Immortalized on dorm room walls of every undergrad from here to Beijing, it could be said that Monet's water lilies have entered the dreaded realm of cliché. But in the late 19th century, his work was revolutionary. Critics in 1874 found dappled sunlight and thick swabs of bright paint painfully offensive, and those who slathered such rot on their canvases were relegated to the fringes of the art world.
But there are no water lilies in Birth of Impressionism, the new exhibit that opened at the De Young this week. Instead, there are turkeys, a surprising number of dead fish (still lifes aren't all chrysanthemums and lemons, people), cherubs riding dolphins, and naked women rising from seashells (as naked women are wont to do).
San Francisco's city center is going to get a temporary facelift on May 12 in the form of a gargantuan three-headed, six-armed Buddhist statue entitled, err, Three Heads Six Arms by the international art phenom Zhang Huan. For the massive work of art's world premiere as an outdoor adornment to the Joseph L. Alioto Performing Arts Piazza (across the street from City Hall), the city and good old Gavin Newsom are rolling out the welcome mat with a public ceremony at 10 a.m.
Hunters Point Shipyard artists host their annual Spring Open Studio this weekend (Sat & Sun, 11-6) and if you've never been out there it's definitely worth the trip. Seven buildings of the former Navy base house a huge artist colony, with over 250 artists on site year-round. Open Studio will showcase the work of 125 of the artists, allowing visitors to roam around the base, check out artist studios, and buy awesome things to hang in your house. The work includes fine art as well as craft like quilts and jewelry. Nearby Islais Creek Studios, the home of sculptors who used to show at Building 101, will also be open. It's a really awesome opportunity to check out local artists and get inside the old Navy base.
For Randy Shaw's big dreams of the Tenderloin becoming a tourist destination to come true, it's going to take more than evoking memories from times long passed and eating delicious banh mi. But one thing the Tenderloin definitely has going for itself is art, and the CBD Gallery's "Woman Hood: Work by Tenderloin Women Artists" is no exception. Featuring crafts, painting, and photography by women of the Tenderloin community, the show's curators hope to provide public exposure to the neighborhood's many unknown female artists and foster a greater sense of community within the troubled 'loin. The show will be open noon - 3, Fridays and Saturdays, through May 29 at CBD Gallery (134 Golden Gate Avenue).
What do star-crossed lovers (thanks, Shakespeare), a black fly in your chardonnay (merci, Alanis) and Santa Cruz artist Jim Denevan's elaborate sand drawings have in common? They're all prime examples of beautiful irony. Denevan's doomed artistry—which can be found, on any fair-weather day, on SF's Ocean Beach or Santa Cruz's Cowell Beach—is front-and-center in this month's Sunset magazine.
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 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.
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”
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: