The first of the summer gallery exhibitions open this week. Our picks include never-before-exhibited works by a major modernist photographer, a sampling of contemporary abstraction from the international scene, and an intriguing exhibition from one of the East Bay’s more unique studios.
Photography has not been considered “fine art” for all that long, FAMSF board president Dede Wilsey candidly reminded the press last Thursday. By most counts, the mechanical art form joined the ranks of painting just about thirty years ago. Its inclusion in the museum evidently took some prolonged getting used to among the FAMSF higher ups, but the De Young is now fully resolved to welcome the medium, with chief curator (and photography expert) Julian Cox proudly at the helm.
The only problem is, the De Young doesn’t have very much of it yet. The institution does, however, have an ace in the hole: Trevor Traina, Wilsey’s son.
The charming couple you see above, apparently engaged in struggle with an expensive-looking vacuum cleaner, is the late artist Larry Sultan’s parents. The photograph is from this Bay Area luminary’s hugely acclaimed Pictures from Home series, which earned Sultan the title “king of color photography” and is held largely in major museums like SFMOMA. This Wednesday, at a benefit auction marking the Headlands Center for the Arts’ 30th birthday, Bay Area collectors will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to acquire it.
Oakland Art Murmur has crescendoed to a straight-up roar, and its First Friday Art Walk has become just as much a misnomer; words like “surge” and “shuffle” befit the teeming, blocked-off streets of Oakland’s uptown arts district a lot better than the provincial “walk.” Staying for the party, it’s all too easy to forget that you’ve come for the art. So arrive early, and make sure to check out these four galleries.
Working in the Financial district, you could pass the sleek, tinted glass exterior of Millennium Tower (301 Mission Street) daily without noticing the rare contents of its street level atrium. Those with the curiosity to enter will find what was set aside for them: A cool place for workday respite, containing three world class sculptural and installation works of contemporary art, two by local artists.
This weekend, San Franciscans used to an ankle-high ebb and flow of contemporary art are preparing to find themselves neck-deep. Close to two hundred prominent galleries from Oakland to St. Petersburg are descending upon the city for three major art fairs that, for the past three years, have helped put SF’s art scene on the map: SF Fine Art Fair, ArtMRKT SF, and ArtPad SF. Three iconic locales – Fort Mason, the Concourse Exhibition Center and the Phoenix Hotel respectively – are housing the surge.
Before next week’s fairs throw the SF gallery scene into a veritable art blizzard, take this weekend to catch some incredible exhibitions on the usual, somewhat more relaxed, terms. From a unique video-only exhibition to a feast of tenacious conceptual art, there will be more than enough to keep you busy.
The city’s museums now have their major exhibitions out and swinging (you’ve seen Foto Mexico and Gaultier; the ads plastered over town are maybe coaxing a return visit) and the gallery circuit is on the cusp of exploding into a big spring season. Our suggestion: take this weekend to explore some of the Bay’s slightly smaller, considerably less hyped, but no doubt equally fascinating museum shows. Here are three picks.
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