Visual Art

Boogie blows up

SF's spray can maestro takes Berlin — but what about those 500,000 euros?

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"It was an honor to be a part of history. The rest is history." Spray paint artist Chor Boogie (www.chorboogie.com) is hanging out amid spurts of December rain in Clarion Alley, standing before his mural debut in the heralded Mission community art space. But he's talking about a different piece, on a different chunk of creative community space, in a city halfway around the world: The Eyes of the Berlin Wall, which Boogie painted on an actual section of the Berlin Wall and was reported to have sold for 500,000 euros this fall.Read more »

Look forward in anger

YEAR IN ART: A firestorm of controversy in the larger art world -- but here in San Francisco, visions were clear and wide-ranging

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL/YEAR IN ART The year in art is ending on a note both sour and defiant. On Nov. 30, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough, caving to criticism voiced by conservative politicians and religious groups, ordered the removal of David Wojnarowicz's 1987 video A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture." It was a cowardly decision; one that ultimately has undermined the credibility of Clough and his institution.Read more »

Where everybody knows your name

HAIRY EYEBALL: Formerly known as Ping Pong Gallery, Romer Young Gallery steps into the new year. Plus: Phase one of "Disponible — a kind of Mexican show" has taken over Walter and McBean Gallery

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arts@sfbg.com

HAIRY EYEBALL It can be easy to get cynical about the business side of art, so it's always refreshing when a local labor of love such as Romer Young — the small Dogpatch gallery formerly known as Ping Pong — demonstrates that growth doesn't necessarily entail compromising one's vision.Read more »

Pwning the classics

Jennie Ottinger throws the book at us in "Due By," at Johansson Projects, while Ed Moses serves up acrylic animalia at Brian Gross Fine Arts

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Jennie Ottinger's last solo painting show at Johansson Projects, "ibid," presented an assortment of ghostly figures — ballerinas, nurses, schoolchildren, businessmen — lifted from found photographs. The less-is-more aesthetic of Ottinger's small oil and gouache canvases underscored the fact that, save for the recovered images used as source material, the everyday people depicted in them had long been lost to history.Read more »

America's original sin

Jens Hoffmann finishes his trilogy of literary group shows with a strong take on a Twain classic

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART Going into "Huckleberry Finn," the final installment in the Wattis Institute's trilogy of group shows organized around canonical American novels, it is perhaps best to heed the notice Mark Twain places at the outset of the text from which this exhibit takes its name and inspiration: "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."Read more »

Bless the beasts and children

Hairy Eyeball: Ryan McGinley adds animalia to his youth portraiture in a new show at Ratio 3, while Samara Halperin is building a miniature Coney Island at Southern Exposure
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HAIRY EYEBALL It's hard not to look at Ryan McGinley's road-trip photographs — in which his young, often nude, subjects, having ventured far from civilization, run through the woods, climb trees, dance amid a Vulcanic cascade of sparklers, and leap into the void — and not sigh a little. What now separates them from the images he shot for Levi's current "Go Forth" campaign, seemingly plastered on every other Muni shelter, is frequently a conspicuously displayed pair of jeans.Read more »

GOLDIES 2010: Jennifer Locke

Presenting immediate spectacles that are undeniably seductive in a punk-rock sort of way

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In her pieces, Jennifer Locke has, variously, jumped rope for 30 minutes in a full-body latex suit (cutting out a hole in the bottom afterward to drain out her accumulated sweat and urine); wrestled with a partner at the Berkeley Art Museum smeared in stage blood; covered herself in Elmer's glue, let it dry into a second skin, and then peeled it off; received a lap dance from a male stripper; and branded a fellow participant.Read more »

GOLDIES 2010: Ruth Laskey

A deft use of weft and warp to create color forms in which minimalism and materiality intersect

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One thing that Bay Area art has no shortage of is color. Whether it be Albers-informed theory, Op-influenced repetitious patterns, Mission muralismo, or mural-like Mission School paintings, in general, local color has been primary, if not outright garish. Ruth Laskey's palette stands apart — confident enough to be low-key or even muted in comparison. "Color is kind of it for me," Laskey says, in the middle of a sleepy afternoon at a Mission cafe. "It's where a piece gets its emotion."Read more »

GOLDIES 2010: Amanda Curreri

Interpolating the political and the personal, while making art that crosses out of the art world

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Five minutes into talking with Amanda Curreri over a slice and coffee at Mission Pie, I've agreed to take part in a piece she's working on as part of Shadowshop, the in-gallery artists' marketplace Stephanie Syjuco is organizing for SFMOMA's upcoming survey of work made in the past decade.

"It's called Afghanistan Insert," Curreri explains, speaking in the measured fashion of someone who carefully considers her words. "I'm trying to insert Afghanistan into SFMOMA and into San Francisco's art community."Read more »

Mirrors and masks

In praise of the art book during a Kindle era

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