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Highlights from artMRKT and ArtPadSF, by Christina Catherine Martinez

This week, San Francisco will be treated to not one, but two contemporary art fairs. ArtMRKT San Francisco and ArtPadSF will both take place May 16 - 19th, and it behooves an art lover to visit both if they want to get a compressed but authentic feel for the art scene in the Bay Area. A good rule of thumb is to take in artMRKT during the day and party down with ArtPadSF at night.

This will be artMRKT’s first year at Fort Mason Center in the Marina, a beautiful but unfortunately less-accessible venue than last year’s Concourse Exhibition Center in SOMA. It’s not impossible to reach Fort Mason by public transit, but the author humbly recommends planning your route well ahead of time, or better yet, going along with some four-wheeled friends. The vibe is sober yet casual, and exhibitors are always happy to chat with attendees, whether you’re in the market or just browsing. ArtPadSF takes its usual place at the self-consciously rock n’ roll Phoenix hotel, appropriately Tenderloin adjacent. Expect live bands, themed concessions, and neon-colored libations. If artMRKT is suits and bowties, ArtPadSF is feather boas and complicated eyewear...

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Joel Kuennen provides a primer in advance of ArtPadSF's Tumblr Arts Summit

On Friday, May 17th at ArtPadSF, tumblr is hosting the TUMBLR ARTS SUMMIT. Moderated by Annie Werner, the panel is meant to discuss tumblr as a platform for the arts. Kara Q. Smith of ArtSlant SF, Open Space and Art Practical; Aditya Julka, Co-founder of Paddle8; Jennifer Yin of the Asian Art Museum; Liz Glass of CCA Wattis Institute; Ken Harman of Spoke Art; artist Eric Dyer and I will be present on the panel. The focus seems to be more practical: how does your organization leverage tumblr within the art world, etc? In preparation, however, I think it’s useful to determine what exactly distinguishes art on tumblr from other applications of art online.

During Hyperallergic’s tumblr. art symposium back in March, G.H. Hovagimyan, when talking about what distinguishes tumblr and social media as a platform for the artist, makes the observation that “linking becomes more important than the actual [art] object. In other words, your decision to use something is more important than the something that you are using. It becomes something else. It’s something like curating but is more like clarifying or presenting an aesthetic choice.” Tumblr, as other blogging services that rely on a vast pool of images, has come to redefine many aspects of a contemporary art practice, namely: curation, aesthetics, value and research...

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San Francisco-based artist Jason Kalogiros will be represented this week at ArtPadSF by QUEENS NAILS. Kara Q. Smith visited Kalogiros at his studio to talk about his process, and ended up discussing old cameras, sports, and cheetahs:

KQS: I want to ask you about the Sports Illustrated image, but I can’t stop staring at the image of the cheetah.

JK: ...when I found the cheetah I looked it and I thought: this thing is completely seductive; it’s a sign for luxury, and at that point it has nothing to do with that animal whatsoever. I’m interested in how that thing that I’m using got divorced away from its original identity...


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