Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday Art Sprint
75 minutes, 2 museums and 1 gallery

With two hours to idle away, along came the idea for an ADD inspired artists date: Race downtown before two exhibits closed. Thanks to a collision free Muni ride, I was downtown quickly. Now on foot, I headed down Second Street to my first stop, the Andrea Schwartz Gallery. I was almost there when the bus I could have waited for drove past. Theory: Over any distance, under optimum public transportation conditions, riding the bus will save 37 seconds over walking.

Friday was the last day of WORD, an exhibit of paintings and mixed media containing words, with guest curator Danielle Steel. I am fascinated by art, books and words. However, most word and book exhibits I eagerly go to, then find myself underwhelmed. The exception is the annual BookArtsJam held at Foothill College every October.

Donning my sunglasses again, I powerwalked to Third Street and caught a three block bus ride to SFMOMA. It was actually a two block bus ride. Since it was an articulated bus, I got on at the front and walked a half block back to the rear of the bus. When I got off, I walked a half block up to the front of the bus.

The Richard Avedon exhibit at SFMOMA still has several months to run. Avedon is another famous photographer who had a big career in the fashion world. Appreciation: The average photographer takes a picture of someone who isn’t smiling, and the effect is one of despair, sadness, irritation, lack of energy. A professional photographer takes the same picture, and oodles of character emerge. Of course, it helps if, for example, you are a drifter in Sparks, Nevada, and for the picture you change from a torn army jacket into a Ralph Lauren blazer.

My final stop was the Contemporary Jewish Museum nearby. I was carrying a little too much metal, so it took a while to pass through the airport style security. Inside, I received a discounted ticket since some exhibits were being installed.

Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater runs through September 7. The exhibit includes murals, posters, paintings, drawings, programs, video, collage, constructions, and more. I especially enjoyed the Cubist style full color drawings of actors in costume, including those by Chagall and Ignaty Nivinsky, as well as several miniature architectural constructions of theater sets.

Since I made it back to MUNI before my transfer expired, the ride home was free.

By Phil Gravitt

Friday, August 28, 2009

Julie at Tedda Hughes

My friend Julie Michelle who writes the popular blog, Tangobaby, is having an opening this Saturday at Tedda Hugues. Pop by this Saturday evening for the opening reception where she (along with some other artists) will showcase the best of her urban landscapes for the first time.

Tedda's gallery boutique is located at 1623 Polk St. (between Sacramento and Clay Sts.). The reception runs from 7 to 10pm.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spirit of the North: New gallery opening at the De Young

The De Young just opened a new art gallery devoted to Eskimo and Inuit art. The artworks on view are all gifts to the museum from the Estate of the late Thomas G. Fowler (1943-2006), a multitalented artist, designer, collector and businessman. During his lifetime, he made many trips to Alaska, creating a comprehensive collection of rarity and scope that is unique in the Western United States. He started his collection in the 1970's and his passion for the Far North lead to the founding of the Inua Gallery and the 400-piece collection which is now the basis for collection now on display at the De Young.

More at:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Register for Indy Arts Expo and symposium

Coming up near the end of September are two related events hosted by Independent Arts & Media. Indy Arts describes itself this way: “Independent Arts & Media is a producer's co-op and media/culture incubator with a mission to expand civic dialogue by increasing access to independent voices. We empower, educate and incubate independent art and media projects.” Their website provides resources and updates about their workshops and other events.

The first event -- a symposium entitled “Art Works When Artists Work” -- takes place on Friday, September 25th in Berkeley. This will be a full afternoon of discussion, panels, workshops, and networking following a keynote address by Arlene Goldbard, Author of New Creative Community, The Art of Cultural Development. Tickets to this event range from $0-35.00. No one will be turned away for inability to pay, but you need to register first.

The second event will be the next day, Saturday, September 26. This will be the 10th Annual Expo for Independent Arts, to be held on the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park. They expect up to 200 arts organizations to participate. You can simply attend the expo, or you can sign up to exhibit at this event as part of an arts-related organization. (Unfortunately, solo artists are not able to exhibit here.)

In a later post I will talk a bit more about my limited experience with Indy Arts. Based on what I’ve seen, their level of professionalism and commitment is very high. So I’d really encourage you to sign up for the Expo events coming up in – ooh – just four weeks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Way of Tea; Tea Bowls at the Asian

Black teabowl, raku ware, by Hosokawa Morihiro (born 1938), Japan. Heisei period (1989–), 2007. Glazed earthenware. Collection of the artist, H2. © Shinchōsha Publishing Co, Ltd. Photo by Nonaka Akio.

