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Art to Watch: September Gallery Guide

While San Francisco’s contemporary art scene is downright quaint compared to the likes of, say, Manhattan’s, this weekend’s sea of downtown gallery openings was testimony to how vibrant and overwhelming the art world can be, even in a dusty frontier town like ours.

Now the wine and cheese (or, if you’re Catharine Clark Gallery, tacos) are back in the fridge, but the art will remain quietly on display for at least a month longer. After wading through a lot of it, we’ve come up with a perfectly manageable selection of what is truly worth seeing this September.

"The City We Love" Locals Show at 941 Geary

For 941 Geary founder Justin Giarla and graffiti artist APEX, it's all about the present. The two have co-curated "The City We Love," a large-scale group show of Bay Area artists at Giarla's cutting-edge Tenderloin gallery. The exhibit of new work by local artists highlights graffiti and street art culture from the likes of Chad Hasegawa, David Ball, Chor Boogie, John Felix Arnold, and more. “I just felt that it was time to focus on doing a show with just San Francisco artists," says Giarla. "There’s a stronger community in San Francisco than people realize. The artists that we work with are here because they love it."

Fellini Meets Lewis Carroll at E6 Gallery

Conjure up memories of lonely Alice finding her way through an unfamiliar magical world in Alice in Wonderland, or relive James Henry Trotter's surreal, peachy adventure with strange insects in Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. Now, hold tightly onto that vision, and take a gander at the images here by LA-based artistic duo Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French. The similarities are striking, so much so that Photograph magazine referred to their work as "Fellini's take on Lewis Carroll."

Photos: Latte Art Competition at Dolores Park Cafe

The Dolores Park Cafe hosted a Latte Art competition last night, drawing in competitors from as far away as Los Angeles. From swans to indecipherable scribbles, the contest was quite the spectacle. Check out the photos.

The Art of Buying Art Online

When was the last time you set foot in a gallery and felt comfortable enough to inquire about pricing and potential payment plans for a piece of work you had your eyes on? As much as the stone-cold gallerist times are behind us, let's face it—buying art can still be an intimidating process.

There used to be the stigma that buying art online meant you weren't buying real art, but times they are a-changing. In 1999, Artnet started selling online but ended those auctions a few years later after losing millions. Then in 2000, Richard Gipe—a gallery owner in Arkansas who was appalled at the lack of technology in the art world—launched a website where you could scroll a catalogue of artists and purchase their works (shopping cart and all).

Sea Change: Marx & Zavattero Gallery's 10th Anniversary Exhibition

While celebrating the newest galleries in the SF art scene is great, we can't forget to give a nod to the ones who've been successfully cultivating artists for years. Marx & Zavattero, a Union Square institution since 2001, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a two-part show titled "Sea Change."

The show will pay special homage to the six artists that have been with Marx & Zavattero since the beginning: Davis & Davis, Stephen Giannetti, Matt Gil, Liséa Lyons, William Swanson, and Forrest Williams. Not a typical retrospective, "Sea Change" will instead represent the gallery's broader aesthetic, with an eye towards its curatorial future, highlighting artists both old and new. While all of these artists represent a variety of mediums, it's their commitment to process and their irreverence for trends that ties them all together.  

A Tarantino/Coen Tribute Royale at Spoke Art Gallery

A fan fury is on its way into town. As if one art tribute to a cult director(s) isn't enough, take two. The Spoke Art Gallery is bringing its traveling tribute to two cinematic greats — Quentin Tarantino and The Coen Brothers — to us.

This Weekend's Required Art Outings: artMRKT, ArtPadSF, and SFFAF

Move over, Art Basel Miami. This weekend, San Francisco will give the most important art show stateside a run for its money. artMRKT, ArtPadSF, and SFFAF are setting up shop around the city, and we thought we'd help make it easier to choose among the three, or give you reason to double (or triple) dose on all the art and culture you could possibly handle over the course of a few days. All three fairs kick off with preview parties today and run through Sunday, so start practicing your intellectual art speak now.

Art at the Dump Exhibit Turns Trash Into Treasure

In an inventive gambit to promote recycling and re-purposing of all the random stuff that ends up in our collective trash bin, Art at the Dump is the culmination of this year’s unique artists-in-residence program at Recology San Francisco. Featuring work by Scott Kildall, Niki Ulehla, and Alex Nichols, everything in the exhibit was created with materials scavenged from - you guessed it - the dump.

'Undressed' at Public Works: Nakedness, More Nakedness and Some Badass Native American Girl-Power

May I suggest Undressed — the latest Public Works Pop-Up Gallery show — as a stealth date idea? Through May 11, the Mission art/music/creative space is hosting their most provocative exhibit yet.  With fleshy works by local artists, what stood out were the elaborate, bust-baring Native American supernatural creatures by Chelsea Brown

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