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Visual Art

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NEAT: Art and Tech Converge at Contemporary Jewish Museum

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Dunne & Dar's NAAG XY (2015) uses light, foam and plaster to create the illusion of a living organism. - GABRIEL L. DUNNE, VISHAL K. DAR
  • Gabriel L. Dunne, Vishal K. Dar
  • Dunne & Dar's NAAG XY (2015) uses light, foam and plaster to create the illusion of a living organism.

In NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technologya new show now underway at Contemporary Jewish Museum, nine artists and artistic teams display works in which they combine their artistic vision with current technology. The effects are often hypnotic.

When you enter the exhibit on the museum's second floor, your eyes will no doubt be drawn to Paolo Salvagione's bizarre, surreal Rope Fountain. Using a blank white screen, two small motors and what appear to be standard clothesline rope, the artist creates the illusion of water running through a fountain. Small wheels inside the motors spin continuously, pulling on the two pieces of rope, forcing them to twirl endlessly around in an upright position. It's the motor speed that keeps the rope elevated, which suggests the illusion of flowing water.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chatting with Psychedelic Illustrator and Mystical Enthusiast James Nielsen

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 3:30 PM

  • James Nielsen

James Nielsen
, a local mystical enthusiast and truth seeker, encapsulated his trans-medium psychedelic artwork as “somewhere between Walt Disney and Hieronymus Bosch...the way Black Sabbath sounds and the way Marijuana smokes.”

Indeed, his work seems to embody a cloud of smoke that transcends any given medium: a mural for the Freemasons, a T-shirt for a Gamelan Orchestra, black-and-white illustrations for a book titled Being Home, and David Bowie posters for a friend’s party. This eclectic C.V. doesn't even mention the collaborative album art, photography, visual collages, video collages, and film Nielsen dabbles in.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

The Renaissance Rhino: Illustrator Nick Sirotich Talks About Animals, Monsters, and Survival

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • Nick Sirotich

When Nick Sirotich was a kid, him and his sister used to turn stacks of white paper into their pen playground, marking up page after page with illustrations and drawings. It was no surprise then, that his early interest in art would gradually transform into his livelihood.

“I knew when I was a child that I wanted to make art for a living,” Sirotich said to SF Weekly. “I don't know it seemed kind of destiny to just draw stuff for a living. There’s nothing else that made sense for me.”

When Sirotich was 15 years old, he drove around Sarasota, Fla., his hometown, looking for any tattoo parlor that would be willing to apprentice an underage kid. The search paid off, and he spent eight years at a biker tattoo shop while also attending school. He went on to study at Ringling College of Art and Design for illustration, knowing that the confined nature of tattooing — which is an artist's surrendering to another person’s concept — wasn’t enough for him.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Did Target Rip Off an S.F. Muralist's Work?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 12:30 PM

  • Ali Wunderman

If you’ve ever opened your eyes while wandering through San Francisco, which is generally how most people choose to wander lest they walk into someone texting, then there’s no way you could miss one of local artist Zio Ziegler’s many intricate murals, which adorn buildings and walls throughout the city.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Mistakes" Make the Piece in Concrete Is Not Always Hard

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Ajit Chauhan, 2015, Spray enamel, typewriter ink, pencil on paper
  • As If

In the past ten years, San Francisco's Dogpatch has gone from being a sleepy little industrial corner, to one of the most happening neighborhoods in the city. And with spots like the American Industrial Center, Workshop, and the Museum of Craft and Design, it's established itself as a vibrant arts community as well.

Next to join in is the Minnesota Street Project, a new venue for up-and-coming artists. Once completed, (which should happen roughly around March of next year) the permanent space will boast 35,000 square feet of what founders Deborah and Andy Rappaport promise to be affordable retail, gallery, and studio space for creative professionals. It's a lofty idea — and if they can pull it off, they might just be the next heroes of the San Francisco art scene. Until then, Minnesota Street Projects will host exhibitions at temporary locations around the city. Their first was a stone's throw away from the construction sight of their future Minnesota location at a small gallery at 2291 Third Street. This inaugural show, Concrete Is Not Always Hard, was a solo show of dozens of ink on paper pieces by artist Ajit Chauhan.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Picture Puzzle Pattern Door: New Insight Into Inner Peace and IBS

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • Shana Moulton, MindPlace ThoughtStream (video still), 2014. Courtesy the artist and Gimpel Fils, London; Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich; and Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome might not seem like the stuff great art is made of, but try telling that to video and performance artist Shana Moulton. And as her piece Picture Puzzle Pattern Door, currently exhibiting at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, shows us, IBS can be pretty damn compelling.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Fancy Animal Carnival Prances at Civic Center Plaza

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Temporary Artful Whimsy. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • Temporary Artful Whimsy.

San Francisco lives in a bubble all its own. Our surroundings are fantastical and bright—thus always evoking an image of city of perpetually effulgent color, despite the enclosing fog cover. Now, for the time being, there's another artist adding his Pop-art colored work to our artistic landscape: Taiwanese artist Hung Yi and the member sculptures of his Fancy Animal Carnival.

