Carving out a gallery within their Jackson Square investment firm, Julie and Sébastien Lépinard, under the threat of a ho-hum paint roller, christened the space instead with street art from British graffiti activist Banksy. Haight Street Rat, stenciled on the exterior redwood planks of a Haight-Ashbury inn, was painstakingly extricated and is now displayed in a window at the couple's new gallery, 836M.
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Surrounded by a harem of belly dancers, glittering ladies, and men of velvet and furs, you'd be forgiven should you mistake the woman with hennaed hands and jeweled hair as some mysterious monarch from the other side of the planet.
Artists, collectors, curators and gallery owners are flocking to Art Basel in Miami this week. But, for those of you sticking around town, check out the inaugural show at CULT, a contemporary gallery founded by curator and performance artist Aimee Friberg, and two other intriguing exhibits.
For all its contributions to literature, the Beat generation of artists is above all known for its lifestyle–the addled, erotic, for-the-moment mania that blasted the foundations of conservative 1950s America and paved the way for full-fledged counterculture movements in cities like San Francisco and New York.
As though to prepare us for the upcoming art onslaught that is ArtPad SF and ArtMRKT, an unusually great number of galleries open their doors this week with new shows. As always, the work is as diverse as it is intriguing. We've sifted through the lot; here are our top eight recommendations.