Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Richmond's Annual Downtown Holiday Festival

Richmond, CA - With wreaths and snowflakes adorning the street lamps along Macdonald Avenue, Downtown Richmond is starting to look a lot like the holidays. The neighborhood is also gearing up for a fantastic celebration of the season at the annual Downtown Holiday Festival on Wednesday, December 14 from 4pm-8pm, thanks to a continued partnership between two cornerstone agencies-Richmond Main Street Initiative, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts with support from the City of Richmond.

Visits and photo opportunities with Santa will take place from 4pm-7pm. Giveaways for children include books donated by West County Reads and gift bags for young children (while supplies last). Families will also have opportunities to enjoy live music and caroling outside and in the Community Theater, performed by East Bay Center students and faculty artists.

Upstairs, in the Iron Triangle Theater, audiences of all ages will enjoy A Richmond Nutcracker, a unique and spectacular performance telling the story of The Nutcracker through a Richmond lens. Classic characters, stories, and dances will be presented in traditional and distinctly Richmond interpretations. Performances are scheduled for 5pm and 6:30pm (running time approximately 45 minutes).

Following the second performance, a procession will lead guests to the corner of 11th Street and Macdonald Avenue for group caroling and the ceremonial illumination of the holiday lights.

Admission is free and made possible through generous support from the City of Richmond, Mechanics Bank, Sims Metal Management, and individual donors. More information about the festival, making a contribution, or volunteering can be found at www.richmondmainstreet.org or by calling (510) 236-4049.

What:    Downtown Holiday Festival and Holiday Lights Illumination Ceremony
When:    Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Time:     4pm - 8pm
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th Street Richmond

Friday, December 2, 2016

Do your Christmas shopping at Creativity Explored

Indulge in mischievous gift giving at Creativity Explored.

Naughty & Nice Holiday Art Shop
December 2 - 30, 2016

Shop Creativity Explored's annual Holiday Art Shop this season. Bring your friends (and have fun) while supporting local artists with developmental disabilities. One-half of the proceeds from the sale of every artwork go directly to the artist.

The Gallery and Studio is stocked with affordable gifts for everyone on your list. Select from original drawings, paintings, textiles, ceramics, mixed media, framed art, and a collection of products featuring designs by Creativity Explored artists.

Opening WeekendSaturday, December 3 & Sunday, December 4
12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Holiday Gallery Hours
Monday – Friday         10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday     12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Also open by appointment

Main Studio / Gallery / Offices

3245 16th Street (at Guerrero Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 863-2108


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Italian Christmas Market at the Museo Italoamericano

Italian Christmas Market at the Museo Italoamericano  

The Mercatino di Natale is the cheeriest Italian tradition in the Bay Area, inspired by the famous Christmas markets in Northern Italy and throughout most of Europe.

Come join our community in the celebration and pick the perfect gift for family and friends: artisanal food, handmade jewelry, latest Italian fashion, trendiest accessories and more. All unique items are made by Italian Artisans. We can't wait to give you a hug!

Time and place: 10:00 am - 6 pm Saturday; 10:30-5:00 Sunday
Museo Italo-Americano, Fort Mason Center BLDG C, San Francisco.

In collaboration with Forchette Tricolori, a vibrant cooking club where, originally, women shared recipes and celebrated good eating. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

SF State 29th Annual Stillwell Student Juried Exhibition

 Leo Stillwell Self Portrait
Courtesy SFSU

The majority of the exhibition at the SFSU Fine Arts Gallery features art students’ latest work in a variety of medium.  The most moving piece in the exhibit is a Golden Gate Bridge replica sculpture, titled “Crisis Line: (415) 781-0500,”  referring to the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Crisis Line, composed of bright red miniature plastic people fused together.   

Nearby was a laugher, a bulging circle made from hundreds of emoji stickers, titled, “Please Just Call Me.”

