Saturday, September 24, 2016

Celebrating Korea at the Asian Art Museum

Shamanic painting of General Choe Yeong (1216-1388)
The Asian Art Museum's Korea Day festival is back on Sep. 25 with presentations by notable musicians, artists, performers and more.

stART tour for Kids
10:30–11 AM
All tours meet at the information desk
Asian Art Museum storytellers share myths and folktales from Korea while exploring objects in the Korean galleries. Recommended for families with children ages 3–6.

The Spirit of Korean Art Docent Tour
11:30 AM–12:15 PM and 2–2:45 PM
All tours meet at the information desk
A museum docent brings the Korean collection to life through a dynamic tour of highlights.

Art-Making Activities
11 AM–4 PM
North Court
Through this hands-on activity, families can create their own designs inspired by mother-of-pearl lacquerware and Korean art and culture. Activities are created and led by the museum’s Art Speak high school interns.

Artist Demonstration with Hwang Samyong and Lee Ikjong
Presentations 12–12:45 and 3:15–4 PM
Demonstration 1:15–3:15 PM
North Court
Mother-of-pearl lacquer artists Hwang Samyong and Lee Ikjong demonstrate the process of working with mother-of-pearl and lacquer using the “cutting up” technique on larger-than-life pebbles. These whimsical artworks are featured in the special exhibition  Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea.

Storytelling for Families
1–1:45 PM
All tours meet at the information desk
Asian Art Museum storytellers share myths and folktales from Korea while looking at art in the Korean galleries. Recommended for families with children of all ages.

K-Pop Lounge
1–4 PM
Resource Room
Sit back, listen to K-pop and test your knowledge of the current Korean music scene with a K-pop quiz. How well do you know your K-pop? Share your knowledge and win a prize!

Korean Traditions Transformed Feature Performance with the Wooden Fish Ensemble
2–3:30 PM
Samsung Hall
The Wooden Fish Ensemble plays the music of Hyo-shin Na, including the world premiere of a new work based on A Meadow by Czeslaw Milosz for piano solo. Program includes commentary by Hyo-shin and a short Q&A after the presentation.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Creativity Explored Opening Tonight

Untitled (Pterodactyl) by Peter DeLira © 2016 Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, chalk pastel on matte board, 40 x 32 inches
Natural History transforms the gallery into a miniature science museum. Don't miss this opportunity to view the natural world as seen through the eyes of Creativity Explored artists!
In this group exhibition, artists explore the fields of astronomy, geology, paleontology, flora, and fauna through painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation.
Curated by Andrew Gilson and Glenn Peckman.
Opening Reception
Thursday, September 15, 2016
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Music by El Duo
FREE parking available at Mission Dolores Church until 9:00 pm.
*Win tickets to the California Academy of Sciences!
Submit your contact information during the reception and we will draw four winning names at 8:30 pm. You do not need to be present to win.
Donor Preview*

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

*To become a donor, click here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jill Magrid and the Proposal - now at SFAI

What happens to an artist's legacy after his death?

In his will made prior to his 1988 death at age 86, in Mexico City in 1988, Mexican architect Luis Barragán designated two people to manage his legacy, with his friend and fellow architect Ignacio Díaz Morales to identify an institution for his library. Díaz Morales established the foundation managing the Casa Barragán. Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía which owns (in co-ownership with the Government of the State of Jalisco) Luis Barragán's former private residence in Mexico City: Luis Barragán House and Studio. The house is now a museum which celebrates Barragán and also serves as a conduit between scholars and architects interested in visiting other Barragán buildings in Mexico, including Capilla de las Capuchinas and Casa Prieto López.UNESCO added the Casa Luis Barragán to its World Heritage List in 2004. (Wikipedia)

But a portion of Barragán's estate, his professional papers and the copyright was bought in 1995 by a Swiss furniture executive and have not been made available to the public. Furthermore, Vitra, the Swiss company, claims copyright to all images of Barragán's work, including current photographs of the buildings he designed.

"Researchers have been denied access, and even the use of images of Barragán’s buildings is carefully controlled. Among those who study twentieth-century architecture, the inaccessibility of Barragán’s archive and the bizarre conditions of its custodianship have become almost as much of a preoccupation as his buildings." (New Yorker Magazine). 

