Make the trip to Paso Robles to walk through artist Bruce Munro's 'Field of Light' at Sensorio. (Serena Munro)

Summer Arts Preview: A Fantastical Light Show, Tattoo Art, SF Design Week + More in the Bay Area

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Summer's music festivals may get most of the love, but there's still plenty to do for arts lovers who prefer to get their culture at galleries, museums, and at the theater.

Don't miss the incredible, immersive Field of Lights at Sensorio in Paso Robles; see Othello at the Livermore Shakespeare Festival; learn more about the tattoo art of Ed Hardy at the De Young Museum; and more. This season offers many ways to feed your curiosity.


June's Top Art + Design Openings

Courtesy of San Francisco Design Week

Juke City: Celebrating the Harlem Renaissance of the West

6-9pm, June 13

African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St. (Hayes Valley), aaacc.org

Local artist William Rhodes presents an impactful installation recollecting San Francisco's vibrant black culture of the 1920s through the '50s, when the Fillmore District was known as the Harlem of the West. Rhodes takes the stories of African-American elders who lived there during the time to inspire drawings, paintings, sculpture, and quilts. Tonight's event will include live music, hand-crafted cocktails, dancing, and the storytelling of African Americans elders who lived through the era. // Register for free at eventbrite.com.


San Francisco Design Week

June 20-28

Venues throughout the Bay Area, sfdesignweek.org

Your annual appointment with the best of California design is around the corner. The theme: The Future Started Here. Mark your calendar for panel discussions, workshops, and art installations highlighting the evolution of design in the Bay Area, as well as an eclectic lineup of both established and emerging talents. Don't miss an appearance from acclaimed designer Gere Kavanaugh, who epitomized the craft and folk vibe of the '60s and '70s—she'll be here to talk up her new book, A Colorful Life. // View the full events calendar.


The Sculptures of Liu Jianhua

June 21 through Aug. 4

Pace Gallery, 229 Hamilton Ave (Palo Alto), pacegallery.com

In this solo exhibition, the Chinese artist depicts the duality of accumulation and impermanence through porcelain sculpture. The centerpiece of the show is "Square," an installation of gold-glazed porcelain pools resting atop steel sheets; it was introduced at the Venice Biennale in 2017.


Divine Women, Divine Wisdom

June 26 through Jan. 12, 2020

BAMPFA, 2155 Center St. (Berkeley), bampfa.org

Calling all goddesses: This exhibition is a celebration of the power and beauty of women in the Himalayan region, as seen through sculpture, jewelry, and more. // General Admission is $13 or free (Thursdays).


Daria Martin: Tonight the World

June 27 through Feb. 19, 2020

Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St. (SoMa), San Francisco, thecjm.org

Bay Area artist Daria Martin shines a light on the dreams and memories of her grandmother, who fled Czechoslovakia, through work combining computer gaming technology and film. // Purchase museum tickets at thecjm.org.


Field of Light

Through Jan. 5, 2020

Sensorio, 4380 Highway 46 East (Paso Robles), sensoriopaso.com

The day trip to Paso Robles will be well worth it to see this immersive lighting installation by British artist Bruce Munro, who recalls his 1992 trip through the desert of central Australia in this solar-powered exhibition of more than 58,800 fiber-optic lights blooming across the multi-acre innovative art space Sensorio. // Purchase tickets ($27) on eventbrite.com.

Art Exhibits, Shakespeare and Lego Festivals + Cultural Happenings This July

"Virile Music" by Ed Hardy

Courtesy of the artist and the de Young Museum

April Dawn Alison

July 1 through Dec. 1

SFMOMA, 151 3rd St. (SoMa), sfmoma.org

April Dawn Alison was the female persona of a male, Oakland–based photographer who, through the 1960s, '70s and '80s, captured his feminine side through some 9,000 Polaroid self-portraits highlighting Alison's many looks and faces. The images are being shown for the first time. // Exhibit is included in SFMOMA general admission.


Livermore Shakespeare Festival

July 3 through Aug. 4

Wente Vineyards Winery and Tasting Room, 5565 Tesla Rd. (Livermore), livermoreshakes.org

This year's festival features the staging of the tragedy Othello, the story of the black army general and hero who is desperately in love with his caucasian wife, and Iago, the ensign who manipulates every one around him. // View the full events calendar.


Ann Weber: Happiest Days of Our Lives

July 11 through Aug. 31

Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post St. (Union Square), dolbychadwickgallery.com

In an homage to the visual landscape of the artist's adopted Los Angeles community of San Pedro, this whimsical installation evokes a colorful garden wonderland, where large-scale, joyful artwork made of cardboard is spread throughout the gallery, inspired by graffiti seen in murals painted on the sides of bodegas and stores.


Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin

July 13 through Oct. 6

De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park), deyoung.famsf.org

Arguable the most famous tattoo artist, Ed Hardy's work comes to life in a fine art setting at this retrospective including drawings, photographs, and sketches. The collection shows Hardy's talent and obsession for the medium and his mission to transform the subculture of tattoo art in a proper visual discipline. // Tickets ($28 or free for members) can be purchased at tickets.famsf.org


Bricks by the Bay

July 13-14

Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Pkwy (Santa Clara), bricksbythebay.com

Loved Legos as a kid and still kind of into it? Don't miss this curation of installations, buildings, and various art works made by Lego hobbyists and artists from across the nation. // Purchase tickets ($11) on eventbrite.com


Blow Up II: Contemporary Inflatable Art

July 14 through Sept. 15

Bedford Gallery, 1601 Civic Dr. (Walnut Creek), bedfordgallery.org

Giant inflatable sculptures by international artists will be creating a scene at Walnut Creek's Bedford Gallery, opening up a dialogue between pop culture and art, before it travels the country at this exhibition debut.

August's Best Cultural Events in the Bay Area

Broadway Under the Stars: Those Dancin' Feet.

(Courtesy of Transcendence Theater)

Broadway Under the Stars

Aug. 9-25

Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Rd. (Glen Ellen), transcendencetheatre.org

Directed and choreographed by Roy Lightner and featuring Broadway and touring professionals, Those Dancin' Feet is a passionate multi-narrative musical that follows the relationships of three couples. The experience includes pre-show picnicking at 5pm in the park's sprawling vineyard and meadow. // Purchase tickets ($54-$154) at transcendencetheatere.org.


Uprise West

Aug 9. through Oct. 2019

The Midway, 900 Marin St. (Dogpatch), themidwaygallery.com

In this collab with NYC's Uprise Art, Portland-based artist Christina Watka will install a large-scale hanging work that reflects upon rhythm, repetition, and sound, while Boston-based visual artist Katrine Hildebrandt-Hussey considers light and shadow in delicate paper works. // The exhibition kicks off with a reception 6-9pm Aug. 9.


Sun Sick by Cannon Dill

Aug. 10 through Sept. 6

Part 2 Gallery, 1523b Weber St. (Oakland), part2gallery.com

You have probably seen his colorful murals in Oakland and San Francisco. The artist, whose name is deeply related to the Occupy movement, is also known for his obsession with folktales and nature. In this solo exhibition, expect to see drawings of lots of wolves, coyotes, tigers, and other powerful spirit animals.


Richard Prince: High Times

Through Aug. 23

Gagosian, 657 Howard St. (SoMa), gagosian.com

More than 30 cartoonish paintings by New York artist Richard Prince tell stories of people of varying ethnicities, religions, and genders.

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