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Alex Bigman

6 Must-See Gallery Openings

“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.

Four Gallery Openings This Week

It’s that time of year, and this week a host of vibrant city galleries are getting in the holiday spirit (well, only one of them in an explicit sense, unless you count wacky Dutch New Wave film screenings and existential meditations in graphite as “the holiday spirit”). For casual art lovers as well as aspiring collectors with year-end bonuses at their disposal, we’ve rounded up this week’s four most promising openings.

Top Five Gallery Openings This Week

The city’s gallery scene is abuzz this week with a slew of openings, the grand list of which is enough to daunt even the most seasoned of art crawlers. In the name of practicality, we’ve plucked out our top five – shows that will get the gears turning for conceptual art nerds, SF history buffs and everyday visual enthusiasts alike (and collectors too, of course).

Three New Exhibits at SFMOMA Are Outspoken, Brilliant and Tragic

SFMOMA’s front atrium sports a handsome new fixture, and its middle floors have some outspoken new tenets. While Jim Campbell’s twinkling LED-light sculpture, Exploded Views, runs no risk of going unseen, The Air We Breathe and Francesca Woodman must vie for viewers’ attention in the shadow of a behemoth – namely, the smash-hit Richard Serra Drawing retrospective upstairs. To overlook these smaller exhibitions, one a poignant resounding on same-sex equality, the other a fascinating glimpse of a brilliant and tragic individual, would be a crime.

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.

Two Gallants' Adam Haworth Stephens Plays Solo Show at the Independent

For months, the only way to hear Adam Haworth Stephens’ solo material was to go to a Two Gallants show and see it happen by chance. Finally, the San Francisco native has a full-length album of his own. The recently released We Live on Cliffs achieves an intimacy to which Two Gallants—Stephens’ well-established indie-rock project with Tyson Vogel—cannot comfortably venture. With an unwavering lyrical center and vocals that assume a rare magic under strain—all neatly hemmed by seasoned producer Joe Chiccarelli, who has worked with indie giants like The Shins and The White Stripes—We Live on Cliffs generates a number of electric moments that clearly demonstrate what all the buzz is about.

Hot 20 2010: Aaron Patzer: Founder of

Aaron Patzer, 29

To become the man he is today, Aaron Patzer gave up seven months of his golden 20s to lock himself in a room and write code. At the tender age of 24—frustrated with the multistep process of the popular financial-planning program Quicken—he decided budgeting didn’t have to be such a burden. Three years later, Patzer launched his solution:, a website that keeps track of financial transactions, no manual input required.

Millions of users caught on—as did Mint’s undisputedly bested competitor, Intuit (which owns Quicken). All’s well that ends well: Last year, Intuit bought Mint for $170 million.

'Aida,' One of Opera's Most Morally Complex Love Triangles, Opens This Week

Giuseppe Verdi’s grandest work—the story of a kidnapped Ethiopian princess who is brought to Egypt and thrust into one of opera’s most emotionally and morally complex love triangles—lends itself to extravagance. However, seasoned operagoers know it takes a rare cast and production team to maintain emotional intimacy and charge amid the pageantry. Fortunately, SF Opera has a reputation for delivering an Aida that’s been heralded as one of the best.

Into the Woods: Tentless "Camping" Options

Love the wilderness but don’t necessarily love tents? There’s more than one way to bunk in the great outdoors.

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