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Friday, August 12, 2016

Go Color In a Bag of Dicks! (With This Totally NSFW Coloring Book)

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 3:37 PM

Sometimes, after a bad breakup, you just have to have sex with as many people as possible until you stop feeling like shit about yourself.

But if you're artist Nathan Rapport, a onetime San Franciscan who now lives and works in Austin, you get in the car after meeting up with a trick and Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" and you realize that maybe that method isn't working this time. 

"I don't want to demonize it," Rapport says of the promiscuity route. "But it's also worth asking questions. It didn't make much sense to me, fucking your way through a breakup. Of course, we all do this, whether we're gay or straight." 

Instead, he poured his feelings into his art, to make sense of the breakup and — as he put it — the "slutty phase."

"I created a single drawing, and it felt like it was a page of a coloring book," he says, and Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me was born. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Soundwave Biennial’s Audiobus Explores The Tenderloin In Its Own Voice

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Kevin Corcoran and Jen Boyd - JOE CANTRELL
  • Joe Cantrell
  • Kevin Corcoran and Jen Boyd

San Francisco in the 21st century is experiencing the tumbleweed-silent steel buildings canyon of the Financial District transition into the always-lively cacophony of the badlands of The Tenderloin.

“The Tenderloin is an area that a lot of people ignore because of it’s reputation as kind of crime ridden,” says Kevin Corcoran, a sound artist living and working in the city, “but I think it warrants at least walking around in The Tenderloin and looking, and hearing, what kind of community exists there.”

What does exist there is a vibrant, poverty stricken, constantly underserved by the city government, section of San Francisco, a place where many new immigrants find themselves, a place where gays, lesbians, and transgender people once found refuge from bigotry, and a place where the most historic buildings in the city are still standing, and still very much in use.

At the ground floor of The Cadillac Hotel, one of those old historic Tenderloin buildings, lies The Tenderloin Museum, a museum that chronicles the history and character of the neighborhood of The Tenderloin. In collaboration with the ongoing Soundwave Biennial series of audio arts projects and exhibitions going on throughout the city until September, the Tenderloin Museum has created, with sound artists Kevin Corcoran and Jen Boyd, an audio collage of the residents of The Tenderloin, mixed with the ambient sounds of the neighborhood itself, that will serve as a soundtrack, performed live by Kevin and Jen, for a bus tour of the neighborhood on July 31st called “Audiobus - Energized Vectors.”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Tales from the 2016 J-POP SUMMIT Festival: Space Toilets, Zombie Kitties, and the New Vocaloid in Town

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 5:09 PM


The J-POP SUMMIT Festival is a celebration of all things related to Japanese pop culture – music, food, art, film, and many points between – and it's always my favorite weekend of the year. Held on July 23-24, this year's event was the second to be held at Fort Mason, largely because 2014 was crazy-busy, a teeming crowd of humanity congregated in a few square blocks thanks to the line of food Ramen Street. As I expressed in my writeup of last year's event, I was a little bummed about the relocation because I hate it when things change, but what hasn't changed is that J-POP was once again a fun and gratifying experience.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Christine Elfman Investigates Photography With Amaranth Juice and Roman Mythology

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Christine Elfman, Ash, 2016.
  • Christine Elfman, Ash, 2016.

In the Roman myth of Diana and Actaeon, the goddess of the hunt grows furious when Actaeon, a young hunter, is found gazing at her while she bathes nude in a sacred grove. Diana transforms Actaeon into a stag and his own hounds prey upon and kill him for his transgression. The myth has been a popular subject in visual art for millennia, but in Even Amaranth, her solo exhibition at Gallery Wendi Norris, Christine Elfman transforms Actaeon’s tragic demise into a parable for the plight of photographers.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Ezra Croft Wants You to Come Get Your Bill Murray On

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Luis Tinoco's contribution to The Murray Invitational - COURTESY OF EZRA CROFT
  • Courtesy of Ezra Croft
  • Luis Tinoco's contribution to The Murray Invitational

A 39-year-old Bed, Bath & Beyond employee is asking strangers to make paintings of Bill Murray. It may sound like a headline from the reject pile of The Onion, but Ezra Croft means business. He would also like you to know that now that he now has awesome sheets and a sweet frying pan.

As for The Murray Invitational, the official title of Croft’s Murray art show and “golf party,” July 23’s celebration at San Francisco’s Public Works will mark the third large-scale celebrity-themed exhibit he has mounted in as many years. First was a 2014 show dedicated to actor Nicolas Cage, which took place at Balancoire (formerly 12 Galaxies).

“That was my first go at it,” Croft says of the Cage show, who previously had no experience in mounting gallery exhibits. “I had a feeling that a lot of interesting and good art was going to come out of it because people really started to go off the deep end with it.”

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Pithy Remarks: "Not a Lemon," a Citrus-Themed Art Show at Alite Outpost

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 7:30 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane
A bag of lemons is almost like currency in the Bay Area, Alicia Dornadic says. "My grandparents had a lemon tree. We would pick them and squeeze them, and coworkers bring them to work. So many people have lemon stories."

