Our critics weigh in on local exhibitions

"David Ingenthron: When Things Were Funnier...." Ingenthron sends up today's obsessively consumerist society with austere collages of products and people, isolated on sterile white grounds like forensic evidence of our collective madness. The images, culled from old magazines and sales catalogs, include a polyester-panted Arnold Schwarzenegger lauding a pair of freaky bodybuilder babes, a murky screen-shot of the rapper 50 Cent, and the disabled genius Stephen Hawking. Thrown into the mix are a host of Sega warriors, displaced military tanks, and a resplendent array of trash receptacles in every imaginable hue and style. A strong '80s nostalgia pervades the series, which culminates with an enormous poster of Michael Jackson embracing the extraterrestrial cash cow E.T. Ingenthron has an astute eye for absurdity, summoning a sadly alienated culture with his swift scissors. Through Dec. 18 at Lucky Tackle, 6608 San Pablo (at 66th Street), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 484-4373 or visit (Adrienne Gagnon) Reviewed Nov. 24.

"Furniture as Art." At home we like to be surrounded by comfort. But this show envisions a different kind of household, one filled with spikes and angles and strange objects that don't invite you to put your feet up and chill out. Though fascinating to look at, many of the pieces are entirely nonfunctional. Some are even a bit threatening. Danielle Giudici's Bed With Nipples and Cradle, for example, are creepily compelling. Whereas typical baby furniture is padded and rounded, Giudici's bed and cradle are stark steel, their resting places spiked with plaster or lead baby-bottle nipples. Not all of the pieces are as menacing, though. Megan DeArmond's comfortingly solid dresser, Armoir, displays an Alice in Wonderlandtype whimsy, with sturdy steel legs that descend into lifelike feet clad in cast-iron shoes. But when you open the dresser's drawers and cabinet, you find metal sculptures of skeletons, body parts, and a small, helpless figure trapped inside. Just the thing for a cozy, serene bedroom. Through Dec. 23 at SFMOMA's Artists Gallery, Fort Mason, Building A, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free; call 441-4777 or visit (Joyce Slaton) Reviewed Nov. 3.

"Moving Mountains by Kicking Rocks." This show is the second installation of a collaborative effort by three artists involving an exhibition in each of their hometowns. San Franciscan Jovi Schnell's candy-colored wall drawings are particularly strong, evoking the psychedelia of Peter Max or Terry Gilliam's Monty Pythonanimations. The images are bright yet sinister, with such timely allegorical tropes as a bloody handshake, masked figures, and scores of hooded eyes keeping paranoid vigil. Amsterdam-based Elena Beelaerts contributes a series of scatological collages that run through the gallery like a virus, featuring clusters of rats, dangling dendrites, and piles of refuse. Each piece is perforated and torn, as though beset by decay. And New Yorker Fritz Welch inexplicably adds a messy scroll of advertising storyboards from the '70s, printed on acetate and stuck together as if cordoning off a disaster site. The overall effect is of a pointed, purposeful entropy. Through Dec. 11 at the Luggage Store, 1007 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 255-5971 or visit (Adrienne Gagnon) Reviewed Nov. 24.

"Nicholas Coley." In Coley's atmospheric landscapes, a buttery sky edges into the inky silhouettes of palm trees and traffic lights. He's of that rare breed of artists who paint entirely on site, braving canvas-toppling winds, curious pedestrians, and ever-changing light to capture a specific mood straight from the source. Coley distills shapes with admirable ease, and his brushwork is impressive. He returns to the same intersections again and again, mining a particularly elegant stretch of Dolores or a favorite corner of Duboce with subtle compositional shifts -- an effective strategy, but one that puts him in danger of seeming formulaic. Through Nov. 28 at 66 Balmy, 591 Guerrero (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 522-0502 or visit (Adrienne Gagnon) Reviewed Nov. 24.

"Unbridled! 2." Christopher Stout's "Unbridled! 2" is a photography show featuring stuffed hippopotamuses in sexual poses, which sounds like the exact opposite of subtlety or taste -- but is disturbingly entertaining. The hippos (which look a little like Beanie Babies) definitely appear to be doin' it, getting busy in tableaux suggesting surreptitious-sex scenarios like Internet Explorer: Dorm Room Study Break (a "student," a bottle of lube, you get the picture). Sick and wrong, yes, but also totally hilarious. Through Nov. 30 at the Brickhouse Cafe, 426 Brannan (at Fourth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 369-0222 or visit (Hiya Swanhuyser) Reviewed Nov. 10.

Also Showing


AIA San Francisco Gallery. "In_Sight On_Site": Group exhibition of work by young architects and designers. Opening reception is Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through Dec. 22. 130 Sutter at Montgomery,

Ampersand International. "Structured Vistas": New mixed media work by Amanda Hughen. Opening reception is Nov. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. Through Dec. 10. "Recent Works": Foam, resin, and wood works by Jesse Simon. Opening reception is Nov. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. Through Dec. 10. 1001 Tennessee (at 20th St.), 285-0170,

Anthony Meier Fine Arts. "Blue and Another Color": New work from painter Kate Shepherd. Opening reception is Nov. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through Dec. 17. 1969 California (at Octavia), 351-1400,

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