Clifton Lemon

SF Station Writer

Clifton Lemon's Articles
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A Dam Shame
By Clifton Lemon (Jan 10, 2016)
Are dams evil? Are they necessary? What are their “hidden” costs, and, even if these costs turn out to be much greater than the supposed benefits (as is usually the case), why do we keep building them? The answers to these questions are as varied as the groups that conceive, approve, finance, construct, and operate dams, and the groups that oppose them, fight them actively, or lose their land, livelihoods, and cultures to them. More »
Internal Dialog
By Clifton Lemon (Oct 08, 2015)
One can easily imagine the ecstasy of 15th and 16th century artists and anatomists, especially Leonardo da Vinci, had they been able to see what we can now do -- carefully and accurately preserve human bodies, dissected, sliced, and revealed in almost any way possible. Thanks to a technology called plastination, whereby water and lipids in biological tissues are replaced by curable polymers (otherwise known as plastic), cadavers can be transformed into odorless, dry, durable specimens invaluable for anatomical study and analysis. More »
The Logo is Mightier than the Sword
By Clifton Lemon (Jul 06, 2015)
This compact exhibit of graphic arts explores the political agendas of American social activist movements and the potent symbols used to convey their underlying messages. The historical range of these movements spans abolitionism through gay rights, and includes the United Farm Workers, Black Panthers, AFL-CIO, anarchism, IWW, ecology, nuclear disarmament, feminism, and the Resistance. More »
Frolicking in the Fertile Fountain of Fabulousness
By Clifton Lemon (May 27, 2015)
So what are you wearing right now? Wait, let me guess: jeans, t- shirt, hoody, sneakers, mostly in dark shades. I know I’m right. That’s what we all wear in this country, the only difference in San Francisco is that everything’s usually in shades of gray or black. For a city that the rest of the country thinks is hip and cool (well, they used to think that at least) our collective fashion sense now seems to be located somewhere between Nihilistic Schlump and Generic Gap. What happened to our flamboyance, joie de vivre, and iconoclastic freedom? Vivienne Westwood wants to help. More »
Baroque Modern
By Clifton Lemon (Jul 25, 2013)
Vampires, with all their attendant darkness, sensuality, decadence, and existential complexity, always carry the promise of a good show. The vampire theme, like vampires themselves, is eerily eternal and disturbingly familiar. Perhaps it's one of the elemental story lines embedded in our collective unconscious, if there is such a thing. The collaboration of Anne Rice (novel), Elton John (music), and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) did not disappoint, and there are many surprises in this work. More »
Standing in the Light
By Clifton Lemon (Jun 12, 2013)
This complex, mystical, and powerful work is the ninth in August Wilson's ten play cycle about the twentieth century African-American experience. [b]Gem of the Ocean[/b]'s setting, Pittsburgh in 1904, is the earliest chronologically; it introduces characters referred to in the cycle's plays set in later decades. It paints a vivid historical picture of life in the post-Emancipation North that's as full of pain, joy, humor, and resonance as it is devoid of sentimentality, sanctimoniousness, or prejudice. More »
Who’s Your Dada?
By Clifton Lemon (Jun 12, 2013)
The first ten minutes of "Travesties", written by Tom Stoppard, is particularly disorienting, but in a way that turns out to make sense later (if that makes any sense). The main character, Henry Carr, an elderly, loquacious, senile English gentleman, rolls around on a stark stage in an antique wheelchair, dressed in a fez-like hat and richly embroidered robe, rambling on about his reminiscences of living in Zurich in 1917. More »
A Collaboration of Artists and Poets
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 14, 2013)
"Braided Lives" is a show of paintings and other artworks and the poetry they inspired, currently on exhibit at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. It's the result of intimate dialogs and collaboration between visual artists, mainly from Taos, New Mexico, and writers from various locations around the U.S. Originally a fundraiser organized by the Taos Chamber of Commerce in 2002, the show now appears in San Francisco. Painters and other artists were asked to select certain pieces that became the subjects of poems written by selected poets. Most of the artists and poets collaborated over the internet, sharing feedback and insights. More »
A Different View from the Middle East
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 14, 2013)
When was the last time you attended an art opening at a small independent gallery that included both uniformed and plainclothes security guards? At "Made in Palestine", an exhibit of Palestinian art now at the SomArts Gallery in San Francisco, they were there in force, a precaution against the controversy that the show has generated across the country. Were we in danger of attack by an anti-Palestinian extremist group? Could violence follow the art and the artists from Palestine and erupt in our fair city? It gave the event a strange and unsettling aura, and somehow magnified our awareness of the work. More »
at The Exploratorium
By Clifton Lemon (Apr 10, 2013)
This quirky show at San Francisco's exuberant Exploratorium is a special exhibition of over ten artworks made from stuff not normally associated with "fine" art, or with art at all for that matter -- things like styrofoam, carbon, duct tape, retreads, recycled plastic, mayonnaise jars and cupric sulfate, for starters. More »
Clifton Lemon's Articles
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