San Francisco Art Galleries - First Thursday Art Openings: July 5, 2007


SAN FRANCISCO ART GALLERIES OPENINGS
FIRST THURSDAY; 07.05.07
(with assistance from Jessica Whiteside)

General comment by AB: I was all set to hit the snooze button and sleepwalk my way through tonight's aesthetic excursion, this being the day after July 4th, with probably half of us still sitting around the campfire swapping gouache stories. But noooo. Our venerable gallerists are way too cagey to dissapoint their fawning sycophants. One can only imagine what the art-o-sphere would be like if we could prognosticate whether our purveyors of high refinement were perpetrating to foist anything other than primo product on our delicate sensibilities. I'm not saying the evening's fare was impeccably select-- there will always be miscarriages of artistic finesse-- but the cull was commendable.

Yes, dear artsters-- tonight gets my seal of approval with a cherry on top, and you're about to find out why...

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Gregory Lind Gallery: A Serious Paradise.

Artists: Jane Callister, Yuko Murata, Jason Middlebrook, Claire Sherman.

Comment by AB: According to the crib sheet, the artists "construct vistas that veer between ready recognition and fluid abstraction; contrasting exuberant approximations of form against more straightforward, unadulterated terrains." Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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Art.

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Art.

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Art.

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Don Soker Gallery: Summer Selections.

Artists: Christel Dillbohner, Veronika Dobers, Jeri Eisenberg, Mitra Fabian, Jean Foos, Jesse Gottesman, Theodora Varnay Jones, Hiroyuki Kitano, Makoto Kumagai, Judith Maloney, Takesada Matsutani, Victoria May, Tetsuya Noda, Susanne Schossig, Victoria Wagner, Eleanor Wood, Yutaka Yoshinaga.

Comment by AB: Group show with an ethereal unassuming Far East feel.

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Art.

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Art.

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Art (Don Soker - right).

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Gallery 415: Pedro Teran - Dibujos de Agua; Ali Gonzalez - El rostro, lugar de nadie.

Comment by AB: Venezualan artist Ali Gonzalez works acrylic and wire mesh over white pegboard to create ghostly visages; he also arranges dominoes under glass which he then augments with dots of his own. Pedro Teran, meanwhile, concocts nonobjective representations of water.

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Art (Pedro Teran).

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Art (Pedro Teran).

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Art (Ali Gonzalez).

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Ali Gonzalez - art.

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Art (Ali Gonzalez).

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Art (Ali Gonzalez).

***

Toomey Tourell Gallery: Brian Dettmer - Remixed Media.

Review by Jessica Whiteside: Brian Dettmer's paper cutout sculpture pieces are amazingly intricate and complex, with tiny little illustrations that draw the viewer in for closer inspection. This show harnesses some of the ideas introduced in Dada art movement as it calls upon the viewer to question the purpose of ordinary objects, and then see them in a new light in their altered form. Brian uses books as mediums for his message. These works have the look of obsessive collector items. Brian describes the purpose behind his mad creations saying that "by altering preexisting materials and shifting functions, new and unexpected roles of old materials emerge."

Comment by AB: Brian Dettmer takes old books, cassette tapes, maps, and other media and remasters them into sculptures and shadow boxes. His pre-eminent efforts are called "altered books," most notably thick single-volume encyclopedic compendiums dating from the early 20th century that he bends back, fans open, and literally carves the pages in such a way as to create dimensional dioramas out of text and illustrations that he preserves on various pages. The black & white altered book portion of the show is more than enough to net the coveted Pick of First Thursday for outstanding, accurate, intricate, original, and engaging content, but the overall show gets a Near Pick due to mildly imprecise cuts on the color versions of altered books (on close inspection, that is). I double-checked with the judges for an official ruling on this, and in spite of the degree of difficulty, those cuts resulted in a slight but critical deduction in points. Great show; go see.

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Carved bent back book art (pick).

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Carved book art.

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Carved bent back book art.

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Hand made of words art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Carved bent back book art (pick).

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Cut carved art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art.

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Art.

***

Jack Fischer Gallery: Monica Johnson - Stick 'Em Up! Stay Down! Grow Up!

Review by Jessica Whiteside: My favorite stop on the 49 Geary gallery tour is by far the Jack Fischer Gallery, a small and unassuming space filled with masterful beauties. Jack is there chatting with people as I come into the gallery. His current exhibition is by an artist named Monica Johnson. Her work is illustrative, witty, whimsical and delicate. My favorite thing about her work is the juxtaposition of soft feminine design elements combined with the cold steel drawings of old fashioned pistols. Her work has an old world Western feel and an illustrative style that makes me wish I could purchase one for my own! A must-see for anyone looking for something unique and beautiful. And Jack is fun to chat with too.

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Art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art.

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Art.

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Steven Wolf Fine Arts: Jose Ruiz - Contemporary Fine Art Projects; Revolution! - Lisa Kirk.

