The Bay Area's reputation for strong fall art shows continues to be undiminished. Here are seven exhibits that will draw crowds in the coming weeks and months.
Jay DeFeo: Alter Ego
Jay DeFeo, who died in 1989, was the subject of a major 2012 SFMOMA retrospective that centered around The Rose, her seminal 10-foot-tall work that juts out with layers of sculptural paint. Also exhibited at SFMOMA: The Jewel, a complementary painting that was similar in size and execution. DeFeo's tendency to create parallel works is the subject of Hosfelt Gallery's new exhibit, which showcases 55 paintings, photos, collages, and drawings — most of them on display for the first time.
Sept. 12-Oct. 10, Hosfelt Gallery, 260 Utah St., S.F. 415-495-5454 or hosfeltgallery.com
Without Camouflage. Dafna Kaffeman. Silvia Levenson
Dafna Kaffeman, an Israeli artist, and Silvia Levenson, from Italy, use their art to get at complex issues — whether it's the way society navigates enmities and disputed histories (Kaffeman) or the way adults can have misguided impacts on children (Levenson). Both artists use animals to reflect those complexities. And each emphasizes glass in her work, creating tantalizing figures and objects.
Sept. 26-March 27, Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 Third St., S.F. 415-773-0303 or sfmcd.org
Rituals + Remembrance
Coinciding with October celebrations around the world that honor those who've passed away (Mexico's "Day of the Dead" is the best known), Rituals + Remembrance examines the way people interpret the past and process its long pull on the present. Among the works: Nancy Hom's A Journey of Transformation, a 3-foot mandala that narrates her life story, from China to the Bay Area, and Yvonne Escalante's Keeping Time, a music box with a glass corn cob, symbolizing how corporate agriculture disrupted and undermined her grandfather's farm.
Oct. 14-Jan. 3, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 510-318-8400 or museumca.org
Sandow Birk: Imaginary Monuments
What would a giant outdoor monument to ending mass incarceration look like? Or a giant outdoor monument to soccer? Sandow Birk isn't waiting for institutions to commit funding to the projects — he's drawing the monuments and then printing them in large formats. The images are funny and (at times) disturbing, making for another indelible series by a Los Angeles artist known for his creative output around social issues.
Oct. 24-Dec. 23, Catharine Clark Gallery, 248 Utah St., S.F. 415-399-1439 or cclarkgallery.com.
Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists
Japan's self-imposed isolation from international trade ended in the 1850s, after U.S. intervention. The ensuing cultural exchange between the island nation and the West had a profound effect on European and American artists. "Looking East," organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, documents that impact with vivid works by Mary Cassatt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Edvard Munch, while also pinpointing original art by Japanese artists, including the incomparable Utagawa Hiroshige.
Oct. 30-Feb. 7, Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F. Call 415-581-3500 or asianart.org
O Glorious City
In July, Jeremy Fish, the North Beach artist whose odd pink bunny statue became an iconic part of the Lower Haight, was named San Francisco City Hall's first artist-in-residence. City Hall celebrates its centennial Dec. 28, and the San Francisco Arts Commission has given Fish a mandate to create 100 art pieces that laud the city and its most important civic building. Fish's work goes on display four months after his residency began in what promises to be a wild and amusing exhibit.
Nov. 4-Feb. 12, San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Pl., S.F. Call 415-554-6080 or sfartscommission.org
The CIA is secretive about the abstract paintings along the walls of its offices in Langley, Virginia. Why? Portland artist Joby Baron explains in this show, which covers Baron's attempts to get information about the artworks, which were donated by controversial curator Vincent Melzac. The exhibit also features the works of Arnold Mesches and Robbin Henderson, whose art relates to an important Biblical theme to "pursue justice."
Nov. 19-Feb. 21, Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. 415-655-7800 or thecjm.org.