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
A comprehensive look at the famous Belgian painter’s oeuvre, this exhibit is dark, deep and richly layered. Expect such topics as Nazi Germany, Belgium’s violent occupation of the Congo and a struggling, post-9/11 America. The murky palette of Tuymans’ work matches the heavy subject matter and the pieces will haunt you long after leaving the museum. Extremely important show but not for the fainthearted.
SFMOMA, February 6 – May 2, 415-357-4000, $17.50
Curated by Chillin Productions’ founder Irene Hernandez-Feiks, this exhibit has been a long time coming. Irene’s worked hard over the past 11 years to promote emerging local talent and it’s always been her dream to put together her own show. She’s rounded up an impressive list of artists—Brian Barneclo, Spencer Hansen, Ferris Plock, to name a few. And as many of us know, with Irene, it’s always a party.
111 Minna, February 4 – 27, 415-974-1719, Free
A showcase of work by Aaron Koblin and Robert Hodgin, you’ll be transported to the space where art and technology converge. Using code and algorithms to shift data into different compositions, these artists create the visual from the technical. It’s a spectacle of sheer genius. You’ll need your brain for this one.
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, February 20 – April 2, 415-843-1423, Free
Bodies Are Back
Famous British artist and fem pioneer Margaret Harrison revisits her early work. New pieces created for this show will be juxtaposed with works on paper from the late '60s and early '70s that look at the body as an object of consumption, sexuality and gaze. This very special exhibit will continue a dialogue Harrison started four decades ago and was forced to abandon after the London police shut down her show in 1971 (for fear that its content was too risqué).
Intersection for the Arts, February 10 – March 27, 415-626-2787, Free
Our Struggle: Responding to Mein Kampf
French painter and photographer Linda Ellia orchestrated a mass public response after her encounter with a copy of Mein Kampf in 2005. The result is a book titled Notre Combat (Our Struggle, in Engish), a compilation of paintings, drawings and collages over the pages of Mein Kampf by hundreds of invited participants in response to the book’s blasphemous content.
Contemporary Jewish Museum, February 11 – June 8, 415-655-7800, $8
The real gets surreal when David Trautrimas and Kristina Lewis take ordinary, functional objects out of their usual contexts. The result? A confusing mix of ambiguity, absurdity and anxiety. Imagine dismantled waffle irons digitally recast as top-secret outposts and wire-exposed light switches turned into indescribable relics.
Johansson Projects, February 5 – March 20, 510-444-9140, Free
Endless Dreams and Time-Based Streams
Internationally renowned artist Renée Green has been assessing the intersection of ideas, processes and creativities for more than 20 years. In this exhibition, she brings together two projects—a survey that features videos, objects, events and lectures produced over a 15-year span and her most recent multi-media project that includes short films, drawings, banners, audio projects, a window installation and more. Topics explored are cultural history, transnational travel, feminism and biography.
YBCA, February 20 – June 20, 415-978-2787, $7
*Bonus: If you haven’t already seen the King Tut exhibit at the de Young, February is the perfect time. Target is hosting a weekend of free admission from 2/20-2/21.