Monday, September 5, 2011

The Fall Art Season Is Here! (Grab your calendars and protein bars)

Art's Baaacck!  As it always goes, fall school terms starting up again means the Bay Area art world, (along with all your favorite cheesy shows like Gossip Girl, and the wonderful thing called the "Back-to-School" sale), is awakened from it's not-so-warm San Francisco summer nap.  In August I longed for something to see once I was back from vacation, while everyone important, (i.e. collectors), were still off in whatever rich land they frolic during the summer months.  Well, we're all here now, and my job at art school will start getting mighty full and messy and loud with the students back in it, but thankfully, art is back, too.

I don't even know how I would possibly go to all the events coming up, but here is a list of things I would/could/should do, just like I did last year, so we can compare score cards at the end.

Starting Thursday, September 8, the scene comes alive with a ton of stuff to see and do within a 3 hour time frame.  It's First Thursday, which means something sometimes, like when there are shows worth going to in 49 Geary.  (Every First Thursday there is an agreed-upon smattering of openings within the walls of 49 and 77 Geary.  Lately, though, it seems galleries are changing up the opening dates, and the ones who stick to the First Thursday tend to be stuck on old-fashioned art, as well).

Jonathan Wallraven: "Smile to Your Life" 
Kokoro Studio, 682 Geary Street, San Francisco
Opening 7-10 pm through September 29

Jonathan Wallraven, a current CCA MFA grad student, is sure to take sneering, hilarious digs at almost everyone with his large scale line drawings and text.  Ala Raymond Pettibon, Wallraven seems to find the perfect thing you never expected his figures to say.  His drawings always remind me of the high school drones who were doomed to peak at age eighteen, while the rest of us just kept dreaming of life beyond those four years of hell.  It takes a lot to drag me down Geary into the seedy Tenderloin, but this might be one reason to do it.

"Some Paintings, Sculpture, & Drawings" 
Patricia Sweetow Gallery, 77 Geary Street 
Mezzanine level, San Francisco
Opening 5:30-7:30 pm through October 15

Patricia Sweetow often shows some great artists from her roster, and here is a chance to see, well, some paintings, sculpture, and drawings from them.  I'm looking forward to work by glitter queen, Jamie Vasta, haunting (usually photo) work from SunĂ© Woods, and abstract "Afro-Futurism" from CCA Professor, David Huffman.  

Yoon Lee: "Minor Inconveniences" 
Marx and Zavattero, 77 Geary Street 
2nd floor, San Francisco
Opening 5:30-7:30 pm through October 22

I have grown quite fond of Marx and Zavattero, as a gallery and as a couple, so I would probably go to most of their openings in any case.  If you add in a pack of talented artists who bridge craft with a pop aesthetic, you have a pretty solid case to visit their gallery, celebrating its tenth year in business.  Yoon Lee, a Korean-born, SFAI MFA graduate, won the Tournesol Prize at Headlands Center for the Arts, making her resume pretty impressive.  I am unsure whether I am into her work, however.  It brings to mind Chris Finley's swooping, exquisite, digitally manipulated images reproduced in paint so much that I am left wondering whether these works say anything new.  However, the fact that I am unsure about them is the greatest reason to go see them in person.

"Idyll", Wirtz Gallery, 49 Geary Street 
3rd floor, San Francisco
Opening 5:30-7:30 pm through September 30

This group photography show at Wirtz Gallery brings together the best of their well-known photographers, including the late Larry Sultan, as well as Todd Hido and Jim Goldberg, among other talented artists.  

"Media Love: A Group Exhibition", Unspeakable Projects
735 Tehama Street, San Francisco
Opening 6-9 pm through September 29

I don't know much about Unspeakable Projects, other than that I have posted about a few shows in the past I wanted to see there, but never quite made it.  Word has it that the space is one of those gallery-in-the-apartment thingees, but they seem to show work by artists that grab me somehow, including buddies Matt Momchilov and Justin Limoges.  Here's a chance to see those artists plus my good friend, Mark Benson, featured above, as well as Mik Gaspay and AMTK.  The show's press release says, " From obscure sit-com moments to cults of immortality, MEDIA LOVE assembles the artifacts and detritus of a media culture that won’t let go."  That sounds like a recipe for love or hate.