After hearing about this, American conceptual artist, Jill Magid, felt this silencing of an artist's legacy was untenable. With the family's permission, Magid exhumed Barragán's ashes and had them made into a two-carat diamond engagement ring.

In The Proposal, now on view at the San Francisco Art Institute, Magid presents Federica Zanco, director of the Barragan Foundation (sans accent), Swiss home of the archive since 1995, with a two-carat diamond engagement ring made from Barragán’s ashes.

Magid asks: Will Zanco accept “the body” of the man in exchange for the return of “the body of work” to Mexico?

The bare bones of the show - two vitrines with various documents, a floral tribute modeled on Mexican Day of the Dead, a film and even the diamond make the viewer reflect on the questions of intellectual copyright, corporate control, even the commodification of an artist's legacy. 

San Francisco Art Institute 
Walter and McBean Galleries 
800 Chestnut Street 
San Francisco, CA 94133
United States 
Hours: Tuesday 11am–7pm,
Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Marie Van Elder at The Great Highway Gallery

You are crawling through the desert, on hands and knees. The shimmering wave of heat off the sand beckons with the promise of pools of cool water that seem to get further away.

Cut to Lawton and 43rd Avenue, in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco.  There you will find a real oasis.  

San Francisco Artist Anna Conti had a home gallery nearby until she and her husband, photographer David Sumner, moved to the booming art scene in MidTown Reno a year ago.

Great Highway is a small, narrow gallery, with two driftwood benches and a quiet dog/doorman/velvet rope guest curator.  Gallery owner John Lindsey also offers fine art printing and other art and design services.   Great Highway is currently hosting “Ente Fleurs et Mer,” still life and landscape paintings by Marie Van Elder, through September 24.

Next door to the left is Lawton Trading Post, “a community gathering space” offering pop-up events, music, and classes, today being: Summer Preserving: Jamming and Pickling Class with Chef Lisal Moran.

Photo: Fred Pompermayer
To the right of the gallery is Alex Martins Surfboard Repair, “offering high quality ding repair,” and an excellent web site for yoga and surf related links.  Standing out in front, seeing dozens of well used surfboards of many colors and sizes in vertical and horizontal racks, I thought it is an art gallery in its own right.  I pictured James Michener, sitting outside, scribbling an outline for a 600 page book detailing all the beaches where each board had played and plied its trade, plus a few hundred pages of the history and the ancestors of all the board owners. 

Exhausted from such thoughts, I moved right to see the line out the door at the Gallery recommended Andytown Coffee Roasters. One of the employees was sitting outside, eating the last piece (“employee benefit”) of a tasty looking slice of fresh bread choked into submission by a half jar of Nutella.    This little place somehow has FOUR bakers, and they turn out an array of Irish family recipe breads, plus muffins and scones.

At home this morning, I heard a big truck pull up and stop next door.  I looked outside and called to my wife “It’s the fire department.”  I wondered if our neighbor was having a medical emergency.  When I opened the door, several firemen and firewomen were checking the functionality of the neighborhood fire hydrant.   We thought we should give them something.   I took out a box containing a few slices of Zanze’s cheesecake.      When I handed the box to one of the firewomen, she said, “Oh, no tha----Zanze’s! This is my favorite! Thank you.”      The fire hydrant check was quickly completed, and the first responders got back in the truck.   The one who was on a diet said, “You didn’t have to do that.”  I said, “You don’t either. But you do.”   When I went back inside, my wife said she patted her heart when they looked up at her on the porch.   She was a little teary, and said, “I was trying to think of something to do today for 9/11, and it came to my door.”