It's this idea of a happy, if somewhat banal fruit — the flavor of ordinary cough drops, the scent of household cleaning supplies — that inspired her to mount Not a Lemon, an art show at the Scott Ellsworth Gallery inside the outdoor goods retailer Alite Outpost's Mission location. The gallery space is tiny, but Dornadic managed to include 50 works, mostly by local artists. (Local in this case encompasses the East Bay and South Bay, which Dornadic, as a San Mateo resident wanted to include, and which are definitely regions more hospitable to happy citrus groves.
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

  • Peter Lawrence Kane
While many of the works are quite straightforward exercises in sunny shades of yellow, others go farther. T. Garrett Eaton's forlorn painting of a lemon on a shelf takes the subject matter of a still life and imbues it with an Edward Hopper pathos. An image of two beefy, pierced African-American men sipping the same pitcher of icy lemonade through straws has undeniable erotic undertones but could plausibly be read as ordinary male bonding. Perhaps the cleverest image is Sara Myrup Diamond's photograph of a Buddha's hand with manicured tips appended to its citron fingers and the title Eightfold Pith (a reference to Buddhism's Eightfold Path).

Initially, Dornadic had planned on showing 25 or so pieces, it inevitably expanded when people told her that such-and-such wrote a book on lemons, or had done work that was impossible to exclude, curatorially speaking. (There is also work by an artist named Jenny Lemons.)

Dornadic has done shows based around a simple premise before. The most thematically similar effort was Strike Away, a show she put together with Courtney Cerruti at Paxton Gate Curiosity for Kids last spring that consisted solely of art made out of matchboxes and matchsticks. It was much larger than Not a Lemon, with 500 pieces by 250 artists mounted on foamcore. (Dornadic called it "insanity," but in a happy sense.)
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
"I like themed exhibits, because I think when you give artists a couple rules, and they really know how to push them and break them, they do this amazing work that they would never do," she says. "So many people come up to me and say 'Thank you for giving me a homework assignment.'"

Apart from the lemon theme — the name "Not a Lemon" pays homage to Magritte's Surrealist image of a pipe, The Treachery of Images, with its playfully profound caption "Ceci n'est pas un pipe," or "This is not a pipe" — the only stipulation was size. (But even then, Dornadic was relaxed about policing anyone's artistic license.)

One drawing, of a chubby gerbil, takes the Surrealist nod to its logical endpoint. "This is not a lemon," the caption beneath the rodent reads. "He just looks sour."

Not a Lemon, through Aug. 14, at the Scott Ellsworth Gallery, in Alite Outpost, 3376 18th St., 415-626-1526.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

'Superlative Examples of the Genre' in "Emperors' Treasures"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Emperors' Treasures Meat-shaped stone
  • Emperors' Treasures Meat-shaped stone
One of the most visited objects in the National Palace Museum of Taipei is a little carving made of jasper, with a gold stand depicting waves and lotus blossoms. The delicate carving, the Qing dynasty’s Meat-shaped stone depicts a piece of pork belly, which has inspired 12 Bay Area chefs, including Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s, Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji, and Michelle Mah of The Slanted Door to create their own take on it.

Asian Art Museum Director Jay Xu says it’s fitting that this object is featured for the museum’s new exhibition, Emperors’ Treasures, organized in partnership with the Taiwanese museum, and showcasing more than150 masterworks of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qian dynasties.

“Food, like art, is a way to share culture,” Xu said.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

National Conference Focuses on Oakland Artists

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 12:52 PM

  • Courtesy of NAMAC

The National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture's conference, ALLIANCE, is in Oakland this weekend, and heavy hitters are coming along for it.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who the Rockefeller Foundation calls one of the country's greatest living artists, will give the keynote performance; artist and organizer Favianna Rodriguez, will be part of a panel on media artists impacting policy; and filmmaker Pete Nicks, who made The Waiting Room about Highland Hospital, will share some footage from his upcoming documentary on the Oakland Police Department.

For NAMAC Executive Director Wendy Levy, having the conference of media makers and funders in her adopted hometown — she moved to Oakland from Brooklyn more than 20 years ago, well ahead of the trend — is a big thrill.

Although Oakland struggles with gentrification, unemployment and taking care of people in need like many cities, it has something special in its artists, she says.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Not Your Everyday Art Space – YBCA Spurs Conversations on Labor and Ecology

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 11:30 AM

From a Public Square last fall - TOMMY LAU
  • Tommy Lau
  • From a Public Square last fall
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts curates art, music, performance, and dance. So why not curate community as well — a place to share concerns and ideas? That’s the idea behind the Public Squares that YBCA holds, based on questions that have been asked by 100 people who inspire the team at YBCA. Marc Bamuthi Joseph, YBCA’s chief of program and pedagogy, points out that we have places to come together to worship, to cheer, to celebrate — what about a place to dream and inspire one another together? So that’s what they’re aiming for in the Public Square.

The one coming up asks the questions “Why Work?” and "How Do we Coexist with Ecology?" It will feature Grisha Coleman and Green Collar Comedy, hosted by Kat Evasco. Why comedy? Well, if you’re talking about environmental work, that’s framed by race and class, Joseph says. And when talking about environmentalism, we need to first talk about having a diverse society, the same way we need a diversity of crops in our fields. So for an empathetic society, the first thing we need is cultural diversity, he says.

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Perpetual Motion: Automata Art Form Gets Inaugural Exhibition

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Haney poses with several of his pieces. - TOM HANEY/FACEBOOK
  • Tom Haney/Facebook
  • Haney poses with several of his pieces.

Automata, a little-known art form which enjoyed great popularity during the 19th century, is making a comeback. Perpetual Motion: Contemporary Interpretations of Fine Art Automata will revive the genre when it holds an opening reception on April 16 at Heron Arts. Curated by Automata artist Tom Haney, the exhibition will display works by eleven national and international Automata creators.

Automata became popular because of the ability of the pieces to mimic life and generally dazzle people with movement. They fell out of favor with the advent of movies and more modern pastimes, but in the past two decades, more and more American artists have been creating them and a network of these particular people has formed thanks to the internet.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"