The Art Lover's February To-Do: Noise Pop and PhotoFairs return
David Buckinham's If I Only Had a Brain. (Courtesy of Caldwell Snyder)

The Art Lover's February To-Do: Noise Pop and PhotoFairs return


February brings both an excellent photo fair as well as the beloved Noise Pop festival. Mark your calendars for these artistic to-dos.

What: If I Only Had A Brain

When: February 1-28, 2018

Where: Caldwell Snyder Gallery, 341 Sutter St. (Union Square),

Why: Because Los Angeles–based artist David Buckingham renders metal to look like Pop Art paintings, with provocative messages about today's society. "This exhibition is about self-excavation, memory, personal experiences," he says, "and a way to try to make sense of the world."

What: Be Not Still: Living in Uncertain Times (Part 1)

When: Through May 27, 2018

Where: di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, 5200 Sonoma Highway (Napa),

Why: The topics are timely. Napa's most glorious culture hub, with multiple galleries and a rolling sculpture meadow, has reopened (in the wake of closure due to last year's fires) with two exhibits that speak to the current political and social climate. Look for local authors Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian's exploration on the meaning of surveillance, and site-specific installations addressing the rise of white nationalism and patriotism by West Coast artists Allison Smith, Rigo 23, and Ala Ebtekar,

What: PhotoFairs

When: February 23-25, 2018

Where: Fort Mason Festival Pavillon, 2 Marina Blvd. (Marina),

Why: The second San Francisco edition of PhotoFairs—the West Coast's only major fair dedicated to photography, in partnership with SFMOMA—brings shutterbugs, galleries and art experts from Portland to Paris, Amsterdam to Shanghai for a dynamic exhibitions and industry panels.

What: Noise Pop Festival

When: February 19-25, 2018

Where: Various venues throughout the Bay Area,

Why: Noise Pop has come a long way, baby. The indie music fest returns this year with a whopper of a lineup including several free and satellite shows, with sets from Bay Area favorites (Tune-Yards, The MagiK* Magik Orchestra) as well as national acts.

What: La Lumiere Parle

When: February 14 through June 8, 2018

Where: 836M, 836 Montgomery St. (SoMa),

Why: If you've been in France in recent years, you've likely seen the glowing work of French artist Eric Michel, who lit up Lyon in 2016 (see the video above) and whose permanent lighting installation Les Moulins de Lumière has been visible on the Paris skyline since 2011. In his first solo exhibition in SF, Michel will showcase his long study and experimentation with the power of light through 30 works of sculpture, photography and one mural.

What: The Matter of Photography in the Americas

When: February 7 through April 30, 2018

Where: Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, 328 Lomita Dr. (Palo Alto),

Why: Can we develop empathy through photography? This is the question posed here by artists from 12 different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The exhibition collects the works of well-known Latino photographers including Alfredo Jarr, Oscar Muñoz, Ana Mendieta, and Teresa Margolles, who use their art to open a dialogue about the global economy and politics.

What: Ephemeral Seas

When: February 3-25, 2018

Where: Far Out Gallery, 3004 Taraval St. (Outer Sunset),

Why: Because San Francisco's coastline inspires you too. Former Architectural Digest art director Jeffrey Nemeroff spent 18 months observing and researching the relationship between the sea and sky; it's these two elements that wash over his latest work.

(Courtesy of Sophia E. Aguiñaga)

What: Letters of Fear & Love

When: 8pm, February 9, 2018

Where: B'Way Theater, 3153 17th St. (Mission),,

Why: You missed the first performance and this may be your last chance. On stage, again, is Dawson Dance choreographer Gregory Dawson's interpretation of author Sophia Aguiñaga's book Letters of Fear & Love. The composition of body movements express the vulnerability of the feeling, exploring its depth beyond societal constructs, psychological patterns and media messaging. Tickets ($20-$45) are available at

What: Ways to Kill the Night

When: February 16 through March 3, 2018

Where: 302 Folsom St. (SoMa),

Why: Local curatorial collective Beyond Beyond stages stages bi-monthly pop-up art events in vacant retail spaces. Head over to SoMa for Chris Lux and Sarah Thibault's painterly consideration of restless nights and the devices people lean on when sleep evades us.

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