One wall of the exhibit showcases letters and drawings by watercolorist and oil painter Leo D. Stillwell Jr, who died in 1948 at age 22.    The letters, which include drawings, were written by Stillwell to his friend Russell Hartley.   Beautiful small paintings and drawings also adorn the backs of the envelopes.  The letters were found about 25 years ago in a dumpster on Duboce Street by Alan Perry, who recently donated them to the University.    Stillwell’s mother donated 500 of his works to SF State in 1987, although her son never attended SFSU.  Bay Area journalist and former SF Chronicle writer Jesse Hamlin wrote about the exhibition recently in the Chronicle.

I arrived at the exhibit 15 minutes before closing, so I was in a hurry and didn’t take notes.   The Gallery does not allow photographs.    After I left, I saw signs directing me to another gallery several hallways and doorways away.   When I got there, it was closed.  I passed by some large pottery workshops finding my way on the way out of whatever building I ended up in.    Not to go all John King here, but hopefully when the new SFSU buildings go up on 19th Avenue after the Muni revamp, there will be easier access to public spaces, less need for outsiders to wander the campus, and more people seeing the art being created here.

San Francisco State University
Fine Arts Building, Fine Arts Gallery
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 to Thursday, December 01, 2016
Gallery hours: Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 4pm. 
The gallery will be closed for Thanksgiving break, November 23 through November 26. 
E-mail: gallery@sfsu.edu
Phone: 415-338-6535

Posted by Phil Gravitt

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frank Stella at the de Young and Bruce Conner at SFMOMA

The museum visitor could not ask for a great contrast in styles and philosophy than the two retrospectives now up in San Francisco; Frani Stella at the de Young and Bruce Conner at SFMOMA. Stella specializes in bright, bold, non-expressive art, just right for that expensive loft, big corporate office or museum wall. He was crowned "Art King of NY" right out of art school and has consistently remained popular.

Bruce Conner's huge retrospective, now at SFMOMA, is a polar opposite. A deliberate outsider, a Peck's Bad Boy of art, Conner adored being angsty, depressive, grim, an avant guarde practice of art sketched in black. By the time he died at age 74 in 2008, the San Francisco–based artist had created films, collages, photograms, performances, assemblages, drawings, and paintings. He avoided celebrity like the plague and reveled in his outsider status. If Stella's work deliberately avoids emotion and any definition of self, Conner positively played with both ideas to the point where he announced his death....twice, before actually dying in 1974.

Conner told Kenneth Baker (then art critic for the SF Chronicle), "My entire history as an artist coincides with the history of the bomb," he told me in 2000, "and it's colored almost everything I've done. But I also don't see why you can't have a good time and be aware of your own mortality."

Frank Stella at the de Young through Feb 26, 2017

Bruce Conner at SFMOMA through Jan 22, 2017

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rebecca Solnit at the Green Arcade on Thursday, November 17 + calendar of events

Thursday, November 17, 7pm
(doors open at 6:30)
At the 3rd Floor
McRoskey Mattress Factory
1687 Market St. 

The Green Arcade and
University of California Press

A Release Party for:
Nonstop Metropolis:
A New York Atlas

with Rebecca Solnit & Joshua Jelly-Shapiro, editors

A note from Rebecca: This event has been planned for a long time. But after the election, we're making it a focus on cities as cosmopolitan places of coexistence, tolerance, subversion, resistance, and joy, of Black, Asian, Latino, Muslim, Jewish, Quaker, immigrant, queer, drag, trans, feminist lives and victories. Please join us.                   
HOSTED BY: The McRoskey Mattress Company

Tuesday, November 22, 7pm
Poetry with Chet Wiener, Michael Palmer and Sarah Riggs

Sunday, December 4, 10am-6pm
The 3rd Annual Howard Zinn Book Fair
At City College, Mission Campus 

Wednesday, December 7, 7pm
The San Francisco launch of Mat Callahan's
The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco: 1965-1975

  Saturday, December 10, 7:30pm
Poetry with Sarah Rosenthal, Aja Couchois Duncan
and Arisa White

Tuesday, December 13, 7:30pm
Poetry with Susan Gevirtz & Mystery Guest

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Free First Tuesday at the Contemporary Jewish Museum: Rivers and Tides

Nov 1 is #FreeFirstTuesday! at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Explore "#NedKahn: Negev Wheel" and view documentary "Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time."

