There's at once more and less than meets the eye. On the face of it, an atmospheric wash darkens from plasma to clotted blood. In between, the colors roil with a complexity suggesting vastness, calling to mind the Romantic sublime and a few of its heirs, from J. M. W. Turner's paintings of the night sky and Alfred Stieglitz's photographs of clouds to Mark Rothko's brooding color fields.
Underneath, however, Trevor Paglen's The Fence (Lake Kickapoo, Texas), 2010, is pure Enlightenment. Electromagne... [more]
“The par is three for every hole,” we were told matter-of-factly, “except number two, which is par seventeen, and number seven, which is par infinity.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but the potential embarrassment of swinging into the night was outweighed by the shame of giving up. We’ll deal with it when we deal with it. Land art is not an exclusively American phenomenon, and neither is miniature golf, but we have muscled ourselves into being primarily associated with them. Land art (or Robert Sm... [more]
Snaking through the rooms of SFMOMA’s recently opened Cindy Sherman retrospective, I felt disturbingly underwhelmed by portrait after portrait of the artist acting as her own costumer, make-up artist, hairdresser, and photographer, becoming in each photograph, a different woman. Whispering into their recorders and to each other, the critics sound-byte thesis statements echoed off the walls like sage axioms: “pictures are misleading,” “identity is a social construction,” “photography is implicit in the fabr... [more]
Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley in San Francisco’s Mission District are well-known for their high concentration of murals, for the diversity of color contained in one-block stretches of fences and residences with bustling commercial streets astride. Swoon, Andrew Schoultz, Sirron Norris, among many others, have added their signature styles, commissioned or not, to the famed narrow alleys. But it’s thanks to Intersection for the Arts in the Mid-Market for their exhibition programming that consiste... [more]
Conceptual Consumption by Christina Catherine Martinez Michael Delucia, Liam Everett, Ruth Laskey, Arik Levy, Sam Orlando Miller, Clare Rojas, Hugh Scott-Douglas, Anna Sew Hoy, Sara VanDerBeek at Hedge Gallery
June 21st, 2012 - September 1st, 2012
Usually, exhibitions organized around a technique or medium rather than a concept tend to come off as crafty rather than curated—the whole enterprise tends to knock ideas a notch (or two, or three) below form. But fetish craft revivalism and the weird, zeitgeisty impulse to BRAND BRAND BRAND make the consumption of technique and material a somewhat reluctant political activity, imbued with any and as much concept as you like. Some people relish this. They think of thrift-store shopping as a for... [more]
Upon entering Romer Young Gallery, it's quiet and cool, the way you want a gallery to be on the hottest day in San Francisco. About six minutes later, you hear baboon-like noises and jungle-nature sounds coming from the corner of the gallery and it is a relief because the absence of sound was already starting to get to the city girl inside of me.
The first tangible association I felt when glancing around Deric Carner’s exhibition, The Light that Failed, was: Hollywood. The pulp cinema kind of... [more]
Friday night at ArtPadSF, one of the raft of fairs floated out these years to swell art commerce here in San Francisco. Trafficked, but sparser then remembered, the fair hosted a heavy load of California galleries, especially from the Bay Area, far outnumbering those from less local climes. Some switches and changes, neighborhood gossip and shifting allegiances: Eleanor Harwood Gallery previous exhibitor at fair rival ArtMRKT now at ArtPad, a change of scene…
Weaving through the rooms I caught a... [more]
I sauntered in unaware. A faint glimmer on the wall caught my eye after I crossed the threshold of the gallery. There wasn’t much to it, really. A sliver of fabric and a few tiny pieces of wood glossy with silver glitter. I hesitated on the sparkle for a moment—there was a strangely familiar quality to this tiny fragment of wood suspended between the fabric and the wall. Mitzi Pederson’s materials shift, evolve, challenge, but remain recognizable, true. Her language is visible in these strikingly mi... [more]
I don’t know why I felt so driven to point this out, but I think it’s funny that Pat Steir is in a show with Tom Marioni at Crown Point Press.
It’s an exhibition with beautiful, if unlikely balance. Tom Marioni’s most recent color drypoint prints are minimal yet expressive. The movement of Marioni’s marks accentuates the expressive aquatint colorscapes of Pat Steir. Together, you can tell the works are full of intention and I can find forms within the conceptual formlessness. Comparing Marioni’s Drawing... [more]
First, an etymological complaint:
We have yet to designate a word for female genitalia that falls squarely between the crass (pussy) and the clinical (vagina, “female genitalia”). We’ve got the upper part covered. Somewhere between tits and breasts, you have your casual, everyday boob (oh shoot, I spilled mustard on my boob [or “bewb” if typing through social media]).
Hannah Wilke’s sculptures of abstracted forms resembling a cootch oscillate visually between those two poles. They have gestural, almost happenstance quality... [more]
I think I hate book culture. I was having coffee with a friend the other day, like you do, when our talk turned to magazines; what we’re reading, which ones we’d like to read, why that one goddamn glossy from the UK costs $15, etc. At some point, I absentmindedly wiped my chocolate-scone smeared hand on the copy of San Francisco Arts Quarterly that lay on the table between us. Sacrilege, I know, but I had a few backup copies under my arm. Since SFAQ is free, I usually pick up several at a time to... [more]
The idea of the artist’s studio still smolders with mystery and allure. In reality—and often the harsh lights of a fluorescent panel—most artists' studios splay out on kitchen tables or better resemble banged-up versions of the crisp white cubes that will later (maybe) showcase their labors. Owing in part to the long-standing mythology that surrounds the idea of “the artist,” and the re-orientation of the conceptual turn in post-War art that concentrated on the process of art and not its end prod... [more]
Six twelve-year-olds walk into a Rineke Dijkstra retrospective.
They stood in each room, looking closely at each photograph, waiting for someone to share their observations. Again and again appeared the photograph of a young French man, Olivier, from the day he joined the military and over the next couple years.
The pictures are big, almost life-size. The twelve-year-olds eyeball Olivier, he mutely stares back. They spend a lot of time on the first two pictures of Olivier: one from the chest up a... [more]
I’ve heard tell of a really great trick for blocked art writers called “The Throwing Up of the Notes,” which entails carefully transcribing ones’ hurried, handwritten chicken-scratches onto the computer screen. I’m not sure what’s so special about this technique other than neglecting to edit grammar and punctuation. Being an overgrown undergrad, I’m well aware of the importance of transcribing notes. Some jargon about hands and ideas and memory and jogging. Writing something down once won’t make you... [more]
Invaluable Objects by Christina Catherine Martinez Jeremy Blake, Nayland Blake, Mathew Brady, Chuck Close, Mary Ellen Mark, Kate Gilmore, Chris Johanson, Martin Kippenberger, Harmony Korine, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, Catherine Opie, Andres Serrano, Roman Signer, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems at Will Brown
January 27th, 2012 - March 4th, 2012
An honest-to-god list of works of art that I have touched when no one was looking: Mary Cassatt's The BathVan Gogh's Room at ArlesandSkull with Burning CigaretteRoy Lichtenstein's Meatassorted Picassosmaybe a Rothko or twoa very old bust of Nefertiti
We all have ways of giving release to our sense of anomie. As a child—young, eager, completely overwhelmed by the systems of power that sanction value among inanimate objects—I exercised a feeble sense of power by touching anything that I was to... [more]
“Style is the answer to everything... To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it “ --Bukowski “Style is violent, and I am not violent”--G.R.
With Gerhard Richter’s retrospective currently meandering across Europe, I’m reminded of the above quote, one of his more quotable quotes. When repeated at me, it’s done so in response to some aesthetic gesture on my part, the quoter delicately embellishing it with a tone of reproach, like a slap on the wrist with b... [more]