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Airbrushed: Painting the Castro Royalty 

Wednesday, Jan 15 2014

In the 1980s and '90s, drag queens, punks, and other Castro District denizens found their way to the hilltop house of Beth Van Hoesen, who made their likenesses with watercolors, pencils, graphite, and other tools. A prominent San Francisco illustrator and printmaker who studied at institutions in France and California in the mid-1900s, Van Hoesen was known for her loving portraits. The exhibit of her Castro District works at George Krevsky Gallery — a benefit for the Castro's Rainbow Honor Walk project — offers an eclectic lineup of made-up men and women who were in the prime of their lives. They trusted that Van Hoesen would capture their rebellious natures in a flattering way, and they were absolutely right.

Hackett/Mill, meanwhile, is displaying Jules Olitski's spray paintings from the 1960s, and they're testimonials to Olitski's preoccupation with color and abstraction. Like Mark Rothko, Olitski worked basic colors into canvases that seemed to breathe like clouds. Instead of a paintbrush, Olitski used an old-fashioned spray gun, and he still managed to finesse the canvases with variants of shade and texture. Up close, you see the unique patterns that inhabit these highly valuable works.

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Jonathan Curiel

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