Visual Art

All reflected

Street artist Apex's new show — and departure from the Mid-Market area — is a sign of the times

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caitlin@sfbg.com

VISUAL ARTS Glossy and matte stripes alternate across the walls and floor of the 941 Geary gallery in the Tenderloin, occasionally illuminated by striking reflections from the exhibition's 10 hanging canvases. These are perfectly symmetrical morphs of traditional letter-form graffiti, each done in Easter-ready pastels, save for a black-and-white tag that takes up one enormous gallery wall.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 »

Don't blink

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Barry McGee, skywriting, burning rubber, giant birds, Jasper Johns, and other visual arts highlights for fall

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FALL ARTS If there's such a thing as seasonal themes in the art world, then we're about to see the summer of performance art gradually give way to the autumn of geography. Look for big institutional shows and smaller gallery projects that present ideas about places and spaces. To that point, this roundup starts with two exhibits that should get you out of the city.

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Cheeseburger wolfpack

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Gaze into the maw of A.J. Fosik's beasties if you dare

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Lens flair

Cindy Sherman's performative portraits visit SFMOMA

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART Cindy Sherman is nearly always described as a groundbreaking postmodern photographer and pioneer. The mostly excellent, just-the-hits traveling retrospective currently visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is carefully curated to justify that praise. All the high points of Sherman's prolific career are here, and her virtuosic scrambling of photographic conventions and assumptions are shown in high relief. As an act of institutional pedagogy, it's certainly effective if not exactly revelatory.Read more »

Off the walls

Strategies of performance animate art — and site — in SFMOMA's 'Stage Presence'

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART As the Cindy Sherman retrospective draws huge crowds to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's fourth floor, visitors will find it the gateway drug par excellence for a neighboring show just a few steps away. Taking in Sherman's frozen drag — in which visual art harnesses performance as both subject and tactic — is already to broach the invigorating dialogue underway in "Stage Presence: Theatricality in Art and Media."Read more »

Street sense

'Streetopia' thinks positively about the latest tech boom

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caitlin@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART When I moved back to San Francisco as an adult, writer Erick Lyle taught me about my city. He didn't tell me about the earthquakes, the mayoral assassinations, or the hills, but rather how to recognize the social forces that would push and pull life in San Francisco over the years to come. And right now, that's an important thing to know about.Read more »

The heart in art

Artists express their desire for harmony in 'Shalom/Salaam'

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arts@sfbg.com

VISUAL ART As the old saying goes, a picture can be worth a thousand words. But a local gallery has united two separate artists stemming from Jewish and Islamic backgrounds to convey only one: peace.

In "Shalom/Salaam," a joint exhibit running through May 26 at the Mishin Fine Arts gallery, self-proclaimed activist artist Tom Block and Afghan refugee Shokoor Khusrawy demonstrate that art can be more than a commodity, and rather a tool to dismantle cultural barriers and inspire change.Read more »

Cartoonist confidential

A new exhibit honors the work of Ghost World author Daniel Clowes

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VISUAL ART Daniel Clowes draws eyes that are eerily human. Dotting the pages of his well-regarded graphic novels, they are by turns embittered, despairing, and vulnerable. So it's fitting that the Clowes' first major retrospective is at the Oakland Museum of California. Oakland is an underdog city, and Clowes — a longtime resident — champions underdogs.Read more »