April 2010

The SF Center for the Book (SFCB) will host its annual fundraiser/silent auction/cocktail party April 27. Early bidding on unique book art works by over fifty established and emerging artists will run 6 to 7; open bidding takes place 7 to 8:30 p.m. Works include artists’ books, letterpress editions, posters, and related objects by such artists as Charles Hobson, Peter and Donna Thomas, Macy Chadwick, Prudy Kohler, Peter Linenthal, Linda Connor, Sas Colby, Carl Dern, Rory Golden, and Sevilla Granger, among many others.
SFCB fosters the art of books and bookmaking through hands-on workshops, exhibitions, education, and residencies.
Tickets $75 (preview hour); $20 (advance general admission)/$25 (general admission at the door); buy online at Brown Paper Tickets.

"The Three Graces" by Lucy Gaylord-Lindholm

This review of Lucy Gaylord-Lindholm’s current solo exhibition recently appeared on Visual Art Source:

Enchanting, strange and impeccably painted, the series of new oil paintings by Bay Area artist Lucy Gaylord-Lindholm are wonderfully enticing, presenting a multi-layered universe that continues to unfold. The thirteen detailed works that comprise the exhibition are small, ranging in size from 17.5-by-13 inches to 11.5-by-9 inches. They are designed to create an intimate viewing experience.
A romantic evening landscape is intruded on by an enormous structure, or perhaps it is a creature made of haphazardly arranged pieces of lumber and fronted by the head of what appears to be a bird. Finely rendered portraits morph into a tangle of string. Gaylord-Lindholm’s paintings have a classic, centuries-old feel, drawing on traditional subjects and the genres of landscape, still life, portraiture, and the figure, with a heavy dose of surrealism.
In Three Graces the famous mythological trio is depicted nude and voluptuous in its traditional grouping. The middle figure faces away while the other two have their faces exposed to the viewer; here, however, the nudes are variously covered in larger-than-life Band-Aids – the adhesive strips appear on multiple occasions in this body of work. And, unlike most portrayals where the women interact only with each other, here the figure on the left, Aglaea, goddess of beauty, stares brazenly at the viewer, referencing the once-upon-a-time controversial frankness of Édouard Manet’s Olympia.
Gaylord-Lindholm draws ideas and imagery primarily from art history, pop culture, science, and fairy tales. “I’ve always been interested in the quirky or absurd,” the artist says in a recent interview, “portraying the impossible in a way that almost could be plausible.” From show to show, painting to painting, the imagery varies widely, but throughout, the palette is rich, the work tight and dramatic. And there is a commonly depicted idea: change, juxtaposing reality and the further reaches of our imagination, often drawing from a place of fear – disintegration of self, insanity, claustrophobia.
Untitled #2 is a portrait of a young girl, face forward, who stares into the middle ground, out toward us, but not at us. Her hair is dark brown and tied back, giving her a plain look; her clothing, which we see from the waist up, is a dark grey. She is against a solid darkish brown-green background. Below her neckline we can partially see through her to what’s beneath her skin: a small shadowy horse, mechanics, perhaps a spaceship. There is movement indicated toward the bottom and flowing to the right, as if a celestial storm is beginning to blow through her and will eventually fully expose her bizarre inner workings.
While these works are haunting, they are so gorgeously rendered and delightfully intricate, they play out like a dark comedy. And though completely odd, they have an internal logic that makes its own kind of sense; these paintings aren’t arbitrary. They approach the edge of absurdity without crossing over. We come away smiling and a bit more comfortable with the world’s uncertainty.

The FOR-SITE Foundation, partnering with the Presidio Trust, will present “Presidio Habitats,” a site-based art exhibition featuring work by eleven artists from around the world. It is the first of its kind at a National Park. The exhibition opens to the public May 16, 2010, and will be on view through May 15, 2011.
The common concept each artist worked with was to create a habitat for a specific animal that lives in the Presidio. Featured projects, which vary widely, are as follows:

Ai Weiwei’s Western Screech Owl Habitats
CEBRA’s Sculpture Habitat for the Gray Fox
Chadwick Studio’s Habitat for Anna’s Hummingbird
Fritz Haeg’s Snag Tower
Jensen Architects’s Patience
Amy Lambert’s Pollen Balls Project
Nathan Lynch’s Where is the Hare?
Mark Dion with Nitin Jayaswal’s Winged Defense
Philippe Becker Design’s Winged Wisdom
Surface Design’s A Habitat of Flight
Taalman Koch Architecture’s Owl Dome
Many educational and informational programs and displays accompany the exhibition including a 1,300-square-foot exhibition space by Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects, which features all twenty-five proposals originally submitted (from which the eleven were chosen), interpretive materials, and artist models. This will be located across from the Presidio’s Log Cabin. Additional in-depth information is provided by signage at each site, as well as audio narrative that is accessible via cell phone. Also available is a free exhibition brochure featuring a map and summary information on the works and selected animals.. Finally, there will be a series of  lectures  featuring participating artists, natural resource specialists, and other professionals involved with art and the environment. The exhibition and related programs are free and open to the public.
To launch this unique undertaking, a full-day celebration will be held May 16. Complete information will be available at the FOR-SITE Foundation Website.

Robert Hudson installation at One Hawthorne

An enormous commission by renown Bay Area artist Robert Hudson was recently unveiled at One Hawthorne ( Hawthorne Lane and Howard Street in San Francisco). Measuring 145 feet tall by 12 feet wide, this exterior vertical mural comprises numerous porcelain enamel panels, on which is reproduced a series of 30-by-23-inch pen-and-ink drawings. The work spans sixteen floors.
In coordination with the unveiling, a solo exhibition of Hudson’s most recent drawings and sculpture is on show at Patricia Sweetow Gallery through May 15. Additionally, several of Hudson’s prints are currently on view at Crown Point Press as part of the group exhibition “California Impressions” (through May 1).

Several area galleries are moving, opening, or going away. Here’s the rundown.

The exhibition program at Steven Wolf Fine Arts is on hiatus while the gallery relocates to a new space in San Francisco. After seven years at 49 Geary Street, the gallery is looking for a space better suited to its exhibition program. During the pause Wolf will continue to blog and post updates about the gallery and the artists who work there.

LIMN Art Gallery is moving to 290 Townsend; the new space will open in May.

Sadly, Jack Hanley Gallery, which has had a been here since 1990, will be closing its SF location to focus on growing the programming at its New York location. The current group show, featuring a selection of new work by gallery artists and up until April 28, will be its last. Don’t miss it! Featured are many top emerging Bay Area artists, including 2009 SECA winner Tauba Auerbach, Chris Johanson, and Shaun O’Dell.  

Francis Mill and Michael Hackett, both of the recently closed Hackett Freedman Gallery, have launched Hackett-Mill. The duo’s new exhibition space at 201 Post will open April 13. Hackett-Mill will focus on works from the 1950s and 1960s with an emphasis on Bay Area Figurative, Abstract Expressionism, and American Modernism; it represents the estates of David Park, Emerson Woelffer, and Robert Schwartz and artists Manuel Neri, Frank Lobdell, and Raimonds Staprans.

Xing Danwen's "Wang Jin, Marry a Mule 2"

Xing Danwen, “A Personal Diary”
At Haines Gallery, San Francisco, Calfornia 
Exhibition ran through March 27, 2010

Photographer Xing Danwen is recognized as one of China’s most influencial contemporary female artists. This is the first and only scheduled U.S. showing of an important series of her photos, “A Personal Diary of Chinese Avant-Garde Art in the 1990s.” The images document the subversive performance art scene—which comprised many of Danwen’s friends—that took place in Beijing’s “East Village” from roughly 1992 to 1994. Art historically then, the series is significant for chronicling a formative period of China’s contemporary art scene.
But artist fame and historic importance aren’t the primary reasons to see these works; they are good art. The images are powerful, bizarre, beautiful, charged—pushing Chinese cultural convention and comfort boundaries. Subjects are naked, as in the four-panel Liu Anping, Untitled Gesture; play with gender roles and identity, as in Ma Liuming, Performance 2 and Zhu Ming, Mona Lisa 3 , which show male artists exploring the feminine; and otherwise test social limits, as in Wang Jin, Marry a Mule 2—a photo, dazzling with hot pink, of Jin in tuxedo and his mule “bride”. In Zhang Huan, 65Kg, Huan is suspend naked in chains from the ceiling with 250 cc of his blood dripping into a hot pan.
These are pictures with punch. Learning about the harsh experiences of several of the artists depicted, as well as Danwen—incarceration, poor living conditions, interrogation—because of their creative output adds to the narrative.  
Danwen’s intimate and confrontational style has appropriately been compared to Nan Goldin’s. But the similarities end there. These images are crisp, colorful, and large (60-by-40 inches framed)—a celebration of rebellious experimentation.
These images don’t let you go easily. And sometimes they even make you smile.

(Exhibition recommendation orginally posted in the Visual Art Source newsletter.)