Images of beautiful people living the "good life" are constantly rolling off the red carpet and out of the pages of high-fashion glossies. Peddlers of entitlement, it often seems, are more pervasive than the monogrammed baubles they try to sell. Artist Libby Black offers her own version of Easy Street exorbitance with "Caught Up in the Moment," a collection of gouache and graphite drawings of fashion ads and sculptural ephemera of fashion objects made from paper, glue, and paint. Black's pieces include an installation featuring a Chanel picnic basket, Cristal Champagne in a Versace ice bucket, and nearby, a Gucci canoe and Louis Vuitton life vest -- with drawings of nebbishy models looking listlessly on. Black's other fandangles include a Schwinn bicycle with a Chanel basket and a black-and-white mock-up of a Dior ad showing a shaggy-haired sylph coyly turned away from spectators' acquisitive gazes. Black's jocose simulacra of seduction and illusion, while making the good life seem more than a little absurd, will have gallerygoers playing Name That Monogram. The opening reception starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Heather Marx Gallery, 77 Geary (at Grant), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 627-9111 or visit www.heathermarxgallery.com.
-- Nirmala Nataraj
Getting an art complex
Is it safe to say we're in the middle of a conceptual art renaissance? With the only-semi-ironic embrace of 1970s-style "happenings" and the slight bend toward the political in the Bay Area scene, not to mention the bumper crop of thought-provoking installation work, it seems pretty safe. Regardless, "Practice Makes Perfect: Bay Area Conceptual Craft" sets a dozen artists free in a physically and psychologically large space to bring together the high concept and the obsessively constructed; Christian Maychack's organic forms and Anna Von Mertens' sewn sculptures promise to be highlights.
Find out about the possible rebirth of big ideas in both art and craft at the opening reception at 7 p.m. Friday (the show continues through Oct. 15) at Southern Exposure, 401 Alabama (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-2141 or visit www.soex.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
We see Dee Dee
Dee Dee Russell is indispensable to San Francisco; who else is always there when drag queens need companionship, when altfashion shows need models, and when people need extremely loud accessories? Most of all, where would we be without the parade of entertainment that is Dee Dee TV? For the past 10 years of Fridays at 11 p.m. on Channel 29, Russell's been there for us. At "The Best of Dee Dee TV," we can return the favor by celebrating her DVD release and getting groovy. The party starts at noon both days at Anon Gallery, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is free; call 922-2787 or visit www.deedeetv.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
No Surprise Here
The launch party for K.M. Soehnlein's novel about booze and sex, You Can Say You Knew Me When, will feature booze and sex, partygoers dressed like dot-commers or Beats (it's all in the shirt: J.Crew or work crew), and drag performers Fauxnique and Glamamore, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Varnish Fine Art, 77 Natoma (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 222-6131 or visit www.varnishfineart.com.
-- Michael Leaverton