Landscape sculptor #AndyGoldsworthy is renowned for his environmental sculpture using ephemeral materials like ice, stone, leaves, and wood. →thecjm.me/2fjK4ZL


Friday, October 28, 2016


Canaletto, born OTD 1697: Piazza San Marco in Venice, seen from the Basilica of Saint Mark.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

November at SFAI, Day of the Dead in SF and Open Studios, 3rd week.

San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut Street.  Photo by Claudine Gosset
Andrei Codrescu lying on the guest-bed of an art collector under a portrait of Mao by Andy Warhol. No attribution/ courtesy of Nina Savich/ SFAI
Lots going on at SFAI through November. If you can make it up that hill or find parking, SFAI holds their annual art sale and festival called "Concentrate" on Nov 12 & 13 that transforms SFAI into an all-campus art sale by current undergraduate and graduate student artists and features a juried alumni show too.

November 8: "Gender in Translation, After Hours," organized in  partnership with Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US

Ongoing Visiting Artists and Scholars series including  Andrei Codrescu on Nov 8 and artist Koki Tanaka on Nov 1 whose show Koki Tanaka: "Potters and Poets” will be on view at the Asian Art Museum November 4, 2016–February 14, 2017. Dara Birnbaum, a New York-based media and installation artist, on Nov 15.

Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA. Visit sfai.edu for more info ...

Day of the Dead Events in SF including the 17th annual Dia de los Muertos at SOMarts: http://www.somarts.org/exhibitions/day-of-the-dead/

Art Span. Open Studios, 3rd week:


Presidio, Richmond, Upper Haight, Buena Vista, Cole Valley, Sunset, Ocean View, West Portal, Portola, Excelsior, Balboa Park

For more information: Open Studios

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

eBay Collective

Photo; Peter Estersohn/Architectural Digest, April 2012. Interior Design, Suzanne Kasler Interiors
This should be interesting. It's not the first time that art works have been sold via on line, but who is doing the curating? I think they will go from the dreadful to the sublime (one hopes for the sublime). How can a dealer tell if an item is authentic via a photo on the Internet? A quick look at the fine arts pages shows a lot of works by unknown artists, selling for $1000 and up.

"Today, eBay launched a new destination, eBay Collective, an elevated shopping experience to provide interior designers and consumers with curated inventory of furniture, antiques, contemporary design and fine art. The bespoke experience has been specifically developed for eBay’s 164 million active buyers looking for sought-after products from trusted dealers and galleries. Dealers featured on the destination have been invited by eBay, and they meet eBay’s criteria to ensure a high-quality shopping experience. “eBay’s brand is about helping every person find their version of perfect. Following our launch of eBay Wine this spring, eBay Collective is another example of how we’re committed to providing our consumers with curated experiences that are complemented with unique inventory and increased scope of choices to shop from,” said Jill Ramsey, eBay’s Vice President of Soft Goods."


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sawyer Rose performs "The Carrying Stones" at Fort Mason

Sawyer Rose. Ties That Bind // 2016, 20 x 8 x 7 feet, 1000 handmade tiles, silver solder, copper, fiber, wireframe figure
Inspired to explore the “double burden” carried by women who work at paid jobs and are also responsible for domestic labor at home, Bay Area artist, Sawyer Rose is performing "The Carrying Stones" project at Fort Mason.

"Carrying Stones" is a series of a sculpture, performance and video works that portrays the physical, emotional, and practical effects of this issue.

Concurrent with this performance, her sculpture "The Ties that bind" is also on exhibit at Ft. Mason.

"The Ties That Bind "sculpture is a data visualization of hours of unpaid work that women do in the domestic sphere. It is made of 1000 handmade tiles, each representing an hour of time worked.

Women around the world do more unpaid housework than men – A recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the percentage of men and women who are involved in housework has barely moved since 2003, with 84% of women reporting doing 2.6 hours of unpaid housework daily vs. 64% of men who reported doing any housework at all, and those that did spent 2 hours a day. This is even more striking at a time when the US has nominated its first female presidential candidate.