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hans Hoffman at The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Combustible Wall
Hans Hofmann’s famous phrase “push and pull” is most often associated with his signature works of the 1950s and 1960s, in which bold color planes emerge from and recede into energetic surfaces of intersecting and overlapping shapes. The ideas and impulses behind this enduring term, however, took shape decades earlier, in his teachings, writings, and in his own paintings. In the late 1930s, in a series of widely attended lectures in Greenwich Village, Hofmann demonstrated how to “push a plane in the surface or to pull it from the surface” to create pictorial space. “We must create pictorial space,” he declared to audiences of avid young artists and critics, including Arshile Gorky, Clement Greenberg, and Harold Rosenberg. Hofmann would later refine his definition of push and pull as “expanding and contracting forces . . . . the picture plane reacts automatically in the opposite direction to the stimulus received; thus action continues as long as it receives stimulus in the creative process. Push answers with pull and pull with push.”
Magnum Opus
"Pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light."
Push and Pull: Hans Hofmann brings together signature paintings from BAMPFA’s distinguished collection of the artist’s work, such as Combinable Wall, I and II (1961) and Magnum Opus (1962). In 1963, at the height of his internationally acclaimed career, the artist donated nearly fifty paintings to UC Berkeley in recognition of the University’s important role in his early career. He first came to America from Germany in 1930 to teach in UC Berkeley’s Department of Art, at the invitation of Worth Ryder. From Berkeley, Hofmann went on to New York, where his established his famed and influential art schools. By the late 1940s Hofmann was  also recognized as a progressive, avant-garde painter and one of the originators of Abstract Expressionism. In 1958, at the age of seventy-eight, Hofmann closed his schools and returned to his studio full-time, for the first time in over forty years. In this last decade of his life, he produced an astounding body of energetic, masterful paintings. “My aim,” he stated in 1962, “is to create pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light, in accordance with my deepest insight into the experience of life and nature.

August 31 - December 11, 2016

Thursday, August 11, 2016

'Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery' At UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery, on view July 27 through October 23, 2016. The exhibition features a large selection of photographic cartes de visite of the famed former slave, as well as other Civil War–era photographs and Federal currency, none of which have been exhibited before.

The exhibition is organized by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley and author of "Enduring Truths. Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance" (University of Chicago Press, 2015), the first book to explore how Truth used her image, the press, the postal service, and copyright laws to support her activism and herself. Many of the photographs included in the exhibition were a recent gift from Professor Grigsby to BAMPFA.

Runaway slave Sojourner Truth gained renown in the nineteenth century as an abolitionist, feminist, and orator. This exhibition showcases the photographic carte de visite portraits of Truth that she sold at lectures and by mail as a way of making a living. First invented by French photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri in 1854, cartes de visite are similar in size to the calling cards that preceded them, approximately two-and one-half by four inches, and consist of albumen photographs made from glass negatives glued onto cardboard mounts. By the end of the 1850s, the craze for the relatively inexpensive cartes de visite had reached the United States. Americans who could never have afforded a portrait could now have their likeness memorialized. Combined with the emergence of the new US postal system, these cards appealed to a vast nation of dispersed peoples.

Truth could not read or write, but she had her statements repeatedly published in the press, enthusiastically embraced new technologies such as photography, and went to court three times to claim her legal rights. Uniquely among portrait sitters, she had her photographic cartes de visite copyrighted in her own name and added the caption “I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth,” foregrounding her self-selected proper name, her agency, and her possession of self.

This exhibition places Truth’s cartes de visite in context by reconstructing the flood of paper—federal banknotes, photographs, letters, autographs, stamps, prints, and newspapers—that created political communities across the immense distances of the nation during the Civil War. Like the federal government that resorted to the printing of paper currency to finance the war against slavery, Truth was improvising new ways of turning paper into value in order to finance her activism as an abolitionist and advocate of women’s rights.

Image: Carte de visite of Sojourner Truth with a photograph of her grandson, James Caldwell, on her lap, 1863 (UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tenderloin Museum

Visiting the Tenderloin Museum on a recent Friday, it was necessary to wade through and around plenty of street people, as well as “an unspecified number (of people) serving the multi-variate interests of an advanced society in what is collectively called vice.”¹
Along the way, a police officer and three community outreach counselors were engaged in friendly conversation with sidewalk and doorway sitters, trying to find out their issues and needs, and offering to take them to services, or encouraging them to return to the services they have been receiving.

Though small, the museum itself is new, well organized and thorough.  Photographs and text explain how the Tenderloin was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake to include large apartment buildings and single room occupancy hotels, housing many office and government workers.   With so many kitchenless apartments, restaurants, bars, jazz and nightclubs, and large dance halls thrived in the area.   

 Included is a viewing station with film of dances of the era , and a listening station with songs recorded by Miles Davis and other jazz greats at the Blackhawk and other famous local nightclubs.