The Taiwanese sculptor, who 15 years ago decided to sell his nine restaurants in Taiwan and pursue art full time, works in a playful, hybrid style full of bright, primary colored hues, cartoonish figures and traditional motifs, patterns and lettering. Each one of his sculptures is handmade out of baked steel enamel plates and represents anthropomorphic interpretations of animals. Yi's current large-scale display on the east side of City Hall is no exception. 

A modern Taiwanese twist on Aesop's Fables, Fancy Animal Carnival uses the folk tale of the twelve animals of the zodiac, blending the Chinese and European versions of the famed tale. Each of the 19 animal sculptures represents a story, an allegory of life wisdom, expressed through its interaction with each piece and the public. Take the example of the elephants. According to the artist's description at the base of the work, the word elephant is a homonym of the word "sharing" in Mandarin. Therefore the work depicts two elephantine figure sharing a cherry with each other and the action in the sculpture is being shared with the spectator.

  • Juan De Anda

Bold colors, meticulous details, and symbolic imagery innately embellish each animal alluding to the joys, as well as the double entendres, we experience in everyday life. Within some works, their toothy grins turn into snarls depending on the viewing perception angle. Also, by mounting this artwork in Civic Center, a zone of the city replete with homelessness and social inequality, Hung Yi reminds viewers of the power of play and creativity, even while complexities in life arise and surround you.

The exhibition was organized and privately funded by the Insian Gallery in Taiwan  and the Swinging Skirt Golf Foundation. It was coordinated by the Office of the Mayor, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Recreation and Parks Department and will be on temporary display from April 19 through May 7. 

So the moral of this article, if any? Take a walk near City Hall and witness this artful circus act before it packs up and leaves town.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tourism for Locals: LeRoy King Carousel Takes Locals for a Spin

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 1:30 PM

  • Juan De Anda

No matter how old we get, San Franciscans will never stop being kids at heart —even when we get jaded and bitter from the rise of the cost of living. We're a city fostered in the spirit of youthful (albeit, child-like) creativity and enthusiasm.

For those looking to put a spin on their routine or seeking out an inexpensive excursion down Memory Lane , there's one location to go to unleash that inner child: The 109-year-old LeRoy King Carousel

Built in 1906, this intricately hand carved merry-go-round (carousels are comprised of solely horses) was constructed in Rhode Island by renowned designer and craftsman Charles I.D. Looff. The carousel was intended to be installed in San Francisco, however it could not be due to the great 1906 earthquake and fire.

In 1912 it was a permanent fixture in Sea Cliff's Playland-at-the-Beach until the fairgrounds closure in 1972. When Playland shut its doors, the merry-go-round was purchased by a private collector and put into storage in New Mexico. In 1983, it was brought out of storage and moved to Long Beach. 

Purchased by the City of San Francisco in 1998, it was fully restored and brought to Yerba Buena Gardens within the Children's Creativity Museum. It was renamed in 2014 after former SF Redevelopment Commissioner LeRoy King, who took his future wife on their first date on the carousel that now bears his name.

It’s a round-and round-trip that creates a lifetime of memories that's open Daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $4 per ride. 
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Qinmin Arts' "Paper II": Exploring the Relationship Between Paper and Human Nature

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 9:54 AM

Qinmin Liu - QINMIN ARTS
  • Qinmin Arts
  • Qinmin Liu
We use pens and paper to jot down our thoughts, document our days, leave ourselves reminders of events and dates we can’t forget. Paper serves as a medium for us to express ourselves — this medium is especially important for those who have no other way to express themselves than through paper. 

This is the concept on which artist Qinmin Liu’s new show, “Paper II," is based.

(Fun fact: Liu is featured on the cover of our 2015 Winter Arts Guide.)

Following Liu’s June 2014 show “Paper,” which surrounded the audience in paper as the artists modified it in various ways, “Paper II” explores the relation between paper, ink, and the human body.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Street Art Debuts on Reality TV — For Better and Worse. A Q&A With Contestant Annie Preece

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 10:22 AM

  • Courtesy of Oxygen network
  • Annie Preece

The reality TV genre is decades old, and it has already incorporated art into a regular series (see Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist), so it was inevitable that street art would get its turn as a televised spectacle.

Street Art Throwdown
begins airing February 3 on the Oxygen network, and the competition for $100,000 features a trio of Bay Area artists, most vividly Annie Preece, a former heroin addict whose “creepy faces” art is praised to no end by the show’s hard-nosed judges. The head judge, Justin Bua — who’s a street-art “legend” is some art circles — tears down contestants with such snarky comments as, “You clearly had trouble with can control,“ and “Inside you is an artist who wants to be great but you don’t know that.” Wow.

Preece spoke with SF Weekly about her experience with Bua, her previous reality TV spot (on TLC’s Addicted), and why some street artists feared that Oxygen’s reality TV programs would badly distort their art form for the sake of ratings. Preece, 33, is a native of Burlingame who lived there, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz before moving to Los Angeles five years ago. 

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