Essay up at:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

San Francisco Zine Fest

I visited the San Francisco ZineFest today to check out a couple of my favorite art forms: comics and artist books. The show didn't disappoint. All together it had a very indie, DIY vibe. Lots of good work here, but I'll just mention two artists I'll be following. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from these guys:

Theo Ellsworth at SF Zine Fest

Theo Ellsworth is a self-taught artist living in Portland, Oregon.
He writes and draws comics, makes art zines, draws constantly, and on occasion, teaches workshops. He's a quiet, serene guy and he was sitting alone at his corner booth with lots of killer prints and luscious books. His work is intricate, visionary ink and watercolor drawings, somewhere between Maurice Sendak and Charles Ware. (Interview with Ellsworth HERE.)

His most recent book, "Capacity" (336 pages. Softcover. ISBN: 978-0-9799609-2-5, Price: $15.00) is available on the publisher's web site and on Amazon.

Paul Barron at SF Zine Fest

Paul Barron was chatting at a crowded table in front of a wall of posters & prints - mostly wood and linoleum block prints, including some two color/two layer prints. Very nice work, with delicate hatching, clean design, and classic social justice themes. He lives in Oakland and recently collaborated with Roberto Miguel on a piece that showed at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

He was sharing a booth with two other artists. They all jumped up and bolted when I pulled out my camera and asked if I could take their photo for this blog. (What? Do I look like the FBI or something?)

Take a hike with Carol Selter

Carol took the idea of a stay-at-home wilderness experience, her love for nature and passion for capturing it on film, and added some time, to construct a new vacation concept for busy people who can’t take the time to get away themselves.

read more at:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Big Oops!

Pasquale Iannetti Art Gallery, San Francisco

For a long time I've wondered about the "originals" in this gallery. Now I know - all that glitters and all that jazz. Or, to quote an older adage, let the buyer beware:

(08-21) 07:13 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The owner of an art gallery in San Francisco's Union Square has been indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges for allegedly selling fake Joan Miro limited edition prints, court records show.

Pasquale Iannetti, 69, was indicted Thursday by a grand jury in San Francisco on charges of wire and mail fraud for shipping prints purportedly authorized by Miro, the renowned Spanish Catalan painter and sculptor who died in 1983, from 2001 to 2008.

Iannetti, who runs Pasquale Iannetti Art Galleries, Inc. on Sutter Street, prides himself as a dealer since 1969 in "original prints, paintings and other works of art from the 15th century to the present," according to his Web site.

The Florentine born Iannetti studied economics at the University of Florence and moved to San Francisco in 1969, his Web site said. "Mr. Iannetti is an experienced fine art appraiser and authenticator of works on paper and has appeared on television, radio and newspapers as a commentator on art matters," it said.

Iannetti did not return a call for comment. His attorney was not immediately available today.

Iannetti obtained fake Miro prints from "a co-schemer whose identity is known to the grand jury" and knew that they bore "forged signatures and/or false numerical or other markings making them appear as if they had been part of an original limited edition, or had been prepared for the artist's own use," the indictment said.

Iannetti told his employees and customers that the prints he and his gallery were selling were original limited edition prints that had been authorized by Miro, authorities said.

He also provided sales invoices, appraisal and authenticity reports and certificates of authenticity and appraisal, knowing that the documents "contained false representations about the authenticity and origin of the prints," the indictment said.

According to federal prosecutors, Iannetti acquired the fake prints from the co-schemer on a consignment basis and paid that person a share of the proceeds.

He was indicted on eight counts of mail fraud for allegedly shipping fake Miro prints to customers across the country. He was also indicted on seven counts of wire fraud for credit-card transactions at his gallery or wire transfers in amounts ranging from $3,600 to $17,902, the indictment said.

Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of any proceeds from the alleged scheme. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday Fish Wrap

The most exciting news of the week is that some items from the huge collection of the Mexican Museum - in storage for over twenty years - will be on display in September at the Palo Alto Art Center. The plans for a new museum were sidelined over twenty years ago due to lack of money and difficulties with the SF Redevelopment Agency. There is a possibility that the museum may finally be able to find a new home in downtown San Francisco but not before 2012 (at the earliest and money permitting). In the meantime, the show in Palo Alto will be the first chance in several years to see parts of this priceless collection.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Robert Arneson: Yin and Yang

More on public sculpture up at:

Interactive feature at SFMOMA:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deborah Butterfield at 425 Market St.

I spent the morning battling with the template at the I finally gave up and posted a truncated version of my piece; the rest is up at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Fish Wrap: August 8th

At the De Young: Kuzich presents Fast Pass, a large mixed media wall installation made of San Francisco Muni Fast Passes and CDs. In addition, Kuzich offers five unique projects that encourage visitor participation. The workshops are inspired by the diverse collections and exhibitions of the de Young.

