Electric truth

Pub date August 26, 2009
SectionArts & CultureSectionVisual Art


1. New wave of California painting My thoughts on the topic are still percoutf8g, but it will soon be time to take on the inspiring subject of new California painters. Amanda Kirkhuff’s superb oil portrait of Lorena Bobbitt, currently up at [2nd Floor Projects], is one touchstone. Neil Ledoux’s brown invocations at Silverman Gallery earlier this year is another. The next few months bring a blitz of lively, original paintings. Brendan Lott serves up ugly-beautiful America. (Oct.-17-Nov. 14, Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, www.baerridgway.com) Alika Cooper continues her film femme fatale fascination with some Farrah. (Sept. 3-Oct. 17, Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art, www.wolfecontemporary.com) Kim Cogan pictures San Francisco. (September, Hespe Gallery, www.hespe.com) Nancy Chan sets friends floating in space and Matt Momchilov confronts weird normality head on. (Sept. 11-Oct. 17, Eleanor Harwood, www.eleanorharwood.com) But most of all, I’m looking forward to Conrad Ruiz’s sure-to-be-orgasmic debut SF solo show. (Dec. 11-Jan. 23, 2010; Silverman Gallery, www.silverman-gallery.com)

2. "When Lives Become Form: Contemporary Brazilian Art, 1960s to the Present" Tropicália can’t be revived often enough, even if Os Mutantes have — shame, shame — soundtracked a McDonald’s commercial. This survey, which includes fashion and architecture in addition to visual art and music, has been traveling the globe. Finally, SF gets a chance to see the movement Hlio Oiticica built. Nov. 5-Jan. 31, 2010; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, www.ybca.org

3. "Moby Dick" After last fall’s show devoted to L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, CCA Wattis Institute’s trilogy of shows inspired by novels goes fishing for Herman Melville’s biggest catch. The range of artists taking part is impressive, with the likes of Tacita Dean placed next to local talents such as Colter Jacobsen. A number of works by filmmakers — including Buster Keaton, Jean Painlevé, Peter Hutton, and Kenneth Anger — are on deck. Sept. 22-Dec. 12, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, www.wattis.org

4. "On View: Candice Breitz" A working class hero is something to be. Breitz’s video portrait of 25 John Lennon fans singing along to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (Apple/EMI, 1970) sounds derivative of Phil Collins’ karaoke vids of Smiths fans, but in pop, no ideas are original, and all ideas are meant to be stolen and transformed. Plus the musical source is so damn good. A side video, 2005’s Mother — the title of one of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band‘s best songs — mines cinema. Oct. 1-Dec. 20, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, www.sfmoma.org

5. "Wonderland" Lance Fung’s curatorial idea to bring together 52 artists (43 from San Francisco and nine from other countries) for 10 site-specific projects in the Tenderloin has greater potential than any standard museum or gallery show. Oct. 17-Nov. 14, various sites, www.wonderlandshow.org

6. Photography Decades of work by an autodidact who learned from Warhol, studied under Irving Penn and at least briefly influenced Larry Clark comes together in "Ari Marcopoulos: Within Arm’s Reach," Marcopoulos’s first midcareer survey (Sept. 23-Feb. 7, 2010; Berkeley Art Museum, www.bampfa.org) Charles Gatewood’s raw and candid portraits of celebrities — no, he doesn’t only aim his camera at naked bodies with piercings — are gathered to form a countercultural scrapbook. (Sept. 3-Oct. 31, Robert Tat Gallery, www.roberttat.com) Johan Hagemeyer turns now-endangered California nature into a subject of eternal awe. (Sept. 9-Nov. 3, Scott Nichols Gallery, www.scottnicholsgallery.com) Hiroshi Sugimoto captures the surreal beauty of lightning in a manner Jean Painlevé might admire. (Sept. 10-Oct. 31, Fraenkel Gallery, www.fraenkelgallery.com) And San Francisco itself is the subject of the first entry in the vast retrospective "An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area." Sept. 10-Oct. 31, SF Camerawork, www.sfcamerawork.org

7. "There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak" Where are the wild things this fall? On the movie screen — thanks to Spike Jonze’s adaptation of a children’s classic by Maurice Sendak — and in the museum, where this show presents watercolors, sketches, drawings and dummy books. Sept. 8-Jan. 19, 2010; Contemporary Jewish Museum, www.thecjm.org

8. "Bellwether" As New Langton Arts goes down amid dissent and criticism, the vibrant but at times diffuse Southern Exposure introduces a new Mission District home space with a 10-artist show that includes contributions by Renee Gertler and Lordy Rodriguez. Oct. 17-Dec. 12, Southern Exposure, www.soex.org

9. "The Art of Richard Mayhew" The Museum of the African Diaspora plays host to one-third of a three-part retrospective of the artist and activist’s career. The show includes work from the late 1950s through the 1970s, a time span that includes his beginnings as an artist and his work with Spiral, a group of black artists including Romare Bearden. Oct. 9-Jan. 10, 2010; Museum of the African Diaspora, www.moadsf.org.

10. Solo and duo shows a go go Ara Peterson proves once again that few people chart — and bring dimension to — color with such power. (Nov. 6-Dec. 18, Ratio 3, www.ratio3.org) David Hevel gathers hideously pretty sculptures of Bernie Madoff, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Brangelina. (Sept. 10-Oct. 17, Marx & Zavattero, ww.marxzav.com) The late illustrator Charley Harper — beloved by Todd Oldham — gets a tribute. (Sept. 24-Oct. 31, Altman Siegel Gallery, www.altmansiegel.com) Local minimalist Todd Bura presents another open puzzle. (Sept. 18-Oct. 25, Triple Base, www.basebasebase.com) Pop goes berserk in the works of John De Fazio, and Daniel Minnick reinvents the American photo booth (fall, [2nd floor projects], www.projects2ndfloor.blogspot.com) Katya Bonnenfont proves — with a light and lovely touch, and against most evidence in galleries — that design can be art. (Oct. 22-Dec. 24, Haines Gallery, www.hainesgallery.com) And last, Luke Butler brings hotness and comedy together through razor-sharp collage. Sept. 11-Oct. 17, Silverman Gallery, www.silverman-gallery.com.