"Residency Projects II", Kala Art Institute
2990 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, 
Opening 6-8 pm through October 15

Whew!  Are you tired yet?  Wait, there's one more opening that would certainly be worth attending!  Kala's print-based institution offers competitive residencies and "Residency Projects II" is a culmination of work from the most recent crop of artists to use their facilities and resources.  Elisheva Biernoff's super flat work, like the image above, sculptor Renee Gertler and photographer Jessica Ingram are all a strong lure to make the trek across the bridge into the East Bay.

THIS WAS JUST DAY ONE, PEOPLE!  Stay tuned for show recommendations for the rest of the week.  And as always, remember to bring comfy shoes, breath mints, and your coolest leather jacket.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Welcome to Bosnia (again)!
As my post below explains, I took a much-needed relaxing vacation to Bosnia this summer.  Here are some things I found striking in their cultural richness and unexpected variety, through the lens of an American artist on vacation.
A 500-year-old mosque
I love the details on these buildings
Reminder of the war- have you seen a shell-blast before?  These buildings were everywhere, but quickly being re-developed.
A shiny, state-of-the-art mall in Sarajevo
Those stone walls are the original, centuries-old mall
Graffiti is huge
My boyfriend's great-grandmother!
His great-grandfather was a kind of aristocrat and here is his  adjutant
Gorgeous mountain scenery everywhere
Village life- my boyfriend's cousin's second home
He bought this "village house" for $25,000!
I was totally obsessed with these gnome hut-like haystacks everywhere
A village
Back in Sarajevo- some art nouveau
We found this great art cafe called the Goldfish
It's bohemian insides
Where else can you get 40 homemade cookies for $10?
A fair came to town- here is my boyfriend's cousin and his baby Mirza, who at age one had a better Bosnian vocabulary.
There was really dramatic weather a lot of the time.  Here the heavens are opening up.
In our Sarajevo apartment, remnants of a grenade blast
I said goodbye to my sweet boyfriend.
When I came home I gave my dad a fez.


Welcome to Bosnia

This blog has been neglected like a brace-faced, sunburned, and uncombed red-headed step child.  I intend to post a ton about art in the near future.  However, as it goes in the summer, the art world takes a vacation and as it so happens, so did I.  I journeyed long and far to distant Eastern Europe, where my boyfriend, a native, has been staying for a while.  Having been there once before, I knew the language barrier would be my biggest obstacle, so I brought along books in English by some authors I came to think of as friends:  Willa Cather, Gustave Flaubert, Ernest Hemmingway, Vladimir Nabokov, and Dave Hickey.  I also brought a travel case of art supplies, and a suitcase of clothes I imagined epitomizing chic European travel. While I ended up taking a break from art completely, I did take in my travels like an artist would, focusing on beauty and details.  Here are some moments of beauty and culture I found myself inspired or surprised by.

In case you don't know, (and it's OK if you don't- I spend a lot of time explaining this to my family), Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very, very old country on the Western end of Eastern Europe, situated close to Italy and Germany.  It became part of communist Yugoslavia after WWII, but like Germany, eventually went back to the way it was, (for the most part), after forty or so years of Communist ways.

There it is- that little green country across the water from Italy's boot.

Unlike Germany, however, Yugoslavia had to endure a very bitter and bloody breakup with Serbia and Croatia first, leaving scars of genocide and fucked up reminders of human cruelty scattered across the Muslim towns and villages of Bosnia.  It's been 15 years since the war, and there has been a ton of development and revitalization.  It's still a terrible world economy, however, and countries like Bosnia bear the brunt of a lot of the world's financial instability.  I was reminded many times of my privileged American expectations in a still-developing country, like, where are the art galleries?  That said, it also has so many amazing things that we don't have, like a wealth of history, amazing, normally-free range and organic food, relaxing night life, and cheap beer.

I did a lot of this
And a lot of this- I ate amazing meals like oven-roasted trout for about $5
Tuzla's main square
Sarajevo's old town back streets
Old town tourist route
Beautiful, Austro-Hungarian details

I love these reliefs
There's no way I could find something like these mysterious doors in Oakland
Gypsy wedding!

Punk is not dead- it's just in Bosnia
Fakes, fakes, fakes- I could have dressed in knock-offs head-to-toe
I got stiffed with fake money, too
Look at the size of this beer!  2 Liters!
There are homeless dogs and kitties everywhere that the townspeople collectively feed.  I made little friends all over town.
A wild cat
This swan almost bit me, though
What a cute little buddy!
My favorite one

Stay tuned for Part II !