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Four SF Art Exhibitions in Usual and Unusual Places

Adam Friedman, "Space & Time"

Adam Friedman, "Space & Time"; Acrylic on panel, 48 x 48 in.

In search of great art, this week we're hopping between conventional exhibition spaces and some more unusual ones. Regular haunts like SFMOMA's Artists Gallery at Fort Mason and Eleanor Harwood Gallery are always solid bets, but the ground floor of City Hall and the Burritt Room + Tavern (which also happens to be one of our favorite watering holes) are showing work too, and commanding our attention with what they're hanging.

Space and Time, and Other Mysterious Aggregations, at Eleanor Harwood Gallery 

For artist Adam Friedman, the natural world is steeped in a mystery impenetrable to human sense and methodology. We come up with methodologies and concepts for measuring nature, ranging from space age technologies to the age-old binaries of space and time, up and down, near and far. But at a certain point, Friedman believes, these structures fail. This is where we find his brilliant, surreal canvases. Here, rules of perspective, distance and light bend; space can become a solid object and places fold on top of one another. The intention is a bold one: To restore a sense of wonder in what exists.

Space and Time, and Other Mysterious Aggregations runs from January 25 through March 2 at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, 1295 Alabama Street. Opening Reception: Saturday, January 26, 7 - 10 pm 

Jennifer Kaufman, "Noisy Nameless Trapezoids"

Noisy Nameless Trapezoids, at Burritt Room + Tavern

In response to the Burritt Room + Tavern's distinctive atmosphere–a jazzy, exposed-brick hideaway in Union Square's Mystic Hotel–local artist Jennifer Kaufman produced a series of installations that she titled Noisy Nameless Trapezoids and Stammering Trapezoids. "I make lines and forms that fumble their way through gravity and into an infinite balancing act," she says. By the third cocktail, who doesn't do the same? Kaufman's show marks the The Burritt Room's inaugural exhibition of what the bar plans to be a quarterly series. Stop by Thursday evening for an opening reception featuring a gin-based cocktail inspired by the artist's work: "Sparckling Orchid." The event is open to the public, but do take a minute to RSVP (see below).

Noisy Nameless Trapezoids runs from January 24 through March at the Burritt Room + Tavern in the Mystic Hotel, 417 Stockton Street. Opening Reception: Thursday, January 24 at 5:30 pm (RSVP to tchatkara@charliepalmer.com)

Carol Lefkowitz, Toru Sugita, Juan Miguel Santiago, at SFMOMA Artists Gallery 

What is space? The line of inquiry is ludicrous to all but a handful of physicists, philosophers and artists, the latter of which we can count on to produce endlessly fascinating work–something SFMOMA Artists Gallery's current show aims to showcase. Carol Lefkowitz modulates the opacity of her paint splotches and drips to produce what she calls "image-less space"; Toru Sugita, a Bay Area transplant from Japan, uses etching and wood block prints to convey the physicality of three-dimensional space; and Juan Miguel Santiago creates cavity-bearing ceramic sculptures to explore notions of interior and façade, place, and memory.

Carol Lefkowitz, Toru Sugita, Juan Miguel Santiago runs through February 21 at SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Building A, Fort Mason Center

 New American Nomads series; Courtesy of the artist and the SFAC Galleries

Take Me Away, at City Hall

It seems almost devilishly appropriate that a show such as Take Me Away should wind up on the ground floor a government building–City Hall, no less. A juried photography exhibition organized by the San Francisco Arts Commission, Take Me Away explores the desire to escape, to evade or overcome the everyday, perhaps by trading stability for a motor home, or fashioning oneself a new identity entirely. Culled together from an open call for submissions, the show consist of over 100 works by eighteen emerging and non-professional artists, whose work will hang alongside series by three celebrated photographers, David Gardner, Alice Shaw and Rebecca Horne, each of which somehow captures or constructs an effort to evade the mundane.

Take Me Away runs from January 30 through May 10, at the Ground Floor of City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place. Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 30, 5:30 - 7:30 pm