Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

"Shopdropping: Experiments in the Aisle." Various artists sneakily subvert the retail juggernaut for this guerrilla group show. Packard Jennings handcrafted a Benito Mussolini action figure, complete with blister card, and recorded his exchange with a baffled Wal-Mart cashier at his attempt to purchase it. Marijke Jorritsma worked with the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco to produce charming ceramic doppelgängers for canned goods and dish soap that they then "reverse shoplifted" onto supermarket shelves. Text artists were invited to create their own "tags" for clothing, inserting haikus and snarky platitudes ("I'll feel so much better when my life resembles that of someone better than I") in place of fabric care instructions. The projects on view are by turns hilarious and heartwarming, infusing corporate commercialism with a much-needed dose of humanity. Through April 10 at Pond, 324 14th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is free; call 437-9151 or visit (Adrienne Gagnon) Reviewed March 30.

Also Showing

Galleries Amaru Gallery. "Seres y Brotes / Sprouts and Beings": Outsider art from Llane Alexis. Opening reception is March 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. Through April 13. 510 Valencia (at 16th St.), 552-3787,

Andrea Schwartz Gallery. "John Bonick and Patrick Dintino": Mixed media and oils. Through March 31. 333 Bryant (at Second St.) (Suite 180), 495-2090.

Anthony Meier Fine Arts. "Robert Beck": New work including photography, sculpture, painting, and drawing. Opening reception is April 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. April 1-May 13. 1969 California (at Octavia), 351-1400,

Artist-Xchange. "Artists Opening XI": Monthly mixed media group show. Opening reception is March 4 from 7 to 10 p.m. Through March 31. "Sculpture Garden": Indoor group show featuring the work of more than 20 local sculptors. Through April 2. 3169 16th St. (at Guerrero), 864-1490,

ARTworkSF. "Art Is (Still) Life": Group show of still life work by Christopher Flach, Peggy Snider, Lois Llewellyn, Mary Lou D'Auray, Pauline Crowther Scott, Add Bonn, Sue Averell, Pat Wipf, Andres LeRoux, Phyllis Rockne, Michael Stahlbrodt, Rob Nye, Dimitri Kourouniotis, AnneKarin Glass, Gianfranco Paolozzi, Christian Tsouo-Harvey, and Mira White. Opening reception is Jan. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through April 19. 69 Green (at Front), 673-3080,

Berkeley Public Library/Central Branch. "Overcoming Faceless Labor: Farmworkers Through the Lens of Almudena Ortiz": Ortiz' compelling black and white photographs highlight the Mexican immigrant farmerworkers' experience. Through June 15. Free. 2090 Kittredge (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-981-6100.

Blue Room Gallery. "Maiko Sugano: Works of Domestic Art": Solo show of sculptural furniture. Through April 3. 2331 Mission (at 19th St.), 282-8411.

Brian Gross Fine Art. "Sono Osato: Angels in Dust": New paintings, assemblages, and sculptures by Sono Osato. Opening reception is March 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through April 30. "Belonging: Selected Works": Photography by Meridel Rubenstein. Opening reception is March 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through April 30. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 788-1050.

Cafe Royale. "Balikbayan: Return(ing) to Country/Home": Photography show of Gloria G. Galang. Opening reception is March 3 from 8 p.m. until midnight. Through April 3. 800 Post (at Leavenworth), 447-7901.

California College of the Arts/SF. "Side x Side": An exhibit of PlaySpace. Opening reception is March 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. March 30-April 8. 1111 Eighth St. (at Wisconsin), 703-9500.

Creative Growth Art Center Gallery. "Optical Illusion": Group show featuring 2-D and 3-D work, thumb-a-tropes, zoetropes, and fantast-a-scopes created by artists with disabilities. Opening reception is March 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. Through April 15. 355 24th St. (at Broadway), Oakland, 510-836-2340, ext. 15.

Edo Salon. "Spring at Edo": Screenprints by Sante Johnson and Justin Farmer. Opening reception is March 18 from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Through May 23. 601 Haight (at Steiner), 861-0131.

Exploratorium. "Natural Reflections": New work by John Slepian, Claudia Hart, Binh Danh, and Vanessa Renwick. Through May 30. Free with museum admission. 3601 Lyon (at Marina), 397-5673,

Firehouse Gallery. "Fostering Art": Photography and written work by foster kids. Opening reception is April 3 from 3 to 5 p.m.; artists will be available to photograph visitors on April 9 and 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. April 3-23. Marina & Buchanan, 441-3400,

Fraenkel Gallery. "Peter Hujar: Night": This exhibition includes approximately 35 photographs taken by the author at night in New York City between 1974 and 1985. Through April 30. Free. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 981-2661.

Frey Norris Gallery. "Mathematical Perfection: Debut of Ted Vasin": Solo exhibition of paintings by Ted Vaisin. Through April 1. 456 Geary (at Taylor), 346-7812,

Galeria Tempest. "Pez con Pluma": Mixed media on paper by Emma Luna. Through April 14. 1742 Polk (at Washington), 567-7452.

Gallery 16. "As If" and "Garden": New work by Lauren Davies and Carol Selter. Through April 22. 1616 16th St. (at Rhode Island), 626-7495.

Hackett-Freedman Gallery. "American Modern": Work by Milton Avery, Arthur Dove, John Graham, Marsden Hartley, Hans Hofmann, Walt Kuhn, Gaston Lachaise, John Marin, Elie Nadelman, Georgia O'Keeffe, Max Weber, and others. Opening reception is Feb. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through April 2. 250 Sutter (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 362-7152,

Hosfelt Gallery. "Difficult to Swallow": Sculpture by Timothy Horn. Through April 16. "Still Life": Photo montages by John O'Reilly. Through April 16. 430 Clementina (at Fifth St.), 495-5454.

Irwin Center Gallery. "Rhythmic Seasons": Metal/textile BFA exhibition. Opening reception is March 30 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 30-April 1. 5215 Broadway (at College), Oakland.

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