By Jonathan Ramos
By Juan De Anda
By Mollie McWilliams
By Juan De Anda
By Mollie McWilliams
By Juan De Anda
By Jonathan Curiel
By Alexis Coe
"100 Artists See God." This show 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, John Baldessari and Meg Cranston, who have selected artists known for their chutzpah. 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. 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. (H.S.) Reviewed March 3.
City Art. The Mission's artist-owned and -run cooperative gallery has an eclectic (untitled) May show of new work by local artists. Included are Heather Robinson's erotic mixed-media collages and acrylics from her "Internal Affairs" series, whose subject she describes as "the body's ability to manifest feelings and retain memories." Tenderloin artist Brian Stannard's ink-on-paper portraits of funky street life and the down-and-out world of local SROs and bars feature the forgotten, aging men and women of his neighborhood. Not to be outdone by Beavis or Butt-head, Brian Behnke presents "Dead Boy" canvases that act out a nursery rhyme series of bratty nasties (Jack and Jill Ain't King of This Hill and Little Red Road Killer), in tandem with the witty psychological commentary of his encaustic "Phobia" series. Casey Koerner's prison paintings combine scrawled confessions with gritty images of life on the inside, while Betsy Sergeant's travel photos offer a warm, serene vision of her journeys around Bulgaria, Costa Rica, and the Bay Area. Through May 30 at 828 Valencia (at 19th street), S.F. Admission is free; call 970-9900 or visit www.cityartgallery.org. (C.N.) Reviewed May 12.
"Constructions: Robots and Beyond." Artist Al Honig has made a career out of dumpster diving -- and the art world is taking notice. Honig's extraordinary sculptures are made from found objects gathered from flea markets and scrapheaps. Many of the pieces in the show are culled from his "Allegory Series," including Exercise in Futility, which depicts a red stationary bike with an attached fan -- pointed away from the futile exerciser. Other works explore issues of love (Woman) and death (the "Urn Series"). Through Aug. 6 in the Oakland Museum of California Sculpture Court, 1111 Broadway (at 11th Street), Oakland. The opening reception takes place on May 20. Admission is free; call (510) 238-2200 or visit www.museumca.org. (J.T.) Reviewed May 5.
"Fateful Attractions: Fine Printing and Bookmaking in Santa Cruz." Santa Cruz is known for surfers and pot smokers, and yes, those are venerable cultural traditions in the beachside burg. Less well-known but more interesting is the community of book- and papermakers whose members make their homes there. "Fateful Attractions" showcases the work of UCSC's Cowell Press, Lime Kiln Press, and other quirky groups. Individual artists include William Everson, Ruth McGurk, and our favorite, one-time Guillermo Gomez-Peña collaborator Felicia Rice. Through June 4 at the S.F. Center for the Book Gallery, 300 De Haro (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 565-0545 or visit www.sfcb.org. (H.S.) Reviewed March 3.
"Kuru Kuru Jet." Most of artist Misaki Kawai's creations could reasonably be called dolls -- if dolls piloted jets made of old cereal boxes and sported pasted-on faces formed from photographs of '60s celebrities. Haphazardly dressed in scraps of thrift-store fabric or castoff bits of Kawai's old clothes, propped up in vehicles fashioned from discarded cardboard, tape, and cheap mass-manufactured trinkets, and cast in improbable scenarios involving, say, Ringo Starr steering an aircraft with C-3P0, these dolls are hardly welcome in Barbie's Dream House. Through June 5 at the Jack Hanley Gallery, 395 Valencia (at 15th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 522-1623 or visit www.jackhanley.com. (J.S.) Reviewed May 5.
"Pop!" Although a British critic, Lawrence Alloway, coined the term "pop art" to describe the rising tide of paintings and sculptures that immortalized prosaic objects in the '50s and '60s, the movement was primarily American and undeniably personified by New York Renaissance man Andy Warhol. This show represents Warhol via paintings like his celebrity-worshipping Triple Elvisfrom 1962, but also reaches beyond his all-too-familiar iconography by including pieces by fellow New Yorkers such as the comic book-obsessed painter Roy Lichtenstein and painter/sculptor Jasper Johns. "Pop!" also features pieces by California artists, including freaky ceramic-portrait sculptor Robert Arneson and painter Wayne Thiebaud, who has rendered Potrero Hill and hot fudge sundaes with the same intense colors. Most notably, it dedicates an entire room to the compelling word-centered gunpowder drawings and fine-art books of the S.F.-based Ed Ruscha. Through Sept. 19 at SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$10; call 357-4000 or visit www.sfmoma.org. (R.N.) Reviewed March 3.
"Shocked and Awed." Shortly after President Bush touched down on an aircraft carrier for his "Mission Accomplished" photo op, American filmmaker Patrick Dillon visited the Al Assail school in Baghdad. There he collected drawings by young children and teenagers showing their reactions to, fears about, and questions regarding the war in their homeland. For any parent wanting to talk to his child intelligently about Iraq, this show is a compelling tool. It's a poignant reminder that the war is taking place somewhere else than in the news. Through children's eyes, we see the toppling of the Saddam statue; American soldiers distributing food; tanks and helicopters; and a conflict in which 32,000 bombs and missiles rained down on the city. Dillon, who was arrested before the war by Iraqi police and after it by the American military, has created a remarkable testament to the impact of war on children. Through June 6 at MOCHA, the Museum of Children's Art, 538 Ninth St. (between Washington and Clay), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 465-8770 or visit www.mocha.org. (C.N.) Reviewed May 12.