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20121206195315-20120607184728-what_a_life_ ArtSlant Prize 2012: Steven Vasquez Lopez - California Reflections   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 12/6/12

Steven Vasquez Lopez - 2nd Place, ArtSlant Prize 2012 Executed with laborious precision, it takes Steven Vasquez Lopez months to complete a painting. Replete with mesmerizing, detailed juxtapositions of line and color, layers of pattern and texture in his work reveal figureless landscapes, perhaps a view from poolside in Palm Beach where he spends a good portion of the year or the interior of his living room in the Bay Area. The tension between banal and chimerical in Lopez’s work reflects his hi... [more]

20121129010859-800px-palace_legion_honor_sf Overlapping Histories: Curatorial Practices in San Francisco   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 11/29/12

Yes, thanks to the Philistines of Cyberspace the word CURATOR is being stretched to the very limits of semantic significance, but rather than join the chorus of affronted cultural elites pointing fingers at every blogger or boutique-owner who dares to don that hallowed mantle, I thought it might be more productive to speak with two persons right here in the Bay Area who hold inarguable rights to the title yet work in vastly different contexts. Even when confined to the concerns of the art world,... [more]

20121127191822-2-barry_mcgee-bampfa_8-2012 Nom de Guerre   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Barry McGee at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive August 24th, 2012 - December 9th, 2012
Posted 11/27/12

A short and incomplete list of pseudonyms employed by Barry McGee: Ray Fong Lydia Fong Bernon Vernon P.KinRay VirgilTwistTwisterTwistyTwisto A pseudonym is a way to stay hidden in public. Across racy novels, political tracts, city walls, a pseudonym is a public declaration that manages to stay secretive. A fake name presumes some reason for hiding, some illicit activity: the novel passes risque into pornographic, the political tract verboten samizdat, the city wall graffitied with a blushing spl... [more]

20121019100409-nightca1920 The Optometrist and the Wallpaper Designer.   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Charles Burchfield, Ralph Eugene Meatyard at Fraenkel Gallery September 6th, 2012 - October 27th, 2012
Posted 10/19/12

I like that Fraenkel Gallery doesn’t present the pairing of the two artists featured in their latest exhibition with an overwrought thesis. Burchfield / Meatyard is its own kind of poetry. The painter and the photographer do have a “shared sensibility” of nature that’s maybe summed up by a shared preference for peace and quiet, a place to go and think about looking. Burchfield said that an artist “must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there.” I dig deep to try and reconcile this quo... [more]

20120929185835-campbells-soup-limited-edition-cans Let Them Eat Pop   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 9/29/12

I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it. —Andy Warhol on why he chose to paint soup cans If these musings prove nothing more than the paranoid ramblings of someone who finds poetry in grocery lists and weeps at the sight of octogenarians in matching hats, then so be it, but... something is off about this soup. There are consumer choices enough without worrying if one’s groceries are accurately reflecting some elevated cultural sens... [more]

20121127191822-2-barry_mcgee-bampfa_8-2012 McGee and Me   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Barry McGee at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive August 24th, 2012 - December 9th, 2012
Posted 9/13/12

The end of summer is a strange moment. The energy of back-to-school jitters permeates everything. Fashion releases its flimsiest glossies in preparation for the cinder-block September issues. Galleries shutter, giving their artists and proprietors a chance to check in with the Midwest and assure their families that they’re getting enough to eat and thus return to September a few pounds thicker for the fall previews. New York and Paris turn into sweaty metropolitan ghost-towns, those with means... [more]

20120905013055-shrigley_1 Flipping the Switch   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
David Shrigley at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts June 22nd, 2012 - September 23rd, 2012
Posted 9/5/12

Next to a taxidermy rat lying on the floor of the gallery is David Shrigley’s animation, Switch, 2007. Projected onto the wall in roughly a single square foot. In it, a finger, composed simply with black lines in the artist's emblematically elemental linework, pushes a light switch repeatedly, on-off, on-off, on-off. Click-click, click-click. Each time “off” comes into the rotation, the projection disappears, it clicks off.  After a series of on-off’s the finger pulls back for a second. Will it go... [more]

20120816182752-the_fence Meet Trevor Paglen: Under the Radar   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 8/16/12

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. Electromagnet... [more]

20120810090032-smithson Par Infinity: Earth Putt // Putt Works at Will Brown Gallery   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Water de Maria, Ant Farm, Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Long, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Smithson, James Turrell at Will Brown July 1st, 2012 - August 12th, 2012
Posted 8/10/12

“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 Smi... [more]

20120726204434-cindysherman Identity Outfitters   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Cindy Sherman at SFMOMA - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art July 14th, 2012 - October 8th, 2012
Posted 7/26/12

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 fabric... [more]

20120725213936-eric_staller__citroen_lores__1977 Street Art: Ephemera, Erasure, and Reality of Territory   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Evan Bissell, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Ana Teresa Fernández, Ricardo Richey, Favianna Rodriguez, Eric Staller at Intersection for the Arts/ Intersection 5M June 13th, 2012 - August 25th, 2012
Posted 7/25/12

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 consistently... [more]

20120717060758-screen_shot_2012-07-16_at_11 Conceptual Consumption   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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
Posted 7/15/12

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 form... [more]

20120626114235-carner_dutch_hand Long Live Cinephelia   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Deric Carner at Romer Young Gallery June 15th, 2012 - July 21st, 2012
Posted 6/26/12

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 Hol... [more]

20120612103146-z Where I’m From…beta pictoris gallery at ArtPadSF   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 6/12/12

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]

20120521093034-r3mp387-lores A Gust of Glitter, a Resolute Fragility   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Mitzi Pederson at Ratio 3 April 27th, 2012 - June 16th, 2012
Posted 5/21/12

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 min... [more]

20120505092820-sunlt2 Drawing a Line   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Tom Marioni, Pat Steir at Crown Point Press April 5th, 2012 - May 19th, 2012
Posted 5/5/12

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 Drawi... [more]

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