Super Bowl 50 San Francisco Event Guide

Nirmala Nataraj

SF Station Writer

Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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Artist, Icon, Revolutionary
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 05, 2016)
Frida Kahlo is typically rendered as either the eccentric lady artist of the mustache and unibrow, memorialized by Hollywood goddess Salma Hayek, or the shunned wife of legendary muralist and revolutionary Diego Rivera. In a new touring exhibition organized by Kahlo biographer and art historian Hayden Herrera, we get to see Kahlo in all her incarnations—primarily through a slew of seductive, mysterious, and sometimes claustrophobic self-portraits that describe vicissitudes of political and personal agony, as well as the ultimate triumph of self-definition through the manufacturing of Kahlo’s own image. More »
Commemorating San Francisco's Big One
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 05, 2016)
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 »
Eight Artists Get Loony
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 06, 2015)
Here’s an etymology game that might seem patently obvious: derive the meaning of “Octonarius Lunius”. Most of you who had your Greek and Latin prefixes drummed into your head in grade school know that “octo” means “of or pertaining to eight.” “Lun” means “having to do with the moon.” The eight artists assembled in the eponymous group show might raise questions more relevant than word origins, but the “Loony Eight” is a suitable moniker for the crew, in only the most flattering sense. More »
Collaborative Art Makes Good
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 18, 2015)
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 »
Open for Interpretation
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 06, 2015)
Walking up the stairs to the Intersection for the Arts gallery, potential spectators might be somewhat bewildered at the sight that greets them; coating the steps is a sheet of white felt, covered with ostensibly Persian names, in dispassionate block letters. Among the more obscure appellations, one can pick out “Saddam” and “Osama” almost instantly, as the eye’s natural tendency is to wander to what’s recognizable and fill it out with familiar meaning. In some ways, you can say that’s the very crux of Taraneh Hemami’s collection of installation work, "Most Wanted". More »
War and the Persistence of Memory
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 06, 2015)
By now, the rupture between history and its present depiction is par for the course in contemporary art -- but Binh Danh and Elizabeth Moy go at it one further in their haunting menagerie of images culled from personal legacies of war and reflections on the abiding effects of human conflict. In a collaborative exhibition entitled [b]Disrupted: A Photographic Installation About Memory, History & War[/b], Danh and Moy string together narratives retrieved and woven anew from both original photographs and archival images of the Vietnam War. More »
A Fresh Rejoinder to Experimental Drama
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 06, 2015)
The stage is dark and the atonal rhythms of a mildly eerie soundscape float out to the audience before a wash of light spatters, turn by turn, four performers slumped against the walls, who each utter a phrase that's either cryptic or equivocal, before the action commences. From my personal experience with theatre, this is the kind of enigmatic kickoff that could precede either a poorly rendered performance piece, or a fresh rejoinder to experimental drama. Thankfully, Campo Santo's production of [b]Haze[/b] -- a loosely connected series of aphoristic vignettes by four contemporary authors -- went for the latter. More »
Discarded Treasures
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 06, 2015)
If ever the adage "One man's trash is another man's treasure" were true, it's absolutely exemplified in the latest exhibit at the Intersection for the Arts. "Life Cycle Analysis", on exhibit through April 16, is an installation featuring the works of NoMe Edonna, Ricardo Richey, and Andrew Schoultz, members of the Gestalt Collective, a local group composed of graffiti-based artists. The exhibit includes collaborative sculptural, photographic, and video installations that touch on the debilitating effects of consumerism and waste. More »
Strangers in a Strange Land
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 06, 2015)
You've got to hand it to Dave Eggers. The internationally acclaimed memoirist, novelist, and publisher has managed to transcend criticisms of being self-indulgent and solipsistic. A simple rule of thumb is that you never write a memoir before having accomplished something stellar in the public eye- Eggers broke this rule with his first book, [i]A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius[/i], an insoluble, artful memoir about his family's tragedies. Eggers' prose is relaxed, colloquial, but full of penetrating clarity that can be both humorous and crushing... More »
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 24, 2015)
There are lots of reasons one might choose to intensely dislike the Thrills. With a career spanning one whopping year, they've already been adorned with a multitude of accolades. Everyone's calling their album So Much for the City the debut of the year; and Mojo makes enthused avowals about their "top-down pop that sparkles like a lifeguard's teeth." Aside from the off-putting praises, the mere idea of songs entitled "Santa Cruz," "Big Sur," and "Hollywood" makes you want to throw up your hands and scream, "Bloody hell, you're Irish!" More »
Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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