Artbeat

California Academy of Sciences. "Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme": A permanent exhibition that explores the types of environments in the universe that could support life. Daily. 875 Howard (at Fifth St.), 750-7145, www.calacademy.org.

Cartoon Art Museum. "Contemporary Literary Comics: Selections From McSweeney's #13": An exhibition of comics work from 25 artists whose illustrations have appeared in the pages of the quarterly. Through May 22, 2005. 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), 227-8666, www.cartoonart.org.

Contemporary Jewish Museum. "The Jewish Journey: Frederic Brenner's Photographic Odyssey": In the last 25 years Brenner has taken 80,000 photographs of Jewish folk; this exhibition contains 100 large-scale Brenner prints that provide a marvelous overview of the Jewish diaspora. Through Feb. 27, 2005. Free-$5. 121 Steuart (at Mission), 591-8800, www.thecjm.org.

Exploratorium. "Art Life": A slightly disturbing exhibit of software-brained things that move, respond to humans, and appear to have memories. Through Feb. 6, 2005. Free-$12. "Traits of Life": A major exhibition area with 30 biology exhibits and demonstrations that help visitors understand the fundamental elements common to all living things from humans to amoebas. Daily. Free with museum admission. 3601 Lyon (at Marina), 397-5673, www.exploratorium.edu.

Lawrence Hall of Science. "Forces That Shape the Bay": The museum's permanent science park exhibit explores new ways to understand the bay. Daily. "NanoZone": Discover the science of the very small (nanotechnology) with hands-on activities. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$8.50. "Prove It -- A ChemMystery": Kids and adults attempt to solve crimes using the basic forensic skills they learn step-by-step at the exhibit. Daily. Free with admission, free-$8.50. Centennial & Grizzly Peak, Berkeley, 510-642-5132.

Legion of Honor. "Big Kids/Little Kids": Children aged 3 1/2 to 6 years and their parents take a gallery tour and then participate in a related hands-on art activity. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum admission, free-$6. "Doing and Viewing Art": Kids aged 7-12 and their families tour the Legion of Honor's galleries before taking part in a hands-on creative workshop led by a professional artist. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum entrance fee, free-$8. "Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya": A major exhibition of artworks produced by the ancient Mayan people of Mexico; includes information on the politics of the Maya, and a special display on the history and art of the city of Palenque. Through Jan. 2, 2005. Free-$15. Ford Free Tuesdays: Get in free to the Legion of Honor every Tuesday thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Company. Tuesdays. Free. "Observations of the Spirit: The Sketchbooks of Judith Clancy": Drawings drawn from more than 80 of the late artist's (best known for the illustrations for best-selling book A Year in Provence) sketchbook. Through Jan. 16, 2005. Free-$15. 100 34th Ave. (at Clement), 863-3330.

Museum of Craft & Folk Art. "Craft Showcase 5": The fifth annual exhibition and sale of functional objects, studio furniture, and sculpture by emerging and established artists. Through Dec. 28. Free. Fort Mason, Bldg. A (Marina & Buchanan), 775-0991.

Pacific Heritage Museum. "Vision and Virtuosity": Exhibition of contemporary paintings featuring the works of over 30 artists from China. Through June 25, 2005. 608 Commercial (at Montgomery), 399-1124.

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. "Tesoros Escondidos: Hidden Treasures From the Mexican Collections": Hundreds of artifacts never before exhibited publicly. Through June 26, 2005. Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, 510-643-7648, hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu.

Pier 45. "Amusing America": The evolution of modern amusement parks and their effects on the American cultural landscape are examined in this conglomeration of photographs, penny-arcade machines, and other ephemera. Daily, 10 a.m. Free. Fisherman's Wharf (Taylor & Jefferson), 552-1266.

Presidio Officers' Club. "Mayan Textile Art: Collections of the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya": Ancient ceramics, historic and contemporary hand-woven textiles and costumes, and modern Mexican paintings celebrate the vivid creations of Mayan women weavers in Chiapas and Guatemala. Wednesdays-Sundays, 11 a.m. Continues through Jan. 16. free. 50 Moraga (at Arguello), 561-3300.

Randall Museum. "Drop-In Art and Science Workshops": Each week kids and parents can participate in artistic activities that illuminate some aspect of science. Saturdays, 1 p.m. $3 per person. "Saturdays Are Special": Ongoing weekly drop-in, hands-on art and science workshops. Saturdays, 1 p.m. free-$3. "Wetlands in Winter": An exhibit celebrating California's wetlands and native creatures with an interactive pond habitat and displays of wetlands animals. Through Feb. 12, 2005. Free. 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9600.

San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. "Madame Butterfly: From Puccini to Miss Saigon": In celebration of the centenary of Puccini's classic opera, this exhibition presents documents and ephemera charting its history. Through Jan. 22, 2005. Free. 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), 255-4800, www.sfpalm.org.

San Francisco's Maritime National Historical Park. "Sparks, Waves, & Wizards: Communication at Sea": The permanent exhibit presents artifacts and ephemera exploring the means of maritime communications. Daily. Free-$6. Hyde Street Pier (foot of Hyde near Jefferson), 561-6662.

SF Museum of Modern Art. "The Art of Design": A permanent exhibition of works in the museum's architecture and design collection, including works of graphic and industrial design (such as the famous Fillmore rock posters by Bonnie MacLean, Victor Moscoso, and Stanley Mouse. Daily. "William Eggleston: Los Alamos": The photographs of William Eggleston, a pioneer in color photography, are spotlighted, with a special focus on snaps taken during Eggleston's travels in the American South and West between 1965 and 1974. Through Jan. 4, 2005. "Architecture & Design Permanent Collection": An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. Daily. "Double Feature: Mary Lucier and Gordon Matta-Clark": An exhibition of video works by the artists that explore time. Through Jan. 23, 2005. "Roy Lichtenstein: All About Art": One of the most popular Pop artists of the 1960s is spotlighted in this retrospective. Through Feb. 22, 2005. "Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection": Magnificent works of painting and sculpture culled from SFMOMA's own collections provide a quick tour of modern art from Fauvism to Minimalism. Daily. "Glamour: fashion + industrial design + architecture": A look at the notion of glitz across several different disciplines. Through Jan. 17, 2005. $5-11, plus museum admission costs. "Between Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Collection": The ongoing exhibition presents works from SFMOMA's own collections, with special installations on artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Robert Gober, Eva Hesse, Anish Kapoor, Sherrie Levine, Brice Marden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Barry McGee, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kara Walker. Daily. "Picturing Modernity: Selections From the SFMOMA Collection": An exhibition of photographs from SFMOMA's own collection that illustrate a wide range of photographic styles. Daily. "Belles Lettres: The Art of Typography": An exhibition of posters, magazines, brochures, and books that take a new look at typography by designers such as Michael Bierut, Jennifer Morla, and Martin Venezky. Through April 17, 2005. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org.

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