Widely known throughout the Bay Area, Fast Pass is a multipanel assemblage inspired by Kuzich’s fascination with complex color relationships, his natural affinity for the elegance of design and symmetry, his passion for collecting interesting objects, and his 30-year investigation into the psychology of the human experience. The four panels combined are 5 x 28 feet in size and are comprised of 3,188 graphic elements. The complex surface integrates multi colored stripes, silver and gold holograms, letterforms, and reflective CDs.

Children and adults are invited to participate in the IMAGINATION workshops. The projects are based on works in the de Young and have been styled to generate a greater understanding and appreciation of the collections. “I was stunned and amazed when I was researching the collections. I learned so much and was greatly inspired as an artist. I want others to discover more too,” explains John Kuzich.

5 IMAGINATION projects include:
• King Tut/Egypt stone rubbings
• Africa/New Guinea mask collage
• Wayne Theibaud collage
• Louise Nevelson assemblage
• Inca/Aztec stone rubbings

Participants may create stone rubbings using carved linoleum blocks and colorful oil crayons. Participants may also cut out and incorporate prints with various exotic papers, beads, and shells to create a decorative assemblage.

The Artist Studio is presented by Cultural Encounters at the de Young. The Kimball Education Gallery is free to the public. The gallery is open to visitors from Wednesday through Sunday, 1–5 pm and Friday 6–8:45 pm. John Kuzich is available to provide assistance and instruction during gallery hours. The closing reception for IMAGINATION is on Friday, August 21 from 6–8:30 pm. For more information, e-mail or call 415.750.3528.

Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young Presents Cultural Encounters Commissions Artist Onye Onyemaechi and the Art of Africa from 5 PM -8:45 PM

The Way of Tea: Tea Gathering and Tasting
Asian Art Museum

Watch and learn about the Japanese "Way of Tea" as you are served you own tea sweet and bowl of whisked green tea. Utilizing the museum's traditional tearoom, Bay Area tea people host these tea gatherings, which feature seasonal themes.

Saturday, August 8

1:00 pm and 2:30 pm (pick one seating)

Hosted by Shozo Sato, Dai Nippon Chado Gakkai

Oakland Museum: For the first time in its 40-year history, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will temporarily close to the public. The break—effective 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 23—will allow the Museum to reinstall the Art and History Galleries, upgrade the common areas, and complete its transformation.

And two street fairs:

36th Annual Nihonmachi Street Fair
On Saturday and Sunday, August 8th and 9th in San Francisco's Japantown, the Nihonmachi Street Fair will take to the streets again for another exciting weekend. With the spirit of unity, we welcome back old friends and open our hearts to new friendships.

At Yerba Buena Gardens:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Max Klinger at the Legion: About A Glove

Max Klinger, German, 1857 - 1920
Penelope, 1895
Color etching and aquatint
18.9 x 30 cm (image)
Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts 1963.30.1556

New post up at the on the current show at the Legion of Honor on Max Klinger, the symbolist artist who influenced painters like De Chirico.

Rotating the collections: Samurai, Part Deux

Light sensitive objects must be rotated to prevent damage. The list of sensitive objects includes paintings, textiles, lacquers, and most other objects composed of organic materials. The Asian is being careful with the mid-point rotation of the Samurai exhibit to fit objects into the existing thematic content and flow of the exhibit. When possible, they try and rotate objects of similar type, function, and subject.

Portrait of Hosokawa Shigekata (1720-1785) (left) will be replaced with a Portrait of Hosokowa Tsunatoshi (right). © Eisei Bunko, Japan.

With so many unique objects, sometimes no direct substitute is available. In such situations they choose replacement objects that support the theme considered in a particular part of the exhibition. For example, the leisure activities of the Daimyo are represented by a Go game board and go stone containers in the first rotation (left), and an Incense ceremony box and implements in the upcoming rotation (right). © Eisei Bunko, Japan.

Some rotations involve objects with similar functions but different forms, such as this Commander’s Baton (saihai) (left) used by Hosokawa Narimori (1804-1860) being replaced by a Folding Military Fan (gunsen) (right). Both objects are used to communicate on the battlefield. © Eisei Bunko, Japan.

Some objects rotate without ever leaving the gallery. For The Book of Five Rings (Gorin no sho), they will change each of the five scrolls to display a new section of text. Rolled up, the previously displayed sections will be safely protected from continued light exposure.

Because they prefer not to close the galleries during the exhibit, the rotations will be done after house. As a result, the rotation will be spread out over several days. Over the next week or so, you may notice that some galleries have been rotated and others are still waiting their turn. You may even find a case to have a temporarily vacant spot. Don’t worry, it won’t be empty for long!

Because of the extreme delicacy and importance of many of these treasures, the rotation process needs to be undertaken slowly and deliberately. They are scheduled to have completed the rotation by the time that the museum opens on Tuesday, August 11. On that date, be prepared for a fresh look at Lords of the Samurai.

From the Asian Art Museum Blog: