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Let’s Get Visual: This Month in Art

There’s a lot of art happening in this city but often it’s hard to find. SF’s First Thursdays and Oakland’s Art Murmur are great ways to see a lot in a short span of time, but if you’re looking for one-offs, you may find yourself lost. Here’s our guide to the hot shows in February.

Luc Tuymans Retrospective

Luc Tuymans: The Artist Questions Art

Luc Tuymans may not be a household name but don’t mistake that as reason to bypass this very important exhibit. The Belgian artist’s first US retrospective is the most comprehensive presentation of his work to date, featuring nearly 75 key paintings from 1978 to the present. Considered by many as one of the most significant painters today, Tuymans’ has already made a lasting impression on today’s generation of artists.

A note of warning: steer clear if you’re looking for art that is fun and frivolous. The work on view here is richly layered, dauntingly dark and will pulse through you long after leaving the museum.

A Guide to First Thursday

Consider First Thursday fully ramped up for the new year, spanning everything from West Coast comers to unsettling urban decay.

“Assemble -- Taha Belal, Jonathan Burstein, Weston Teruya, Julie Weitz, and Bernhard Haertter”
Multi-hued fantasy faces, raw constructions, and vibrant, collaged portraits make a stand at this group exhibition. Thursday Feb. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Through March 6. Patricia Sweetow Gallery, 77 Geary St., mezzanine, SF. (415) 788=5126.

“Bradley Castellanos: North Woods”

Inspired by The City: 6 San Francisco Art Prints

The dramatic shifts in terrain, intricate architectural details, monumental landmarks, and culture collisions that make up San Francisco provide endless stimulation for the eyes, and endless inspiration for the artist. This Valentine's Day–or any day, really–show your appreciation for the town you love with a print commemorating our City by the Bay.

New to us:

Hunt Slonem: Stroke of a Genius

Quirky artist Hunt Slonem has opened his first permanent West Coast exhibition in, guess where, San Francisco! 12 Gallagher Lane, located in Gallery Row, is featuring "Flora, Fauna, Faces & Feathers" in the form of Slonem's two Louisiana homes. Shutters and bright colors accentuate the 3,300 square-foot gallery and bring some sense into his outlandish works of art. From portraits of Honest Abe to a gigantic canvas of bunnies (humorously titled "Multiply"), Slonem sounds like a hoot. The 12 Gallagher Lane gallery is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Mondayfrom 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon - 5 p.m. and by appointment. The gallery is also available for private events.

A Holiday Shopping Break: See Fini at the Weinstein

The Leonor Fini: "Une Grande Curiosité exhibit at the Weinstein Gallery (December 10 - January 3) showcases the career of a bold female painter who is sadly not well known in the US outside of art circles. Argentinian born and Trieste-raised, Fini had no formal training when she picked up the brush at the age of 19. She moved to Paris in 1931 and soon found herself showing with the Surrealists. Yet she retained a staunch individuality, and her paintings are notable for her balance of strength and femininity in her female subjects. Fini's work throughout her 70-year career includes portraiture, abstract painting, fashion design, and even theater set design.

Bid on "Mini-Me" Art in Monterey

Art lovers will find delight in the posh Hotel Pacific and Monterey Museum of Art's "Mini-Me" deal. It focuses on the museum's annual exhibit of "small" paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and sculptures, all 7 inches by 9 inches or less and all up for auction, as donated by the artists. The special includes two tickets to the museum, two auction raffle tickets, and a night's stay in a deluxe suite, complete with cozy fireplace to keep the ocean chill at bay.

DIY Inspiration from The Green Project

While holiday decorations still feel a tad premature (we're looking at you, Walgreens), it pays to get a head start on the gift-giving season, especially if you're going the DIY route. Making something from nothing takes time and effort, and, if you're not careful, can also end up costing more in craft supplies than just buying the thing in the first place. Instead of spending your holiday bonus at Arch this year, get some found-object art inspiration from The Green Art Project.

Will Draw for Beer: Pabst Art Contest

Pabst Brewing Company's fourth annual PB-Arts Contest provides everyone a valid excuse to drink lots of that watery American-style lager in the iconic red, white, and blue can. From now until January 15, 2010, Pabst Arts will accept PBR-inspired submissions in four categories: photography/digital media, 2D (painting, drawing), 3D (sculpture, collage), and poetry.

Open Studios: The Best Way to Start Your Local Art Collection

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to hit the pavement. Four weekends, four sections of the city and hundreds of artists—ArtSpan's Open Studio weekends bring art to the public, gratis. Step aside NYC. With an estimated 60,000 visitors each year and more than 600 workspaces, SF’s Open Studios Tour is the nation’s largest and longest running. The annual tour boasts a little bit of everything, so no matter what your medium, you’ll find plenty of pieces to ponder or purchase. Expect traditional painting, photography, print making, edgy abstractions, installation art, artisan-quality furniture, lighting, jewelry, custom dinnerware, glass work and more.

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