Comment by AB: Jose Ruiz spoofs himself up a pseudo art fair booth, a fictitious gallery to exhibit in it, a bogus press release, mock art, authentic artists playing ersatz artists, and phony attitude... er... wait... on second thought, the attitude's probably real. Steven Wolf tells me that the whole shootin' match is available for $20K. Instant art collection. Meanwhile, in the vestibule, Lisa Kirk packages up the concept of "revolution" and introduces it into the marketplace as a brand of luxury perfume, Revolution. Fun fun fun.

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Art (Lisa Kirk).

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Art (Lisa Kirk).

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Art (Lisa Kirk).

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The smell of Revolution (Lisa Kirk).

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Art (Jose Ruiz; photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art (Jose Ruiz; photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Lance Strongheart plays ersatz artist (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art (Jose Ruiz; photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Artist plays ersatz artist.

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Art (Jose Ruiz; "Pussy Power" by Lance Strongheart, center right).

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Art (Jose Ruiz).

***

871 Fine Arts, 49 Geary, 2nd Floor: Art Show Posters, Broadsides, and Announcements.

Comment by AB: An impressive retrospective spanning four decades of art opening anouncements, many of which are works of art in and of themselves. Artists include Christo, Basquiat, Warhol, Acconci, Kaprow, Lichtenstein, Haring, Indiana, Dine, a couple of Chinese propaganda posters (?), and more. Some are signed by the artists, others are for significant shows, yet others are esoteric delights for erudite insiders. And there's loads of 'em and they're good-- and affordable too-- the most expensive one, for a Hockney show (signed by Hockney) priced at $2500, with average prices running around $200. Not your everyday art show plus it's an educational experience-- Pick Runnerup.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Announcement art.

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Stephen Wirtz Gallery: Kelli Connell - Double Life; Rick Arnitz - Pieces.

Review by Jessica Whiteside: Inside is a low key gathering of people viewing the two exhibits on display. One show is the photography of Kelli Connell called "Double Life," and the other is work by artist Rick Arnitz called, "Pieces." The two shows are quite different from each other in that one is painting and the other photography. Kelli Connell's photographs make the biggest impact in my mind. Her images are emotionally charged, beautifully lit, and show an intimate relationship between two women. I would recommend going to see them to anyone interested in photography. Kelli Connell describes her work as "an honest representation of the duality or multiplicity of the self."

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Art (Rick Arnitz).

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Art (Kelli Connell).

***

ARTworkSF: 3rd Annual Best of Show.

Artists: Anahid, MaryLou D' Auray, Genea Barnes, Will Bullas| Celestte Girouard, Rachel Davis Strell, Maurice Edelstein, Jo Farrell, Lynn Friedman, Taiko Fujimara, Fima Gelman, Charlotte Kay, Alexander Koulouris, Jennifer W. Mack, Lenea Maibaum, Maggie Malloy, Grayson Malone, Bruce Meisner, Marcia Middleton, Roberto Montoya - Mejia| Jennifer Morris, Les Phillips, Imelda Picherit, Maja - Yvette Saphir, Adele Shaw, Ann Simms, Richard Tauber, William Ulrich, Nick Wightman, Rosalie Yerby, D' Arci Bruno.

Review by Jessica Whiteside: A diverse selection of art and artists in this "Best Of Show" exhibit. This was a reception that also marked the Grand Opening of ARTworkSF Gallery in their new space in the 49 Geary building. Part of the goal of the ArtworkSF gallery is to provide support for many artists at different levels of their careers. As such, the shows are always overwhelming in their variety of style, medium, and maturity of the work. The Chief curator, Matt McKinley describes the exhibit as, "a tribute to the community for supporting artists at all stages of their careers, and well-deserved recognition of those artists willing to share their visions with the rest of us."

And what do the rest of us have to say? Well, the best part of this show is the opportunity to voice your opinion by placing a vote in the jar for your favorite piece in the show. This opening had so many people trying to get in that they had restrict the number of people in the gallery at any given time. Once inside though, there was plenty of food, an open bar, a DJ and lots of different art. The work was not necessarily all worth remembering, but there were definitely some noteworthy pieces.

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Art.

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Jessica Whiteside favorite.

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Artists from left - Lois Llewellyn, Phyllis Rockne, Heather Hanan.
(photo c/o Jessica Whiteside)

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Astrological art - 10 minutes; 10 bucks.

***

Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art: Dennis McNulty - When one of your own color could be so different it puts you on a wonder.

Review by Jessica Whiteside: McNulty's black silhouette images depict an odd side of American culture that is somewhat of a mystery to us Northern Californian folk. For anyone from the South, the work can really hit home. His images are powerful and bring to light some of the social issues that divide a nation, and make people in other countries wonder. This show is worth taking a look at if you like socially charged art. It's also kind of weird and creepy to walk inside of the creepy little school house installation piece.

Here are some of the comments posted on the website about this show: "McNulty's latest body of work considers Christianity's place in the Deep South. McNulty describes his practice as one deeply rooted in place, one 'concerned with distilling the essence of Southern culture' into material form, and manifesting that culture as vinyl, paint, and paper."

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Art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

***

Patricia Sweetow Gallery: Inchoate.

Artists: Aaron Delehanty, David Gurman, Amanda Herman, Bayete Ross Smith, Reggie Stump, Tommy Becker.

Review by Jessica Whiteside: This show is mainly all multi-media installation pieces from a number of different artists. One video installation piece has the same characters interacting on three different screens simultaneously, which is very funny. All works are interesting from a technical point of view and bring up some questions about human relationships and interactions between people. I think, overall a technically profound show, but nothing to be amazed by.

Comment by AB: A poignant series of video interviews with Katrina survivors is worth a look.

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Art.

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Katrina survivor documentary interview art.

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Video actors and artists (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Art.

***

Togonon Gallery: Servando Garcia - Everything is Going to Be OK; Xuchi Naungayan-Eggleton - Wabi Sabi (Impermanence/Permanence), Graphite Installations and Mixed Media Sculptures.

Comment by AB: Servando Garcia presents paintings of interiors as metaphors for psychological and creative states of body and mind. In contrast to Garcia's cerebralities are stark sturdy modernist sculptures and sculptural installations by Xuchi Naungayan-Eggleton.

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Sculpture (Xuchi Naungayan-Eggleton).

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Sculpture (Xuchi Naungayan-Eggleton).

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Sculpture (Xuchi Naungayan-Eggleton).

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Art (Servando Garcia).

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Art (Servando Garcia).

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Art (Servando Garcia).

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SoMarts Bay Gallery: Multiplicity/Multiplicidad - An Exhibition of Artistamps and Mailart Archives.

Comment by AB: This momentous event slips though numerous security checks, art sniffing dogs, radar, sonar, dacron, infared spectroscopy, spy satellites, unmanned drones, a state-of-the-art oeuvre detector, and a cavity search to take undisputed possession of this month's Pick of First Thursday. History is hazy on the underground Mailart/Stampart movement, but according to legend, it appears to have germinated circa 1969 with the debut by Patricia Tavenner (aka The Mail Queen) of her newspaper, "Mail Order Art."

The basic idea is that artists subversively circumvent the gallery system to "get their art out there" by making their own stamps and works of art, and then sending them through the mail-- artist to artist-- all over the world. (Of course, when you circumvent the gallery system, the gallery system returns the favor, which is why the movement's evolved virtually unnoticed over the past forty years.) On display here is a serious selection spanning the history of the idiom, from its inception through the present day, including scads of sheets of artist stamps produced in a variety of media (early color "Xeroxes," photocopies, digital prints, original prints, offset lithographs, etc.), assorted works of mail art, and more-- starring first-tier progenitors like Patricia Tavenner, Anna Banana, John Held Jr., and others. Art for art's sake-- about as pure as it gets. Love it.

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What it is.

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The basic idea.

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Patricia Tavenner, The Mail Queen, and early stamp art.

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Anna Banana, mail art matriarch.

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Fluxist stamp art.

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Dada stamp art.

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Contemporary stamp art.

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Exhibition headquarters.

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Early color "Xerox" stamp art.

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Stamp art.

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Stamp art.

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Stamp art.

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SomArts Main Gallery: 2πr - Artists in the Round.

Artists: Tom Curtis, Myrrh, Harriette Lawler, Charles Trapolin.

Comment by AB: Four artists work circular. And that, as they say, is that. Interesting show.

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Fifty24SF Gallery: Anthony Lister - Cracker Got Snapped by the Pops.

Review by Jessica Whiteside: Upon entering the gallery I am immediately drawn to an unusual and somewhat disturbing installation piece on the floor in the back of the gallery. It looks like a sheet covering a man who was desperate in some way or another. I think the artist is making some interesting comments about poverty with this piece, and our general desensitization to it as a society. I am surprised to discover that the artist is Australian, and also his own personal comments about his work. I don't get all the same messages he intends to put across with his work, but I still find the paintings visually interesting, and I like work that questions society's rules.

My own personal experience from the show of small paintings depicting characters with handkerchiefs covering their faces, knives, and stylized urban creatures is that he portrays an undercurrent of society and the characters that are a part of it. The artist describes his work as the exploitation of "the trite nature of the everyday while exposing its place in the hairy underbelly of society." Upper Playground is known for its street culture style, and this show is no exception.

Comment by AB: Australia-born Anthony Lister currently lives and works in New York City. He tells me this is his first small-format show (he normally works much larger), and that he's intrigued by gangster lifestylers and mass media, and their considerable influence on pop culture. And that's what his art is about. Kinda like it. Price range $600-$2100.

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Art.

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Anthony Lister - art.

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Knife art (photo c/o Jessica Whiteside).

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Faux corpse art.

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Art.

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Addendum:

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Gallery selections at Scott Nichols Gallery.

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One more from Scott Nichols Gallery.

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3rd anniversary celebration show Newmark Gallery.

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One more from group show at Newmark Gallery.

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Click here for exoneration.

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First Thursday; June 7, 2007

First Thursday; May 3, 2007








Articles © Alan Bamberger 2007. All rights reserved.