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New Visions of Masculinity
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 9, 2006)
Tim Gardner, Marcelino Gonçalves, and Zak Smith are the three artists whose pieces are featured in the “New Work” series at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art -- and they have little in common beyond their razor-sharp perspective on masculinity, in all its sinewy, culture-garbled trappings. While male artists are the classical bête noire of feminist critics (for adequate reasons, mind you), Gardner, Gonçalves, and Smith articulate a keen responsiveness to the problematic discourse of male-dominated art history. In interrogating formal art-making techniques, the three effectively turn conventions against themselves. More
A Dam Shame
By Clifton Lemon (May 25, 2006)
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
Collaborative Art Makes Good
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 5, 2006)
Traditional gallery vestibules seem like appropriate settings for most fine art -- considering that even the most provocative works of our time have been subdued by the sterile, academic raison d'etre of modern criticism. Besides the fact that the archetypal artist is a lonely malcontent, happy to showcase his or her work in compartmentalized settings that don't spur viewer interaction or much of a two-way sentiment, for that matter. Not so with "Peer Pleasure 2", an exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that focuses on the social potential of making art. More
Surrealist Photography and Sculpture
By Aimee Le Duc (Apr 7, 2006)
Andre Breton defined surrealism as, "psychic automatism in its pure state, by which on purposes to express, verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern." It's important to carry a working definition of surrealism around with you while navigating through the seemingly never-ending SFMOMA exhibition, Beyond Real: Surrealist Photography and Sculpture from Bay Area CollectionsMore
at The Exploratorium
By Clifton Lemon (Mar 17, 2006)
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
Commemorating San Francisco's Big One
By Nirmala Nataraj (Feb 3, 2006)
Those of us who were in the Bay Area for the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake are accustomed to the fear-addled curiosity of out-of-towners. Earthquakes are the most unimaginable of natural disasters for most people because of their sheer unpredictability -- but being so close to Earthquake Central, we often forget the devastating impact of some of history's major calamities. More
Relating To Your Life
By Aimee Le Duc (Dec 16, 2005)
The Cartoon Art Museum is a rare gem in San Francisco's cultural necklace. It is a traditional looking gallery space set behind a wonderful bookstore, Photo Graphix (formally the Friend's of Photography bookstore.) The museum formally showcases comics and cartoons ranging from familiar animation cells and historical baseball cartoons to underground horror and sex comix throughout the 20th century. Ultimately though it is a quiet space of two long hallways flanked on all sides with a cornucopia of illustrations and words to read. More
Independent Publishing Explored at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
By Sarah Hromack (Oct 21, 2005)
As the second of four consecutive exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts highlighting the growing phenomenon of collaborative art making, The Zine Unbound: Kults, Werewolves, and Sarcastic Hippies is ideologically rooted in the work of three particularly sought-after publications: K48 (Brooklyn), Werewolf Express (LA), and Hot & Cold (Oakland). Artworks made by these zines' editors and contributors expand conceptually from the printed page and into the gallery, where some of the larger thematic forces shaping the contemporary art world inform these installations. More
Grand Opening
By amy gelbach (Oct 14, 2005)
When it started taking shape in Golden Gate Park much debate surrounded the appearance of the new De Young museum's exterior. Some loved it and some loathed it. Whatever your opinion of its giant copper façade, the building is one that does not take full shape until it is entered and explored. More
Work in Progress: Objects for People -- Snapshots
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 28, 2005)
Conceptual Wave artist Haim Steinbach can really be described as a curator or ethnographer more so than a craftsman. But in an era in which appropriation still remains the dominant form of expression, perhaps there's no real distinction between the act of discovery and the act of creation. In the Matrix 217 exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum, "Work in Progress: Objects for People -- Snapshots," Steinbach both meets and upends all Duchampian expectations of his work. More
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