VISUAL ART So far, 2014 has been a pretty depressing and demoralizing year for Bay Area artists and the organizations and institutions that support them. Increasingly, the only options seem to be "fight or flight," with "flight" too often becoming the default.Read more »
THEATER Once the image of the highway-bound pioneer, the camper van has been reborn on the plains of the Wild West of arts programming, just off 51st Street in Oakland. It's been sighted here and there since May, greeted with honking and cheering by fans of the tiny house movement, idle curiosity by idling bystanders, and mild frustration by those anticipating a sidewalk taco or crème brûlée.Read more »
In 2001, interns at Powell Street's Meridian Gallery planned and painted a 13x48 foot mural on the wall of the SRO Hartland Hotel, a few blocks away in the Tenderloin. The mural, a colorful and sunny street scene showcasing the multiculturalism of the neighborhood, was revered by residents and and left untouched for 10 years until it was vandalized by graffiti. In response, former interns who had worked on the project came back together and, alongside the current kids in the program, repainted the piece. The artists’ lasting willingness to help Meridian in times of need reemerges in a broader sense this week, which marks the climax of the gallery’s June Benefit Series (tonight's entry: "16 Years of Meridian Music," a diverse program of new music).
Long before Teddy Roosevelt and Ansel Adams swooned at the beauty of the place, ex-49er and early photographer Carleton Watkins (1829-1916) captured monumental Yosemite Valley for the public's eyes. His stunning 1860s wet-plate negative photos — on view at Stanford's Cantor Arts Gallery April 23-Aug. Read more »
Last Wednesday, Shotwell 50 Studio launched its 11th annual San Francisco AlteredBarbie Exhibition, “The Doll That Has It All!” The show features the doll that dominated so many of our childhoods as she has never appeared before. Statues, dioramas, paintings, and photographs created by dozens of artists test the limits of the familiar figure in this unusual creative reuse exhibit. “To alter Barbie is almost a religious thing,” states Julie Andersen, who curates the exhibit each year. “It’s very blasphemous. That’s how strong the icon is.”
VISUAL ART It's art fair time again. Last year there were three, this year there are only two, though it looks like artMRKT, which is taking over now defunct SF Fine Art Fair's slot at Fort Mason, has pretty much absorbed the former's area galleries. ArtPadSF, the more festive of the two fairs, will again be renting out all the rooms at the Tenderloin's Phoenix hotel. (Both fairs run Thu/16-Sun/19). I can't help but wonder, will there be synchronized swimming again in the pool this year?Read more »
VISUAL ART Dottie Guy had a difficult time in 2006. In addition to the death of her grandfather, she was recovering from surgery for an injury to her ankle and foot that she had sustained on duty in Iraq. She started taking pictures as motivation to walk around and to reclaim a sense of purpose.Read more »
STREET SEEN The mural was neatly rendered in aerosol, with an expert's eye for color. It read "Facebook." Surrounding text bubbles proclaimed "poke," "write on your wall," and "I'll find something to put here" to the denizens of Sixth Street.
Tech-based graffiti? If you're up on the Bay Area art scene, the juxtaposition won't come as any surprise — the companies building the Internet have emerged as major supporters of professional street art.Read more »
VISUAL ART Los Angeles painter John Millei is mostly known for muscular abstraction writ large, either because he usually applies his cerebral mark making to wall size paintings, or because he produces works in very large series.Read more »