Five Awesome Art Shows Keeping the Gallery Scene Alive and Well


To measure the life of SF’s gallery scene, one need only look to the diversity of shows happening at a given time. Over the next week or so, the city’s top art spaces will unveil works ranging from photographs of strangely attired skyscrapers, to recurring weekend installations involving balloon-decked, PBR-fueled pool tournaments. Yes, vital signs are looking good.


Old traditions often become absurd as the world around them transforms over time. Occasionally, the absurdity is marvelous. Singapore-based ex-pat photographer Peter Steinhauer has documented a particularly amazing one: Hong Kong developers have kept up the traditional Asian technique of enclosing under-construction buildings in bamboo scaffolding, wrapped in brightly colored fabric, until they are finished.

In a modern city home to some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, the gesture takes on an unanticipated strangeness and aesthetic impact. Usually a black-and-white photographer, Steinhauer steps up to the occasion with striking color photographs.

Cocoons runs through March 31 at Corden|Potts Gallery, 49 Geary St., Suite 410. Opening Reception: Thursday, February 2 from 5:30 – 7:30pm

Fred Wilson, Ota Benga, 2008; Bronze with silk scarf and wood base, Edition of 5, 59 ½ x 12 x 12 inches; Courtesy of Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Fred Wilson: Selected Works

Museums are never so objective as they would have you believe. What objects they display and how they display them are laden with subliminal meanings. New York artist Fred Wilson aims to shake these out.
Through a collection of odd, provocative objects – kitsch Venetian slave candleholders, a bust of Ota Benga, a pygmy exhibited in a cage at the Bronx Zoo in 1906 – mined from major museums, then re-assembled by the artist, Wilson ignites controversial dialogue about race relations and Eurocentric bias. Thus, Rena Bransten Gallery transforms into a curiosity cabinet of a uniquely confrontational sort.

Fred Wilson: Selected Works runs through March 31 at Rena Bransten Gallery, 77 Geary St. Opening Reception: Saturday, February 4 from 4 – 6pm

Sarah Walker, Hover, 2011; Acrylic on panel, 30 x 40 in.; Courtesy of Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Sarah Walker: EYEFINGER Paintings and Drawings

With the EYEFINGER paintings, you could spend an eternity trying to figure out what it is you’re looking at. Sarah Walker’s intricate, radiating forms fall into an uncanny space between the organic, crystalline and cosmic. What they wound up looking like, though, is almost beside the point. The truly captivating matter is how they got there.

A “process artist” par excellence, Walker layers her paint in so many strata of pools and subsequent erasures, making sure as a personal rule that at least a trace of each layer remains visible. What results is not so much an outward representation as an inward one – a painting that is an image of its own history.

Sarah Walker: EYEFINGER Paintings and Drawings runs through March 10 at Gregory Lind Gallery, 49 Geary St., 5th floor. Opening Reception and artist talk: Saturday, February 4 from 2 – 5pm

Luca Antonucci; Courtesy of Cain Schulte Gallery

Luca Antonucci: THE NEW NOTHING

With this exhibition, Luca Antonucci addresses the question of how to image the really, really far-out. This is the literal, not hippie-coined sense of the phrase; Antonucci’s large scale, blank embossments represent the furthest known depths of the universe – galaxies photographed via a gravitational lensing effect capable of describing what even the most powerful telescopes cannot reach.

These aren’t the white speckled black rectangles from your astronomy textbook. Antonucci simply embosses the images of star clusters onto his canvases as colorless bumps, in effect re-presenting space a tactile, rather than purely visual, phenomenon.

Luca Antonucci: The New Nothing runs through March 10 at Cain Schulte Gallery, 251 Post st., 2nd floor. Opening Reception: Thursday, February 9 from 5:30 – 7:30pm

Guy Overfelt & Andrew McClintock, Assed Out and the Mini Dramas, 2011; courtesy of the artist

Assed Out and the Mini Dramas

Whether this exhibition will live up to its name is a point of eager anticipation in the SF art world, though perhaps the better question is just how it plans to do so. The conceptual creation of Guy Overfelt and Ever Gold Gallery co-owner Andrew McClintock, Assed Out and the Mini Dramas does not lend itself to summary description. Here’s what we do know the installation will involve:
-     Pool tournaments every Friday and Saturday
-     Live music, curated by Tyson Vogel of SF folk outfit Two Gallants, every Friday and Saturday
-     A 5,000 balloon/lighting installation
-     An appearance by revered SF conceptual artist, Paul Kos
-     Free PBR

Say no more.

Assed Out and the Mini Dramas runs through March 10 at Queens Nails Projects, 3191 Mission St. Opening Reception: Friday, February 10 from 6 – 9pm.

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