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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gallery Openings: Pirate Radio, "Wild Things," and Excavated Literature

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM


It doesn't take a monster-truck rally to get people out in force in San Francisco. In fact, some events that are considered highbrow and esoteric get amazing turnouts. One of those is First Thursday -- the one night each month when art galleries coordinate their opening receptions for exhibits. Some galleries stay open late, and some have food and wine (often complimentary). Many are within walking distance of one another. Click through to read what our writers think of some exhibits that open tonight. One involves pirate radio (literally) while another contains books that have been "excavated" into sculptures.

For a more complete list of First Thursday opening receptions, click here.

Entwined - DAVID BALL
  • David Ball
  • Entwined

At 111 Minna Gallery is the exhibit "Harum Scarum,". It contains a collection of otherworldly collage and mixed-media pieces by local artist David Ball that's reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are, only cooler. He's joined by Jesse Balmer of San Francisco, whose darkly psychedelic work might in some cases be best enjoyed with a pair of 3-D glasses. There's also Katherine Brannock of San Diego, whose detailed sketchwork of similarly outlandish scenes adds counterbalance to more lush and colorful works of Ball. --Chris Torres

The opening reception for "Harum Scarum" starts at 5 p.m. at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second St.). The exhibit runs through Feb. 25.

Josh Short: A radio pirate brandishes his weapon.
  • Josh Short: A radio pirate brandishes his weapon.

At Ever Gold Gallery is "Bomb Shelter Radio" led by Josh Short. For Short, clandestine broadcasts -- like the time when Free Radio Berkeley was broadcast from a tree -- are wholly in keeping with his artistic approach: Reave the rubbish and make art in the gaps. He's the creator of fantastical installations and contributing mastermind behind the Cardboard Institute of Technology. While Short is an artist in residence for this project, he will build five radio transmitters, disguised to blend with detritus in the neighborhood. Five nights a week, for a month, "aural graffiti" will spread out from Short's own bunker, complete with a sleeping berth, Geiger counter, case of Bud, and 235 back issues of Playboy. --Silke Tudor

The opening reception for "Bomb Shelter Radio" starts at 6 p.m. at Ever Gold Gallery, 441 O'Farrell (at Jones).

Aching Days of England - BRIAN DETTMER
  • Brian Dettmer
  • Aching Days of England

At Toomey Tourell Gallery -- which is located at 49 Geary, a First Thursday hot-spot that contains multiple galleries -- is the work of Brian Dettmer. Without seeing a video, it is difficult to imagine how Dettmer creates his sculptures. His medium is vintage nonfiction -- hardbound dictionaries, encyclopedias, medical journals, atlases, and engineering texts that have, for the most part, become outdated and outmoded media. His show, "Textonomy," features large-scale works using complete sets of encyclopedias. Using a delicate system of ropes and clamps, Dettmer arranges these books into a desirable configuration, and he seals the pages shut. Then, with the patience, precision, and instruments of a surgeon, he begins to excavate one page at a time, preserving a word here or an image there. The shot above doesn't even begin to reveal how spectacular and intricate Dettmer's work is in person. If you want to explore the crannies, arrive early. --Silke Tudor

The opening reception for "Textonomy" starts at 5:30 p.m. at Toomey Tourell Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny).

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Ruby Perez


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