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Culture, Art The Art of Argument: Controversial Juxtapositions Spark Debate at a Multi-Museum Exhibition

The Art of Argument: Controversial Juxtapositions Spark Debate at a Multi-Museum Exhibition

In the spring of 1917, in a storeroom at an exhibition space in midtown New York, the painter George Bellows and the art curator Walter Arensberg had one of the liveliest arguments ever held about a piece of art. Bellows…
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News, Sucka Free City Game of Thrones: The Poop on City Hall's "Historic Toilets"

Game of Thrones: The Poop on City Hall's "Historic Toilets"

Historic preservation-minded San Franciscans rushing to City Hall's second floor men's room this month were hit with a double whammy. First, the restroom was closed, necessitating a frantic search for an alternate venue. Second, a capitalization-happy sign noted that the…
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Calendar, Night&Day Exquisite Connections

Exquisite Connections

Draw a head on the top section of a piece of paper. Then fold it over so that your neighbor can’t see what you’ve done, and pass it to her to draw the body. Have someone else draw the tail,…
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Calendar, Night&Day Sensory Saturation

Sensory Saturation

In 1920, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp constructed one of the first known instances of kinetic art. Their piece was a motorized sculpture; it used painted planes of glass that created an optical illusion as they turned, incorporating movement into…
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Music, Bouncer The Googly-Eyed Beholder

The Googly-Eyed Beholder

Here's a question college professors love to throw out: What is art? I take refuge in Frank Zappa's general attitude about the stuff: I know it when I see it. Last week I decided to visit SFMOMA, where you can't…
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Calendar, Night&Day Lady Liberty Would Like It

Lady Liberty Would Like It

Juxtapositions and new contexts are the twin engines of a lot of visual art; think Marcel Duchamp's early-20th-century found art, for example, in which ordinary objects, transported to a gallery space, became art. At "Undocumented: Latino Immigrant Portraits," Rebeca García-González…
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Culture, Stage <i>Ballad</i> <i>of</i> <i>Edgar</i> <i>Cayce</i> Hard to Figure

Ballad of Edgar Cayce Hard to Figure

One of the mysterious things about art is the role played in its creation by the unconscious. From the paintings and poetry of William Blake to the psychedelic experiments of the Beatles, artists of all persuasions have explored the powerful…
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News, Sucka Free City Lost & Found

Lost & Found

A TV show "jumps the shark" when random children are written into the script, or a different actor takes over the role someone else originates. When do politicians jump the shark? Perhaps when they dive into the world of avant-garde…
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Culture, Books

How to Make (Almost) Everything: A Do-It-Yourself Primer

By Shoshana Berger and Grace Hawthorne Clarkson Potter (December), $25 This title, aka the ReadyMade book, won't surprise fans of the local monthly publication. The volume is cleverly designed to work as a ruler and a picture frame; inside, it's…
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Culture, Stage Surreal Life

Surreal Life

Few critics have had anything particularly flattering to say about Pierre Marivaux's The False Servant (La Fausse Suivante) in the 280 or so years since La Comédie Italienne first performed the play in Paris on July 8, 1724. Despite being…
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Culture, Dance Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Ballet and intellectuality often seem to fit together about as well as George W. Bush and a good book. On the one hand, you've got ballet's anachronistic courtly pretension, with women in hooped gowns bowing beautifully, and men like so…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Doo Doo Doo, Da Da Da Da

Marcel Duchamp's mustachioed Mona Lisa is just one example of the European dada movement, which channeled its disillusionment with World War I into a nihilist's art that flouted conventional aesthetics in favor of absurdity and unpredictability. The Bay Area's warm…
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Calendar, Halloween

REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Many astrologers seem to think the planet Saturn is the cosmic equivalent of a crabby old tyrant whose goal in life is to limit our freedom. I vigorously resist this notion. Many people, it's true, don't…
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