Nothing in Particular
Think about the everyday objects in your living space – your sofa, lamp, the fichus hanging on for dear life. Now, think about them literally. Is there any other way? Working out of his apartment, San Francisco artist Joshua Pieper pursues this question, mining the home’s “perfectly ordinary” things for their capacities to prove odd, humorous, and potentially even “original.”
Modern-day Mexico is troubled, to speak mildly. Riddled with inequality and corruption, awash in drug violence and poverty, our southern neighbor’s urban centers at times seem to border on dystopian. One has to ask, just how did such a state of affairs come to be? SFMOMA’s Photography in Mexico addresses an intimately related question. In showing where generations of Mexican photographers aimed their lenses, the exhibition traces not so much how Mexico got here, but what it has been like along the way.
The art world has a wonderful tendency to expose a variety of attitudes, sometimes ones that are diametrically opposed. That is the case this weekend, as the rosy, utopian architectural fantasy in Patricia Araujo’s Tomorrowland Today opens not far from The Brinksman, Cleon Peterson’s collection of blood-red, dystopian nightmare images. In between, look forward to a clever reanimation of landscape photography and a feature length melodrama, for those courageous enough to dive in.
If there is an ideal Friday this month to hop across the Bay and explore the thriving Downtown Oakland neighborhoods your friends have been prattling on about, it is this one – always the first one. From 6 – 9pm, a slew of galleries will open their doors for Oakland Art Murmur’s monthly art walk. Full of dogged self-starters and no home for the risk-averse, the Oakland gallery scene routinely welcomes work that the more cosmopolitan corners of the SF circuit are prone to overlook. Here are four picks from the East Bay’s ever-growing frontier.
SFMOMA’s collection of Francesca Woodman prints is on its way out (if you missed them, go this weekend), but the museum’s jet stream of excellent photography will not be abating any time soon. Two new exhibitions, one a retrospective of L.A. artist Mark Bradford’s colossal painting/collages, the other a modest but rich slice of conceptual art, flank a major retrospective of Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra’s photographic and video portraiture. Monumental, yet intensely compassionate, Dijkstra’s work alone requires a visit – maybe a few.
To measure the life of SF’s gallery scene, one need only look to the diversity of shows happening at a given time. Over the next week or so, the city’s top art spaces will unveil works ranging from photographs of strangely attired skyscrapers, to recurring weekend installations involving balloon-decked, PBR-fueled pool tournaments. Yes, vital signs are looking good.
This week, three SF galleries take up three of art’s most timeless, fundamental pursuits: the rendering of landscape, the investigation of color, and the tropicalismo of 1960s Rio. —Okay, so the last one has yet to be officially inducted into the art historical canon.
“Second Thursday” doesn’t seem to roll off the art world tongue quite like last week’s kickoff, but that does not make the upcoming fleet of SF gallery openings any less exciting. From Lucy Pullen’s vibrant perceptual playground, to the poignantly off humor of Carol Selter’s “Animal Stories,” to Katherine Westerhout’s photographic uncovering of once grand, now disused American architectural space, another weekend of exhibitions brims with character, philosophy and spunk. Here are the six to see.
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