Visual Art

Saving Yosemite

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Long before Teddy Roosevelt and Ansel Adams swooned at the beauty of the place, ex-49er and early photographer Carleton Watkins (1829-1916) captured monumental Yosemite Valley for the public's eyes. His stunning 1860s wet-plate negative photos — on view at Stanford's Cantor Arts Gallery April 23-Aug. Read more »

Barbie gets a makeover, San Francisco-style

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Last Wednesday, Shotwell 50 Studio launched its 11th annual San Francisco AlteredBarbie Exhibition, “The Doll That Has It All!” The show features the doll that dominated so many of our childhoods as she has never appeared before. Statues, dioramas, paintings, and photographs created by dozens of artists test the limits of the familiar figure in this unusual creative reuse exhibit. “To alter Barbie is almost a religious thing,” states Julie Andersen, who curates the exhibit each year. “It’s very blasphemous. That’s how strong the icon is.”

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Fair play

Notable locals at this year's big artMKT and ArtPadSF shows

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART It's art fair time again. Last year there were three, this year there are only two, though it looks like artMRKT, which is taking over now defunct SF Fine Art Fair's slot at Fort Mason, has pretty much absorbed the former's area galleries. ArtPadSF, the more festive of the two fairs, will again be renting out all the rooms at the Tenderloin's Phoenix hotel. (Both fairs run Thu/16-Sun/19). I can't help but wonder, will there be synchronized swimming again in the pool this year?Read more »

Let it all out

Shout! fosters artistic expression for female veterans

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VISUAL ART Dottie Guy had a difficult time in 2006. In addition to the death of her grandfather, she was recovering from surgery for an injury to her ankle and foot that she had sustained on duty in Iraq. She started taking pictures as motivation to walk around and to reclaim a sense of purpose.Read more »

Walls of the Internet

From back alleys to Facebook walls: the street art-tech connection is heating up -- and changing SF's street scene

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caitlin@sfbg.com

STREET SEEN The mural was neatly rendered in aerosol, with an expert's eye for color. It read "Facebook." Surrounding text bubbles proclaimed "poke," "write on your wall," and "I'll find something to put here" to the denizens of Sixth Street.

Tech-based graffiti? If you're up on the Bay Area art scene, the juxtaposition won't come as any surprise — the companies building the Internet have emerged as major supporters of professional street art.Read more »

Free expression

Taking in John Millei's unguarded new paintings — plus a guide to open studios

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART Los Angeles painter John Millei is mostly known for muscular abstraction writ large, either because he usually applies his cerebral mark making to wall size paintings, or because he produces works in very large series.Read more »

1AM Gallery's street art app debuts

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I keep my iPhone slow with all the street art shots I forever shoot and store with it. Where will these photos go, this endless documentation of my surrounds? Sure, every once in awhile they'll pour out into a best-of compilation for the paper, but most of the time they're just there, staring me in the face, daring me to trap my friends into a mandatory slideshow session. "Dude, you gotta check this one out! It's... oh, um, it's like in that one alley behind that fancy hat factory?"Read more »

Every night is teen night

YBCA Young Artists at Work inspire — and are probably smarter than you

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VISUAL ART What if every artistic high schooler were taken aside and taught how to write a grant proposal? At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the world would be a different place if every young person with a spark had the tools and know-how to fund their work. Or if nothing else, the gallery scene would be a hell of a lot more interesting.Read more »

An art benefit -- for the artists

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All sorts of political campaigns and causes raise money by asking artists to donate work that can be auctioned off. It's not often that the artists themselves get the benefits.

So Matt Gonzalez -- former supervisor, longtime criminal defense lawyer, and big fan of local arts -- is putting together a different type of fund-raiser. It's an art auction -- to benefit the artists.Read more »

The hawk and the rat: Hugh Leeman's artistic 'social experiments'

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The artist talks about his upcoming exhibit, depictions of the homeless, and art-related capitalism
 
If you’ve walked through the Tenderloin, along Market Street, or around SoMa, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Hugh Leeman’s art. (He'll be showing new work Thu/4 at SOMArts Gallery as part of the "Dial Collect" show.) Leeman is best known for his drawings of the distinct and arresting faces of Sixth and Market’s homeless, which he used to wheatpaste onto billboards and buildings. His iconic work has been characterized as “street art,” but Leeman views his homeless art project through a more enterprising lens.

The power latent in billboards and marketing campaigns – both to make a statement and to expose vulnerabilities held by the viewer – inspired Leeman to plaster his friends’ faces around town. (Leeman met most of the homeless men he's depicted by engaging in street-side conversation, usually with the help of a trusty pack of Camel cigarettes.) He aimed to get as many eyes on his work as possible by giving away free posters of his drawings and by allowing people to download posters off his website for free. He also screen printed his drawings onto t-shirts and gave them away to men and women on the street to sell for a 100% profit.

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