Art is easy. Not easy in the sense of it being a breeze to, for example, carve a naked man from a 19-foot block of marble, but easy in the sense of promiscuous. Art "gets around," as they say. Art gives it up pretty easily, no matter the breeding. It's impossible to keep art forms separate; they're in perpetual heat. And the bastard offspring is always an unexpected reflection of the parents. Highborn Drawing got crazy in the coat-check with highborn Letters and the result was weird, awkward, juvenile, lowly-though-brilliant Comics. Painting went slumming, met Graffiti, and now Street Art toddles around, a confused and disruptive child trying to find a place in the world. Cinema and, probably, Chutes and Ladders begat Video Games while the forbidden menage a trois of Theater, Circus, and Dance created, inexplicably, Cirque du Soleil.
Point being: We understand that conceptions of "highbrow" and "lowbrow" are becoming more and more obsolete in this mixed-media, networked age. Any sort of labeling of this or that as "high" or "low" art smacks of aesthetic bigotry. And yet we proceed. Why not? The goal of this year's Fall Arts Guide is to disentangle some of the threads that have balled up in some corner of the culture and produced our most compelling, troubling, and rewarding art. It shall come as no surprise that art in San Francisco loves to get around, heedless of provenance, orientation, or propriety. Accept that it's just Going to Happen.
One art form, you will notice, is conspicuously absent from this issue: music. That's because, next week, we're re-launching our Music Issue. What do you expect? Art gravitates toward art, and now we're looking at a two-week orgy, easy as you please.Comics: Always in the Gutter, Looking Up The Weird: Check Your Genres at the Door