Barry McGee, from "China Boo" at Ratio 3, 2015

Barry McGee, 2015

Here is a selection of some of the best exhibitions up now:

Barry McGee, “China Boo” at Ratio 3 (through Dec. 19): This show is epic, and I don’t use that word lightly. McGee is in his finest form, presenting work small and huge, riffing off old favorites, and pushing color and pattern to eye-dizzying glory. There is also a spectacular show within a show, the result of some fortuitous timing and massive collaboration. I’ll say no more, as to not ruin the surprise, aside from, Do. Not. Miss. This. Show.

Sophie Calle, at Fraenkel Gallery (through Dec. 24): Using text, photography, and a project installation, Sophie Calle looks at the topics security, secrets, violence, and suicide. Tonally, work throughout runs the spectrum of white to black, lending a heavy feel to the weighty subjects covered. This show is intense, and packs a thoughtful, resonating punch. It’s the kind of show that follows you out the door.

“Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition” at the de Young (through Jan. 10): From my story for art, ltd. magazine about this massive show highlighting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition’s fine art component: “The show features over 200 works, most of which were shown at PPIE. Of particular note is the massive amount of research that went into creating the exhibition, the fruits of which are laid out in a thorough, copiously illustrated 400-page catalogue. ‘Until now, a clear understanding of the art historical significance of the PPIE has been obscured by its unwieldy scale … as well as the relative dearth of visual evidence of what was exhibited,” [James] Ganz [the show’s curator] notes. “The contemporary catalogues and guidebooks of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs were sparsely illustrated, and few gallery interiors were photographed. The curatorial team spent several years scouring archival sources and the primary and secondary literature, as well as reaching out to auction houses, museums, and private collectors with the goal of identifying a critical mass of the works shown in 1915 to arrive at a considered and coherent selection for this restaging.” This is a gorgeous and historically significant exhibition.

Julio César Morales, “Emotional Violence” at Wendi Norris Gallery (through Dec. 19): Julio Cesar Ramirez continues his exploration of border crossing and informal economies, touching on drug trafficking and human trafficking, as well as human rights violations as they pertain to displaced or undocumented peoples (think Syrian refugees), among other weighty subjects. The work is powerful, poignant, and, at times, disturbing, but always eye-opening.

Coming Soon! A selection of upcoming shows and events to watch for:

Opening this Friday in SF: Josh Jefferson, “Head Into the Trees” at Gallery 16 (Nov. 13 to Dec. 31). An opening reception will take place Friday, November 13, 6 to 9 p.m.

Opening December 11 in SF: “Major Work” at Chandran Gallery (Dec. 11 to Jan. 15), a show curated by Andrew Schoultz, includes new, large-scale work by Alicia McCarthy, Aaron Noble, Kelsey Brookes, Revok, James Marshall (Dalek), Sam Friedman, Eric Yahnker, Mark Dean Veca, Saber, Hilary Pecis, Tim Biskup, Eric White, Allison Schulnik, and Andrew Schoultz. An opening reception will take place Friday, December 11, 7 to 9 p.m.

Opening December 10 in SF: William T. Wiley, “& So . . . May Cuss Grate Again?” at Hosfelt Gallery (Dec. 11 to Jan. 30). An opening reception will take place Thursday, December 10, 6 to 8 p.m.

Book launch party November 30 in SF: For This Bridge Will Not Be Gray, illustrations by Tuckers Nichols, text by Dave Eggers. November 30, 6 p.m. at Books, Inc. in Opera Plaza.