Wondrous Strange: A 21st Century Cabinet of Curiosities

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Older than Dream, 2009 Oil On Canvas 30 X 24 In. © Michele Muennig
Tree man stump, 2009 Graphite And Resin On Panel 60 X 48 In. © Agelio Batle
Deer Hunter, 2009 Mixed Media 3 X 4 X 2 In. © Misako Inaoka
Homage to Gursky, 2010 Archival Pigment Print 24x36 © Kirk Crippens
Tomb Room (Temporarily Closed), 2009 Mixed Media Dimensions Variable © Kathy Aoki
SeanO, 2009 Mixed Media 20 X 22 X 12 In. © Leslie Frierman Grunditz
Swainson's Thrush, 2009 Ink Jet Print 32 X 32 In. © Sharon Beals
Antiquarian Library (detail), 2005 Tapestry 62 X 158 In. © Donald Farnsworth
Untitled (detail), 2010 Mixed Media 36 X 36 In. © Jo Ann Biagini
Satin Girl Cup, 2008 Cone 6 Porcelain, Decal, Luster, And Satin 5 X 6 X 4 In. © Shenny Cruces
Wondrous Strange: A 21st Century Cabinet of Curiosities

Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Boulevard, Building A
San Francisco, CA 94123
July 22nd, 2010 - August 28th, 2010
Opening: July 22nd, 2010 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Tue-Sat 10:30-5
Goethe, Burning Man, steam punk, Oil Punk installation, performance, conceptual


The sixteenth century’s cabinets of curiosities, precursors to today’s museums, were encyclopedic collections of specimens from the natural world, as well as man-made artifacts. These cabinets served as educational resources for artists and natural philosophers of the early modern period in western Europe.

Featuring works by more than a dozen Bay Area artists and including photography, sculpture, and painting, the exhibition explores themes such as evolutionary biology and history, progress and decadence, and the carnal and the intellectual. These contemporary artists adopt a range of styles that pre-date twentieth-century modernism and mine the early modern period—that age of discovery for sources of wonder.

The opening reception on Thursday, July 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. is a costumed event. Attendees are asked to dress as time travelers, looking to the late 18th thru the early 20th century as sources for inspiration. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes. The Long Now Foundation will have exhibits about the concept of time.

Just back from the LA Art Walk, the Golden Mean a.k.a. the Snail Art Car is scheduled to make an appearance. Created by Oakland  blacksmith Jon Sarriugarte, along with his wife, Kyrsten Mate, this transformed 1966 VW Bug  now looks like a post apocalyptic hybrid that bursts of flame from its feelers.

The punk band “The Grannies” will play. Somewhere between 30 and 163 years old, the Grannies claim to have banded together while in the Mission police station holding cell for petty crimes involving Wild Turkey, electricity, naugahyde, Top Ramen, and Drano, among other things. “Sonic reducer rock n roll with a punk fueled sound added with an outlaw feel,” is how Billy Whitfield of the TOXIC FLYER describes their sound.

Last seen at the SFMOMA Anniversary Show festivities, locally based opera singer and San Francisco Conservatory bound tenor Jonah Hopton will delight you with arias and songs by Fauré, Massenet, Scarlatti, and Bellini.

There will also be burlesque performances by the Burley Sisters. Fierce and sexy…the Burley Sisters delve into the psyches of different characters, and explore their relationships to each other and to their histories, interacting with and seeking to provoke the audience.

On August 28 the gallery will hold a closing event in honor of Goethe’s birthday from 2-4 p.m. Activities will include color theory exploration for children and a curator’s talk by Kathy Aoki.

Kathy Aoki will lead a curator’s talk on the Tomb Room, A Special Exhibit on Loan from the Museum of Historical Makeovers. Aoki will provide an introduction to the Gwen Stefani Memorial Temple and archeological dig. The talk will also cover other historical documents from the Museum of Historical Makeovers and brings together the themes of her thesis. 

A key figure in German literature of the late 18th and early 19th century, Johann Wolfgang Goethe is best known as the author of Faust. Goethe is of particular interest to the organizers because of his work often describes the practical and the poetic in conflict.