedesco is often on the move. She's created flip books, directed plays, narrated films — before neo-benshi events became popular locally — and put together art shows at roving venues in Southern California and San Francisco. Read more »

Kuchar coup

George and Mike Kuchar's drawings and paintings tickle pleasure centers
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johnny@sfbg.com

The drawings and paintings of George and Mike Kuchar are brightly colored, bosomy, and bulbous bouquets of bodacious flesh. Those bountiful breasts belong to women in George's 1962 painting Voodoo Ceremony and in his 1977 Missionary Attack, in which a topless lady sporting an octopus skirt threatens to spear another wearing tiger skin pants and leather boots. But in Mike's art the big bazookas belong to men. Read more »

Video Mutants: Guiding light

Soaps-loving video artist Kalup Linzy will set you free
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>Click here to view some Kalup Linzy vids

A phone interview is a routine aspect of writing an article, but there's a uniquely rich comedic irony to conducting a phone interview with Kalup Linzy. Since 2001, Linzy has been making soap operatic short videos in which a host of characters, most played by himself, converse by phone. Read more »

Video Mutants: The man with the video camera

Douglas Gordon hits San Francisco with an image blitz
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johnny@sfbg.com

The unmistakable riff from AC/DC's "Back in Black" blares from the dark room in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that houses Douglas Gordon's exhibition Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work from About 1992 until Now. It's coming from Gordon's cell phone, in the pocket of his trench coat, which he's wearing over a leather jacket.

Gordon is a man of many layers, though as its title plainly states, Pretty Much collects his visions to date, a number of them appropriated, into a single room. Read more »

J-pop sucker punch

With brand names and bright colors, "MURAKAMI" gets you in the gut
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Visceral reactions are the last thing one might expect from the perversely brilliant "© Murakami," Takashi Murakami's well-publicized survey exhibition at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art. The telling copyright symbol that precedes the artist's name in the exhibition title fits the cool, post-Warholian corporate-style control he exerts over his art and his identity. Read more »

Staying power

In 2007, Bay Area arts were in constant flux
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Looking back at the Bay Area art scene in 2007 affirms our perennial difficulty in holding on to ambitious players. It's an oft-repeated story. Given San Francisco's commitment to nonprofit and alternative models over commercial ones and the high cost of living, artists find it easier to start off than to build their careers here. Read more »

Canadian astronaut

Jeff Wall's hyperreal photos at SFMOMA launch the mundane into the stratosphere
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marke@sfbg.com

REVIEW Kids are bored. They're hanging on the sidewalk outside a nightclub, splashed in sick amber light. Many of the usual suspects are here: the skinny postgoth chick in golden heels, the stereotypical Russian-looking muffin top trapped on a crappy date, the about-to-ralph dude in an untucked striped Oxford, some rasta hoppers, a hipster gal in rave flats and a trucker cap. Most are smoking and none look happy, except maybe the tranny-licious blond who's about to skate the cover, glimpsed in the doorway flirting with the bouncers. Read more »