The name pretty much says it all. "100 Artists See God" is just what it sounds like: an exhibit of 100 representations of a nondenominational higher power. The surprises start with the choices made by the curators, a couple of well-loved art world denizens reported to be juuuuust crazy enough to pull this off -- John Baldessari and Meg Cranston.
The pair have selected artists known for their chutzpah, and the names we recognize are indeed characters with the "audacity necessary for such a project," as the fiendish curating duo put it on the project's Web site. Contributors include our favorite, John Waters, as well as Leonard Nimoy, William Wegman, Eleanor Antin, and Roy Lichtenstein. God appears two-dimensional to most folks, apparently, in the form of paintings, photographs, and drawings, but a few sculptures and some video work manifest themselves as well. The exhibit sheds its divine light beginning today at noon (and continuing through June 27) at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 121 Steuart (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$5; call 591-8800 or visit www.thecjm.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
When We the Living debuted, it was banned. The 1942 Italian film, based on Ayn Rand's most personal novel, was made by Goffredo Alessandrini and is set in Russia just after the Communist revolution of 1917. It involves a love triangle in which a woman aspiring to become an engineer is torn between an aristocrat and a member of the secret police. But it's no mush: The story is also a philosophical statement about the desire to be freed from a totalitarian society. The movie was swiftly shut down by Mussolini's government when it caught wind of the underlying subject matter. Lost for almost 30 years, the flick was rediscovered by Rand herself. It screens at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Tickets are $5-8; call 621-6120 or visit www.thecastrotheatre.com.
-- Karen Macklin
German artist Nathalie Grenzhaeuser uses masterful digital collage to tease out the meaning of her subject, the World War II battle at Omaha Beach. Looming pictures made from photos of golf courses fused to likenesses of actual fencing from the site, along with huge panoramas meant to project the devastation of the disaster, make up "Nathalie Grenzhaeuser: Omaha Beach," the artist's first U.S. show. The opening reception begins at 5:30 p.m. (and the exhibit continues through March 27) at the James Nicholson Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 397-0100 or visit www.nicholsongallery.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser