Arts Update San Francisco

Just a few notes on recent and upcoming goings-on that have captured my interest. Since I’m presently writing longer pieces on a few of these, I’ll keep it (relatively) brief. Oh, and all of this is going down in SF, by the way.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts:

Opening tonight at YBCA, Dark Matters: Artists See the Impossible promises a program that “Uncover the unexpected, the invisible and the hidden.” The line up is strong: Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen’s “Listening Post” has finally made its way to San Francisco. (I first saw this piece at the Whitney back in 2002, and it has since traveled extensively. Curiously enough, it was most recently exhibited less than an hour away, in San Jose.) Walid Raad, Trevor Paglan, and Kambui Olujimi (among others) fill out a promising roster.

But what really remains invisible and hidden—or at least, not very clear—is that the fifteen-dollar cover charge for the public opening doesn’t net a single free drink. As my beloved Campari is sponsoring the event, I feel that I should respond in the appropriate language: Vaffanculo, YBCA.


Here’s a nice docu-style vid on “Listening Post” courtesy You Tube.

The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art

The Wattis has finally announced Tino Sehgal’s first exhibition in the United States, which opens concurrently with Jens Hoffman’s debut project, Passengers, on September 5th. While the artist’s show is a separate endeavor, the two are actually one in the same: Sehgal is on the roster ad infinitum as his collaborators will occupy the gallery indefinitely as part of the gallery’s ongoing programming. (Full disclosure: I am one of eight others who will be interpreting Sehgal’s works come fall. More on that later, perhaps.)

this-success.jpg
Sehgal’s Interpreters for This Success or This Failure, ICA London, 2007. Image courtesy the ICA, London.

The de Young Museum:

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs are striking to say the least, made more so by his intellectual and conceptual engagement with history, philosophy, and the cultural peculiarities, such as ethnographic museum displays or Madame Tussaud’s wax figurines. Most striking are the formal results gleaned therein, as Sugimoto’s deft manipulation of the medium itself often casts his subjects in an entirely different, and often haunting light.

This survey
of the artist’s 30-year career spans the entire lower gallery, which is just as worthy of the viewer’s attention: as an individual who has studied and written about the implications of exhibition from many different angles, I believe that Sugimoto’s retrospective is one of the best laid installations I have seen in some time.

hiroshisugimoto.jpg

Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Gorilla,” part of the “Cause and Effect in Black and White” series. Photo courtesy the Japan Society.

Berkeley Art Museum:

smith_notionnanny.jpgBe sure to catch Allison Smith’s “Notion Nanny” project before it closes on August 8th. Best known for The Muster, the radical craft extravaganza she organized on Governor’s Island during the summer of 2004, Smith also conducted a community workshop here, inviting local artisans of all walks to add their own touch to Notion Nanny’s basket. Read Matrix Curator Liz Thomas’s short essay on Smith, as it places this particular project into a broader cultural context. (Another full disclosure: Liz is a friend and former colleague of mine. But no matter about that; her ideas are fresh, politically savvy, and moreover, very well suited to the Matrix program.)
Allison Smith’s “Notion Nanny.” Image courtesy BAMPFA.

The galleries:

Ratio 3 Gallery:
Les Autres (Nobuyoshi Araki, Peter Christopherson, and Eve Fowler) remains on view at Ratio 3 gallery until 5 August. Afterwards comes Takeshi Murata’s solo show. Proprietor Chris Perez was the first to showcase Murata’s digitally manipulated films, which is presently enjoying another solo screening at The Hirshorn as part of the museum’s Black Box series. Ratio 3 is moving to a comparatively massive space (2,500 square feet!) on 14th Street in September, so the the date has yet to be announced.

Jack Hanley Gallery:
Wrong Number (Olaf Breuning, Carter, Delia & Gavin, Luis Gispert, Anya Kielar, Kamau Patton, and Lindsey White), the curatorial effort of Mission darling Keegan Mc Hargue, remains on view until tomorrow. Recent CCA Curatorial Practice grad and Triple Base front lady Dina Pugh has organized the upcoming show, The Innocent Gaze (Hisham Bharoocha, Leslie Shows, Chris Sollars, Erika Somogyi, Ted Riederer, and Edmund Wyss), which opens on August 3rd.

The Unknowns:
I’m a bit unclear on what’s up next at the Luggage Store , but I do know that its programming has been on fire this year, extending well beyond the visual to include music and performance, too. Bay Area legend Margaret Tedesco’s 2nd Floor Projects is also keeping mum about its upcoming project, but this fledgling space is worth a visit no matter what.

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