Artbeat

Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

Lawrence Hall of Science. "Forces That Shape the Bay": The museum's permanent science park exhibit explores new ways to understand the bay. Daily. "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. "Bonjour Monsieur Courbet!: The Bruyas Collection From the Musée Fabre Montpellier": An exhibition of objects from the collection of Alfred Bruyas, a 19th century art patron with a large collection of French artists including Courbet, Corot, Delacroix, Rousseau, and Gericault. Through April 3. Free-$12. "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-$8. "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. "Windows Facing East: The Japanese Influence on European and American Prints": The exhibit spotlights the explosive affect of the Japanese aesthetic in the West after 1853. Through April 30. Free with museum admission, free-$12. Ford Free Tuesdays: Get in free to the Legion of Honor every Tuesday thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Company. Tuesdays. Free. 100 34th Ave. (at Clement), 863-3330.

Museo ItaloAmericano. "A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions": A 60-year retrospective of the work of the San Francisco draftsman who spent a lifetime drawing fantastic imaginary buildings and cities. Through May 8. Free-$3. Fort Mason, Bldg. C (Marina & Buchanan), 673-2200.

Pacific Heritage Museum. "Vision and Virtuosity": Exhibition of contemporary paintings featuring the works of over 30 artists from China. Through June 25. 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. 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.

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. 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9600.

San Francisco Fire Museum. San Francisco Fire Museum Permanent Exhibits: Included among the items on display at this museum are antique fire extinguishers, old uniforms, cast-iron replicas of historic fire engines, hooks, ladders, and other ephemera. Daily. Free. 655 Presidio Avenue (at Bush), 563-4630.

San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. "Maestro!: Photographic Portraits by Tom Zimberoff": The artist captures a generation of national and international conductors in his portraits. Daily. "Painted Men: Chinese Opera Backstage": A behind-the-scenes look at Chinese opera through artifacts such as props, costumes, scripts, photographs, and musical instruments. Through June 4. "150 Years of Dance in California": The exhibit spotlights over a century of dance in the Golden State with photographs, programs, and other ephemera. Daily. 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.

San Jose Museum of Art. "Inside Out: Selections From the Permanent Collection": Highlights of the museum's 35th-anniversary exhibition include Mildred Howard's Abode: Sanctuary for the Familia(r), a chamber built of blue glass bottles, and Brian Goggin's Desire for the Other, a couch stuffed with household appliances. Daily. Free. 110 South Market (at San Fernando), San Jose, 408-271-6840.

SF Maritime Museum. Permanent Collection of Ship Models: A big collection of figureheads, maritime paintings, photos, and artifacts. Daily. Free-$3. Fisherman's Wharf (at Polk), 556-3002.

SF Museum of Modern Art. "2004 SECA Art Award": The exhibition features work by Bay Area artists Rosana Castrillo Diaz, Simon Evans, Shaun O'Dell, and Josephine Taylor, and was curated by a museum society organized to encourage exceptional emerging artists. Through May 15. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective": The photorealist paintings of Robert Bechtle. Through June 5. "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. "Image, Body, Text: Selected Works by Gary Hill": Multimedia artist Gary Hill has taken the unholy union of the naked body and video and made it high art. Through May 30. $6-$10. "Architecture & Design Permanent Collection": An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. Daily. "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. "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. "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. "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. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org. Zeum. "Reality Check": Young people get inspired to question their preconceptions about the world with this slate of arts, media, and technology tools. Through May 8. Free with museum admission. "Our Home: Chinese and American Children's Art on the Environment": A multimedia showcase of four collaborative art projects between the children of China and the United States that examine various aspects of the ecosystem. Through April 10. Free with museum admission, free-$7. "Toyz": Hands-on activities teach kids about the latest in tech toys. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$7. 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 777-2800.

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