Art & Development, Community

Artist-curated shows and alumni notes

Summer is supposed to be the low season for art, but this is San Francisco and we don’t summer in the Hamptons; the fog rolls in just the same. A few galleries have mixed up their programming with artist-curated shows.

“They Knew What They Wanted”
Katy Grannan, Shannon Ebner, Jordan Kantor and Robert Bechtle curates selections from Altman-Siegal, Fraenkel, Berggruen and Ratio 3. Go see this show for insights into four interesting artist-curators, pictures and objects you wouldn’t normally get to see, and some really great works, including a communal ballpoint pen drawing initiated by Arte Povera artist Alighero e Boetti at Ratio 3.

A similar work by Alighero e Boetti, Mettere al mondo il mondo 1972 -73 penna biro blu su carta intelata 2 elementi, cm 159 X 164 cad. Source: Archivo Alighero Boetti.

If you aren’t familiar with Boetti’s work, have a look at the virtual tour at Archivo Alighero Boetti.

Over at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, abstract painter Kim Anno curates a group show called “Everyday Mystics.” I wish I could have made out the images in Ricardo Rivera‘s projections on and alongside reflective objects like helmets and metal cups. The idea was neat. I overheard the owner mentioning something about the work being about communicating with outer space, so I figured it’s just as well I couldn’t tell what was going on, since I’m not the intended audience. The MP3 player embedded in the center of a spinning turntable is crafty and chuckle-worthy.

Ali Naschke-Messing‘s thread installations shined with glitter and glowed with fluorescence. Two large floor-to-ceiling works that exploited incidental marks and holes in the existing architecture. A series of wall-based works, which incorporated some sort of putty or plaster, were striking in their simplicity and efficacy. The works are formal investigations of site and form and volume; they’re also catalysts for subtle perceptual experiences. From a distance (and in photographs), the works are almost imperceptible; I almost didn’t see one until it was right in front of me. In person—and particularly with PSG’s abundant afternoon light—the density of thread creates vibrancy. They are more materially substantial than Fred Sandback‘s string intallations, but not by much.

Suné Woods contributes some moving black and white photographs whose imagery is memorably unstable.

Woods is a recent MFAs from CCA (class of 2010). Naschke-Messing was my classmate (class of 2007); I’m proud to have studied alongside so many bright, hardworking, curious, supportive and respectful artists. They change directions, start new projects, stay connected, and keep showing. This summer, shows around town by my classmates include:

Lindsey White: Equivalent Exposures install at Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, Source:

Through July 17
Lindsey White: “Equivalent Exposures”
Quietly humorous and deceptively simple photographs, videos and sculpture
Baer Ridgeway, SOMA, SF

Through July 25
Robin Johnston : “meditations on space and time” (two-person show with Chelsea Pegram, Mills MFA candidate)
Data-driven weavings and drawings
Swarm Gallery, Oakland

Just closed July 10
Amanda Curreri: “Occupy The Empty”
Installation, text, video, participation
Ping Pong Gallery, Dogpatch, SF

Opens July 16
Erik Scollon: “The Urge”
Queer porcelain fetish-based installation
Ping Pong Gallery, Dogpatch, SF

And internationally, new media artist David Gurman is a 2010 TEDGlobal Fellow, participating in the technology and ideas conference in Oxford, UK.


Good art

David Gurman, "The Nicolas Shadow," 2009

David Gurman, The Nicolas Shadow, 2009

David Gurman’s The Nicolas Shadow installation at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco is pretty great. Though I’m quite secular, I really enjoyed my visit to the church, which is on the corner of the USF campus. The exhibition in Manresa Gallery, Icons and the Iconic, is an interesting mix of traditional icons, modern icons in the traditional style, and a few modern and contemporary works. Gurman’s installation is stunningly beautiful in a meditative way, and yet its content (a large bell tolls every hour counting the number of civilian casualities in Iraq) is explicitly political.

I also attended Claire Fontaine‘s artists’ talk at the Wattis Institute tonight. The Paris-based collective has been showing interesting conceptual work with radical interests at the Wattis and the Tate Modern for a few years, and it was really cool to see the artists speak with such intellect, humor and humility. Their work at the Wattis consists of texts spelled out in fluorescent tube light fixtures, in what they coined “K-Font” (sp?).

Art & Development, Community

love it/ hate it

Love it:

“The Big Three,” the current exhibition at Rosenthal Gallery, features the work of 18 artists, though the title could be written for me, since three of my classmates from CCA (MFA 07) are in it: David Gurman, Renee Gertler and Erik Scollon.

Scollon continues his series of life-sized fist-shaped cast ceramic sculptures. The new sculptures are all pushing the boundaries of domestic kitsch, featuring the sort of rose patterns you’d find on linens at Ross. While some of his past blue-and-white fist sculptures were ironic and cool, these would especially great atop crocheted doilies.

The always-meticulous Gurman shows a dyad of photographs sourced from government agencies. I wasn’t able to get through his verbose statement at the packed opening, but I appreciate his conceptual rigor as an artist working with found photos, a process that can lend itself towards emotional, intuitive interpretations.

Gertler contributes goodie-bag assortment of odd forms in aluminum foil, painted paper mâche, “DO NOT EAT” silicate pebbles, balsa wood and other unidentifiable scraps. It’s a kind of joyous formalism — humorous, humble and a bit nerdy. As an artist struggling with how my work fits in the world and the market, I really appreciate Gertler’s commitment to making impertinently impermanent art.

Love it, too:

Good coincidences. I realized yesterday that I should look into getting a bank of LEDs for an upcoming project. Guess what came in the mail today? The new Jameco catalog! Sweet!

Hate it:

What I’d add to The Onion‘s “Things We’re Barely Tolerating This Week”:

Michael’s, the craft store. Despite its new logo and cutesy interior design, its biggest problems persist: crap customer service (No wonder the cashiers give customers attitude! I heard two surly teenage slackers give the manager lip today.) and heavy-handed mark-ups (A 10 oz jar of Armour Etch, a wonderful and frighteningly caustic cream used for etching glass: $27.99. At Long’s in Oakland, you can get a jar with 2 more oz for $4 less! As Woff says, “Long Live Longs.”)