Visual Art

Art Basel diary: SCOPE-ing, Context-ualizing, and a quick dip in Fountain

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Last week, Miami was swept up in Hurricane Art Basel and goddammit if we weren't there to cover the thing. Check out Caitlin Donohue's past posts on the scene in South Beach, and the rundown on Wynwood and Art Asia. Here's her take on SCOPE, Context, and Fountain

SCOPE: This fair focuses on contemporary art, and always has some mind-blowing, large-scale stand-outs (check out my run-down from last year.) I even ran into my old friend, rhinestone hamburger -- who was joined by his friends this time around, rhinestone can of Spam, rhinestone bagel sandwich, and more. America! Read more »

Art Basel diary: The other side of the causeway, street art, Art Asia

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Read part one of Caitlin Donohue's Art Basel diary: South Beach here

It would be a mistake to characterize the Art-Basel-that's-not-in-South-Beach parts of Miami as containing more DIY/indie/anti-consumerist detritus than Art Deco land during the arty wheeling and dealing that occured last week (transactions worth, the Miami New Times helpfully noted, approximately the GDP of Guyana.)

Not-South-Beach, after all, included the Design District, where my camera memorably died for the last time during our Florida adventure as I was photographing an exhibit entitled "Architecture For Dogs."  Read more »

Art Basel diary: Air-kissing South Beach on day one

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Caitlin Donohue does South Beach during the country's most excessive week of art. Check out her other Basel 2012 posts here

Faced with a daunting calendar, we went straight to the belly of the Art Basel beast on our first day in Miami: South Beach. The centerpiece of this belly, of course, is Art Basel -- "Art Basel proper," as one must call it during a week with over 20 satellite fairs in orbit around the main event. Read more »

Next level: this weekend's SF Youth Arts Summit takes SOMArts

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San Francisco’s next great designer, sculptor, or filmmaker could possibly be in attendance this Sat/8 at the second annual San Francisco Youth Arts Summit taking place at SOMArts Cultural Center.Read more »

Freedom fighter: SF underground art icon Xara Thustra

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Since the late 1990s, Xara Thustra's art has been inseparable from resistance and community in San Francisco, providing many of the signature visual images of the anti-displacement and anti-war struggles of the era. His work first appeared as graffiti in the streets of the city during the height of the first dot-com boom and soon grew to include artistic collaboration with and in support of neighborhood organizations, like the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition and the Coalition on Homelessness.

As his work evolved over time from agitprop street art into elaborate performance and filmmaking, Xara has collaborated with countless others on many now-legendary art events like the Anti-Capitalist Fashion Show, the 949 Market Squat, and the band Manhater, while contributing stunning murals to Clarion Alley Mural Project and the Mission Neighborhood Health Center (with Kyle Ranson). Xara appeared in the 2002 Bay Area Now show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, but has since resisted overtures from the art world, and preferred to instead make work in spaces like Adobe Books, Needles and Pens, and, still, in the streets.

Thu/6 at a presentation of new work at Needles and Pens, Xara and friends will celebrate the release of the self-published, 500-page book, Friendship Between Artists is an Equation of Love and Survival. It's an epic photo documentation of the past 15 years of his work and collaborations in San Francisco.
Note: this interview took place between Erick Lyle (in Brooklyn) and Xara Thustra (in the Redstone Building) over Skype ...

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The Bay at Basel (Come to Miami with us this weekend!)

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There are two moments from my 2011 pilgrimage that duel in my mind for the title of quintessential Miami Art Basel. One, when that couple at the SCOPE Festival was examining the multi-thousand-dollar rhinestone hamburger for purchase. Two, Pharrell climbing onstage before Yelawolf's set at the much-hyped "party of the year" Basel Castle and telling us that "this week, it's all about the artists. But also, it's all about... you guys." Read more »

Looking up: Apex One's Mid-Market rooftop street art gallery

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I was a little devastated when I found that the owner of Ricardo "Apex" Richey's Market and Sixth Street studio -- where he painted his canvases of street art abstractions -- had sold the building to a new owner intent on converting the raw space to tech offices. What of the Asian-run garment factories, the rickety elevators? And what, more importantly, of the rooftop that Apex had the run of, where he'd let his street art friends paint huge burners? Over the years, the space had converted into a guestbook of sorts, with murals done by Mona Caron, Neon, Chez. Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: Brett Amory

A painter who finds inspiration in local disconnect and temporal space

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GOLDIES During my phone interview with Oakland artist Brett Amory, I kept thinking he said "emotion" when he was in fact saying "motion."

"It's my Southern drawl," Amory said with a soft, apologetic chuckle. And it's true that he retains a charming trace of his Virginia upbringing in his talk — as well as the open, forthcoming manner associated with Southern hospitality — despite the fact that he's lived here for the better part of two decades.Read more »

An icon's icons

SFMOMA's new Jasper Johns retrospective explicates and transmutes

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART The new Jasper Johns retrospective currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opens not with his seminal 1955 painting Flag, but with one much less well known from 1956, a painted object titled Canvas. That work is made from a wood stretcher frame and canvas panel turned around to face the wall, the entire back of the thing covered in gray encaustic. Above it on the wall is a quotation from Johns, "I've always considered myself a very literal artist."Read more »

'Fire' insight: talking with David Wojnarowicz biographer Cynthia Carr

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The following interview took place with Cynthia Carr, author of Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz (Bloomsbury USA, 624 pp., $35), on an early fall afternoon at the old Odessa Restaurant on Avenue A in the Lower East Side, New York City — one of the few places left where you can still pretend you're in the LES of Wojnarowicz's day. Carr will be at the San Francisco Art Institute Wed/3 to discuss her book. Read Erick Lyle's review of the book here.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Your book is the first real biography of David Wojnarowicz. Up until now, the best book on him I thought was that Semiotext(e) book, David Wojnarowicz: A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side. Your book has a lot of that same feel, the layers and layers of neighborhood detail. But, of course, your book has the advantage of having all of David's thoughts and perspective on the same events because you have his journals and his correspondence. How were you able to access all of that material?

Cynthia Carr All of his papers are at Fales Library at NYU — all of his journals and the letters he kept. And I did get letters from quite a few other people, like his boyfriend in Paris, Jean-Pierre. At the beginning of the relationship, David wrote to JP at least every other day and later at least once a week.

When I went to Paris I took a scanner with me and back home I printed them out. The stack was like four inches thick! It was filled with information about what he was doing or working on every day. While the journals from those times are mostly about him going to the piers for sex, which he didn’t tell his boyfriend too much about! [Laughs.] The letters, though, are all about where he was living or where he was working, or ... really, most of the time, he was looking for work… I was very fortunate to get that.

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