While women in the US workforce are still struggling to break the glass ceiling, they’re also fighting to stop “scrubbing the tile floor” at home. Cooking, cleaning, and childcare responsibilities often still default to women, keeping them from advancing at work and in society.

Inspired to explore the “double burden” carried by women who work at paid jobs and are also responsible for domestic labor at home, Bay Area artist, Sawyer Rose debuted "The Carrying Stones" project at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture on Friday, September 23. "Carrying Stones" is a series of a sculpture, performance and video works that portrays the physical, emotional, and practical effects of this issue.

The project documents the lives of 47 women who are currently tracking the hours they spend on paid work, unpaid work, and other activities in a custom web application built for this project.

Ties That Bind (detail) // 2016, 20 x 8 x 7 feet, 1000 handmade tiles, silver solder, copper, fiber, wireframe figure

“No matter how far today’s women “Lean In,” it’s hard to be the CEO when they are also the head chef, janitor, and caregiver,” says Sawyer Rose. “The goal of this installation is to shine a light on an important issue in our society, and to be a catalyst for more dialogue and solutions to the problem.”

Learn more about the Carrying Stones project at: http://www.carrying-stones.com/ and https://fortmason.org/event/carrying-stones/. The sculpture will remain on display for two months on the south side of Building D next to the FLAX art & design store.

For inquiries & sponsorship opportunities:  sawyer@sawyerrose.com   415-806-2458

all images courtesy Sawyer Rose

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Quick Saturday Museum Round-Up: Legion, De Young, Asian Art Museum, Kearny St. Workshop & Market St.

Legion of Honor ‏@legionofhonor Now open! Meet the Le Nains, a 17th century artistic trio of brothers who lived together, played together and painted together. http://leg.hn/yGXGF

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive ‏@BAMPFA
Happy Saturday! FamilyFare today consists of exploring the Berkeley Eye Exhibit & creating some fun art. http://ow.ly/rouG304HKoT

De Young Museum ‏@deyoungmuseum
Encourage exploration and creativity with one of our free family art-making sessions! http://dey.ng/DLge2

Ed Ruscha exhibit closes tomorrow https://deyoung.famsf.org/

Asian Art Museum ‏@asianartmuseum Get in on @AsiaWeekSF action with a trip to our "Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea" show—now on view.

This afternoon: Kearny Street Workshop, the Bay Area’s hub for Asian Pacific American arts, presents APAture’s Performing Arts Showcase Featuring Sammay Dizon and a lineup of some of today's most exciting emerging artists from the San Francisco Bay Area. http://www.asianart.org/events/1046?starttime=1475884800

"While lollygagging up Market Street, stop and take a peek at the cool doohickeys and rad new structures along the way. The third annual Market Street Prototyping Festival is underway, happening on Market from the Embarcadero to Van Ness. "

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tickets for Art Launch


The Do Not Miss Exhibits this Fall plus Open Studios 2016

I have already covered the Magid;The Proposal on my other blog - cheznamaste.bogspot.com but I also plan to write about the Bruce Conner show and one other -LE Nain - not mentioned in the article. The usual arts focus is on the trendy and popular but there is a lot more going on than that.


SF Open Studios 2016

SF Open Studios, the oldest and largest open studios program in the country, is an annual, month-long art event in October and November that showcases over 800 emerging and established San Francisco artists in their studios. 2016 marked the 41st annual SF Open Studios event. We invite you to explore our city and find amazing art at every turn. You’ll discover an authentic connection to your art community and artwork in myriad forms, from painting, photography, and printmaking to glass, metal sculpture, and more. The event connects collectors with artists for engaging dialogue and a glimpse into the life of the working artist; SF Open Studios simultaneously helps artists build their mailing list, gain new admirers, and ultimately sustain a living making art.

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.  http://www.bigcrow.com

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.

For the month of October, The Great Highway Gallery will be the site of ArtSpan SF Open Studios Hub Exhibition, featuring Open Studios artists.

Posted by Phil Gravitt

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.