Adobe Bookstore Book Store - San Francisco Art Openings

OPENING 11.20.04

Comment: I don't normally write about shows when I miss the openings, but this Adobe show is notable in several modest regards. First, Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough's duct tape and contact paper mini-extravaganza in the back room is anchored by an excellent picture of a snake shedding its skin-- good value at $400 and already sold-- painstakingly fashioned from hundreds of teensie weensie diamond shaped pieces of tape, each representing a single scale (not sure how it'll hold up over time, though). Prices are more than reasonable, topping out at $450.

In typical Adobe fashion, the group show in the main room is fresh enough to hold one's attention, but as always, the stuff's so high up the walls that you can't tell if it's any good unless you take it down and scope it. What does look good at a distance, however, is Eleanor Harwood's clean abstract acrylic and contact paper on birch, $300 (such a deal!), and Minnette "Malka" Lehmann's Xerox/pastels on Arches paper, a series of bright oddly collaged images set against festive patterned backgrounds, $200 per (maybe such a deal, assuming they're more pastel and less Xerox).

Several artists list their art as "Price on Request," a phrase traditionally reserved for cover lots at Sotheby's or maybe a major Johns at Gagosian. Here's the issue with "P.O.R." in my humble opinion-- being forced to ask a price puts the asker in an awkward position, and most people don't like being put in awkward positions. Asking a price indicates, by default, that you like the art enough to consider buying it, which then gives the artist or the dealer or whomever license to quote whatever he or she feels like quoting, which may depend on the quality of your shoes, which isn't a very nice way to sell art.

Which brings us to art business tip #3476a: Show your selling prices; don't make people ask. Nobody likes someone staring at them the moment they find out how much a work of art costs, or being embarrassed when they find out they can't afford it, or having to find someone to ask in the first place, or tipping their hands, or finding out it's more than they want to spend, or having to grovel, and so on, and so forth. They wanna see the prices first, think about them, then maybe talk about buying later. Having said that, how much is Spencer Mack's glistening digital print of a jaggedly refracted cherry red automobile plunging into crystal clear waters?

And in the denoument department, Chris Cobb's installation "There Is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World," a dreamscape rearrangement of all of Adobe's books by color rather than by subject, transforms the store into a great big literary spectrum.

Artist/Artists: Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough, Betsey Boyle, Albert Reyes, Reggie Sparks, Eleanor Harwood, Spencer Mack, Kyle Knobel, Alissa Anderson, Xylor Jane, Minnette 'Malka' Lehmann, Coral Silverman, Matt Furie, Chris Cobb.

Sorry folks, no pix-- I missed the opening.

Adobe Bookshop
3166 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Art inquiries to Eleanor Harwood or call 415.867.7770.

Articles © Alan Bamberger 2004. All rights reserved.