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.


wanted: machine to clone and transport

First Stop: London

I’d love to skip back over the pond to attend the Frieze Art Fair next week in London. Yes, it is a marriage of art and commerce, but it’s also more than that — newly commissioned art projects, featuring the fabulous Stephanie Syjuco, the delightfully perplexing Ryan Gander, and a fellow named Mike Bouchet, whose project involves hiring a motivational speaker to address an audience at the Frieze Talkslove it! There’s also a programme of killer talks, including a Q&A with John Baldessari, a lecture by James Elkins (the esteemed author from Art Institute of Chicago, who I’ve posted about before) as well as a timely talk on the role of state funding for the arts in a recession.

I’d leave my Clone in San Francisco

Of course, I’d have to clone myself first, so I could also be here in San Francisco for Southern Exposure‘s Grand Opening and the opening of the exhibition, Bellwether. The exhibition is shaping up really nicely, with a huge site-specific balsa wood installation by Reneé Gertler, a DIY survivalist’s shed by Whitney Lynn, an outpost for Lordy Rodriguez’ First Colony, among others. I’m also really looking forward to Liz Glynn‘s Banner Year project, which sweetly reminds me of Jeremy Deller’s Procession in Manchester this summer. Don’t miss the festivities October 16 and 17, at 20th and Alabama Streets.

Next Stop: New York

Then, after that, I’d attend Three Pieces, a one-night multidisciplinary event at PPOW Gallery in Chelsea, where Color&Color, a new publication by Amanda Curreri and Erik Scollon, will be unveiled (along with a work of sound and a work of language/performance. I submitted two images to the inaugural publication — can’t wait to see it.

I’d stick around in NYC for another night to attend The Creative Time Summit at the NY Public Library, which is kind of like a TED Talk for contemporary art. There are so many huge names on the roster, like Alfredo Jaar, Mel Chin, Liam Gillick, Julieta Aranda, the list goes on and on…

A recommended virtual stop: Los Angeles Times art review


Of course, if I had a transporter, I could save myself a lot of staring at the I-5. Since we haven’t got one — yet! — we could have a look at Leah Ollman’s L.A. Times review of Palimpsests, a three-person exhibition I’m in at Tarryn Teresa Gallery through October 29th.

News, Sights

October 22: Color + Color launches at P.P.O.W Gallery

I’ve contributed images to a new artist-initiated publication. It’s launching at an interdisciplinary event at P•P•O•W Gallery, a great space that represents some really awesome artists.

Three Pieces is an ongoing series which showcases three new pieces of sound, image, text or movement from local and visiting artists. Presented by Roddy Schrock and Deric Carner in various locations.

Amanda Curreri and Erik Scollon Presenting Color&Color #0

Color&Color is an artist-curated publication guided by the duality of two thematic colors per issue. The premier issue, Color&Color #0, features Orange & Blue with work by the following artists: Deric Carner, Amanda Curreri, Renee Gertler, Jason Hanasik, Sam Lopes, Celia Manley, Jeremy Chase Sanders, Erik Scollon, Skye Thorstenson, and Christine Wong Yap.

o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi), Sound Event

In Sound Event, the first word, “Sound” swings roughly between two of its many uses in “an experiment through the course of an event”: 1: (as noun,) the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of hearing by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium. 2: (as adjective,) following in a systematic pattern without any apparent defect in logic—as in sound reasoning. It is also an attempt to observe the certain swing/shift between a thing “signified” and “signifying” and perhaps the process of accumulation of desire.

Sal Randolph, Language Drawings
The artist will read from a series of new language “drawings” — texts made with a manual typewriter on long rolls of paper. As a kind of spontaneous “drawing practice” the words on these scrolls are free to follow one another according to an evolving set of principles including sound, shape, semantics, syntax, repetition, punning, play and association. These are intended to be texts without result, the residue of a practice that takes place unobserved: daily, meditative, noninstrumental.

P•P•O•W and The Hostess Project presents
Three Pieces: Platform for Art and Sound
Amanda Curreri & Erik Scollon, o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi), Sal Randolph
Thursday, October 22, 2009, 7–9 pm
P•P•O•W Gallery
511 W 25th St, Rm 301
New York City


Bay Area art: workin’ it.

Really, really excited that even if I have to leave one awesome art community (in Manchester) I’m coming straight home to another (in the San Francisco Bay Area). So good to be home, so thankful for really bright CCA folks doin’ it.

Just came from Speculative Fictions, a talk at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, featuring Weston Teruya, Jina Valentine, Arnold Kemp, Gail Wight and Jerome Reyes. A great mix of really bright practicing artist-thinkers. I think anytime a commercial gallery pursues an intellectual discussion is really good — this time, the talk ranged from sci-fi, Battlestar Galactica, to conspiracy theories… Weston’s a friend; nevertheless, I think that his new works, incorporating a giant pineapple water tower and too-perfect gazebos are really good. I love seeing the work expand…

The shows at SF Camerawork are really good — all having to do with manipulation and desire. It got me thinking a lot about the manufacture of images, advertising, graphic design, and the crafting of paintings… The photographs are really well crafted. I’m not always easily impressed by photography — my appreciation for technical feats is pretty limited — but I was really impressed with the quality of the works and curation. Thoughtful, good stuff.

Coming up soon:

MFA exhibition opens at CCA Thursday night

Live and Direct opens at Ping Pong Gallery Friday night. Curated by cohort Amanda Curreri, and including a number of really thoughtful CCA MFA artists like Nyeema Morgan and Erik Scollon.

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.”)


Artists working together

As I mentioned before, Bay Area Now (ongoing at YBCA til November) is facilitating a lot of artists working and having conversations with other artists. And not only am I working with other artists, I’m working with BAN artists, like Erik Scollon, whose ceramics know-how is proving to be instrumental in my charcoal-based sculpture.

I paid a visit to Erik’s studio, and though BAN has opened, he’s still plugging away at the studio. It turns out that Erik’s project, Take Me Home and Use Me, involves the distribution of his utilitarian ceramic objects. Audience members can take an object at no cost — the only restriction is that users should report back with a photograph of the object in action. Erik makes really wonderful objects, and this is a really interesting social project, and I hope you get to participate. Don’t forget to register — Erik’s been busting his butt on at the throwing wheel, making every piece by hand!

Erik Scollon\'s Studio, in preparation for Take Me Home and Use Me

Erik Scollon's Studio, in preparation for Take Me Home and Use Me