Halloween Guide

Nirmala Nataraj

SF Station Writer

Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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High and Low Culture
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 05, 2012)
There are few artists in the world who have utilized the darkly comical potential of digital and performance art like Austrian-born Erwin Wurm. In his latest exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, "I Love My Time, I Don't Like My Time," a chronological range of Wurm's artistic output adorns the gallery in a zany display of the creative potential of time, mass, and material form. Wurm's exhibit includes experimental performance, photography, video installation, and text. More »
Skateboards, Slang, and Symbols
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 05, 2012)
Propounding the DIY ethic and jabbering about street cred are, by now, cliches, but something about the persistent vogue of skating culture makes me feel like a downright luddite. Beautiful Losers, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is a celebration of skateboard memorabilia and contemporary art inspired by skateboard culture. In the 1990s, a group of American artists barely out of their teens redefined youth subculture by connecting the dots between skateboarding, graffiti, street fashion, and music... More »
Rise and Fall of a Global Icon
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 05, 2012)
The latest exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is a methodical multimedia retrospective that probes the legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the controversial Nigerian Afrobeat musician and activist who died of AIDS-related complications in 1997 at the age of 58. Conceived by Brooklyn-based curator Trevor Schoonmaker, the exhibit showcases the work of 30 contemporary artists who distill Fela's enigmatic persona and revolutionary proclivities... More »
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 05, 2012)
The increasingly palpable link between the Buddhist principle of wakefulness and site-specific conceptual art is practically a moot point. After all, it's inarguable that the primary function of the latter is to educate both sentient and oblivious beings in the subtle art of perception -- but this alone does not a work of "Buddhist" art make. Thankfully, artist Tom Marioni's Golden Rectangle exhibit doesn't rehash the same truisms of the Zen experience, but instead enchants viewers with a complex, elegant interplay between the sacred and colloquial, the contemplative and the social. More »
Innocence Lost
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 04, 2012)
Beyond his treatment of common children's motifs - dolls, toys and ambivalent nymphets- Austrian painter Gottfried Helnwein's vision is shrouded in an aura of enigmatic darkness. With his giant color portraits of stillborn babies; paintings that juxtapose Nazi-era photographs with his own images; and pictures of deformed, abjectly countenanced children swathed in bandages, Helnwein is preoccupied with the indelible suffering that mirrors the more delicate aspects of youth. More »
The Streamlining of Decadence
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 04, 2012)
For much of the past half-century, critical pundits have treated Art Deco like the spoiled brat whose father's wealth and connections have allowed it easy access to the otherwise impenetrable echelons of the creative elite. "Indulgent", "capricious", and "exploitative" are some of the epithets hurled its way, and while Deco's aesthetic and academic implications have remained largely intact, a gradual acceptance of commercial art has allowed this movement more breathing space in the otherwise stuffy corridors of art criticism. More »
The Body Horrific
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 04, 2012)
It's no surprise that artist Marilyn Minter, whose current body of photorealist paintings seductively grace the austere walls of the SFMOMA, was influenced by Diane Arbus, that most lauded archivist of the macabre. In fact, Minter, while an undergraduate at the University of Florida in the 1960s, studied under the auspices of Arbus. Minter's eye for both eeriness and irony was blatant in her photographic documentation of her mother, an aging beauty and drug addict whose haggard demeanor was only matched by her cosmetic obsessions More »
Passing on the Baton
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 04, 2012)
The 2004 Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA) Awards portend a shift in modern art -- from the sweeping, dramatic debacles so many of us associate with "modern art" to a subtle, softer, and perhaps more complex, representation of the uncertainty that serves as a book end to the modern experience. Currently on exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The SECA Award Exhibit, a biennial juried show that honors local artists, features works by Rosana Castrillo Diaz, Simon Evans, Shaun O'Dell, and Josephine Taylor. More »
Creating a Geometry of Experience
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 04, 2012)
Romare Bearden found his calling in collage-making in the 1960s at the age of 51, a venture that led to his indoctrination in the modern canon and boded a half-century of imitations and tributes. His collages present an exercise in attention and intellectual fortitude, placing spectators in a position where they are forced to reconstruct the artist's meandering fragments and convolutions into a coherent whole. More »
Collaborative Art Makes Good
By Nirmala Nataraj (Oct 22, 2011)
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 »
Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
Page: « Prev   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ...  Next » | 11 to 20 of 221